Day 35 - Friday 13th May 2016.

Boulia to Birdsville, Qld - 387kms.

We slept very well and woke about 6am and waited for daylight before we started packing the mighty Navara with our 2 days of gear for our stay at Birdsville.
We locked up the fiver put the slideouts in, turned off the water and told Lorene our plans and she said that she would keep an eye on our fiver.

We left at 7:45am and headed towards Bedourie but we stopped numerous times for photos. First stop was at the Tropic of Capricorn (8:35am after 77kms), next stop was at the Vaughan Johnson Lookout (9:01am after 33kms), followed by the Sand Hill (10:44am after 119kms), next stop was at the Mud across the road (11:37am after 63kms), followed by Cacoory Ruins (11:50am after 11kms), next stop was for the bike riders (12:35pm after 49kms), finally arriving in Birdsville at 1:15pm after a total of 387kms.
On bitumen we set cruise to 104kph and on most gravel sections, we did 80kph as the gravel sections were smooth as, approaching water crossing we slowed or stopped depending upon how the water looked. When we were approx 32kms from Birdsville, we came across a group of 12 cyclists, who had ridden the Birdsville Track and now are on their way to Karumba, because they can. We are all different, but this is just plain weird.

We checked in at the Birdsville CP and were given the key to our cabin. I paid $280 ($140 per night), and the cabin is great, is has a fridge, hot plates, oven, microwave, reverse cycle Air Cond and a Tv with Free to Air (VAST). After unpacking the mighty Navara, we drove over to the Birdsville Bakery for lunch, we had 3 homemade pies, they were absolutely YUMMA, as only homemade pies can be. We left the Bakery and drove around Birdsville, which doesn't take that long as it is about 4km in total. We called into the Info Center and were told that we can't drive up Big Red Sand Hill (Standing at 30 metres in height, this awesome sand dune, Big Red, provides a challenge for any four wheel drive enthusiast. The first of 1113 dunes in the Simpson Desert). We drove back to camp and while Marg had a nanna nap, I took my camera and walked around Birdsville, making my way to the Birdsville Pub. Naturally, I had to have a chilled refresher ($7.50 for a schooner of XXXX Gold), and checked out the Pub, I walked back to camp. At 5:45pm, we drove back to the Pub for a counter meal, we both had beef schnitzel with chips and salad ($24 each) plus 2 schooners of XXXX Gold $63 in total. It was very YUMMA. After dinner, we walked through the Pub, so Marg could see it and then we returned to camp.

I went to sleep at 8pm and Marg came to bed whenever.

Over the next few days we plan to stay at:

  • Sat 14th May - Birdsville - last night
  • Sun 15th May - Boulia - an overnighter and pick up our fiver.
  • Mon 16th May - Winton - an overnighter.
Tomorrow, we hope to drive Big Red and sightseeing.

Our route from Boulia to Birdsville - 387kms.

At the Tropic of Capricorn.

View from The Vaughan Johnson Lookout.

View from The Vaughan Johnson Lookout.

View from The Vaughan Johnson Lookout.

View from The Vaughan Johnson Lookout.

The view from The Sand Hill.

The view from The Sand Hill.

The road goes on and on.

Magic scenery.

UHF Info.

We had to use 4WD to go through that MUD.

You can't stop a good fossicker. It was opalite.

The Cacoory Ruins. I even photoed a fly. I am such a great photographer.

Some of the cyclists we met.

We made it.
I didn't really push the sign over.

We were very happy.

Birdsville CP office.

The main entrance of the CP.

Barnesy's MAN truck that starred in last week's OUTBACK TRUCKERS.

Barnesy's Birdsville Roadhouse. (and another fly. What can I say!!)

Inside the Birdsville Hotel.

Inside the Birdsville Hotel.

Inside the Birdsville Hotel.

The Birdsville Hotel's Dining room.

Inside the Birdsville Hotel.

Only 388kms back to our fiver.

The Birdsville Hotel with Airport. the Airport is across the road, there is a gate in the fence.

Birdsville's CBD map.

There is still water on the oval.

Our Cabin - It was excellent.

Day 36 - Saturday 14th May 2016.

Birdsville - Big Red and sightseeing.

We slept fairly well, seeing that we were in a double bed. But we slept on top of the sheet and used as sleepingbags as blankets, so we were warm. I awoke about 6am and went on the internet. Marg woke about 7am. We had brekky, some weet bix that we bought with us.

After buggering about at camp, we left at 9:32am and did a circuit of town looking at all the attractions listed on their map, before stopping at the Bakery (9:40am) for some lovely homemade Lamingtons and coffee. After coffee we headed out to the Racecourse. I was the only one there queued up, at least I was 1st in the queue, the downside is that the race meeting isn't until September.

