Cape York or bust

No 5 in an outback series On the last day of Queensland’s school holidays, a steady line of dusty 4WD’s returning from Cape York are queuing up for the Daintree River ferry crossing. Many of these road-beaten vehicles are rentals from Cairns. You can tell the real deal 4WD by the snorkel (a vertical exhaust above the cabin – designed for crossing creek and rivers without killing the engine). Kids or even adults have written…

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Longreach to Winton via Mystery Road

From Hughenden: No 3 in an outback adventure series So we’re driving into Longreach from Barcaldine, a journey rarely punctuated by a bend in the road, when snippets of a song jump into my head. “I dunno why they call it Longreach, it doesn’t seem that far to me,” goes the line from one of Mick O’Halloran’s songs.   . Unlike much of the outback, at least you know when you’re coming into Longreach, 1,175 kms…

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When desert stars disappear

Outback: No 2 in  a six-part series I was going to be cute and headline this piece about stars, ‘Charleville’s starry starry night’, which in one tells you where I am and sneaks in one of those song references for which I am apparently known. Our plan was to visit Charleville’s famous Cosmos Centre, an observatory which takes advantage of the (usual) crisp and clear night air to show the far west’s spectacular night sky….

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Does a six-week outback trip make you a grey nomad

(No 1 in a series of six) The last thing packed into the 12ft caravan we call The Tardis was a heavy duty doona, an essential item considering we’re heading west, to Charleville and beyond. Night temperatures out west at this time of year vary from -2 to 6 degrees. The days will be beautiful, though – sunny and still. I’m looking forward to the blazing starry nights. The ubiquitous Grey Nomads, many of them…

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