Driving From Mount Isa Qld to the Northern Territory
Drinking litres of water, brushing away the sticky flies, wiping the sweat from your hot confront are the consequences of driving during summer from Mount Isa, Queensland to Barkly Homestead, Northern Territory. We are experiencing in 43 degree heat (110F) in our Mazda T3500 which tows our 18ft caravan.
Red soil country surrounds the hot bitumen road, and is dotted with termite mounds and black and white gnarled shrubs, which sprout light green leaf. White rock reflects off red hillsides and an old bitumen road runs beside the new road for several klms. A cow carcass lies amongst the patches of spinifex grass and we pass a few old abandoned cars and a rusty windmill.
Yesterday, we drove 75klms from Mt Isa and parked the night in a rest stop. We were rewarded with a bonus of a spectacular sky. Not only trillions of bright twinkling stars, but a wonderful show of flash lightening. Overhead, an uncommon dark cloud floated, which we suspected could be a plague of locusts. The lightening was low on the horizon, so it was not coming from our cloud. But we did notice several locusts dropping in.
We have been traveling Australia and house sitting randomly for 6 months, but are nevertheless getting the gliches sorted with our bus and caravan. Fortunately, my hubby, Larry, is able to fix anything that needs fixing or building – be it a small table in the front to set my laptop on, and to fasten a fan on it to cool me down. He also fit 12 volt accessory plugs, which run to the battery in the bus, to allow the fridge, fan and my laptop to function.
This he did after refitting the bus and caravan, placing an exhaust fan in the bus roof to draw out the hot air, lining all the interior, making the bus and van dust proof etc.
We belong to a house-sitting site and can choose any area. We have house-sat in Townsville and Mount Isa and now are heading to Alice Springs NT for a two month house sit. How good is that? And no rent to pay!
We have just stopped at Camooweal for a cold drink at the hotel. We would stay for lunch but it is only 11am and lunch isn’t on until 12.30pm. Since we have a 12 volt fridge to keep cold, we had better keep going.
I click away with my camera and get some great shots of a few brolgas in the wet paddocks and a wedge tailed eagle that is swooping on roadkill. keep up on, the 12 volt strength just cut out. Oh well, Larry will have to go back to the drawing board.
Finally found a place to stop but closest attacked by hordes of flies. Or is that a cluster? Group? Gathering? Plethora? Swarm? Well,it is my story so I will call them a mob of flies. You must eat with your mouth and eyes closed or one will go down with the sandwich while another bites you in the eye.
We are on the road again, and oh! is it hot! By the way, Larry did fix the wiring, which had a bad connection. Just in addition as it could cost us a fortune to have all this work done. However, we would need to find an obtainable tradesperson first.
After thinking that the world was about to catch fire with this terrible heat, we have found a cool identify under shady trees. Whoops! Here comes a threatening thunder storm, so we will have to take the van into the open.
Ah! At last. We have just had a very uncommon shower in the bus. The water from our tanks is almost boiling from the road heat, so had to let it cool in the portable shower container. After welcome rain, the hot conditions are cooling, so we take a walk along a bush track.
We find a Canadian cyclist who has pitched his tent. He tells us of his ride from Darwin to Perth, across the Nullarbor, up by the centre and in only 3 months. He is almost into Queensland. What an amazing feat.
After a restful night, except when woken by loud claps of thunder and a vivid characterize of lightening, we are on the road towards Barkley Homestead. It was hot this morning but after a light shower of rain, it has cooled considerably.
As we travel along, there is plenty of evidence of heavy rain by the night. Just what is needed here. The highways can be cut for several days or weeks during the wet season of November to March, so it is best to always take a good supply of food and water.
After driving by flat country dotted with Mitchell grass, we have arrived at Barkly Homestead which has a caravan park, restaurant and fuel obtainable. Due to its isolation, cost of fuel is extremely high, so we use the supplies of fuel that we carry until the next stop at The Three Ways Roadhouse, which is 180klms further on at the intersection of the Barkly and Stuart Highway.
The distance from Mount Isa to Camooweal is 188klms, Camooweal to the Qld border is 13klms, then it is about 80klms to Barkly Homestead Roadhouse.
The best time to travel by this area is during the winter months of April to late October.