Farewell

Australia 9 Comments »

Sam, Lisa and The Tank in the Strzelecki Desert

Like all good things, this journey of ours has finally come to an end.  Since we left San Francisco in April, 2009 we’ve set foot in 11 countries, visited 13 islands, had to learn snippets of seven languages, traveled on 32 different planes, sailed on 15 boats, attended four weddings and ridden in two rickshaws.  In Australia we touched foot on the most easterly and westerly points of the country, visited every capital city, breakfasted on top of the nation’s tallest peak, camped next to the lowest point on the mainland, visited every state and major territory, squirted five bottles of insect repellant and rubbed over three liters of sunscreen into our skin, went through eight pairs of Havaianas thongs and camped in 181 different locations.  And I’d hate to think how many calories of baked goods I consumed developing my map of Australia’s Best Bakeries!

The Tank has been with us throughout the majority of our trip as we piloted her over 49,878 kilometers (30,993 miles) of bitumen, sand, corrugations, rivers, mud, rocks and clay.  She’s been a steadfast companion that has rescued us from more than a few unnerving situations.  Whether it be crawling up insanely steep mountains in the Victorian Alps, crossing the crocodile-infested rivers of the Top End, motoring along the sands of Fraser Island or traversing Australia’s central deserts, The Tank never left us disappointed.  We both agree that we were incredibly lucky with the limited number of mishaps we encountered: for all the remote locations we visited we only had a single tyre puncture and only had to engage our differential locks on four occasions.  We thankfully never had to use our snatch straps, winch or HF radio.  The Tank really is an amazing vehicle, our home for over a year, we’re very sad to see her go.  Fortunately The Tank is going to a good home: a family friend has taken her off our hands so we’ll be able to see her on future trips Down Under.

The RouteThis website originally started as a diary for ourselves, a way to remember our journey and share it with friends and family all over the world.  While it’s served this purpose well, it’s also morphed into somewhat of a hub for travelers like ourselves planning trips to some of the places we’ve visited.  Since its inception on April 14, 2009 OurWalkabout.com has received 4,150,797 (and counting!) visits from people all over the world.  Traffic for everything from travelers wondering where to camp in Kalumburu to backpackers trying to decide on the best hamam in Bodrum.  The site receives most of its visits from the United States and Australia, but also receives inquiries from countries as far flung as Israel, Latvia and Brazil.  OurWalkabout.com will remain in its present state for the foreseeable future, we have no plans to release the domain or change the site’s setup, maybe it’ll be the home for our next adventure!

Finally, and most importantly, we’d like to thank everyone that has made this journey so memorable for us.  There are far too many of you to name individually, but whether you fed us, housed us, let us use your washing machine, provided a hot shower, traveled with us for a portion of our journey or simply made the time to have a beer with us when we passed through your town, thank you for making our adventures all the more special.  We thoroughly enjoyed the emails and blog comments that so many of you left for us.  For now we bid you farewell and sincerely hope to see you all somewhere down the track…

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Australian 4WD Action

Australia, Magazines, Western Australia No Comments »

Australian 4WD Action

Another of the magazines from a few months ago that just made its way to us, Australian 4WD Action issue 153 has a few pages on our travels along Cape Range and the picturesque Ningaloo Reef in central Western Australia.

Australian 4WD ActionAustralian 4WD Action

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Camping With Your 4WD

Australia, Magazines, Tasmania No Comments »

Camping With Your 4WDSince we left Australia in August there have been a few more magazines hit the shelves containing our articles.  The first to trickle in via air mail the other day was Camping With Your 4WD issue number eight, released back in August.  It chronicles some of our adventures with Lisa’s parents to Bruny Island in southern Tasmania.  Man it hurts looking back at these photos now that The Tank and our adventures are behind us…

Camping With Your 4WDCamping With Your 4WD

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Adelaide Skyline

Australia, South Australia No Comments »

Adelaide Skyline

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Farewell Drinks

Australia, South Australia 1 Comment »

Bronte and LisaTodd and SamGreg, Owen and Todd Jarrod and a bottle of LeasinghamBob and JohnMark and Mel Jules, Henry and JamesPato, Claire and TomMel and James Bev and LisaAdam and Karl (or is it Karl and Adam?)Peg, Angie, Fish, Dave and Jenni Tim, Michael, Todd and RileySamMichael, Sam and Tim Lisa, Bronte and BenOwen and GregThe Gilbert Street Hotel

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Camping With Your 4WD

Australia, Magazines, Northern Territory, Tasmania No Comments »

Camping With Your 4WDIssue seven of Camping With Your 4WD hit the shelves yesterday.  In it are a couple of articles I wrote outlining a few weekend getaways for 4WD-inclined travelers from Hobart and Darwin.  A few more cameos from Lisa’s parents in the Hobart article, camping along the Lyell Highway and also on Bruny Island.

