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WANT A TRIP DOWN FROM BIRDSVILLE TO INNAMINKA

September 9, 2013

4.9.13
Just mentioning that many of these photos are taken while driving- not me, I mean Bruce.
After saying goodbye to Lesley & Erich who are heading north while we are going east. Hopefully shall catch up when we both get home at some time.

I went for a walk towards town to check out a specific area which has been roped off for the CMCA.? It has also been graded!

These are a very small amount of campers between town & the racecourse, along the Diamantina Rv.
We dropped all of Marree water out of the van & filled up with this good water.
The following are some photos from our 2009 trip where we did stay for the races.

The 2 aerial photos were kindly emailed to me by a couple who were parked beside us.

These give anyone who has not been out here an idea of the crowd that attends but once was certainly enough times to be there for the week.

We had not made our mind up as to which way to head down to Innaminka- whether down the Cordillo Downs road or down the QLD road so I put a question over the UHF. One guy came back with not good but he was over ruled by two other voices who both said it was good so that decided us to go for the shorter route.
Well, did we meet some traffic- I started counting but finally gave up. There were vans, coaches, motor bikes, camper trailers, cars, 4x4s, even a Tear drop van.
The road was very corrugated for a lot of klms until we passed 2 graders.

Some of the sand hills/dunes have been sealed.

The stitched photo above is from 2009 & the one on the left this trip. What a difference some rain makes to the country.

A little further on we saw 2 vehicles parked on the road edge, so as you do, we asked if they were OK & got the thumbs up. I tried to read what was on the side of the car but missed it. Anyway a few hundred metres on there two walkers. Bruce reckoned that they were road workers but I disagreed as they were using walking poles.

We stopped to speak to the next couple we saw. They are a group from various areas who decided that instead of just walking they should do something different, go walking to the races.

This airstrip was not here in 2009, unless I was asleep & missed it! This was where we left the Birdsville Development Road & headed down Cordillo Down Road, thinking that it would be much quieter- how wrong were we. Until we stopped for the evening just past Cordillo Downs- well over 100kls- we met 39.
This road was not good after we crossed the border into SA.

How the colours change!

The road continued to be wide, everything covered with dust, no wild life or cattle to be seen anywhere. Only vehicles heading to the races.

Not much further down the road we came to these ruins so naturally we stopped to have a look, just as 4 other vehicles also had the same thought.They had come up from Innaminka & were not at all impressed with the attitude of the folk there. Their comments were “All they are interested in is the $s they are getting from travellers at the moment”. We got the same impression in 2009 actually.

There were now a lot of very stony creek crossings. No water of course, and these tend to be in a curve of the water course as well so having to slow almost to a crawl in case vehicles approaching.

These trees lining each creek have a really different bark but did not stop for a good look- seems to be furry!

Came to one closed gate with the sign NO CAMPING WITHIN 15KLMS OF CORDILLO HOMESTEAD PADDOCKS. I had wondered whether there were any restrictions about stopping for the night on this road as nothing in the camps books that I could find. Anyway a little further on there was another gate then we were where woolshed (heritage listed) is available for viewing.

it really is a huge construction, especially way back when! Now it is just used for property storage.
There are signs that tell you not to walk any further towards the homestead buildings.

One has to admire the dedication of the folk who prefer to live in these remote places, as well as accepting the changing weather conditions which most times make for hard times, but when raiin comes & cattle prices are good, there is money to be made. You have to live the life of a Primary Producer to fully understand that they have to take the good with the bad.

As we had both had enough fro to-day, it was about 3pm we got out of the 15 klm limit & pulled off the road for the night. Because of the jarring bumps & corrugations my hip was really starting to ache, the head was aching, Bruce’s fingers were starting to cramp! Bl—-y aging process!.
There was not much of a sunset but took a photo anyway, can’t resist. Was still over 30 degrees by late afternoon but thankfully not many flies & the few there were the Desert Dwellers dealt with them, so we sat outside with a drink before dinner.
Had a games of cards while the veges were cooking then to bed with a book. The sky was so clear could almost count the stars. It got cool during the night when a breeze started about midnight. I sat & watched daybreak before 6am, with my cuppa while someone slept on peacefully.

The orange across the horizon was just beautiful but it gradually faded then the sun rose about later.

We actually saw a magpie here.

