Where are we now
We stayed an extra night at Tambo to give us time to explore the town which is small but has an interesting history. One of the oldest towns in the area and claims fame for having the first Qantas airline crash, 3 died, and the second or maybe 3rd oldest turf club. Also the town was well into recycling before the word was in common use, many of the old buildings had different uses over the years and even got shifted across the road by bullock cart. This included the old jail which was sold to the pony club and then repurchased to restore and is now part of the info centre. We had a few very friendly people tell us a lot of the background including an elderly lady who remembered many of the old families and could tell me some funny stories and local gossip. Yes she was a little hard to get away from but I did enjoy the tales. We also did the Coolibah walk along one side of the Barcoo River and back down the other, although the river is dry in many places there are still some large water holes and we can see why the local children often prefer to swim in this rather than the local pool.
Our second morning in Tambo was much colder than the first down to about 8 degrees overnight, our first really cold one but the days are still beautiful. We drove the short 100km to Blackall the kilometres go quickly when we are on the bitumen. In Blackall we were very happy to find our hinges had arrived but this meant spending more money to get a rivet gun and then the pending job of needing to replace the broken one. We also used the laundromat & topped up our fuel, water and groceries as this was our last town of any size before Alice Springs which we imagine won’t be for at least 3 weeks based on the speed we are travelling. A few things to see in Blackall including the black stump (this is actually in the school ground next door so we saw a replica) which was used as a stand for the theodolite in early days as the distances being surveyed were so great.
We continue heading west and into another National Park this time it’s Idalia which, like many of the parks we go to, was originally cattle stations and there are plenty of fences etc around to evoke thoughts of what it was like here in days past. They are doing a lot of animal monitoring here with raked sections every kilometre on the track and each day there is a count and check of the footprints there is also an alarm system for each cattle grid we crossed coming into the park the high pitched squeal alerts wildlife to our presence. The campsite is right by an enclosed dam so good for watching birds, there is another small dam (large puddle) next to it for wildlife to drink at. Temperatures are still cool and the days windy so a good chance to get the remaining washing done and the hinge installed thankfully our new friends are also here as the new rivet gun didn’t meet requirements so we borrowed Neil’s, thanks mate. Also looked at why we are having problems with our step not going up/down when we need it to, appears we need a new switch.
We spent 3 nights at Idalia and on one of the days rode out to Emmet Lookout great tracks to ride on through the mulga and other hardy trees not too many sandy patches or hills although a few rocky places. Really appreciated how far we can go on our bikes and the peace of cycling compared with driving in Walkabout III. We also checked out the Idalia homestead as we left the park and discovered a tiny spring where there was a large variety of birds enjoying the water.
We continue to head west stopping at Emmet where the railway line used to pass through, this is now a town of 2 and we met them both. Good stop for lunch with a shelter and also time to learn about the railway history that ceased here 11 years ago in 2005. On to Mt Slowcombe just before arriving at our destination of Yaraka. Great spot to see the sunset and also echidna and kangaroos. Dinner was in the Yaraka Pub before having a lovely hot shower ah bliss, camping here behind the pub is only $3 with the shower, power and we could even have had a swim in the 20 meter pool, not bad for a town of 20 people. Great to meet Chris & Jerry who was previously a teacher here and they’ve now purchased the pub to enjoy their retirement.