Camping With Your 4WDCamping With Your 4WD

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Broken Hill

Australia, New South Wales 4 Comments »

Todd and probably the most ridiculous pants on the planetThe Tank needed a good clean once in Broken HillBack to civilization after our marathon day of driving around The Central Deserts, we spent a few days in Broken Hill with our good mate Todd on our way back to Adelaide.  Todd and a few of our other friends from university in Adelaide grew up in Broken Hill, a remote mining town in western New South Wales famous for its silver, lead and zinc mining as well as being the birthplace of one of the world’s biggest mining behemoths: BHP.  (I only learned a few years ago that BHP actually stands for Broken Hill Proprietary.)  Today Broken Hill is a shadow of the former bustling mining town it once was when operations were in full swing.  There are a small number of shafts still in operation around town, but the population has dwindled to less than a third of what it was in its heyday.

The Silverton HotelWe enjoyed a bit of a sleep-in to recover from our 18 hour drive the day before and then all ventured roughly 30 kilometers out of Broken Hill to the nearby settlement of Silverton.  Silverton is home to a range of beautiful historic buildings, many of which house art galleries with a cafe here and there.  It’s also home to the Silverton Hotel, an iconic Aussie pub that has been used for more than a few advertising and media campaigns involving photos of Outback The Mad Max car in Silvertondrinking holes.  Silverton was the location for the filming of the first two Mad Max movies – the films that began Mel Gibson on his rise to stardom – and is still home to the Mad Max hot rod the Pursuit Special.  The Pursuit Special was parked in front of the Silverton Hotel, very cool to see such an iconic automobile up close and personal.  The galleries about town had a fantastic collection of Outback-inspired artwork, it’d be a great place to buy some wall hangings one day…

Inflating our tyres once we're back on the bitumen near NocundraThe Tank needed a good clean once in Broken HillThe Tank needed a good clean once in Broken Hill Big Todd's Hill ToursThe Mad Max car in SilvertonThe famous Silverton HotelThe Silverton Hotel Todd and Lisa in SilvertonSilvertonSilverton Sam and Lisa in SilvertonOne of the many art galleries in SilvertonBottle cap covered Jeep in SilvertonThe leaning dunny of Silverton The leaning dunny of SilvertonInside one of the many art galleries in SilvertonInside one of the many art galleries in SilvertonInside one of the many art galleries in Silverton Argent Street in central Broken Hill

Todd and probably the most ridiculous pants on the planetThe Palace Hotel (where a portion of the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert was filmed)Birthday time!It was my birthday when we were in Broken Hill and Lisa had sneakily hidden a few gifts from her and relatives in The Tank (what a wife!) as well as whipping up my favourite chocolate cherry cake for the occasion.  After one of Todd’s mum’s awesome meals and a fashion parade of some of Todd’s most recent metrosexual garb, we all headed to Broken Hill’s main strip of Argent Street for a few beers at the Silver City Workingmen’s Club.  Todd’s dad and one of his uncles – who could probably drink just about anyone under the table – and his auntie were all at the club with us.  At $3.10 a pint, a few turned to a lot and by the end of the night Todd and I had trouble walking!  A very fun birthday!

Birthday time!Birthday time!Birthday time!Todd and his new haircut 

Lake WetherellLake PamamarooTodd and Judy, Todd’s mum, took us out to Menindee for a day to visit Todd’s grandparents.  Menindee is where the Darling River takes a turn south to flow to Wentworth and into the Murray River.  The area around Menindee is home to a vast expanse of lakes, all of which were full of Yabby feast in Broken Hillwater when we visited but for the past 10 years or so have been mostly dry with the drought.  We stopped off at Copi Hollow – a spot where Todd and some of our other mates from Broken Hill grew up waterskiing – as well as taking a look at Lake Pamamaroo and Lake Wetherell.  Todd’s grandfather is quite the Yabby fisherman and was kind enough to load us up with a plentiful amount of the delicious crustaceans to enjoy for dinner back in Broken Hill.  Neither of us had ever devoured so many Yabbies in a single sitting! 

