With the threat of rain yet again for the afternoon of our second nights stay we decided to move away from the black soil that surrounds the billabong to somewhere more safer.
We wanted to shop in Mt Isa but not stay in a caravan park so we drove to the WWll Airfield Rest Area 54 km NW of Mt Isa for the evening. The site has Eco toilets some shelters and BBQ's. Its currently 4:10 pm and we are surrounded by dark clouds with quite heavy drops of rain falling on the van. Hopefully it will help cool down another very hot day with the temperature at Camooweal when we left just after midday at 39 degrees.
The winds picked up this afternoon as we were sitting outside enjoying our evening drinks with the sound of thunder all around but with very little rain.
The temperature has dropped considerably and is now quite pleasant at 28.5 inside the van.
We are waiting for the wind to subside so that we can put up the awning and cook our meal outside on our BBQ, which eventually happened. We ate our meal inside before having another wine sitting outside, enjoying the most amazing lightning off to the west.
It rained quite heavily on and off during the night and we were up several times shutting and opening windows as the wind changed directions on many occasions. It was cool enough during the evening to pull up the doona for some added warmth.
This morning was overcast with rain and a cool 21 degrees which makes for a lovely change.
We shared this large campsite with another van and several whizz bang vans.
With more consistent and heavier rain now falling at 9 am we decided to move into the Isa. Just short of an hour later we were looking for somewhere to park the van close to one of the alcohol outlets but that was not to be. Undeterred I still managed to carry the carton of Fat Yak across the main highway and several hundred metres where I had the van parked up a side street. It was then onto Coles and the dump point located next to the race course.
A word of warning...all supermarkets are closed on Sunday in the Isa.
Our original plan was to continue onto Julia Creek for several days but with the free camp surrounded by black soil we have changed our minds.
With light rain still falling we decided to head for Mary Kathleen where we camped in early September. The access road into the old township site was a little boggy in places and we camped on one of the old bitumen streets.
Another enjoyable evening with no road noise from the highway and another four groups camped up for the evening.
We left rather early with a large drive today that would take us through Cloncurry before stopping in McKinlay for a coffee. We stopped here on our way to Darwin and bought a coffee at the Walkabout Hotel made famous by Paul Hogan in the first Crocodile Dundee movie.
This time we ventured down a side street to a local park and found a plaque and statue to honour John McKinlay. He was born in Scotland in 1819 and died in Gawler in South Australia in 1872.
With his party along with horses, cattle, camels and sheep he left Adelaide in 1861 and reached the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1862.
He thereby completed the first and greatest transcontinental droving feat.
We then passed through Kynuna and Winton before stopping for the evening at the Crawford Creek Rest Area just over 32 km SE of Winton.
Our original plan was to camp at Long Waterhole just south of Winton but with the recent rains and black soil that was enough reason not to.
We have often passed this rest area so now was as good a time as any to stop here for the evening. We backed the van in as far as possible to get away from the highway but need not have bothered because there was very little passing traffic during the night.
Later we were joined by another van and 4WD and we all sat together over evening drinks before heading indoors for dinner.
What a shock to the system this morning at 6am with the van interior at just 14.6 degrees. The hot water system was cranked up and after each of us having a hot shower and a coffee we were feeling much warmer.
We left around 8ish as we headed for Longreach another 132 km away. Here we refuelled before stopping in Ilfracombe for coffee then passed through Barcaldine were we turned south onto the Landsborough Highway.
Our last five day stay at Lara Station was so enjoyable that we just had to come back again. What a shock to see the auction sign as we turned off the Landsborough Highway and onto the 13 km dirt access road into the station.
We were here to spend the next five days and on arrival there were just two other groups who left the following morning.
Jo is no longer able to cope with the crippling debt after the death of her husband in 2014. She hopes to have enough money to pay her debts, purchase 1000 acres near Mt Morgan and do some travelling. The auction is scheduled for the 15th November.
On one of our days we traveled the 41 km into Barcaldine to attend to some shopping and sight see, but the remainder of the time has been spent just relaxing. Ros has identified 27 bird species so far and with one more day here I'm sure the count will increase.
This rack of lamb was purchased before we left home so it was about time it was demolished...
Jo's mare gave birth to this beautiful colt on our second last day and we were so thrilled at the chance to be able to see him with Mum and Dad off in the background.
Mother nature certainly left her best till last with this most amazing sunset for our final evening.
On our last two days we helped Jo and Bill the caretaker move sprinklers around the camping area after the lawns had been cut and trimmed. The real estate agent who is holding the auction was bringing interested groups through for inspections.
We wish Jo all the best for the future.