Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bedourie and Boulia


We hit the road around midday heading towards Bedourie which is another small outback town about 190 kms north.  The road from Birdsville to Bedourie is a mix of bitumen stretches and good quality gravel/dust.  It was such luxury after both the Oodnadatta Track (which seemed ages ago) and the sand of the desert.  Tim was delighted to see three kangaroos sitting erectly in the scrub back from the road watching us as we moved along.

We passed a Council worker picking up rubbish along the highway – all three boys were surprised that someone was prepared to do that as a job.  Seemed sad that the local council had to put their limited finances into financing collection of rubbish which travellers should not be throwing out on to the sides of the roads.

I-pads, I-phones and I-pods have definitely been a feature of our travels and can be either documented as a benefit or a pain!  One person was threatened with removal of their item for a day if they couldn’t answer a simple quiz question.  We have had round robins of quiz questions everyday covering the geography and general knowledge of the areas we have travelled through and then Australia in general – this trip is all about the experience and learning from it.  The quizzes have been a fun time and it has been amazing some of the questions asked and the recall from signage etc – well done boys.  So back to technology.  Keeping all the gadgets charged has been challenging with me constantly have a line-up waiting on one of the two chargers in the car.  Still they have kept the boys entertained during many hours of travel and so have been very beneficial as well.  I think Peter woke most mornings to “Grandad, can I have the I-pad?”. 

So about seventy kilometres into our trip towards Bedourie one of the boys asked after a certain item which turned out not to be in the car but with after a process of elimination was determined to have been left at the bakery.  So although far from impressed, we had to make a U-turn and return for another visit to Birdsville and found the item. 

So we made another start on our journey – somewhat a little quieter for a few kilometres!  Mid-afternoon we arrived at Bedourie which is a small (142 residents in the town and surrounding area according to the 2006 census) outback town with a roadhouse, a very small school and local council buildings.  Apparently there is an artesian spa at the small caravan park but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stay overnight – our only stop was at the lovely and clean public toilets.

We continued north making a constant watch out for cattle on the road.  The roads are unfenced so the cattle wander across the road – the Brahman (or Brahma) cattle are widely farmed in Queensland and the Northern Territory and are quite different from the cattle seen in New Zealand and Victoria.  The breed has a distinct large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck and a loose flap of skin hanging from its neck.  It also has long floppy ears.  They are farmed as they have greater capacity to withstand the hot conditions. 

As we drove we saw signage about horses and as we went around a corner we passed the only farm workers we had seen during our travels and they were herding a large group of horses.  But a surprise was in store for us all, as we saw a camel wandering off.  We had no idea if it was wild or farmed, but assumed that it was wild and had been mustered in with the horses.  We were all pretty excited to see the camel.

We finally reached Boulia (380 kms from Birdsville but we had the additional 140 kms return trip also) by after 6.30 p.m. and it was dark.  Boulia was bigger than we expected (has a population of 230 in the 2011 census) but did have a motel and a caravan park.  We decided that as it was only a quick overnight stop and everyone was tired we would forget tenting and stay in the motel with the luxury of a proper bed.  Unfortunately the motel did not have any cooking facilities so to avoid unpacking too much gear and with the roadhouse offering some takeaways (a real luxury) we had a really easy night.  The aboriginal children we met at the roadhouse were really friendly and loved chatting to us.
There was a large road train parked up in the town overnight – they travel huge distances across Australia every day and it is unusual to see them actually parked up.

The housing in Boulia was newer Queensland style – reasonably basic homes built on stilts.  We avoided taking any photos of the more run down homes as it would not have been culturally sensitive.

Jake our then two hatted friend just a
travelling along there
to see the dinosaurs
So we once again hit the road and continued our journey towards Townsville – next stop Winton, the home of the dinosaurs.



As we left Birdsville
A shoe tree between Birdsville and Bedourie
Camel with the horses

Crane Bird


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