We stopped at the Info Centre, to check the status of Big Red, whether we were allowed to drive it or not, They said we can't BUT there had been a few vehicles up it this morning and we were going to go as far as we could. SO we headed out to Big Red, which is approx 35kms from town, and the Road Conditions sign said Big Red open to 4WDs. I was happy. We continued.
Driving along the gravel road, we came across a grader, so we stopped and asked the driver for tips on getting through the water etc. He said follow the tyre marks, which we did and don't make your own track, as it is still extremely muddy and SOFT. A couple of kilometers past the grader, we stopped and I let my tyres down to 28psi, as we were on gravel and mud I thought that was a good pressure.
The road was going over many sand hills and the views from the top of the sand hills were sensational, SO we stopped and took photos. We get to the turn off to Big Red, and came across 2 cars on their way back to town after climbing Big Red, we stopped and chatted with them and they reassured us that we would be able to drive it easily. This was good reassuring advice. This last 2 km section was mostly covered with water, so there were new tracks beside the existing water logged track. We eventually made it to the bottom of Big Red. We looked at it, put the mighty Navara in 1st (we were already in 4WD High), lit candles and prayed, Marg started the video and away we went. When viewing the video later, I was a little upset with the language that was coming from my videoer, Marg managed to use a few 'naughty' words. I was shocked at her.
We got to the top from the East side, which is the easier side and definitely would not attempt the West side. We stopped up the top and walked over to the steep edge on the West side, where I saw a 4WD trying to drive up the West side, SO I videoed him. He failed once, backed down and let his tyres down, tried again and failed and 3rd time lucky. He stopped beside us and I told him that we videoed him, he was rapt.

Another small world moment: Now we are on the top of Big Red and further away from the middle of nowhere, if that is possible. Are you ready for this. He lived and grew up in the same suburb as we live in. Unbelieveable. He is also staying in our CP, so I gave him a copy of the videos later in the day. We left them there taking photos and headed back to camp.
There were a couple of muddy, water sections that we had to drive through, so Marg videoed them. As we approached town, we stopped at Barnesy's Roadhouse aand pumped up the tyres. We got back to camp at 2:02pm and had lunch. It was an absolutely magnificent morning, driving up Big Red and as I said a few days ago, the scenery is BRILLIANT.

As Marg was going to have a nanna nap, I hired a bike from the Office and recorded my ride around Birdsville and uploaded it to Strava. After my ride, I drove the mighty Navara to the town's truck wash, which has a high pressure hose and washed away heaps of MUD. Back at camp, I walked over to the Pub, had a chilled refresher and bought a "Birdsville Hotel" polo shirt $65. After that I walked to the Billabong to photograph some Georges (pelicans) there wasn't a bird to be seen. I was disappointed.

Dinner were pies that we bought at the bakery this morning. They were YUMMA.

Over the next few days we plan to stay at:

  • Sat 14th May - Birdsville - last night
  • Sun 15th May - Boulia - an overnighter and pick up our fiver.
  • Mon 16th May - Winton - an overnighter.
Tomorrow, we hope to drive to back to Boulia about 400kms.

Our route from Birdsville to Big Red and surrounds - 82kms.

Brekky time at Birdsville Bakery.

Diamantina river.

The water had receded a little in the Diamantina River.

Road Conditions.

The view from the top of the Sand Hill at the rear of the Racecourse.

The view from the top of the Sand Hill at the rear of the Racecourse.

From the Hwy looking towards the Racecourse.

Still water in the middle.

I am 1st in the queue.

Coming into Birdsville.

The outlet for the Bore - it is 98°.

Big Red - here we come.

The water is still lying around.

The road is covered with water.

I let our tyres down.

I was in 4WD High.

There were muddy sections.

Here's another.

And another.

This is our windscreen as we went through a puddle.

Water on the side.

View from the top of a Sand Hill.

We stopped to take photos.

I'm at it again. Stunning scenery.

That is Little Red in the distance.

The track to Big Red was wet.

There were DRY sections.

The road is in the middle but a tad wet.

We are at the top of Big Red - What a view.

Looking North along the top of the Sand Hill.

Very sandy.

This is THE Simpson Desert road going West.

Me on top of Big Red.

At the bottom of BIG Red.

Going back to camp - catching the Grader again.

I hired a bike to ride around Birdsville.

As usual, the trendsetter wearing a flynet and bike helmet. - What a spunk.

Day 37 - Sunday 15th May 2016.

Birdsville back to Boulia, Qld - 387kms.

