Wednesday 8th May 2013
Day 15 - Cunnamulla to Yowah, Qld - 163 kms.

It was a mild night, so my sleepingbag was banished to the chair, I started with a single blanket but by 5am ish I pulled on my 2nd blanket and was warm as.
No need to set the alarm, as it was an easy 163kms to Yowah, so we awoke before 7am and watched Kochie's Sunrise. We buggered about on the internet and around 8am, we then started packing up which didn't take long. I went and spoke to Judy Roberts (the owner of the Park), she is a lovely lady and the park is brilliant.
We left camp just on 9am and headed to Eulo, arriving at 9:56am where we stopped outside the 'cop shop'. We walked up to the Eulo Queen Hotel and it was shut. Dam. We walked along the 'main' street to the Eulo Queen Opal Centre, which was open, so we wander in and had a squiz around. They sell opals gathered from all the mines in the area. Marg was looking through the 10 bits for $10, while a chunk of rough caught my eye. I said to Marg that if it's cheaper than $50 I will buy it. The guy said it was $20, I nearly fell over but restrained myself. I asked if they take EFTPOS, which they do BUT as I said that the phone rang and Gary (the owner) asked it and we had to wait while he finished his call. Honestly, he was on the phone for 20 minutes and we made 'small talk' with the dude behind the counter, he and Marg went outside and had a smoke and Gary was still on the phone, eventually he hung up and our EFTPOS transaction went through. We finally left Eulo at 10:40am, and 18kms up the road we turned right to Yowah about 70kms further on. The Toompine Rd took us to Yowah, it is a single bitumen road, we encountered 3 cars which pulled over and let us stay on the black stuff and when I saw a caravan approaching us, I pulled over and left them to the bitumen. That was all today's traffic. Bugger all.

We arrived at Artesian Waters CP at 11:50am and Georgina (owner with her husband Colin) served me and after paying she insisted that Marg and I come outside and have a coffee and a chat with them and another guest (Ray and Helen). This lasted about 20 minutes and as Georgy was showing us the artesian bore baths, I asked her what were the names of who we were talking too, as I had already forgotten them, Georgy just happen to mention that Ray and Helen's surname was Lowndes. YEP, they are Craig's parents. So I was in awe and we spoke about Lowndesy for a few minutes, they are on their way to Darwin to watch Lowndesy drive in the Skycity Triple Crown on 16th June.

Finally, Georgy said to pick whatever site we wanted, so we did. We setup camp and parked near a tree which gives us afternoon shade. Mid afternoon, we topped up with fuel and then drove to the fossicking area and then down every street in Yowah, most of the opal houses were closed as it was the monthly town meeting. Tomorrow they will be open again.

Dinner was baked fish and vegies, as usual, it was YUMMA.

Tomorrow we will visit the fossicking areas. Billy the Gemhunter from Mount Isa hasn't arrived yet.

Our route from Cunnamulla to Yowah, Qld - 163 kms.

1st rest stop - 58kms north of Bourke.

1st rest stop - 58kms north of Bourke.

1st rest stop - 58kms north of Bourke.

1st rest stop - 58kms north of Bourke.

Marg's $11 opal ($1 cost of rock $10 to cut and polish).

1st rest stop - 58kms north of Bourke.

Thursday 9th May 2013
Day 16 - Fossicking at Yowah.

It was another mild night, so my sleepingbag was banished to the chair, I started with a single blanket but by 5am ish I pulled on my 2nd blanket and was warm as.
No need to set the alarm, as we aren't going anywhere except fossicking. We awoke about 7:30am and as I looked outside I saw a Triton with a tent on top, it was Billy, a member of the Mt Isa Lapidary Club and also a member of the Aussie sapphire Forum from which we arranged to meet at Yowah. Billy is young guy who is a geologist working at the George Fisher Mine. We introduced ourselves and I found out that Billy left Mt Isa yesterday morning and drove non stop from Mt Isa to Yowah, only 1,500kms, arriving about 10pm last night. After he set up his camp, we then organised to visit the fossicking area, Billy came with us. We fossicked for over 2 hours, I found one small piece of opal BUT I found some gypsum about the size of a very large dinner plate and about 40mm thick. I was rapt. Bugger finding opal, this gypsum is magic, Marg and Billy both found piece of opal and Yowah nuts. Marg was very happy as she will cut it and then polish it. Apart from the 2 emus walking between us and the goats standing on top of the 'mullock heaps', it was pretty uneventful.

