Sunday, June 21, 2009

Central Australia 2009 Pt 1

Well back from another trip this time across to Alice Springs via the Strezlecki and Oodanatta Tracks back via the Plenty Hwy, Birdsville and Windorah.  This time it would just me and my mate Tim  and we would be meeting the our wives in Alice for a 4 day stop over.

After being made redundant just before the trip a bike ride is the perfect medicine.

Not too many pics as I lost my camera something I will spew about for a long time yet.  I had over 400 pics  on it and some damn good ones at that.  So I will have to make to do with the pics that my mate Tim has taken.  They're good, just not as many as I had as such the story will be a little shorter.

Any to get started.  We left Brisbane at 5 in the morning and trailered the Bikes to Dalby, from there we would spend the first day on the black stuff to get as far west as quickly as possible.

Leaving Dalby, Lindsay & Elyshia took us out there.
From Dalby we headed out through Moonie and St George, before heading out to Cunnamulla.  We camped for the night about 30ks west of town in a nice little spot just off the road.

Day 2 saw under way nice a early on what was a cold and windy morning.  Still hurrying west our first stop was Thargomindah where stopped for a quick burger and I would tryout my fuel bladders for the first time.  I got these from the best thing about them was that they rolled up to nothing when not in use, were easy to strap over the seat without damaging it.

From Thargo it was on through to the famous 'Dig Tree' from the failed Burke & Wills expedition.  I use the on through to the Dig Tree rather lightly.  It is about 450ks from to the Dig Tree from Thargomindah and all dirt road, we wouldn't be seeing too much Bitumen for next little while.

The Dig Tree & Burke Wills are larger than life legends of Australian History.  Trying to find a way North in order to open up further land for settlement.  To have missed the party that would have taken him, Wills and King safely back to Melbourne by only 9 hours speaks volumes for just how harsh the environment is.  Ironically they are considered heros, despite their expedition failing, which lead to their deaths in 1861.  Much has been written of the success and failings of both Burke and the Committee that appointed him to lead the expedition.  I am not qualified to pass judgement on this.  But I will say that navigating what is tough country without the modern equipment is feat itself.  I find amazing how the country was explored and surveyed with compasses, sextants and chains.  I carry a GPS with me where ever I travel and would stuffed without it.
Above and Below the famous Dig Tree.

From the Dig Tree we made our way to Innamincka to camp for the night.

Crossing Qld SA Border at Nappamerrie, next stop Innaminkca
Arriving at Innamincka in mid afternoon had made it a nice easy ride for the day.  We camped at the town common and enjoyed a beautiful roast dinner in the pub.

Our campsite in the fog.
Monday morning - waking we found ourselves surround by fog.  Due rain over the previous couple of days the roads were closed and we would have to wait until mid morning before they would open.  This gave us time to make use of the nice hot showers outside the servo and have time to relax and take it easy.  Just as well it would be the last shower until Friday lunchtime.

Heading off we were heading down the Strezlecki track to Lyndhurst.  It was cold but we were in real desert county now and scenery was amazing.  Our first break of the morning was too look the huge Moomba gas plant.  Gas is pumped here from wells throughout the basin, processed and various products are then pumped to Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.  

Moomba Gas Plant
By the time we got here it was blowing hard and freezing cold.  Two four wheel drives pulled up and people in them got out in short sleeves and looked at us shivering quite strangely, after being out of the cars for a minute or so they realised how cold it was and jumped back in there cars and headed off.

The Strez Track.  It had some rain on it an in spots the wheel ruts where quite deep. Riding in the cold was hard work.
As we headed south the landscape changed constantly.  From sand dunes through to stone covered plains that were bare of vegetation. On the stony plain we would come across cattle - I don't know what they ate or how they survived but they did and have since Kidman ran cattle on them 100 years ago.

As we left Innamincka late we pressed on until near dark and camped up a dry creek bed about 100ks from Lyndhurst.  It was a great little spot and due to the lost camera I have no photos of it.

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