Today’s mission was to get to a town where David could watch the State of Origin. We travelled from Boulia, 300 km north to Mount Isa but first we had to check out Boulia.
Boulia is famous for the Min Min light, a mysterious light which has appeared to many people in the district over a long period of time. The Information Centre has a sound and light display which was very good. We also had a look at an old stone house – this time it wasn’t in ruins, but has been owned and lived in by members of the Jones family for nearly 100 years. There is also an excellent marine fossil centre attached created by some local men with a palaeontology passion. One of them was in attendance and sympathetic David attracted his attention. We could still be there, as he hardly drew breath and followed us all the way to the car.
|The Old Stone House, Boulia|
|A plesiosaur fossil, I think|
|An opalised nautilus shell|
The route northwards was typical savannah grasslands (the geographer has spoken). It was similarly flat, like we have seen for hundreds of kilometres. Suddenly, about 10km outside Mount Isa, we encountered steep hills, of the size we haven’t seen since we left the Flinders Ranges almost two weeks ago.
The road itself is sealed, but the sealed section is only one lane wide. Fortunately the verges are quite wide and flat so that whenever you meet an oncoming vehicle it’s onto the verge for both vehicles. Except when one is a road train, then you vacate the road completely and wait until it passes.
|We definitely moved off the road as he roared past. The bitumen is only one vehicle wide.|
Apart from a single road train there very few new experiences. One was a small muster: a group of three men on bikes, and one on a quad bike were rounding up cattle along the road. The second was a group of emus crossing the road, the first we have seen for quite a while. Thirdly, we saw a couple of snakes on the road – it’s obviously warming up, and a message for us to be vigilant.
|Mustering by bike. Only a small mob though|
We had lunch at the small community of Dajarra, about halfway into the trip. It used to be a thriving railway hub for loading cattle to be sent by train to market. The advent of efficient road transport has seen the closure of the line and there is very little trace of it left, and the community is barely surviving.
|The general Store, Dajarra. Old petrol bowsers painted in bright colours.|
We arrived in Mount Isa mid -afternoon, and it is full of tourists and all the caravan parks are nearly full, but we have a spot and plan to stay four nights. The park has TV in the camp kitchen, so all is well with the world. The weather is warming up as well – T-shirt and shorts tomorrow.