Lake Menindee Judy, Todd and Lisa at Copi HollowCopi HollowTodd and Judy at Lake Pamamaroo Lake Pamamaroo Todd, Lisa and Judy at Lake PamamarooLake WetherellSam, Lisa and Todd at Lake Wetherell

Miner's memorialJudy, Todd and Lisa on an oversized bench in Broken HillOn our last morning in town Todd and Judy took us for a morning coffee at the Broken Hill mining memorial.  Perched atop one of the old mining waste dumps, the memorial provides sweeping views of town and the vast expanses of desert beyond.  A great spot to get a Yabby feast in Broken Hillbird’s eye view of Broken Hill.  Thanks Todd for making the five hour drive to and from Broken Hill to show us around, we had a fantastic time, and thank you Judy for your hospitality and such great food for the length of our stay!

Broken Hill pretty much marks the end of our adventures around this Land Down Under.  From here we head back across eastern South Australia to Adelaide, where we’ll spend a few weeks tidying up The Tank and getting things in order.  Whew, what an adventure this has been!

Broken Hill One of the Broken Hill mine shaftsLisa and Todd at the miner's memorialSam and Todd on the way to Adelaide...

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Australia’s Best Bakeries

Australia 6 Comments »

Regardless of their artery-clogging, tummy-enlarging, generally unhealthy food offerings I find it very difficult to pass through an Australian country town without sampling the fare at the local bakery.  In the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia this wasn’t so much of a problem for us as bakeries were very few and far between.  As we made our way into Perth and south of Western Australia’s capital it seems that I’m now dining for almost every lunch at a new bakery (Lisa joins in when my sounds of enjoyment make it impossible to do otherwise!).  Some of the offerings have been unreal…  I have no doubt that we’ll continue to sample many country bakeries on our travels so want to make sure that I catalogue some of the standouts.

Australia's Best Bakeries

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Gallery: New South Wales

Australia, Galleries, New South Wales No Comments »

New South Wales

A collection of photos from our travels through Thredbo, Lake Conjola, Mollymook, Eurobodalla National Park, Central Tilba, Mimosa Rocks National Park, Kangaroo Valley, Fitzroy Falls, Hill Top, Katoomba, Blue Mountains National Park, Sydney, the Hunter Valley, Barrington Tops National Park, South West Rocks, Arakoon, Hat Head National Park, Booti Booti National Park, Newcastle, Crowdy Head National Park, Nambucca Heads, Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour, Maclean, Yamba, Yuraygir National Park, Byron Bay, Bangalow, Lennox Head, Nimbin, Nightcap National Park, Border Ranges National Park, Lismore, Mebbin National Park, Silverton, Menindee Lakes and Broken Hill during March, April and July, 2010.

465 Photos

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The Central Deserts

Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia 6 Comments »

Outback living room...

Piping hot pressurised water at the Cacoory Bore north of BirdsvilleWe left Bedourie early Sunday morning headed for the famous Outback settlement of Birdsville, just north of the Queensland/South Australia border.  It was a muddy drive along the sections of road between the towns that were unpaved (roughly 65% of the track is paved), the clay floodplains holding on to the water from the torrential rains of the previous week.  The waterholes along the way were alive with birdlife, birds like pelican and spoonbills that we didn’t expect to see more than 1500 kilometers (930 miles) from the coast on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

The Cacoory Ruins north of BirdsvilleThe Simpson and Strzelecki Deserts are located on the edge of the Great Artesian Basin, a massive underground aquifer covering almost a third of Australia’s landmass.  It’s the largest aquifer system on the planet.  In many places on the edge of the deserts the water rises to the surface piping hot, we stopped off at one of the heated artesian wells alongside Cacoory Ruins roughly halfway between Bedourie and Birdsville.  Our visit to the beautiful Dalhousie Springs along the Oodnadatta Track when we stated this adventure last June was another heated spring rising from the Great Artesian Basin.  The water at the Cacoory bore rises from the depths at 85°C (185°F), definitely too hot for a dip and we were sure to steer clear of the actual bore pipeline as it sounded to be under some serious pressure.  The water was crystal clear as it snaked its way through the desert, letting off steam into the surrounding air as it cooled in the brisk winter temperatures.

