DESTINATION LEICHHARDT FALLS, GULF SAVANNAH, QLD
Our trip commenced in earnest after we fuelled up in Normanton and started kicking up some dust on the Burke Development Road. We aptly had John Williamson singing ‘The Dusty Road We Know’ on the stereo, wedge-tail eagles and hawks were swooping lonely road kill carcasses and it was flat grassy flood plain with blue cloudless sky from horizon to horizon. The only pedestrians were a mob of lazy Brahman cattle and occasionally we disappeared into the billowing dust cloud of a passing road train. This is outback Queensland in the Gulf Savannah.
Normanton to Burketown via this route is 230km on a pretty good road these days. It used to be an adventure to travel but now there are causeways over the river crossings, some bitumen sections and even the dirt sections don’t frighten off the few caravans we passed.
At the 140km point we come to Leichhardt Falls. The falls weren’t flowing but there was lots of water in the Leichhardt River and it’s an irresistible spot to stop and camp. Its off the beaten tourist track and has a raw, unmanicured natural beauty. Prolific bird life, crocodiles, the river to explore and lots of tracks to follow to find a private camp site with a gorgeous water view. Stars, campfire, sunset and sunrise all perfect. I guess the only flaw is that the river is rumoured to be the dominion of salt water croc’s so a cool refreshing swim is out of the question on a warm day. We saw a couple of long snouted freshies sun basking on the water surface below the falls but better safe than sorry.
I really appreciated my pre-trip food preparation CAN YOU FREEZE MUSHROOMS? THE OVERWHELMING FOOD STUFF……as we feast on a scrumptious rissole brew with gravy for dinner. We worked up quite an appetite rock hopping, exploring and collecting firewood on a warm day.
As I put pen to paper I’m sitting here by our small camp fire. Its dusk, the sun has just sunk below the horizon and the sky to the east is pastel pink and purple. Budgies and babblers are chirping their gay chorus in the trees around us, the water is still and it so peaceful.
The restless remnants of our previous suburban working lives are starting to fade as we slowly acclimatise to this new chapter of gypsy living.
The light is now getting dim and the stars are starting to pop out through the gum tree silhouettes. Kevin has a star observatory app and is pointing his phone at each new star and reeling off facts. Hydra B, Sirius, 262 light years away, blue dwarf, red giant and I’m kind of half listening while I sip on my green tea watching the flames flicker.
This is a nice life.
In the morning, the dawn chorus makes us chuckle in amusement as we make toast on the campfire. It’s like all the birds are ferociously abusing each other and bickering amongst themselves. It’s a hell of a racket with all the squawking, shrilling and warbling. Noisy but absolutely wonderful.
We’d stay a bit longer here but we have a date to chill out with Boodjamulla the rainbow serpent in a stunning red ochre gorge later today. On to more of the good stuff. Stay tuned.