We arrived back at our camp and Marg made lunch for the 3 of us. Mid afternoon, Billy decided to walk into town and check it out, remembering that Yowah, basically consists of 2 streets, it isn't that HUGE. Marg and I had a nanna nap, after I woke up, I noticed that Billy was chauffered back to camp by a local, who just happen to drive him to another fossicking site. Billy decided that he would walk to that site during the afternoon, well me being very kind hearted, I told Billy that I would drive him, and he agreed. I also found out where the site was, which Marg and I and probably Billy will visit in the morning.

In the meantime, Georgina and Colin (owners of the Caravan Park) had organised a 3 course meal for tonight's dinner, which everyone was attending ($15 per head). Marg and I got there about 5:50pm, dinner was served about 6:30pm, and we mingled with the other patrons. Dinner consisted of ham and pea soup, Roast pork and vegies or Chook with vegies. Marg had the pork, which I finished off and my main meal was chook. Desert was apple sponge, custard and ice cream. The meal was absolutely YUMMA. There were 2 dudes playing the guitars and singing, it was a top night, I drank 6 cans of amber liquid and was 'quite happy', Marg had 1 midori something. We wandered back to camp at the 'ungodly hour' of 8:15pm. We left Billy there still 'networking' with his VBs, he was enjoying himself. Bed followed pretty soon.

Tomorrow, we plan to pick up Billy and go to the 'new' area for a spot of fossicking, hopefully, I will find some 'colour' that what opal is called. At 2pm, we are going on a tag along mine tour and late afternoon we be driving out to the bluff to watch the sunset, so a bloody busy day coming up.

Billy in action, sort of.

Part of my chunk of gypsum.

Marg and Billy.

Our 'silver service' dinner.

Dave who played with Jethro Tull and Deep Purple.

You can't keep Colin quiet.

Our fossicking area.

Friday 10th May 2013
Day 17 - Fossicking at Yowah.

It was another mild night, so my sleepingbag is now stowed away. I started with a single blanket but by 5am ish I pulled on my 2nd blanket and was warm as.
Again no need to set the alarm, as we aren't going anywhere except fossicking. We awoke about 7:30am and we buggered about camp, I did look over at Billy's camp and saw no action. I thought that he probably walked over to the fossicking area, like he did yesterday. So Marg and I watched Kockie as usual had brekky and just on 9am, I walked over to Billy's camp, as we said that we would take him with us to the fossicking area. I called his name a few times and just as I was leaving, a quiet voice answered me. Bloody hell Billy was still asleep at 9am. Youth of today. I told him that Marg and I would be leaving in about 15 minutes, so Billy was up, raced across to the showers and ready to join us at 9:15am.