The road continued to be bad & we had spoken to some travellers who told us that the road going south just into Queensland was good. It was about 40ks longer than down the Cordillo Downs road but we decided to go that way.
A bit further on there were 3 vehicles beside the road where they had obviously spent the night. But, they had a fire going even this morning & in these dry conditions I sure hope that they extinguished it fully. Bruce will not light a fire for any reason in the mornings as it is far too dangerous.

We were soon at the SA/QLD border & the Barcoo shire.

Well, the road was better in this shire but not for long as we soon entered the Bulloo shire & there was a definite change in condition.

I noticed that there was a car side ladder beside the road which Bruce hadn’t seen so we did some reversing back to check it out.
There were also a few weeds/flowers as well.

The ladder would only parted company with the vehicle very recently as it was not covered with dust to any great degree. Wonder when the owner discovered it missing?

Bruce tried to stand it up & broke the bottom rung it was so rusty.

Still varying shades in the dirt. Came to this hill with bitumin over the top & the view over the other side- wow.

We are still meeting vehicles heading up to the races- a long way to go to-day.

These jump ups and breakaway type hills always have so many different colours. They were just there when we came over one of the hills.

The Dig Tree sign appeared so we decided to go in again for a look & hell, was this 14ks in very poor condition. Looks as though not been graded since 2009 as we can remember it as a good road. Paid our $11 into the honesty box as also decided to spend the night- maybe throw the line in the dirty Cooper Creek. Not long after we pulled up the ranger arrived. He lives on Nappa Merrie station which is where we are. Told us that there are Yellow Belly as well as other fish but no carp so grabbed the bait out of the Engel to see what we can get for dinner this evening.
There was a “mishap” to-day with the Anderson plug. Bruce had disconnected it last night, but, it er ahum, was not reconnected when we left this morning. Anyone sees one back along the road it is ours.
Anyway he has rectified the situation & all good. Plenty of fish jumping but must have too much to eat as not taking our bait.
Anyway, back to pelican watching. There are a pair here, up and down the creek & have sat here all afternoon being entertained.

Looked up in the tree in front of the van to see another pair of lovers. Spring is in the air around here.

Down on the ground this male was also trying to get a girlfriend! Very hard to see as the same color as the dirt.

Now back to our pelicans as it appeared to be time to eat.

Had a couple of visitors for an evening drink with us. Would have made some nice steaks for the BBQ.
Pelican friends decided it was time for exercise after the meal.

There were other water birds around but no partners.

A bit about the Dig tree and its history.

This hut is at the entry gate with much information as well.

This is a 2009 photo with the water very clean compared to how dirty it is at the moment, as well as being much lower now.

This part of the creek was running water back in 2009.

Just the pink reflections at sunset.

6am I6.9.13

I was hoping for some nice reflection photos this morning but the pelicans were also moving about early.

Typical of the outback a dingo came down for its morning drink.

Dam, sitting inside doing this & hear a noise outside. Went to check & the line that was set overnight, well, something just grabbed the hook & snapped it.
The ranger (never did get his name) arrived just as we had put the kettle on so he had a cuppa & scone with us. An interesting man who was born in Innaminka so been here basically all his life & is now living at Nappa Merrie Homestead. he took on the job as ranger about 6 mths ago & is paid by Kidmans. He was telling us that Santos is buying up properties so that they do not have problems with getting permission to start mining where ever they wish. They have about 2 lots of rain of about 6 ml this year! But, the cattle are looking good. Kidmans have 2 properties in the NT as well as about 15 down this way. They send bullocks down here from NT to fatten then off to where the best market is at the time. This month there will be 600 head going out every Friday to the markets. There are approx. 12 employees on Nappa Merrie & they kill about every 12 days for meat for the cook to use to feed the men.

Bruce was underneath doing his usual check of all nots, bolts, screws & whatever else needed checking when he noticed a crack in one of the suspension bolts. We were going to stay here another night but because it was Friday decided to head into Innaminka & get another bolt. Anyway, because the road was bad we went very slowly as Bruce thought that it had probably been cracked for a while but did not want to take any chances on it breaking completely.

Weaners down for their morning drink & thankfully the pelicans are not around making ripples on the water disturbing my reflections!

Scratching to see what it can find beside my chair.
Back out to the Bolloo development road & bitumin which finished at the SA border.

Once again crawling along carefully just in case. We have been lucky on this trip considering the roads we have travelled as this is the only (possibly) major disaster which we have encountered.

