Yesterday we noticed that both our paper maps show 100km stretch of the route along gravel road (or dirt road as it’s being called here). There were 2 similar options – either to continue all the way to the coast and then go up to Cairns, or turn left in Cloncurry and take a parallel road 400km North. We decided to ask at the hostel. The nightguard was very talkative and told us much about flood and other weather conditions. He said the north road is closed sometimes 12 weeks a year due to flood. He hadn’t heard that it might be closed today, but it had rained a bit recently, and if we get till it and it’s closed, we’ll need to come all the 400km back.
I told him I was surprised about the 2m flood meter marks in many places along the road. I just couldn’t believe that the flood can be that high. He said 2 meters are normal. Apparently once a town north from Mt Isa, near the bay (Burketown?) got flooded by 7m of water – the whole town was evacuated.
We woke up at 5:30 as usual – there’s a long way ahead of us again. Quick breakfast with musli an yogurts and off we are. First to a hill in the middle of the town where we can see a nice scenery and many factories. This is a mining town – mines for silver, zinc, copper and lead can be found here and are the largest in Australia.
The road out of Mt Isa is not that boring anymore – ups and downs, winds and besides that road trains going to the opposite direction quite often. The town of Cloncurry holds the heat record of Australia – 53.1 Celsius degrees in shadow. After Cloncurry the road gets worse. Still a sealed road, but with many patches – quite like in Latvia
We spot 3 emu on the roadside – live ones! Lunch in a town of Richmond – for some reason it has been decorated with dinosaur pictures and models. Very boring road till the next town. One can notice we are driving towards more civilized part of this country due to petrol prices which get cheaper. Fueling up in Hughenden.
We arrive at our campsite soon after a beautiful sunset. At the entrance there’s a plate with a warning of crocodiles living in the nearby waters. The river is quite close, but it has very high banks, so the campsite is safe. There are toilets and showers here and a picnic table which we reserve for our dinner. Many other campervans are parked here, but the area is big so nobody disturbs others. The camel steak for the dinner is juicy and nice.
We are back in civilisation now – there’s phone coverage in our campsite! There hasn’t been such luck since long time!
There are also many stars, but a couple of clouds as well, so we don’t find everything we have seen previously.