Queensland Road Trip

Charleville to Eulo

Tuesday 27 October: Charleville to Quilpie 240 km

Charleville

Hotel Corones built 1924-1929 occupying the whole block and still has the original beautiful interior
Out in the Mulga west of Charleville

Cooladdi

All that remains of Cooladdi, a once prosperous town of 270 when it was a major rail settlement
An isolated Bottle Tree at Cooladdi

Cheepie

Cheepie is another “ghost town” formed when the railway first came through in 1914
At last, live kangaroos beside the road
What would have caused this windmill to collapse?

Quilpie

Lunch under the shade of the gum trees lining Lake Houdraman, about 10 km east of Quilpie
Emu making a run for it
Every house in Quilpie has two water tanks
One to cool the 75°C sulphurous artesian bore water, the other for rain water
The old Quilpie Hotel, now the Heritage Inn, but known as “The Brick”was built in 1926
I used to stay here 50 years ago: it was one of three Quilpie pubs (the others burnt down in the 1990s)
We planned on camping behind the pub but it is closed indefinitely because they can’t get staff
The joke was you could get kicked out of one pub for being drunk and you’d be sober by the time you crossed the road to the other pub
Opal altar in St Finbarr’s Church, Quilpie
Quilpie is the “End of the Line”
The Western Railway line reached Quilpie in 1917 and the last passenger train left in 1994
Baldy Top, a few kilometres west of Quilpie, at sunset
We took a stroll along Quilpie’s Bulloo River Walk in the morning

Wednesday 28 October: Quilpie to Eromanga 200 km

It’s only 106 km from Quilpie to Eromanga on the Cooper Development Road but we decided to go the longer route via the Thylungra and Kyabra Waterholes. A good choice, there’s a constantly changing landscape, waterholes and even a few sand dunes.

Thousands of dead Boree Trees cover the Grey Range as a result of the 1937 locust plague
Silver-leaf Boree shimmering in the sunlight
Giber – a desert surface covered with closely packed rock fragments
Kyabra Waterhole, like an inland sea in a desert
Brolgas at the Waterhole
Driving across flat plains, green after recent rain when …
… suddenly a red sand dune appears

Eromanga

Eromanga is famous for being the furthest town from the ocean in Australia
It’s also the end of the known world – last phone service!
The Royal Hotel, mud-and-brick structure built in 1885, was once a Cobb&Co Staging Post
The Royal doesn’t have a cook right now so a woman comes from a station to make the pub food
This is a “half steak” with vegetables, including mashed potatoes and chips

Thursday 29 October: Eromanga to Noccundra 180 km

Bellalie Waterhole, no camping permitted but a great stop for smoko
Cave Hill would be a good place to camp
Leave only footprints
These cows just didn’t want to get off the road
We pulled over to let a Road Train pass – wildflowers beside the road in bloom after the rain

Noccundra

Noccundra Hotel, originally a Cobb&Co stop, is second oldest pub in Queensland
It was rebuilt in 1882 of sandstone transported 250 km by Camel Train from NSW
The doors were made low so the stockmen couldn’t ride their horses into the bar, or so the story goes
We are having a beer in the Noccundra Pub when a helicopter lands on the road outside. The pilot gets out, leaving it running, comes into the pub and grabs a slab of XXXX then gets back into the helicopter and takes off. Only in outback Australia!
Camping on the Noccundra Waterhole on the Wilson River, 500 meters from the pub
Pelicans on the Waterhole

Friday 30 October: Noccundra to Thargomindah 140 km

I used to fly the crews out here when they were prospecting for oil; looks like they struck rich
Just in case you thought it was all pretty waterholes out here
White cows on red ground
Another mesa rises from the desert floor

Thargomindah

Thargomindah was the third in the world (after Paris & London) to have electric lighting (but not today)
Powered by artesian bore water at 84 degrees celsius from 800 metres down
Exposed roots of a tree in the Bulloo River Thargomindah
Leahy House built 1885 from locally made mud brick was continuously lived in until 1995
Thargo thunderbox out the back
Thargo Post Office also built from local mud bricks in 1870
Thargo lockup from 1899 to 1960

Saturday 31 November: Thargomindah to Eulo 140 km

Lake Bindegolly National Park is about 40 km east of Thargomindah. A string of salt and freshwater lakes in a desert landscape attract thousands of waterbirds. There’s a 9.2 km walking track listed as 3 hours but for us it was 11.3 km in 2 hours 20 minutes including a diversion to the bird watching site. Conditions were perfect – cool and clear; there is no shade. Link to Wikiloc track here.

Start of the Lake Bindegolly circuit track
Tracks in the sand
There were lots of kangaroos this morning but very wary of us
Pelicans, Black Swans and Ducks together on a blue salt water lake in a desert
The track across a salt pan – at times, the lakes are completely dry; at other times flooded
Luckily it had rained a week before
At first glance it is barren but there are dozen of wildflowers in bloom

An abandoned sheep station and shearing shed

Eulo

Eulo artesian mud springs are centuries old but the springs are no longer active
Bee keepers even bring their bees from south to feed on the local Yapunyah trees
The trees did not flower last year because of the drought so we could not get any Yapunyah honey
Why would Eulo (pop 95) have an air raid shelter?
During World War Two Eulo was an important radio relay station
Pam bought a beautiful local opal necklace from the Eulo Queen Opal Center in the old Post Office
No, not this – its a rare and expensive Yowah Nut
We really did camp by a Billabong under the shade of a Coolibah Tree a few km out of town
It was one of the best places we stayed and we had it all to ourselves with only the birds for company
This colony of Pelicans sat here all day and did nothing: next morning they were gone
Spoonbill shares the tree with Pelicans at Eulo Billabong
Some of the smaller birds at the Billabong