5/ Girding Australia

Leg 20 – Outback Queensland

After resting at the billabong on the border for a few days, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi ventured forth into the dry, dusty outback. It was… unpleasant. Drought ridden and depressing, the country side was not welcoming to two on an adventure. Many of the townsfolk had a haunted look in their eye, or perhaps it was a weary one towards strangers. Either way, Dr Leanda was happy to pass through towns for the most part. Canine Indi was keen to stay in Bowser at all times, often dashing back after only 100 meters walk.

Mount Isa was the first town they passed (almost straight) through. Not before taking a quick photo of the local member office.

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A second billabong was available with donation at Julia Creek, but only for fully contained vehicles. Perhaps to keep it grey-nomads exclusive? Dr Leanda let her greying hair fly free, and managed to talk her way into a place for the night. Canine Indi was still not keen to leave Bowser’s side.

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There were a few sights to see along the way. Some cows, for example.

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Some truly excellent play equipment.

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The pub in which Crocodile Dundee apparently features.

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Canine Indi was barred entry. So the two opted to sit outside, as to not bother the crowds busting to get into the popular establishment.

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In great need of a warm shower at this point, and to rid her clothes of dust caked seams (unseemly as it sounds), Dr Leanda coughed up a hefty overnight fee for a spot in Tattersalls Hotel caravan park of Winton. The first caravan that had very interesting smelling water for showers and laundry, Dr Leanda was actually unsure if it helped in her quest for cleanliness. She drowned her sorrows at the hotel, and ordered some local cuisine: lambs brain, liver and bacon. It was very yummy.

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They explored Winton the next morning, home of Waltzing Matilda…

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Spending far too much on Christmas gifts at the museum…

… and (one of) the (many) opal shop(s). Dr Leanda was not sure about the visual pun.

There were also bins made of dinosaur feet. To honour the regions claim to many fossils no doubt.

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Leg 21 – Still getting out of the outback

After leaving Winton, Dr Leanda found out in Longreach that the Muttaburra-saurus was probably named after the place it was found… before then she just thought it was a cool name someone had thought up for a dinosaur. She supposes that it is still a cool name someone thought up for a town.

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They spotted Bowsers mate.

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Somewhat rooted by this point, they stumbled upon the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ where the organisation formed in 1891 there later became The Australian Labour Party.

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Canine Indi liked the art installation featuring a dog.

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Even though it apparently had nothing to do with dogs.

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The next camping spot was very nice and secluded, despite being near the dead centre of the town (just on the other side of the cemetery for those who do not know that *classic* of a joke). Canine Indi was still not keen to go for walks.

But Dr Leanda found some friendly horses.IMG-8592.JPG

And had a healthy meal of kanga bangas with salad drowning mayo (the only palatable way to ingest salad really), next to the last fire she would light for some time…

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Even though there was some excellent looking firewood just on the other side of the fence the very next night. Bit mean to have it on private property just behind a barbed wire fence next to a showground/camping ground. IMG-8639

They stopped in at Blackall, which is apparently where the expression ‘beyond the black stump’ was derived from. But who knows? It is beyond Canine Indi, and had Dr Leanda stumped.

But Blackall dose host a lovely, anatomically correct ram…

Leg 22 – Civilization on the horizon

Two nights were had at a river camping spot just outside of Brisbane.

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Canine Indi was gobsmacked by the beauty.

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Flies were very friendly, despite the 80 km winds blowing. A possums was friendly too, and even though they went unseen in the night, they were nice enough to leave little presents on top of Bowser for Dr Leanda to find.

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Preparing for the civility of Brisbane, and in light of the presents, Dr Leanda treated Bowser to a clean. Which means that as much outback dust as humanly possible was removed. There was a lot, and Dr Leanda wondered if she had developed dust-coloured (or covered?) glasses having not seen the thin film over the entire interior of Bowser before her thorough clean… either way Bowser was ready for Brisbane the next day. And had a gleam in her eye.

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Through a small mix up, Dr Leanda ended up at a holiday house on North Stradbroke Island to meet Spider expert Robert Whyte, but he was not there when they arrived. Luckily, Bird-lover Maya had accompanied Dr Leanda and Canine across the channel, so they enjoyed the very large house for the night. Bowser enjoyed the night-off.

Dr Leanda stayed a few more nights in a small rest stop on the outskirts of Brisbane called Hugh Muntz park. Then moved on to Surfers Paradise. Having had her fill of city-life in a campervan though, Dr Leanda took Canine Indi for a quick walk through the canals…

had the Guinness burger at the Hard Rock Cafe… (only the aftermath photo available)

and crossed the QLD-NSW border! If she had blinked, then she probably would have missed the sign on the freeway southbound. A photo off the internet:

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Leg 23 – Now in NSW

She camped overnight a bit further down the coast to watch the sun go down with Canine Indi.

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Fingal Head was stunningly beautiful, and Dr Leanda was glad she pulled over if only because she was too tired to keep driving.

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Unfortunately, a very fat and disobedient husky attacked Canine Indi and had nicked her ear at the off-lead dog area at Dreamtime Beach.

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There was a lot of blood, but Vet Nurse Liina – who they met shortly afterwards on their way back to Bowser – assured Dr Leanda that it was nothing serious. Vet Nurse Liina offered Dr Leanda a drink (which turned into a few), and they got into chatting about all kinds of things. Mostly dogs though. In fact, they found out each others dogs names before sharing their own. Such priorities matter in new friendships. Canine Indi calmed down very quickly after her traumatic event, thanks to Vet Nurse Liina, Canine Tinkerbell, Canine Alan, and Jack-of-all-trades Dan (who joined them for beers after his fishing). Dr Leanda was pleased to meet such a lovely family, and hopes they visit Perth once they complete transforming their camper-bus.

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Dr Leanda decided to take their suggestion of the local fish and chip shop for dinner, and enjoyed it with Canine Indi while an illuminating and thunderous storm passed over.

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After staying another night a bit further up the same penisula, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi had a nice walk before heading southbound on the freeway again.

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Dr Leanda pulled over at Castle Macadamia, more out of curiosity than anything. Then spent too much on macadamias…

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… and pancakes (which she shared with Canine Indi).

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Feeling the need to slow down, Dr Leanda booked them in for a week at Lennox Head, thinking it would be very dog friendly. It is not really, and very expensive after so much free camping, but too late! At least it has lots of amusing brush-turkeys being turkeys.

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And they can relax for a bit until the adventure continues.

 

 

 

 

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