Into the Trading Post to ask about a bolt- sorry but no they did not have one but be at the Tyre and Auto workshop between 6 and 7 in the am & he might have one.
After filling up with fuel we then had a shower in the showers provided – usual $2 coin slot.

This is the local pub and Trading post.

Everything you touch is covered with dust. There are quite a few travellers here as well as along the creek on the town common we discovered when we went to find a spot for the night.
Put our $5 fee in the honesty box run by the local Progress Association, some of which goes to the RFDS. All that is provided are drop loos.
Found a spot beside the water again.

Same sunset, same time, one with sunset setting on camera and the other on manual program.
Was still very hot at bed time but turned rather cool during the night.
Up 5.30am to be at the workshop when he arrived. Just as well we were not any later because as soon as we got a bolt ($16) from him, fortunately, he got on his grader & took off saying that he would be back at 10am if Bruce wanted anything else.
However he was back at 8am & had a look at the problem now that the wheel was off. All good so wheel back on by 8.30am.
Decided to use shower block to save our shower water then on the road.
Had a wander around “town” before leaving & a couple of more photos.

These Coongie Lakes look rather beautiful but such a long way to come if not out here. It is 100ks, permits needed so we decided to give them a miss.

Checked out all the road conditions, not that we will now be needing to know what is open and what is not.

We were going to go down to Cameron’s Corner & Tibooburra across to Bourke then Narrabri, but for this trip we have decided to head for civilization and no more dirt roads, mainly because my hip is starting to complain about the rough travel.
To-day the plan is to reach the Noccundra Pub and spend a night or two there.
7.9.13
Well we had to return over the 57 klm of horrible road back to QLD, but before we left Innaminka we did a short detour to the site beside the Cooper Ck where Burke died.

All these informative signs have been erected by Santos, the mining company.

Because these trees basically have their roots in Cooer Creek they are huge.

I had to stitch the last photo as it was too big to get in photo.

Back on the road again, ready to be “all shook up”.

Into QLD and on the Bulloo Development road, called the Adventure Way. Once we reached the sealed road had to inflate the tyres once again. While doing this a grader person stopped to see that we were OK. He informed us that ahead there was another 17 ks of gravel but the grader was also working.

I became more pleasant when we finally reached the sealed again and Bruce would not have to concentrate as much, with no stones to try to avoid. In all the klms we have done on dirt roads, no punctures from stones, but have had to get 3 tyres repaired from a tiny piece of wire and tow PK screws picked up somewhere! I guess that is not too bad.
Now that we were travelling through mining country oil and gas) there are frequent signs stating NO PUBLIC ACCESS and GAS OR OIL LINES BURIED HERE.

The scenery started to change, for the better, even though it was no greener. a few cattle were sighted but probably all day we only saw the maximum of six vehicles as well as a few mine vehicles. This road is certainly not a busy thoroughfare!

Next we came past the Jackson oil plant.

Not far to Noccundra from here and ready for a cold drink with someone else cooking dinner this evening!.

Wandered up to the hotel, mainly to check out the TV election coverage! We ordered lamb bangers and mash after being assured that they were “wonderful”. Apparently the sheep come from the hotle owners flock & are made into sausages by a butcher at Woodside SA with only natural herbs etc .
Anyway, as far as we were concerned they had been cooked too long, runny instant potato, large piece pumpkin ( Bruce does not eat it) about six lengths of beans and hot baby beets, as well as gravox gravy which we never eat. $24! Should have had the chicken schnitzel!
Came back to van for a game of cards and listened to the ABC for a while. My only comment about politics is that we hope that Mr Abbott has the intestinal fortitude to make enough cuts to get this country back into the black as it was when Mr Howard was beaten. My opinion which I am entitled to make.
8.9.13
Well this morning, even though the river water is brown, I decided to attack the dust in the van. The van is good as far as dust not coming in when travelling but nothing can be done about what blows in when stopped and all windows open. I even rinsed the curtains so then washed all the screens and windows! Took flanny sheets off and put away until Louise’s to do some winter washing.
Now going up to the hotel to use the public hot showers with donation to RFDS.

Tall folk really need to duck their heads when walking into this dining room- really low.

Yesterday evening overlooking the Wilson Rv. It is a pity that the water is so dirty.
9.9.13
Not a lot to see between Noccundra and Thargaminda and in 145ks only saw 7 vehicles and this is called the “Adventure Way”

[tag cordillo downs, the dig tree, innaminka,noccundra
hotel]

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