Channel country

It's a long damp drive to our first Queensland town, Boulia in the Channel Country. Another town perching on the edge of existence. The caravan park is friendly and cheap, but the shops & pub are still expensive. The Min-Min lights experience is very cheesy, but D2 loves it. We meet a lot of people going to the Birdsville races, which we decide to save for another day, maybe without kids in tow. On our first attempt to continue east, the road is blocked by rising flood waters. Turn around ... try again in a couple of days! We get through on the second go.


The road is mostly good to Winton, with just a couple of slippery muddy sections. Winton feels more substantial than any place since Alice, and is famous for opals and dinosaurs. We do a side trip to Opalton for more rock hunting in the old diggings, and to some museums to see paleontology in action. Amazing dinosaur tracks and fossil skeletons.

On departure we worry again about roads being closed. Luckily the local library is full of public servants having morning tea. The council cleaner works everywhere, and has the lowdown on everything. They correctly predict the the road north will be open by lunchtime.

We pass through Hugenden, which has a big artificial lake. It seems fun, but I'm not sure who it's for really. After the caravan park in Winton, we are ready for more bush camping. First Porcupine Gorge NP, which is spectacular. Then to Fletcher Creek, which is pleasant, huge, and great value (free!). I think that Charters Towers council maintain it to keep itinerants away from the town, which seems like a reasonable deal to me. Charters Towers is yet another mining town with best days behind it, but another great library in a old pub.

We've had enough dirt and dust for now. Time to head to the coast!