Mt Hypipamee NP
The light shines upon me
Our first stop on the road inland was in Atherton which seemed a pleasant town, then we began to get more remote and we visited Mt Hypipamee crator, which is, yep a crater. The pretty Milla Milla waterfall was our stop for lunch, before we made our way to a brilliant free camping group in the town of Ravenshoe. It was only around this time that we realised that free camping groups are prolific throughout Australia, especially away from the touristy East Coast. The site in Ravenshoe is on a fantastic old railway yard, still with railway paraphernalia scattered around the grounds, on a weekend the campers (mostly Grey Nomads) are moved on as a steam train still operates for tourism purposes. We were welcomed in by the nomads, and enjoyed our brief stay in Ravenshoe. Journeying on we visited Millsteam Falls, then Innot Hot Springs. Here we enjoyed the free hot pools, of varying temperatures, and chatted to the oldies frequenting them.
Feeling remarkably clean and refreshed from the hot springs we carried on inland to Undurra. Still reasonably close to the coast we were surprised to find the roads turn single track remarkable quick. It takes far more
concentration driving on a single track lane, especially with the prospect of meeting a road train coming your way. The rule if you encounter a road train is simply drive off the road, get the fu*k out of it’s way! For other vehicles you simply take one side onto the gravel, as does the passing vehicle, leaving enough space to pass one another. Our trip into the outback was becoming very real, and equally exciting. To reach the Undurra Experience we needed to leave the bitumen Savannah Way and down 5km of bumpy, unforgiving dirt road. Fearing for our van, we were pleased to finally arrive. The Undurra Experince is a tour company, with camping grounds set in the outback scrub. Passing up the offer of joining an expensive outback experience trip we simply paid a standard fee to camp, and it was well worth it. The campsites are truly set in the scrub and we had access to all the facilities and trails, it’s a truly unique setting to spend time in. With the outback comes the heat though and it was rather unrelenting. After an enjoyable two nights in the scrub we negotiated the offroad track and pushed
on a further 150km to Georgetown.
Georgetown is a strange little place with a population of 300 in the arse-end of nowhere. Not surprisingly we failed to find a shop open on a Sunday to replenish our supplies, and endured sniggers from the local revellers outside the pub as we searched for supplies. The campsite owner was more polite though and we enjoyed the swimming pool too. Passing through Normanton for fuel was an experience, before we eventually reached Kurumba, on the western coast of the Great York Peninsula. After reading so much about Kurumba, we were very disappointed with what we found, and felt very uncomfortable in the claustrophobic campsite full of semi-permanent residents. The following morning we left Kurumba asap, and drove 277km down to the Burke and Wills roadhouse.
There had been absolutely nothing on the roads for 200km, then suddenly at the Burke and Wills roadhouse there were people everywhere. At that point on the trip, the 277Km from Kurumba was our longest drive in one hit, and certainly without a fuel stop. It was good just to hangout at Burke and Wills, as it’s become somewhat of a tourist attraction in itself, plus
it also allowed us to get up close and personal with the roadtrains! That day we kept going for another 182km down to Conclurry, a nice town with a nice campsite. Up early we cleared the remaining 120km and finally made it to Mt. Isa.
The reason we had taken the route we did, and taken so long to cross over from the East Coast was to ensure we were a part of Mt. Isa’s biggest event: the Rodeo. Our campsite, and home for 4 nights could not have been more accommodating and we were involved in BBQ’s and really welcomed to the town. The rodeo itself was compelling, and we witnessed unfathomable feats of skill and dexterity. The actual events speak for themselves in the photos, and the experience of spending this time in a mining town in the middle of nowhere is unforgettable. The event took place in a small stadium, and was packed with real cowboys, making me feel rather underdressed in my shorts and flip-flops. We stayed for three days and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
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