Tambo, Idalia NP & Yaraka

Where are we now
Yaraka

Travelling Tales
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.

Ka Ka Mundi & Salvator Rosa

Where are we now
Tambo beside the Barcoo River Freedom Camping

Travelling Tales

We easily found the turn off Dawson Developmental Road to the Ka Ka Mundi Section of Carnarvon Gorge National Park and enjoyed the drive through pasture and crops of maize, sorghum and chick peas (we think). There was a couple of rough gravel patches but more bitumen than anticipated which is always a nice surprise. No sooner were we in the park that we saw black cockatoo and a family of emu, also many small birds and butterflies. No other campers on arrival which wasn’t unexpected as this is a lesser known park with no amenities.

While at the park we went exploring, we’d been told there was aboriginal art here but not exactly where and tracks were very overgrown, hard to tell animal tracks from man worn tracks. After some exploring and working our way through the bush we noticed a large rock halfway up a steep hill and clambered up to find woohoo here’s the art an awesome feeling to find this on our own, hot, sweaty, scratched and smiling. We lazed around in the afternoon we’re actually getting quite good at that and the hammocks make it that much easier. Got the bikes down later to test ourselves riding down the sandy tracks, what we didn’t expect was to be following 2 emu’s oh so funny watching them just keep on running. Sandy tracks are tricky we decided but quite pleased that we both only fell off once after that we learnt peddling really fast was the way to get through the thick patches.

Our second night wasn’t as peaceful as our first with 5 vehicles arriving not a noisy crowd but we’d lost our peaceful paradise. Before leaving Ka Ka Mundi we drove the track to the end of the park again putting WIII through its paces up a quite steep rocky face, no problems and awesome views on the way.

Headed off to our final camping in the Carnarvon Gorge NP, Salvator Rosa. It was dirt all the way but not too rough, had to be careful of washouts though, and the scenery was varied and included seeing emu and 3 dingoes, we’d heard them a few times but not spotted any previously. We also stopped at the memorial site for Major Mitchell commemorating his passing this way 150 years ago. The structure was made from pieces of petrified wood, which was rather interesting.

Coming into Salvator Rosa the craggy cliffs and rock faces are amazing and set off by the dry grasses and boab type trees. As this coming Tuesday is ANZAC Day we expected that there might be a crowd here which there was with 4 other groups, about 25 people all up. Again not too noisy and most only there on our first night. We decided it was a nice place to spend 3 nights and went on a long walk to Spyglass Peak, with an interesting natural long rock wall, Louisa Creek and Homoranthus Hill. Great to walk amongst the large trees on the sandy track and spot little Redback Fairy Wrens and the chattering Spangled Drongoes. Also to clamber up a couple of the rocks to get some even better views. We chatted to a lovely family (Min, Andrew & children) who are preparing for a 6 month Australia adventure and also spent a couple of good evenings round the fire with Pauline & Neil who are on their way to cross the Simpson. I feel sure we’ll see them again on our travels.

Before leaving Salvator Rosa we drove to the end of the track, being careful of low hanging branches, to the old stock yards, not much to see but a nice drive with a swamp full of bull rushes at the end. We did stop at Belinda Springs awesome to see the water gushing out of the ground and the beautiful ferns and small waterfall.

We drove to Tambo via the Goodliffe Section of Carnarvon Gorge NP, didn’t know this section even existed, a nice drive rough in parts so down to 30km but mainly clay pans until we reached the Tambo side. Again great rock formations and even a nice swamp to stop at for lunch. Tambo Rest Area has a free shower, lovely soft warm bore water and even a hose so Rob could get rid of some of our layers of dust. We’ve started having trouble with our outside step being temperamental, this may just be to do with the dust but will leave it up for the time being, thankfully we have a small stool to use getting in and out of WIII. Our first night out on our travels was in the Tambo pub, there is a choice of 2 but one has new owners only being there for a day so we chose the second pub and both enjoyed our huge tasty meals.

