Sunday, July 10, 2011
Peter's dream - we have made it to Longreach
As we were unable to rebook for a second night at the Evening Star Camping Ground in Charleville we packed up leisurely and headed north again. When we left Melbourne we were aware that we had to cover roughly 300 kms per day over ten days to ensure that we arrived in Cairns by the 18th July to meet up with Roanne, Roger and the children. This was why we had chosen the inland route so that we could cover the distance quicker as we would have wanted to stop at lots of coastal areas if we had chosen the coast road. Fortunately with the outback there is not much to stop at between the towns.
Our first stop for the day was at Tampo which had a well set up picnic area on the riverbank. This was definitely popular with the grey nomads as there were heaps of caravans parked up for the lunch stop. The facilities included showers but interestingly there was a sign saying no overnighting. The trucks also pulled into this area, which was adjacent to a petrol station and while we were there a couple of road trains pulled in.
We continued on planning initially to stay at Blackall, which was 300 kms from our overnight stop but when we got there decided it was too early in the day to stop, and there was nothing of interest to encourage us to stay, so we continued on a further 200 kms to Longreach. Peter has wanted to go to Longreach for as long as we have lived in Australia. Sure enough, as we approached the township the Qantas museum and planes were on our right. We planned to visit on Sunday.
We had been recommended to stay at the free camping just north of Longreach. This was to be our first experience of free camping on this trip. We found the area quite easily (it was sign posted so that helped) and fortunately it is quite a large area as there are around 100 vans and camper trailers set up. There are toilet facilities but no other facilities. We soon found a parking space and we intend staying for the next couple of days. We now have blue skies and warm days, but we have noticed that the nights are still very cool so we will notice having no power tonight to run the heater. Fortunately we have gas for cooking, the fridge/freezer and hot water, and the solar power runs the lights.