  • Weather: Started cool and sunny then warm and sunny and slightly windy. Min 11.6deg Max 30.2°.
  • Wind: 0 - 19kph East
  • Daily distance travelled with fiver: 0 kms Total towed this trip: 4,332kms.
We slept fairly well, seeing that we were in a double bed. But we slept on top of the sheet and used as sleepingbags as blankets, so we were warm. I awoke about 6am and went on the internet. Marg woke about 6:45am. We had brekky, some weet bix that we bought with us. We packed the mighty Navara and were on the road at 7:48am.

We headed towards Bedourie but we stopped numerous times for photos. First stop was at the Cacoory Runis (8:50am after 80kms), Marg did a spot of fossicking and then we spotted Georges (9:31am after 38kms) on Lake Koolivoo on the Eyre Creek, naturally, we stopped and took some photos. I believe this lake is in the area where Georges nest. The surprise was the duck with 20 ducklings and no other ducks about. Next stop was at Bedourie (10:17am after 69kms) for a fuel top.
On our way to Birdsville we came across some cyclists heading North, they are riding from Gulf to Gulf (Port Augusta to Karumba) Bloody mad. We caught them while in Bedourie, we stopped and chatted.
Next stop was a stop on the side of the road as I needed a pitstop (12:09pm after 149kms), finally arriving back at our fiver at 12:42pm after a total of 387kms.
Similar to what we did on the way down, on bitumen we set cruise to 104kph and on most gravel sections, we did 80kph as the gravel sections were smooth as, approaching water crossing we slowed or stopped depending upon how the water looked. There was still water across the road in a few spots, it hadn't dried completely.

We were quite surprised to see both our neighbours still here, as the Boulia to Winton Rd is STILL FLOODED near the Hamilton Ruins. We plan to head to Winton on Tuesday, hopefully, it is opened.
For the rest of the arvo, we did sweet FA, Marg managed to have a nanna nap, while I buggered about on the internet etc. Except that the cyclists arrived late arvo, I chatted to a guy, he is truly an awesome cyclist, they all are, EVEN THE 71yo WOMAN WHO IS RIDING IT. She travels around the world, riding in events like this. UNBELIEVEABLE.
Dinner were the pies that we bought at the Birdsville Bakery. They were YUMMA plus.

As the flood waters have upset my PLANNED ITINERARY (I am devastated)
This is our latest:

  • Sun 15th May - Boulia - 2 nights.
  • Tue 17th May - Winton - an overnighter.
  • Wed 18th May - Barcaldine - an overnighter.
  • Thu 19th May - Emerald - an overnighter.
  • Fri 20th May - Gracemere - an overnighter.
  • Sat 21st May - Gin Gin - an overnighter.
  • Sun 22nd May - Hervey Bay 5 nights all booked in.
Tomorrow, is a R&R day.

Our route from Birdsville to Boulia - 387kms.

Georges on Lake Koolivoo on the Eyre Creek.

This duck had 20 ducklings with NO other ducks in sight. They sure breed em 'big' in the Outback.

The Ducks are about to 'attack' George and his mates. Maybe Not.

Georges on Lake Koolivoo on the Eyre Creek. I scared them.

Georges on Lake Koolivoo on the Eyre Creek. I caught some in flight.

Georges on Lake Koolivoo on the Eyre Creek. So beautiful.

Georges on Lake Koolivoo on the Eyre Creek. And away they fly.

Day 38 - Monday 16th May 2016.

Last day in Boulia.

  • Weather: Started cool and sunny then warm and sunny and slightly windy. Min 11.0deg Max 30.0°.
  • Wind: 0 - 24kph Variable
Back in our own bed, as you know, there is nothing like it, consequently, we slept like logs. I woke about 7am and Marg surfaced about 8am. The ONLY thing that I wanted to do today, was go to town and have a coffee. Marg thought that she could handle that.

We buggered about camp until 10;30am ish, then drove into town for a coffee and a small food shop. After coffee, we checked out the Dump Point for tomorrow. Back at camp, we had lunch and I wanted to drive to the Hamilton channels to see the flood waters for myself. Marg was quite happy to stay home and watch her TV shows.
So I drove there (167kms round trip), saw the water was across the road in 4 places BUT only about 6" deep. No drama for tomorrow.

The rest of the arvo was spent updating this website and Marg managed to squeezze in a nanna nap. So everyone was happy. Dinner were the salad rolls. They were YUMMA.

This is our latest itinerary:
  • Mon 16th May - Boulia - last night.
  • Tue 17th May - Winton - an overnighter.
  • Wed 18th May - Barcaldine - an overnighter.
  • Thu 19th May - Emerald - an overnighter.
  • Fri 20th May - Gracemere - an overnighter.
  • Sat 21st May - Gin Gin - an overnighter.
  • Sun 22nd May - Hervey Bay 5 nights all booked in.
Tomorrow, we pack up and drive the 361kms to Winton.

My drive to check out the flood waters at the Hamilton channels.