Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 228. Ilfracombe to Winton

And the outback heat finally hits us!

We woke to the sound of the 'Spirit of the Outback' - a QLD Railways train that travels from Brisbane to Longreach and return weekly. It must of pulled in earlier this morning to allow its passengers to have a look at the 'Machinery Mile' here in Ilfracombe. There was also a large number of three trailered Road Trains on the Hwy, moving cattle to the saleyards.

Road Trains on the move...

I looked around, and the caravan park was almost empty this morning. Most of the people staying here must of been up before the crack of dawn and on the road early. We on the other hand, were only travelling 200km north to Winton; so we got ready at a leisurely pace. We finally hit the road at just after 9:30am, after saying goodbye to Marg and Jim, a lovely couple that we met back at Charleville who just happen to be here at the same park.

We also said goodbye to our hosts; Cathy and Jesse, who have been the most wonderful people we have had the pleasure to meet. Their quirksome manner and humour have certainly been a welcome change whilst on the road, and I think I can speak for Bec here in recommending them (Ilfracombe Caravan Park - 27km south of Longreach), to anyone who is travelling this part of Australia! Their 'Happy Hour' and entertainment are second to none. Thanks guys!

Banjo Patterson wrote 'Waltzing Matilda' here at Winton

Which 'Waltzing Matilda' is the dummy?
Even with the A/C on in the Pajero, we could feel the heat rising outside. By the time we reached Winton at around lunchtime, the temperature was nudging 40 deg! The Outback town is best known as the place that AB (Banjo) Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in 1895, while staying at Dagworth Station outside Winton. The first performance of the ballad was reported to be at Winton's North Gregory Hotel on 6 April of the same year. Winton is recognised as the 'home' of Australian bush poetry, hosting the annual Bronze Swagman Award, one of the country's most prestigious literary awards.

We went straight to the Information Centre, and booked 3 x nights accommodation at the Winton Showgrounds; as everything else in town was booked-out due to the 'Outback Festival' which is happening in town over the next few days. We also grabbed some info on whats to see in town.

They certainly have strange 'otto' bins in Winton
 We left the car and van parked in the main street, and walked up to where everything was happening. There were stalls, displays, country singing, and Circus Challenge Workshops (which Scarlett loved so much she didn't want to leave).  We even came across the 'Masters of the Outback Challenge' - where teams of contestants wheeled truck tyres around a set course (incl tyre changing equipment) and then loaded them onto a truck! Scarlett loved it! She was hollering and yelling at the top of her lungs; giving encouragement of course!

Winton is also famed as the 'Dinosaur Capital of Australia!' Several large dinosaurs have been discovered at Winton, which date back 98 million years. The 'Lark Quarry' outside of Winton, is currently the only recorded site of a dinosaur stampede in the world, and we are hoping to visit this site tomorrow. 

Masters of the Outback Challenge - in full swing

Scarlett participating in the Circus Challenge Workshop
By this time it was really starting to heat up, so we returned to the van and moved over to the showgrounds to set up camp. As soon as we arrived, Bec and Scarlett scampered into the van and turned on the Air-Con. I was left outside to unhook and set up camp all by myself, (If only a had a beer). By the time I was finished, the temperature had creeped past 44 degrees, and we were certainly over the fact!

During set-up, I came across a small snake slithering under the Pajero; and I'd swear it was a young Inland Taipan. I spoke to some caravanning neighbours who have been here for a few days now, and discovered that they had seen a large snake making its way through the area in the last day or so.

Needless to say Scarlett has been warned about the snakes!

From one old timer to another...

A close encounter with a two legged dinosaur!
Most of the afternoon was spent hiding in the van with the A/C on. We watched TV and just veged out. Scarlett still had some energy left, so she found some more little kids to play with and disappeared over to the stockyards and helped feed the wild caught brumbies and cattle that are here.

Scarlett is definitely in her element out here in the country!

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