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Innamincka and the Back O Burke

Innamincka and the Back O Burke

We decided a trip out west; way out west, to Innamincka was on the cards so we left Brissy on 15 March. The further west we got the more wildlife we saw - dead! Yep, the road verges were strewn with the bodies of kangaroos and emus, foxes, cats and pigs. But then, as we were constantly reminded, “this is the outback mate”.  What I call “truckies’ litter, or dead cans and plastic bottles, completed the picture. Litter became progressively scarcer than corpses eventually. We did see an abundance of living wildlife as well and got some great pickies of kangaroos, emus, wedge-tailed eagles and other birds such as a large flock of Corellas as well as many different parrots endemic to that part of Australia.

Beyond Thargomindah we found a little pub at a place called Noccundra about twenty kilometres out of our way. We filled up with diesel here and enjoyed a huge burger and chips for lunch. Then it was back to the Adventure Way and on to “The Dig Tree” of Bourke and Wills fame. Most of the way to the SA border is now tarred with only about 10kms of dirt. The Dig Tree site was very hot and of course the flies were horrendous. Consequently we chose not to stay there overnight so we pushed on to Innamincka and I am afraid we spoiled ourselves with a night in the motel. I wanted to refuel before morning but could not do so as the store closed at 4.00pm (well before we got there) and only opened at 9.00am (well after we wanted to leave). Luckily I had a 20ltr can of emergency fuel which got us back to Noccundra.

The road between the South Australian border at Bourke and Wills Bridge on the Cooper Creek and Innamincka was not good. It was very rough, rocky and in places deep with bull dust. Even the big rigs carrying fuel for the mining establishments and other small settlements struggled with the conditions. We decided that our little Toyota Hiace was not built for too much rough stuff so we curtailed our plans for a visit to Birdsville and Cameron Corner, although many others with good four wheel drives were willing to have a go.

There is a little place called Eulo not too far west of Cunnamulla which we had visited before. We found a nice quiet camp on the banks of the Paroo River and settled down for the night. I woke up at about 3.00am to the sound of rain drops on the roof. This was not a welcome noise as the soil around here is notoriously sticky and slimy when it gets wet. We had no option but to up sticks and head back to the main road where we settled down again. The free camp site here is actually quite large and is used by many travellers to the region.

We returned to Cunnamulla and then on to Bourke in northern NSW. You would not believe it but we almost got lost in Bourke. The signs we needed to direct us along the correct path were just not there. This is where the locals came in handy – one fellow repeated the oft used phrase “welcome to the outback mate!”

Now we turned east as I wanted to have a look for some trout fishing spots around Glen Innes. I think it was around Warialda that the car developed a bit of a rumble in the front axle. Well I thought it was the front but Virginia assured me it was the back - she was right - (My hearing often points me in the opposite direction).  We only just made Inverell where both rear wheel bearings had to be replaced. The rough roads and thick dust just became too much I guess. Oh the joys of motoring.

After a day wandering around the streets of Inverell we eventually got going again and stayed in Glen Innes for three nights. We were delighted when a few trout fishing spots were located and tagged for future visits. Then we retreated to the warmth of Coffs Harbour for a further two nights and back home after 4,100kms.

Tags: Camping Stories, Travel Stories

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