Pelicans alongside the road on the way into BirdsvilleCrossing one of the many floodplains on the way into BirdsvilleSpoonbill fishing in the floodplains Big Herefords slowing our pace on the road between Bedourie and BirdsvilleFloodplains on the way between Bedourie and BirdsvilleThe edge of the Simpson Desert Skirting the edge of the Simpson DesertStopped at the Cacoory Bore north of BirdsvillePiping hot pressurised water at the Cacoory Bore north of Birdsville The Cacoory Ruins north of BirdsvilleThe Cacoory Ruins north of BirdsvilleLisa at the Cacoory Ruins north of BirdsvilleRoad sign just north of Birdsville

The Birdsville BakeryBirdsville must be one of the most remote towns in the country: perched between the Simpson Desert to the west, Strzelecki Desert to the south and endless expanses of Queensland’s Channel Country to the Breakfast at the Birdsville Bakerynorth and east.  Today Birdsville serves as a restocking and refueling point for tourists crossing the deserts on 4WD expeditions, as well as a supply base for some of the surrounding cattle stations.  As remote Outback towns go, Birdsville had a lot to offer: a full service caravan park, two petrol stations, post office, historic pub and the Birdsville Bakery.  And I should mention that the Birdsville Bakery is licensed.  Yes, all my Christmases came true at once in the middle of the desert: a bakery that serves beer.  We didn’t take too long to sniff out the bakery once arriving in town, an exceptionally well-maintained establishment with excellent pies and fantastic atmosphere.  While we didn’t visit during the evening – instead opting for the pub – the bakery advertised campfires out the front each evening, often with free entertainment.  After being very disappointed in general with the pies in Queensland, it was a breath of fresh air to taste the pies at the Birdsville Bakery, someone knew what they were doing.  The kangaroo and claret pie was great, as was the chunky beef offering.  We were in town for 20 hours and had two meals at the bakery!

The Birdsville BakeryThe Birdsville BakeryThe Birdsville Bakery 

This Centipede was almost as long as my foot!Simpson Desert recovery vehicle in BirdsvilleWe shacked up at the Birdsville caravan park (S25°53.997’ E139°21.244’) for the night, enjoying a hot shower and afternoon run through the wetlands on the edge of town.  With so much 4WD country around Birdsville it’s no surprise that the roadhouse was home to the toughest looking 4WD recovery vehicle either of us had ever seen.  Built like a Sherman tank with tyres of The famous Birdsville Hotelat least 60 inches (152 centimeters) in diameter, this rig was a serious piece of machinery.  I’d hate to think of the price tag attached to a recovery callout for this bad boy!

The famous Birdsville HotelThe Birdsville Hotel was established more than a century ago in 1884.  A beautiful old building with a couple of bars, beer garden, formal dining hall and plenty of characters around the bar it was a great spot to spend the evening.  On Sundays the hotel has a weekly roast, we put down $20 each for a scrumptious dinner of beef and lamb with all mandatory roast dinner sides.  Not quite as good as my grandmother’s roast lamb but it was a great meal.  The hats in the photo below were all nailed to the roof by invitation of the hotel, to have your hat put on display it’s mandatory that you spend a minimum of one calendar year in town without leaving. 

Letting the tyres down for the dirt road aheadThe famous Birdsville HotelThe famous Birdsville Hotel The famous Birdsville HotelThe famous Birdsville HotelThe Tank all muddy after her trip into Birdsville 

Turn-off to Cordillo DownsThe desert alive with colour after the rainsThe desert alive with colour after the rainsThe usually barren clay floodplains on the drive out of Birdsville were alive with colour as we left early Monday morning, the unseasonal rain filling the land with beautiful hues of green and wildflowers as far as the eye could see.  We passed through some amazingly thick fog on our way to the Cordillo Downs Road turn-off, tackling a good portion of the 116 kilometers (72 miles) from Birdsville without seeing more than a few meters in front of The Tank’s bull bar.  From the Cordillo Downs turn-off we passed alongside the massive expanse of Moonda Lake before setting wheels on familiar ground for the first time since January: back in South Australia.

