Sunday, January 4, 2015

This is Australia - As a Grey Nomad: Part 2: Longreach Qld

We are not the sort of people to just sit around a camp site doing nothing, so once we have discovered everything in and around the place we are staying, we elect to pack up and go forwards, so with Roma and its surrounding areas completed we now decide to move on.

Charleville it is - I have never been to Charleville before, although have heard about it all my life as my brother was born there and obviously my parents had lived there.

We headed to the Bailey Bar caravan park which is a Top Tourist part - we decided to put in 2 nights (we tended to go 2 nights to begin with in most places and then extend if we found enough to do to keep us entertained).  It was a lovely park and there was a feel of personality to it, with special nights 2 nights a week, nice artifacts in and around the camp ground, open fire pit ... so it had the makings of being quaint, although I did feel a little hemmed in (but it was the June long weekend so that is probably to be expected).


Our Site in Longreach

Stockmans Show at the Stockmans Hall of Fame

It was very windy while we were in Longreach, which did make putting up the camper harder than normal, and of course I had to get use to dirt, lots of it, but once again we had an ensuited site which was good, everyone in the park around us were lovely and we really felt like we were beginning to experience the camaraderie of travelling, sharing stories, discussing the journey everyone was on.  We had a friendly pair of boxing kanagroos visit us most afternoons, so that was nice
Sunset on the Thompson Rive Longreach
The city centre is also quite large compared to Roma and Charleville and we spent a few hours meandering around, the Queensland State of Origin team where in town while we were there, so it seemed like every man and his dog was in town that day, but it had a real party feel with streamers, banners and everyone in their Queensland tops - so a fun day.

To be honest we didn't really find much to do here, there is however the Cosmos Centre & Observatory, but it isn't cheap to go star gazing in Charleville so given we were in our first days we walked through the centre, but didn't do the $100 tour, went for a walk around the city, went to see the hospital where Jim was born, had a pie in the main street bakery and then went back to the tent to relax, and ready ourselves for the break down and drive to Longreach the following day (another 500k's).

Already setting up and breaking down the camper feels easier and seems to be faster than the first couple of times.  We headed off at around 9am and not long into the trip - SMACK - we had hit our first Kangaroo - thank god for nudge bars, but it did leave a big ding in the passenger side doors, plus took out the windscreen wiper water bottle (something we didn't have now for the rest of the trip).

Stopping in Blackall (which someone called Buggerall) along the way for a morning tea and to really assess the damage from our altercation with Mr Roo, was nice, the caravan park there looked OK and probably worthy of a stop another day.

Arrived in Longreach around 3pm and decided to stay 4 nights, we knew there was a fair bit to do in the area, we also decided to have our first cabin night - we were feeling tired and the days are short at this time of the year, so 1 night in the cabin, then tent up in the morning - felt luxurious even after only 5 nights but we enjoyed just pulling up and not needing to do anything.  The road kill however is terrible on this stretch of road, its sad to see even though I know they are pests in these areas, but still just so much - I know in WA they clean them up everyday and I fail to see why they wouldn't in Queensland as well.


On Board Aussie Outback Tours - Sunset Cruise
There is a lot to do here and once again we stayed at the Top Tourist park - this time we picked up a membership which gives you 10% off - it literally paid for itself on this first stay which we were able to collect on, but we did find we used this heaps around the trip and it did save us heaps overall.  We did have a Big 4 membership as well, but this is what we found:

we didn't book ahead - I like to get to where we are going, then I like to look around for the best spot, then I like to inspect the sites - Big 4 always seemed to be booked out and if they weren't they never seemed to have very good spots for a camper trailer.  We found the Top Tourist parks generally less crowed and with better sites for camper trailers.

The Top Tourist park in Longreach has a great restaurant on site with a good array of meals in all price and flavors categories, and have special nights like Roast Night as well.

So whats there to do in Longreach, well first stop for us after getting our tent up, was the QANTAS museum which was fantastic, lots to see and do here, with generally good tour options and fantastic photo opportunities, nice cafe as well - we spent a few hours here wandering around, doing the tours etc so it is worthy of putting away a good half day for this.

Other great adventures in Longreach are The Stockmans Hall of Fame (although I personally enjoyed the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton better and it was significantly cheaper), and the Aussie Outback Tours - we did the sunset cruise with a dinner which was fantastic - but they have a good variety of things on throughout the day, like the stage coach ride.  The meal was great, and the show with sing-a-long was fun as well.

On the way into Longreach about 20ks out, we went through a beautiful little town called Illfracombe, on our last day in Longreach we decided to go and have a look around, it is a fantastic town, as it has the whole street setup as a museum of old cars, machinery, knicky knacks - it took us a few hours to wander through and best of all it was FREE - YAY!  Would highly recommend a stop here and there is a great cafe as well so after wondering through all the things, its great to have a morning or afternoon tea.

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