We headed back out to the fossicking area, that Billy was told about late yesterday. We scratched around for an hour or so, but none of us found anything worth while. So we headed back to yesterday morning's successful area. This time I brought 2 buckets with me, as about 30 meters away there was a small dam, which I used to fill the buckets, that made all the difference to our fossicking. While Marg and Billy used the water, I had unfinished business with yesterday's gypsum. Yesterday I managed to break off a piece of gypsum about 15" x 12" x 2" thick, but I left the remainder of the gypsum stuck fast in the 'mullock heap'. Today, it was mine, I attacked it with a spade and a mattock and it finally was mine. Now this chunk of gypsum must weigh over 20kgs, it was bloody heavy to carry back to the mighty Navara. A bit did break off it, but the size that made it back to camp was a good 18" x 15" x upto 3" thick, it is a good chunk. We fossicked until 11:30am, when we headed back to Yowah 'central', where Billy showed us his amethyst from Amethyst Castle. The three of us then visited the Caravan Park Office where we bought an ice cream each. Georgina told Billy that Eddie wanted to see him, so Billy headed off to see Eddie, while Marg and I walked back to camp and had lunch. We were to meet with Billy at 1:50pm for the 2pm tag along mine tour run by Peter and Kathy. At this stage, I would like to say that Billy was the most sort after person in Yowah, being a geologist working for a mining company in Mt Isa, made him exceptionally popular. All the locals wanted to chat with him and tell him and some physically drove him to their claims, to show him. For example, tomorrow morning Billy is being picked up by Peter and will be shown his leases. Marg and I loved 'hanging off Billy's coat tails'. Anyway, I digressed, at 2pm, we all met at the Caravan park office and then we followed Peter to one of his mines, where he explained the history of Yowah and showed us his underground mine. After the tour, we did some fossicking for 'Yowah Nuts', but we were not in luck, I think one of the ladies in our group found something worthwhile. Then it was back to the Caravan park office for coffee, scones, jam and cream. Marg and I had to leave the scones early, as Marg found an opal which she wanted cut, so Georgina (Caravan park owner) told us of about 5 locals who could check out Marg's opal and cut it, if suitable. We saw Rod Evans at 4pm and asked if the stone was suitable to cut, Yes it was, he suggested cutting it as a freeform, but Marg wanted an oval shape if posssible, he agreed, we asked if he could cut it and have it ready later today, he said yep, come back at 5:15pm, I asked the cost, Rod said $10. So at 5:15pm, we went back to Rod, the opal was cut and polished and cost $10, I gave Rod $20 and told him to buy himself a beer on us, Marg also saw some of his other opals and we left his 'showroom' aka his garage with 2 opals. From there, we drove to the bluff to photo the sunset. I took some photos, it was spectular. Finally, back at camp and Dave our neighbour was entertaining our other neighbours with his guitar. He was a brilliant guitarist, he told us that in his previous life, he had played with Jethro Tull and Deep Purple in London. We all belived him. He was ace.

Finally in the van for the night, dinner was a casserole, really Yumma. I started to pack up a few thing getting ready for our departure in the morning.

Marg and I absolutely loved Yowah and next year we will staying for at least a week. It was great meeting Billy and we may see him in Mt Isa, when we stay at Cloncurry, we could do a day trip to the Isa to catch up.

Tomorrow we are staying at Evening Star, Charleville about 350kms.

Billy's camp had the odd cow in the morning.

Our camp.

The Mine tour.

An opal seam.

Hi Billy, same idea.

Marg looking for Yowah Nuts.

Sunset at the Bluff.

Sunset at the Bluff.

Dave holding court back at camp.

Saturday 11th May 2013
Day 18 - Yowah to Charleville, Qld - 366 kms.

It was another mild night. I started with a single blanket but by 5am ish I pulled on my 2nd blanket and was warm as.
We didn't set the alarm as we are not leaving until 9am ish and there isn't much to pack up, as I did most of it last night. Billy came over and we said our goodbyes, then the majority of our neighbours said goodbye. We stopped at the Office and said goodbye to Colin and Georgina (owners) and Peter and Kathy (mine tour guy). We stayed about 5 minutes and said that we will be returning next year for at least a week, as Yowah is an absolutely beautiful place to stay, everyone is so friendly. We eventually left Yowah at 9:05am and headed to Eulo for our first stop about 90kms away. This time we didn't visit the Opal shop, our next stop was BP Cunnamulla for a top up and I spoke to Tom the owner, I met Tom last Tuesday when we stayed at Cunnamulla for an overnighter. While in Cunnamulla, we visited their dump point and emptied the shitter. We left Cunnamulla about 11:15am and drove the 97kms to Wyandra, where we both used the toilet, it was so clean with a vase of flowers and a full magazine rack of mags, the whole town was spotless. The few residents certainly take pride in their town's appearance. Our next stop was the Mangalore rest area about 53kms further on. This is where we encountered a mob of kangaroos probably 50 or more, they were in a paddock on our left then decided to cross the road to the paddock on the right. We easily managed to slow to a near stop and watch them cross the road, they were at full speed and their leaps were on the left side of the road, landing near the white line in the middle and then landing on the gravel on the right side. It was great watching this, but I think my photographer beside me was a tad late with the photos.
We arrived at Evening Star Caravan park at 1:55pm and just connected the power and water. TV is analogue SBS and 7. The internet is very intermittent, you are connected but it stops and starts, a real pain in the bum. We drove into Charleville, topped up with fuel, did a beer and food shop, then spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at camp.

