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Published: February 25th 2014
Our next planned stop was to be at Winton about 470 km down the road so there was no hurry to get away early so at 0740 we decided to head off. As previously mentioned Mt Isa is rather unique in many ways and it certainly has a way of farewelling visitors through no fault of its own though. Not more than 10 minutes out of town the stench of decaying road kill starts and continues noticeably on a regular basis for a period longer than my nostrils considered fair. It was unusual in the fact that often you could not see the poor critter involved but you sure could smell it, but overall along the entire journey to Winton I reckon there was more road kill on or beside the road than on any stretch of road I have travelled before. Why I do not have the foggiest idea.
Whilst driving around this country you are advised by large brown signs that a memorial/historical/photo opportunity is only just down the road, some are well worth the stop others not so. Not far out of Mt Isa I decided to check out one that mentioned a Burke and Wills memorial,
incredibly brave adventurers in Australia back in the 1800s. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burke_and_Wills_expedition
to learn more. I have a photo of the obelisk that had been erected but did not include the rubbish that was strewn around this monument despite the fact bins were provided unfortunately these were not used by all visitors to the site.
It is a pretty boring part of the country to drive there really is not much to see as far as landscape goes though you do pass through and by some interesting and historical old towns and landmarks. Keep an eye out for wildlife though and you will always see wedge tailed eagles dining on road kill.
A pleasing thing to see was the amount of roadwork being done. Willy-willies are now becoming more commonplace due to the dryness of the country and I am a little suspicious that these may be controlled by “Murphy’s Law”. You can see them from a few kilometres away but by the time you get close enough to take a decent photo they have often decreased considerably in size or disappeared altogether. For more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_devil
Road trains are still common in these parts and
some carry loads wide enough to require them to use the whole road, when this is the case the Police escorts make it more than obvious that you need to move off the road and get out of the way. Not too difficult when only in a car but considerably at times no mean feat if you happen to be towing a van or driving a truck.
Winton is part of Australia’s Dinosaur Trail and located an hour and a half drive from Winton along what is predominantly a corrugated gravel road is the Lark Quarry Conservation Park, this is the only known place on Earth that has evidence of a dinosaur stampede. This is a place I have wanted to visit for quite a while so I was pretty excited. By the time we arrived in town it was a little after lunch and so we popped into the Visitor Centre where the woman on duty was very helpful to find out a little about the area, she advised us we were too late to make the last tour of the day so we took off and found somewhere to stay for the night.
Just take it
easy driving out to the park, we went on a Sunday and did not pass one vehicle along the way. Weekdays might mean encountering some road trains. Keep an eye out for a couple of old abandoned cars on your right on the way out – very photographic. The first tour was at 1000 so I was up at 0530 to photograph what was a pretty good sunrise and we allowed ourselves 2 hours for the trip. See http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/dinosaur-stampede/lark-quarry/lark-quarry.html
Lark Quarry is in the middle of nowhere and though I had seen stories about this place on a number of TV shows I was not totally sure what to expect. Sure it was not take your breath away WOW but it was very very cool, this is a one off in the world and it really gets your imagination working I would recommend it definitely. We also opted to take a walk around the spinifex circuit it only takes about 20 minutes so try and give that a crack.
Now despite the fact we have a 4WD vehicle (we bought it to tow the van) Liz is not at all keen to deviate off any road and has
no problem in telling me so if I even momentarily stray from her wishes. The old cars I mentioned earlier I thought I would photograph on the way back when time was not an issue; well I was not a popular chap when I drove off the road to park near the first car. A kangaroo hopped out from the front of the vehicle and I snapped away for a couple of minutes and off we went. Not much further down the road a willy-willy was impressively moving along the fence line maybe 50 metres from the road so I waited for a reasonably clear section and turned towards it. Hello boys not happy Jan for a second with all that commotion I thought I must have run over someone, I grabbed the camera and jumped out of the car hoping to get some nice shots. “What the hell is that” I said to myself – sssssssssssssssssssssssss. “No” I yelled, the off road demons had bitten me on the arse the noise I could hear was air escaping from a small orifice. Now be nice, I had run over a very small tree branch but it had pierced my right
rear tyre which was now slowly deflating.
The next 15 minutes is best left in my memory bank suffice to say I changed the wheel which was hot and thirsty work. With the spare wheel on and the deflated one that was ungraciously and roughly persuaded into the rear of the vehicle we were on our way. As I was swigging on my cold bottle of water we drove past the second car I did not even look sideways but continued driving and not a word was spoken. Not one!
It was lunchtime when we arrived back in town and we had a big decision to make. Should we risk heading off without a spare in the hottest part of the day or wait until the morning and head off first thing while it was cooler. I knew nothing would be open in Longreach the next big town which was 180 km’s down the road on a Sunday arvo so it would mean having to wait for the shops to open on the Monday anyway. We figured option B was the safer bet so we thought we’d check out some of the local attractions in town.
stop was Arno’s Park which is home to Arno’s Wall, just Google – Arno’s Wall Winton. The park had 3 magnificent goanna’s roaming around not particularly keen to be photographed but very nice specimens. Secondly we checked out The Musical Fence this was thoroughly enjoyable, I am partial to making a little noise. See
or Google it.
Tomorrow was going to be an early start as I wanted to arrive in Longreach early so we could have our puncture repaired first up at the open of business so at 2100 we called it a night.
Take care travel safe and remember it’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice.
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