The massive expanse of Moonda Lake

Crossing the border in South AustraliaOver the border we found ourselves in the Strzelecki Desert proper, at the same time being on the property of Cordillo Downs Station.  The size of Cordillo Downs boggles the mind, we drove over 100 Crossing the border in South AustraliaOn our way through the Strzelecki Desertkilometers and were still – as far as we could tell – on the station’s property.  Steeped in history, the station is a huge cattle enterprise these days.  In the past it was one of the largest sheep stations in the country and is still home to Australia’s largest sheep shearing shed.  The shed is no longer used as today the station is exclusively a cattle operation, but it was very interesting to read some of the station’s history inside the old shearing shed.  In the 1800s the shearers would make a journey of four-and-a-half days by bicycle to Cordillo Downs when the sheep needed to be shorn, the station at its peak had over 30000 head of sheep.  The wool, once dried, was transferred to Farina north of the Flinders Ranges by Afghan cameleers where it was taken by rail to the nearest major centre of Port August or further south to Adelaide.  If only they’d waited 150 years for a Toyota LandCruiser!

On our way through the Strzelecki DesertA camper not very happy with fellow campers' behaviour!Ruins of Cadelga Homestead on Cordillo Downs Station Ruins of Cadelga Homestead on Cordillo Downs StationBird nests in the ruins of Cadelga Homestead on Cordillo Downs StationRuins of Cadelga Homestead on Cordillo Downs Station Ruins of Cadelga Homestead on Cordillo Downs StationRuins of Cadelga Homestead on Cordillo Downs StationAustralia's largest shearing shed at Cordillo Downs Cordillo Downs Australia's largest shearing shed at Cordillo DownsAustralia's largest shearing shed at Cordillo Downs Lisa in Australia's largest shearing shed at Cordillo DownsAustralia's largest shearing shed at Cordillo DownsAustralia's largest shearing shed at Cordillo Downs 

Strzelecki Desert wildflowersBearded Dragon alongside the road in the Strzelecki DesertIt’s 177 kilometers from Cordillo Downs to Innamincka, the road passes through some beautiful country on its way through the Innamincka Regional Reserve and Innamincka Station.  Big red sand dunes typically associated with the neighboring Simpson Desert filled the horizon on our way through the northern portion of the Innamincka Regional Reserve, a beautiful part of the country.  Lisa had hawk eyes when she spotted this adult Bearded Dragon on the side of the road while at the same time piloting The Tank through the sand.  I’d never seen coloring on a Bearded Dragon like this one, striking yellow eyes and a jet black belly, he was surprisingly content with me taking photos of him as he lay on the sand in the middle of the desert.  Maybe he’d never seen a  human before…

We camped next to the shelter of a big red dune roughly 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) north of Innamincka, a picturesque spot with rolling red sand dunes to the west and a dry creek bed below.  The serenity of the spot was unfortunately interrupted a few minutes after we stopped by some of the worst flies we’ve encountered on our entire trip.  Plenty of expletives from Lisa and my attempts to ignore them didn’t work, Lisa finding refuge in our mosquito tent and me climbing into the Blue Room to read in the afternoon sun.  As the sun waned the flies left us alone to enjoy a beautiful starry night with a few beers beside the campfire, great to be out in the open country with the surrounds to ourselves again.

Strzelecki Desert dunesCrossing the northern section of the Strzelecki DesertBearded Dragon alongside the road in the Strzelecki Desert Camped in the dunes in the Strzelecki DesertBearded Dragon alongside the road in the Strzelecki DesertCamped in the dunes in the Strzelecki Desert

South Australia Our tranquil night amongst the dunes was interrupted at around 2:00AM with thunder, lightning and torrential rain.  We hopped out of the Blue Room at around 7:30AM to find the previously dry creek bed next to us gushing with water.  The ground under our feet turned to sticky mud as the rain persisted throughout the morning and into the sunlight hours.  Amazing how quickly the desert changed with the onset of rain…  We made it back to the road from our campsite in the pouring rain, and then the fun began.  It took us almost 90 minutes to drive the 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) between our campsite and the desert outpost of Innamincka, the rain had turned the usually solid clay into slick, boot-deep mud that caked into the tread of The Tank’s tyres.  I’d never driven in such trying conditions.  The Tank had an absolute mind of its own, sliding all over the track especially in sections where the road had even the smallest hint of camber.  We almost got stuck once as The Tank found its way into the thick mud to the side of the main track, having to crawl out with differential locks engaged.  Saying I was on edge as we made our way through the mud in the rain would be an understatement!  I would have loved to take some photos of our 20 kilometer journey, but I have no doubt that if we stopped in some of the hairier sections we would have been well and truly bogged until the storm passed!

