Alice Springs to Hervey Bay -> Chillin

Alice Springs ….. Covid ….. Run for the hills ….. or Qld.

After the big drive from Curtin Springs we meandered into Alice Springs. Free camping for three days, it was time to find the last powered site known to man, woman, child or non-binary unit in the Northern Territory. We wanted a warm shower, an electric blanket, a washing machine and a heater for a night or two. Looking around Alice, it is a relaxed town with razor wire around all the business fences and a warning to remember the caravan park automatic gate code, as it will shut and lock automatically at night. Many empty premises had been vandalised and graffiti is seen on buildings for the first time in a long time.

We experienced a sleepy town, with buskers at Woolworths front door and happy people. The main town street has a wonderful Cafe with eggs benedict, avo smash and a professionally brewed coffee at very reasonable prices. Yum. It is seriously dry out here. Greenery is confined within the town plateau , the mountain ranges encircling Alice itself are arid and bare. There is a rugged raw beauty in this harsh landscape and the sunset is to die for.

Day two brings upsetting news of yet another outbreak. We need to be in Brisbane in a few weeks and this throws up question marks around our ability to honour this commitment. Bugger….. we make the decision to sprint to QLD before the gate was shut.

From dismay comes surprise, interest and enjoyment. Stumbling into Winton we find many things are happening in this little town. Waltzing Matilda was written here, live music is being played in the main street, opals and gemstones litter little shops and makeshift benches in people’s front yards. A happy excited feeling pumps all around us. We note arty students with many facial piercings and really cool clothes, seniors escorting them and a sea of grey nomads.

Arno’s wall is one feature to behold. Spanning the length of the yard and various parts of the house itself, it has everything you could imagine incorporated into its structure. Yes, even a kitchen sink.

Film Festival
Feeling thirsty, it was decided to seek a public house for refreshments. It was only then that we discovered that we had in fact stumbled across the ‘Winton Outback Film Festival’. Tonight’s showing was an Australian thriller written by John Jarratt, called ‘Savages Crossing’. He is better known for the ‘Wolf Creek’ series, as well as many other films and TV work. A wonderful aspect of the local theatre is that it has no roof. The open air theatre was period complete with canvas slung chairs and a little popcorn trolley. Savages Crossing was introduced to us by John himself.

John sat in front of us, so Mandy took the opportunity to say hi and get the photograph below. The next morning we had coffee with him at a local cafe. Actually I was ordering a coffee and when I turned around he was standing behind me. With all my couth and Je ne sais quoi, I said, “…you’re the bloke from the movie last night…” He agreed and we had a little small talk about how he is going to try and get it released on NetFlix.

Winton also houses one of the two remaining original Qantas hangers. Moving onto Longreach we find the other original Qantas hanger, as well as an extensive museum all about the beginnings of the company. The image above is a remake of the retro-bubble on the top of a seventies 747. Noice.

Walkabout Creek hotel is a Crocodile Dundee icon. The beer is also great here, however they closed the doors at 1:30pm….???????? Getting closer to Rockhampton and a detour up the steep dirt trail towards Mt Hay. Looking for thunder eggs in full rain gear is fun and challenging. Mix the rain and the muddy, clay mud with two determined people, we found heaps of stones…..

Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay, what a bicycle path. 13 Km on the esplanade, with off road safety and wonderful views. Coffee, beaches, shells, exploration, sand, whales, crabs, dogs, people running, people walking, on mobility scooters and mobility chairs. Road bikes, mountain bikes, eBikes, big people, small people, young kids and seniors alike loving the outdoors.

Fraser Island, resides just off the coast, and provides the bay with sheltered waters which would be a wonderful place to stand-up paddle board. It is basically flat, no surf and very little wave action. Wide and flat beaches are perfect playgrounds for young kids. I felt compelled to regress, and wanted to be four again, playing in the sand and the water’s edge.

Need to borrow a dog and walk this beach. So beautiful.

The esplanade from where we are staying is virtually flat. It’s a lovely ride.


    • Thanks Vera. Yes it was a wonderful time. Now we will be spending a LOT of time here with the lockdown. Damn. Still the adventure awaits.

  1. Hey Lez I also have a dog you can borrow, he has already had a walk on that beach he is a pain in the butt. Noice photos please mention to Mandy how old she looks in the photos 😂

    • Ha Ha. Yes I have tried to walk your dog on a beach before. It is a good workout. 🙂
      Trouble is both you and Mandy will always be younger than some of us…..ha ha.

  2. Hi Les & Mandy, your travels have crossed so many towns where the Family Plumbing Business has worked in, and you have seen our wide brown land, Mum will be excited when you arrive at Toorbul, we need to catch up at some time, Uncle Bill.

    • Thanks Uncle Bill.

      Yes I remember dad’s stories of many of these places.

      We will definitely catch up. Our Time is flexible now. So it will be great not to have to rush anywhere.

      See you soon.


  3. So much to see- and you’ve seen it! Loved reading (and seeing) it all! Had to laugh with Mandy tracking down John Jarrett – reminded me of how she chased down Art Costa🤣 many years ago.
    We are wondering if the coffee shop in Alice was the fantastic one we went to – they also made sourdough bread and we’re originally from Townsville?

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