Sunday 5 June 2016

Alice Springs & Lawn Hill Trip - Day 4

Day 4 - 5/6/2016 - Cloncurry to Barkly Homestead

It was a bit of a slower start this morning due to the party last night.  After saying goodbye to everyone that was awake, we were on the road by 9am.

The backyard camp

Mickey just loved sitting on your foot whenever you stood still for too long
As we were heading to Mt Isa it was the first time so far this trip that we started to encounter the road trains.  Not just the cattle ones but also the mining tippers.

It was also the first time that we had experienced the possibility of car eating cows!

As you were approaching Mt Isa, the first things that you see are the smoke stacks appearing out of the landscape.

Mt Isa
Smoko stop was out side the visitors information building.  It was here that we did an underground mining tour on our last trip out this way.  It was also right beside where they had some of the old mining machinery on display.

On the way out of town you drive right past the mine right beside the Leichhardt River.

The mine is pretty much right in the middle of town
From Mt Isa to the Three Ways, (the junction of the Barkly Highway and the Stuart Highway), was our first bit of new road for this trip.  On our previous trips we hadn’t covered this territory.

Not far out of town we came across some road kill and it had to be the biggest eagle that we had ever seen.  It was absolutely massive.  You also know when you are out west due to the lack of crows on the roadkill.  The eagles replace the crows.  Use the guide post near this one as reference to get an idea of big this eagle was.  It was a shame that I couldn’t find a safe area to pull over as I would have loved to go back and stalk it to get a better photo.

Massive eagle
We were not sure exactly what was going on here, but obviously it must have been a good time to catch some rays!

A sun baking backpacker
From Mt Isa onwards was also when the landscape starts to include a lot of termite mounds.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to snap any of the ones dressed up but people regularly dress them up with things like t-shirts, hardhats and give them arms with sticks.  Some had been dressed up for quite some time as the shirts were starting to rot away.

Termite mounds
Lunch stop was at Camooweal

Just outside of Camooweal we crossed over into the Northern Territory.  We were going to stop for a photo beside the sign, but the police pretty much had the entrance to the pullover area blocked off.  Apparently they were doing checks on log books and breath and drug testing on the truckies.  We had passed another police setup on the eastern side of Camooweal as well so there was no way to by-pass them.

Entering the NT 
Won't be getting up to that speed with the camper on!
Luckily the road trains were all pulled up so I didn’t have to bother about overtaking these all on convoy.

Later in the afternoon we came across drovers herding cattle across the road.  There were hundreds of them.  It was pretty amazing to watch how well the drovers were able to move the number of cattle in a relatively short amount of time.  We were only held up for about 10min.  It was interesting to see that the drovers were using a combination of horse back and motor bikes to keep the cattle moving.

When we crossed into the Northern Territory we gained 30min due to the change in time zones.  It was also noticeably lighter longer in the afternoon.  Even though we had the extra light and extra time we decided to call it an afternoon at Barkly Homestead.  From the Homestead it was couple of hours to the next major stop.

Barkly Homestead
The camping area
Since about Longreach we had been passing vintage cars travelling towards us.  There must have been a car rally on somewhere but these old vehicles were really strung out.  I can’t even imagine travelling these sorts of distances in these old things.  Not just from a comfort point of view but also from a mechanical perspective!

The homestead also had some guineafowl wandering around.  It was the first time we had seen anything like them.  Very strange looking birds.

After exploring the grounds, it was time to explore the bar!

That night was also the first night that we had that was completely free of clouds so I had my first crack at some of the photography that I wanted to try in the Simpson but never had the chance.  Here is my first experiments with the GoPro.

The South Celestial pole
And a time lapse video of them as well.

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