Stuck in InnaminckaAs we rolled into Innamincka (S27°44.783’ E140°44.292’) the rain showed no sign of subsiding, we’ve never been so excited to arrive in a Podunk town in our lives!  With a few ramshackle dwellings, a homestay, roadhouse and hotel, Innamincka is even more sparse than neighboring Birdsville.  As the rain flooded the surrounding roads it made leaving town impossible so we took refuge to a motel room for the day to escape the torrential downpour.  We arrived at the Innamincka Hotel’s reception in the nick of time, snatching the last available room before similar travelers flocked-in for the same reason.  We spent the day out of the elements with a TV, heater and a power outlet to formulate this post.

Stuck in InnaminckaStuck in InnaminckaStuck in Innamincka 

Stranded 4WD vehicles next to the phone booths in Innamincka on Wednesday morningThe rain stopped at 4:00PM on Tuesday, roughly 14 hours after it began.  It dumped 50 millimeters (two inches) of water on Innamincka and surrounds, enough to close the roads across the Outback from Oodnadatta to western New South Wales.  So lucky we managed to score the last hotel room in town, as the day progressed on Tuesday more and more weary travelers rolled into town hoping for shelter, only to be turned away and forced to camp in the mud.  At least they could seek refuge for a cold beer at the bar…  We spent the afternoon watching movies on our movie channel, I don’t think we’d watched so much TV in a single day since before we left California!  For dinner we enjoyed a beer at the pub and some great Aussie burgers at the Outamincka dining hall in the Innamincka Hotel.  The place was absolutely packed, there wasn’t a spare seat in the whole pub and the dining hall almost packed.  I bet the owners of the hotel wish for more torrential downpours! 

The front bar at the Innamincka HotelThe front bar at the Innamincka HotelThe dining room at Innamincka Hotel 

Wednesday in InnaminckaEntry to the Innamincka Trading Post and Innamincka Hotel on WednesdayStranded 4WD vehicles next to the phone booths in Innamincka on Wednesday morningWe woke on Wednesday morning greeted with clear blue skies and a touch of wind, close to ideal weather for drying the roads (ideal weather would be hot sun and gale force winds…).  The parking areas and Innamincka’s two streets had been transformed to boggy mud by the water, the clearing in front of the pub and petrol station effectively a lake.  It was tough to walk around town let alone drive a car through the mud.  We were again thankful for our cozy hotel room and equally glad we had waterproof boots in which to walk around.  It was amazing the number of travelers that had rolled into town in the rain the day before, the parking area in front of the pub was brimming with people camping in the mud and clearing by the creek just out of town filled with more than 20 vehicles.  No hope of the roads opening Wednesday but we crossed our fingers with everyone else that we’d be able to get out within a couple of days with the change in weather.

Lucky for Redback boots!The Innamincka Trading PostThe National Parks and Wildlife Service building and stranded 4WD vehicles in Innamincka on Wednesday morning The parking lot on Wednesday morning at the Innamincka HotelThe Innamincka Hotel on Wednesday morningRoad trains stranded in Innamincka on Wednesday morning

Desert rain...

When we did finally get out it was with the advice of the truckers who were also stranded, pictured above right.  Our original intended route is drawn on the maps here in blue, with the area closed by the rains shaded in red.  The truckers mentioned that when the roads eventually opened, the 756 kilometers (470 miles) from Innamincka to our destination in Broken Hill would take a couple of days due to the deep mud and dangerous driving conditions.  Instead, they suggested making our way out back into Queensland through Nappamerrie station and onto the bitumen roughly 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Innamincka.  We took their advice and at 4:37AM left the small desert settlement of Innamincka with a target of Broken Hill by the end of the day.  The green line on the maps here is the route we eventually had to take, paved roads all the way once we got off the dirt in Queensland.  It was a marathon day of driving, 1429 kilometers (888 miles) in Desert rain...all that took almost 18 hours from start to finish with nothing more than time off for driver changes, food and toilet stops.  Across three states we had to dodge everything from Echidnas to pigs, goats, Emus and kangaroos as they scurried across the road in front of us.  Needless to say, we were extremely happy to see Todd in Broken Hill when we arrived a little after 10:00PM.  If we never go to Innamincka again in our lives I think that’ll be fine with us!

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