Springsure and before

Where are we now

Springsure

Travelling Tales
After topping up with water and fuel at Injune we headed up the Carnarvon Highway Rob hadn’t wanted to revisit the Gorge as we’d already been there but I was keen to see how much it had changed. We’re so glad we went back for a second visit much had changed of course the road is now sealed in many parts with roadworks continuing it will be bitumen all the way before too long. We missed the National Park open period for the Campground, it is only open a total of 6 weeks a year and there are only 4 staff on rotations, a bit frustrating it doesn’t make sense that the paying visitors are restricted but day visitors can come and go without putting any money into the parks upkeep. We stayed just outside the park after doing a couple of short walks and then had a walking day exploring the trails including the Art Gallery, the Amphitheater and the Moss Garden. So well worth it a truely beautiful area in the Sandstone Belt. Coming out of the info centre we spotted another SLR but it had gone before we had a chance to chat to the driver.

Stopped just off the highway about 40km south of Rolleston we had an evening of watching traffic ha ha ha. Wednesday was maintenance day trying to get replacement hose for the water pipe that had split and replacement hinges for the stow box. After trying 3 places in Rolleston and another 6 in Springsure we had success on the hose and this is now fixed yay can have a proper shower again. Have ordered the hinges from the supplier on the Gold Coast so hopefully it will be in Blackall when we get there. We also caught up with the other SLR driver and had a big chat, he’d had a mishap with a wheel out at Coongie Lake so was heading to Emerald to hopefully source a replacement.

Coming up the Staircase Range on our way to Springsure we stopped to look at an old road cutting done by hand by Chinese in 1905 wow what hard workers. We just had time to explore the Minerva Hills NP as the sun was going down, such a nice time for a walk and to view the Virgin Mountain. We camped with about 8 others just north of Springsure in the Lions Park very handy and complete with flush toilets 🚽.

Mt Moffatt

Where are we now

Injune Info Centre

Travel Tales
Our drive out of Beilba was just as much fun and so glad we invested in the dash cam to record the rocky road, will see if I can get some footage into the blog.

We headed down to Injune reminiscing how we had travelled this way about 23 years ago on a family holiday to Carnarvon Gorge. Injune info centre staff were very helpful and the free internet appreciated. Headed off through Womblebank Homestead to Mt Moffatt although the road is no longer all gravel there is at least 50km on dirt and very rough. For me it went on too long particularly as the scenery was unchanging. However once arriving in the National Park this was soon forgotten. We had managed to book one night at the top most campsite, Rotary shelter, and woohoo we had it to ourselves so picked a spot with amazing views and the longest period of sun. We have been having perfect weather 30ish during the day with humidity down in the 20’s and at night about 18, up at Moffatt slightly cooler at night with a light breeze.

On our first day we followed the track further along from the camp area to the Top Shelter Picnic Area and then beyond to Mahogany Forest it was 11km so a good walk. Lots of ups but rewarded with more great views each time. Some bird life, dingo foot prints and we spotted 2 pigs. Next day Rob suggested we walk in the other direction, the way we’d driven up to our campsite, and investigate a murder site. This was where the Kenniff Brothers, who were cattle rustlers, are believed to have murdered a Constable & a Station Manager back in 1902 then incinerated their bodies. Apart from a memorial stone nothing much to see but a good 14km walk with lots of variety both in scenery and road surface not to mention the ups and downs. Not the views of the previous day but satisfying none the less.

Our final day at Mt Moffatt we explored the other areas of note including some stand alone rock formation, aboriginal art work and an arch. The sandstone here is impressive and it’s easy to see how this was once an inland sea.

Fairly much everyone we have spoken to while travelling has come from Brisbane and then who should share our campsite for our 2nd & 3rd nights but a guy (with friends) from our 4wd club yup a small country this land of Aus.

Did I mention I was bad and forgot to turn off the water pump after lunch on the day going into Mt Moffatt? Well that wasn’t too hard for Rob to fix but our next malfunction was no ones fault. One of our stow box doors fell off, I kid you not it just fell down luckily we were stationary at the time. The hinge on the doors are a plastic compound so guess they are starting to age, thank goodness for 100 a mile an hour tape. This will hold until we get to the next big town.

We took the alternate route back to Injune (the Forfar to Injune Rd) less bitumen but the road was less rough and more enjoyable going through many farms and state forests including the one we overnighted in – great name Forrest State Forest.