Can’t go east, north, west so it’s…

23rd May, 2022:

Back down the Birdsville Track

The waters of the Diamantina River, on the outskirts of Birdsville, are just about to cover the bridge – last chance to cross, say the Police

Just to reiterate, on arriving in Birdsville, we had found much of Queensland had been flooded, and the road to Innamincka also cut with floods, and the Diamentina was about to isolate Birdsville, perhaps tomorrow. So, the only reasonable way out was to leave again, the way we came – down the Birdsville Track.

Back down the Birdsville Track again

We know where the dangers are now, so, feeling experienced from our single ride up the famous track, we set off.  We know where the washaways are, where the worst of the corrugations mean you have to keep up the speed – and the only thing different is that in those places where there is water on the road, it’s deeper, promising dangers to come.

Water where there was none before…
Back past the same vast cattle stations
Not so vast as not to have the occasional traffic jam though

24th May, 2022: Mungerannie again

We have a glad stay back at Mungerannie Hotel, where small huddles of travellers discuss their attempts to get to Birdsville. Some start off at 1700 for an evening ride, determined to beat the bridge flooding – do they? We never find out – after all WE don’t know what to do next either – we’re meant to be in Queensland, after all but the only way for us, now, is back to Marree

They have a sense of humour at Mungerannie – this is the very middle of nowhere
Yes, they’re still kidding…the facilities for campers are excellent

25th May, 2022 Marree. Coober Pedy?

The Oodnadatta Track begins right here in Maree, so why not go to Coober Pedy? Ah my memories of Coober Pedy say this is a wonderful idea – But that’s discarded too as we learn that rain is pelting down and the red dirt might bog us nicely.   I realise too that I’ve done enough desert, so we decide to find some gentle country – what about Clare Valley, drink some wine, eat better food that the recent pubs we have visited?   Yes, we’re off, and let’s go via the one gorge we didn’t cover on our way up here!

28th May, 2022: Farina and Brachina Gorge

Farina is a ghost town we find on our way south. Started as a railhead and trade centre for camel drivers, it thrived until the end of the 19th Century. But when droughts persisted and Ghan Railway was rerouted elsewhere it spelled the death of this once thriving town, which had once figured in the hopes and dreams of wheat farmers.

Farina – being rebuilt, ala 19th Century booming rail town
Underground bakery is renovated and back in use, thanks to the volunteers
Yes and the hot bread is in the oven right now!

Now a group of enthusiastic volunteers are bringing back to life, rebuilding the old town as it once was.   We’re impressed by the enthusiasm of the volunteers restoring the buildings and visit the old underground bakery, now in full swing.

Brachina Gorge is a small diversion but a delightful experience, as we make our way southward to Clare.

29th – 1st June, 2022: Clare

It’s raining in Clare. It’s also freezing. Non-stop. Bikes aren’t any good in the rain and the cold. We last three nights before common sense takes hold. We’re going home! 

After all, we started with four aims:  The Victorian High Country and the Snowy River, the Great Ocean Road, The Flinders Ranges and the Birdsville Track.   We’ve loved them all and done Birdsville Track twice, so why are we sitting here cold and shuttered in our – albeit delightful – van???? Yes, home and call it a day.

1st June – 4th June, 2022: Montara, McDougall Winery, Robinvale, Mildura, Hay, Jugiong

Montara above – Ted wants to move there immediately

We’re not rushing, just cruising. We visit Montara, gentle charismatic village – Ted immediately wants to move here, but we cruise on. We find some tiny individual wineries to visit, then go see Ted’s cousin Wendy in Mildura. We eat at wonderful country pubs in the evenings and really savour the last days of this year’s travels.

McDougall Winery – There’s no wedding here today – it’s faux disgraceful
McDougall Wines – apparently a popular wedding venue – but tonight we have Graham McDougall all to ourselves
Nancy in deep conversation with Graham – about his wines no doubt – certainly a quirky wedding venue!
Dinner each night on the way – Well, we’re not in a hurry – why not enjoy the ride? Jugiong is a delight
Jugiong is a shock of brilliant food, as well as a charismatic atmosphere…
We cross the Murrumbidgee at Mildura – wonderful to see these river all running so full!

5th June, 2022 – Sydney

A new flat is always an exciting event, even if chaotic for a while

A visit to daughter Kassandra’s new flat in Alexandria, purchased and moved into while we were travelling and then we travel on to Moony Moony for an overnight rest with the bush turkeys happily roaming with Charlie by the Brooklyn Bridge.

So many bush turkeys and so tame!

6th June 2022: Dungog

Home sweet home, and time to hang up our driving gloves for a while.

Our first sunset at home…
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