Outback Road Trips

Boulia to Lawn Hill

Wednesday 04 May 2022: Boulia to Dajarra Dam 170 km

We passed this way on our first outback road trip in 2020. Photos here.

The country is changing, more grasses and shrubs but still flat and stoney
We stopped at Sulieman Creek, 100 km north of Boulia…
…watched by this White-necked heron
Dajarra Hotel, 140 km north of Boulia, has been serving beer since 1917
We camped in the shade beside Dajarra Dam, the only ones there
The water was much higher than last time
A beautiful place to spend a night
Dajarra Dam:
Willy Wagtail, Ducks doing what ducks do, Galahs having a drink

Thursday 05 May 2022: Dajarra Dam to 50 km west of Mt Isa 190 km

A wedge-tailed eagle and a crow share a kangaroo on the road
Another bumper crop on the Bike Tree 70 km south-west of Mt Isa 
A fine sample of outback humour to some, littering to others
53 km west of Mt Isa beside the Barkly Highway, a good shady camp
Parcels of Moroccan Chicken cooking on our brazier
We open the parcels and eat them from the foil – no water needed for washing dishes (tastes good too)
The Mt Isa to Camooweal road was built and then sealed during WW2. 10,000 vehicles a day travelled this East-West route then. Here, a section of the road has been preserved as a Memorial. The original 16-foot wide road (left) closely hugged the contours of the land. In contrast the adjacent new road (right), constructed in 1994 cuts through the hills and fills the dips.

Friday 06 May 2022: 50 km west of Mt Isa to Gregory 260 km

Originally we planned to go to the Miyumba Bush Camp to visit the World Heritage Riversleigh Fossil Site. There’s three creek crossing to get there and the Department of Transport reports “water over the road in various sections” and “long delays expected”. So we decided to miss the fossils and take the longer route to Lawn Hill via Gregory.

Today we passed 11 cars, all of which had left the road
There’s about 100 km of gravel, corrugated but better than we expected
The “River Crossing” but today the water was below road level
Native Australian Tropical waterlillies
A flock of little birds hiding in a tree
This was the only “water over the road” so we were glad we went this way
The annual Gregory River Canoe Marathon starts here
43 km from The Knobbies to The Pub, record stands at 2 hrs 43 mins
The Pub – Gregory Hotel, established 1887 was a Cobb & Co stop
Gregory River free campground is very popular, easy to see why

Saturday 07 May 2022: Gregory to Lawn Hill 100 km

There’s about 80 km of gravel between Gregory and Lawn Hill
Cows seeking shelter from the heat

Lawn Hill

We’ve wanted to see the Lawn Hill Gorge in the Boodjamulla National Park situated in the remote north-west highlands of Queensland for many years. Finally after driving 3,000 km from Brisbane we are here.

First up, we hired a canoe to see the Lawn Hill Gorge from below
Approaching the Gorge
In the Gorge
Cabbage Tree Palms seem out of place after the dry, dusty road
To cool off in the afternoon we went for a swim in the Lawn Hill Creek

Sunday 08 May 2022: Lawn Hill to Gregory 100 km

We were going to stay tonight in Lawn Hill but the bridge to the Island has gone so half the Lawn Hill walking tracks were inaccessible. Afternoon temperature at our camp site was 36°C. There’s no shade. We decided to walk to the Upper Gorge (7 km) in the early morning and head back to Gregory in the heat of the afternoon.

A curious White-gapped Honeyeater on the steps of our van
Cabbage Tree Palms grow 25 meters high along the Lawn Hill Creek
Steps up to the Dawadarri Lookout
Pam’s at the Lookout
This is what she sees – Lawn Hill Gorge from above
High levels of calcium carbonate give the water a jade-green colour
Next – Indarri Lookout
This is as far as we got in our canoe but you can drag the canoes over the rocks and continue along the upper Creek
Indarri Falls – it’s possible to swim under for a free massage
Back down to Lawn Hill Creek: green water, red cliffs & blue sky
And up to the Upper Gorge Lookout
Before returning inland through spinifex dotted with wildflowers
Birds we saw on this morning’s walk
Flowers in Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park