Dinner was pizza and we didn't watch TV or listen to the radio, so we went to bed and read.

Tomorrow, we are staying at Tambo or Blackall, depending how we feel.

Our route from Yowah to Charleville, Qld - 366 kms.

Leaving Yowah, there is 70kms of single bitumen.

The kangaroo invasion.

The kangaroo invasion.

The kangaroo invasion.

The kangaroo invasion.

Rest area just before Charleville.

Rest area just before Charleville.

Sunday 12th May 2013
Day 19 - Charleville to Blackall, Qld - 307 kms.

It was cooler than normal, but I still started with a single blanket but by 5am ish I pulled on my 2nd blanket and was warm as.
We didn't set the alarm as we are not leaving until 9am ish and there isn't much to pack up, only disconnect power and water and check the tyre pressures. As the internet is so flaky, we decided to get organised early and leave, hoping that Blackall will be better (it is). We left camp at 8:21am (thanks Harry Hema) and headed north towards Blackall. It must have been an omen, but Marg said she would count emus, as we have seen so many on this trip. I must admit they have to be one of the most dumbest creatures, they are so unpredictable. They proved that at the 29.3kms mark. But first we are travelling comfortably, listening to a recorded Conversation from Richard Fidler on the ABC. We were up to 24 emus by the time we came across the next 2, just standing on the left side of the road, feeding, so I slowed, as I got closer, one headed into the fields (good boy), the other decided to race the mighty Navara, and run beside us, while I am still slowing, for whatever is happening in emu 2's brain, he decides to run into Marg's door and destroy her towing mirror, also knocking the mighty Navara's mirror in the process. This obviously knocked it off its feet, as I felt the rear wheel of the mighty Navara and the fiver's wheels hit something. I came to a stop and checked the mighty Navara, it had a small bit of damage, as a result of the towing mirror being ripped from the window. I walked back along the road and emu 2 was not flash. It was dead. We checked the rig and it appeared to be OK.

We continued on our trip, the rig felt Ok. Our next stop was Augathella Rest area then 117kms further on, we stopped at Tambo. This year we didn't stay there, last year we stayed and got flooded in. Our next stop was the BP roadhouse at Blackall. We arrived at Blackall CP at 12:40pm, and got a drive thru site and stayed hitched up. We spent the afternoon just chillin' out. I updated our website, while Marg did her 'thing'.

Dinner was egg and bacon sangas, which were YUMMA. We will watch ch 7 tonight until 8:30pm, then hit bed and read.

Tomorrow, we are staying at Ilfracombe CP - 187kms. Hopefully, a quiet drive. We will wait and see.

Our route from Charleville to Blackall, Qld - 307 kms.

Are we there yet? Nope. Shut up!

Augathella Rest Area.

As usual, not much traffic.

Monday 13th May 2013
Day 20 - Blackall to Ilfracombe, Qld - 187 kms.

It was a mild night, but I was cool, so I still started with a single blanket but by 4am ish I pulled on my 2nd blanket and was warm as.
Only a 187kms drive, so no need to leave before 9am, so consequently, we slept in. I arose about 7am and went on the internet, while Marg finally woke around 7:45am. Had brekky and packed up and left at 8:54am. Our first stop was 70kms from Blackall at a rest area with 2 large cattle road trains. Our next stop was 50kms before Ilfracombe and then arrived at the Caravan park at 11:24am. It didn't take long to setup camp, only power and water. TV is analogue Ch 2,7 and 9, that will do, I couldn't be stuffed setting up the Dish. We have other shows on Hard Drive to watch.

I have been keeping an eye on the left rear tyre on the fiver and today I decided it was time to change it with the spare, as it is showing signs of excessive wear. I will probably replace the 4 tyres when we get to Townsville. After that 'strenuous' activity, Marg and I both had a nanna nap, then I tried out the showers here, which were very good.

Dinner was Marg's world famous damper. It was YUMMA. We will watch ch 7 tonight until 7pm, then watch recorded shows.

Tomorrow, we are staying at Matila Country CP, Winton - 205kms.

Our route from Blackall to Ilfracombe, Qld - 187 kms.

Still not much traffic.

We are so small.

Fraser Transport.

*2013 - Index page*

Heading to Winton.