Outback Road Trips

Gregory to Longreach

Monday 09 May 2022: Gregory to 80 km north of Cloncurry 240 km

On Sunday, to escape the heat at the Lawn Hill National Park camping grounds we drove back to Gregory where we set up camp beside the river. Today we continued on the the Terry Smith Lookout Rest Area, 80 km north of Cloncurry on the Burke Development Road via the Burke and Wills Roadhouse, 240 km of not too exciting bitumen roads.

Gregory River – how’s this for a camp site?
Even comes with its own private pool
A Great  Bowerbird eating a bug
We went to Murray’s Place in Gregory for the “Best Coffee in the Gulf”
The small sign says “Sorry no Coffee”
Anyway, Murray has “Gone for supplies” so it’s closed
A pretty-faced wallaby trying to hide

We spent the night at the Terry Smith Lookout Rest Area, 80 km north of Cloncurry and dedicated to Royal Mailman Terry Smith who delivered mail along this road from 1950 to 1991. It rained heavily during the night.

A lovely spot out in the country but the flies were unbeatable
Camp oven chilli con carne with tortillas for dinner

Tuesday 10 May 2022: 80 km north of Cloncurry to Julia Creek 250 km

43 km north of Cloncurry, the Quamby Pub was built in the 1860s
It has these wonderful murals on the front porch
This photo is from 2020, the roof has collapsed and it’s fenced off now

Cloncurry

Cloncurry was once the major center in NW Queensland and there are some lovely old buildings. The weather was terrible for taking photos but we had been here before. Those photos are here.

Cloncurry water tank – Artist: The Zookeeper (2018)
Features the Cloncurry Parrot which is only found around here
Cloncurry Swimming Pool – Artist: The Zookeeper (2020)
“The Feed” – illustrates the local food chain

We were going have lunch at the Walkabout Hotel (Crocodile Dundee’s pub) in McKinlay and continue on to Kynuna for the night. But leaving Cloncurry the road sign indicated that route was closed (flooded) so we had to continue on to Julia Creek in heavy rain. With multiple road closures due to last night’s downpour the town is full. Luckily we were able to get a donga at the caravan park.

Lunch stop at a roadside pullover halfway to Julia Creek

Julia Creek

We missed the DIRTnDUST Festival
But this week it could have been the RAINnMUD Festival
Julia Creek Dunnart, a small marsupial about the size of a walnut
They are only found between here and Richmond – this one is being fed at the Visitor Information Centre
Julia Creek Hotel (Top Pub)
Brought from Charters Towers in 1923; burnt down 1929; rebuilt 1930
Chicken Parmi at the Top Pub – no small servings here!
Julia Creek public toilets – Artist: Simon White Art (2022)

Wednesday 11 May 2022: Julia Creek to Kynuna 215 km

Today we decided to go via McKinlay to Kynuna (pop 20) along the sealed Gidyea Bug Byway but first I checked QLD Traffic App: OPEN, McKinlay Council website: OPEN, rang McKinlay Council: OPEN. Confidently we set off but after 50 km we were stopped by a Council worker “Yer gonna hafter tun aroun. She’s 600 mil over n risin”. So back 50 km to Julia Creek to start again, 115 km to Kynuna.

Only stop today: cows on the road, not moving
The Diamantina River at Kynuna flooded overnight even though it didn’t rain
The highway is open but not the road to the airport

Drag the image above for a 360 degree view of the flooded river

Spoonbill on the flooded road at Kynuna
The Blue Heeler pub at Kynuna, built 1889
Banjo Patterson’s first pub performance of Waltzing Matilda was in this bar
The bar in The Blue Heeler
You can write your name for a donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service
Outside as the sun goes down, it casts a shadow of the roof’s Blue Heeler

Thursday 12 May 2022: Kynuna-McKinlay-Kynuna 150 km

We liked the Blue Heeler so we decided to spend another night there and go for a drive to McKinlay (pop 20) and back, 75 km each way on our day off.

McKinlay’s claim to fame: the hotel featured in the Crocodile Dundee movie
Previously it was the Federal McKinlay Hotel, now it’s a tourist attraction but there’s a lot more interesting sights in the town
Now that’s an outback dunny!
All the houses in McKinlay are clad with iron
We haven’t seen a town like this anywhere else
The McKinlay CWA, first convened in 1924
McKinlay Police Lockup, 1920s

Friday 13 May 2022: Kynuna to 20 km west of Longreach 320 km

Thursday afternoon we discovered that there’s a parkrun in Longreach. Is 340 km to far to drive to parkrun? No. We stopped at Macsland Rest Area 20 km before Longreach for the night all prepared to get up and go. But at 5 pm the parkrun was cancelled due to water on the course, big disappointment.

After days of overcast, driving hundreds of kilometres across flat featureless country, suddenly up pops the Ayrshire Hills (ancient eroded hills covered in stunted Gidgee Wattle)

Winton

Here are our pictures of Winton in 2020. (Not keen on dinosaurs so we bypassed the nearby Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum).

A pair of Brolgas walking down the main street of Winton
Royal Theatre Winton, established in 1918, one of two remaining open-air picture theatres in Australia – Sleepless in Seattle is on tonight
A pretty White-breasted Woodswallow near our camp site
Roast beef and vegetables cooked on the fire and a nice bottle of red to go with it made a delicious dinner at our campsite in the bush