No more rain but we had to let the morning sun thaw out our white frost encrusted chairs left out overnight. It’s hard to get one’s head around the fact that it’s t shirt weather during the day & literally freezing at night. When the sun goes in temperatures plummet. The nightly camp fire keeps us warm as does the doona plus extra wool blanket in the Tvan. As I sit writing this on our 3rd day in Eulo we’ve had a 30 degree day, a 12 degree day & today not sure what it is, but hot sun & cool breeze along the banks of the Paroo.
We left ‘Gary’s waterhole’, driving back through Wanaaring & stopping at the pub around 10am to drop off a thank you note for Gary. Sign on the door said ‘Open’, but no-one was there. They were all around the back, same mob (but not Gary) who had been at the bar the when we arrived in town 4 days earlier.
The Mooleyarrah Road to Hungerford varied between rough gibber, broken clay topping & corrugated red dirt, mostly we averaged around 40kph & saw just one other vehicle during this stretch of a bit over 100kms. He came past us doing at least double our speed in a huge cloud of dust. We reckoned he’d be on his sixth beer at the Hungerford pub by the time we got there! The road seemed to improve toward the northern end with smooth clay topping as good as bitumen in a few places, but always returned to rougher stuff just as we were becoming accustomed to the ‘luxury’. Sometimes it’s obvious why a particular section of road has been improved, but often it’s a mystery.
Reaching Hungerford, once a town which straddled the New South Wales & Queensland Border, but now only on the Queensland side we were faced with a large gate to be opened to let ourselves into the northern state. No customs officers to give us a shakedown for contraband, no sniffer dogs or AK47’s, no Hanson-esque types watching for ‘illegal immigrants’ to harrass ……….not even a welcoming committee, just a gate (admittedly in the worlds longest fence – the Dog fence – aka the Dingo fence, which stretches 5614kms (3488 miles) see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingo_Fence) – just unhook the chain, drive through & shut it behind you. MrsTea did the gate honours.
Almost immediately after the gate was the Hungerford pub, a quirky & historic place which to miss would be heresy to most lovers of the outback, so we felt compelled to park our rig next to the dilapidated old Leyland doubledecker bus (much as I recall catching to school in my youth) & enter the premises for a bee-er.
It was delightful little place with an equally delightful little lady behind the bar who readily admitted she knew nothing about bartending, was only standing in whilst her hubby as out on the ‘mail run’. Her attempts to ‘create’ a ‘Lemon lime & bitters’ becoming a cause of hilarity among the few patrons & herself. After adding gin, & me gallantly going behind the bar to identify the Angustura bitters to her, & to reach up to the shelf where her diminutive stature could not, a decision was made to instead take the safer option of a ready made Schweppes LL&B from the fridge, after another patron pointed out they were there. Much cackling. We are not really drinkers, but pubs in places like this are what hold the community together. They are also often the best source of local knowledge. On this occasion the few patrons were all travellers, & we learned about the nearby Currawinya National Park.
We had been hoping for a phone signal at Hungerford, but aside from the Pub there was probably no more than a dozen houses making up the town, & definitely no mobile phone reception. We did learn in the pub that there was a signal at Eulo 122kms away via the road passing through the Currawinya NP. Eulo, being connected to the east coast by bitumen road, is on the ‘Grey Nomad map’ & so even though an equally small town is a little better serviced.
Our overnight camp in the national park enabled us to view the unexpected ‘Granites’ at sunset & again at sunrise. Climbing on top of these large boulders gave 360 degree views to the horizon. Sunset was spectacular. Rising in the dark & finding our way to the top of the boulders by torchlight to watch the sunrise less so. It was windy & bloody freezing! The camera played up, & even if it hadn’t my fingers were hurting so much with the cold it was hard to use the camera controls. We stood in a depression on top of the rock filled with Kangaroo droppings. Clearly the roos also enjoy the view, & probably the rainwater which collecs there on occasions. Roo poo tea anyone?
The road between Hungerford & Eulo was a little better than the previous day & with more traffic, 5 cars & 1 truck.
Eulo has a pub (of course), a general store, two or three tourist focussed businesses, a school & a lizard racing track & some old police cells.
It also has free camping stretching alongside the picturesque Paroo River & a welcoming attitude toward grey nomads. Every second vehicle is either a motorhome, or towing a caravan. Despite that we found ourselves a beautiful riverside spot out of sight of all those who dare not risk taking their enormous caravans far from the bitumen, overlooking a series of small islands in the river, where we have been relaxing, bird watching, & camp fire cooking.
Tomorrow we are leaving, still undecided whether to go east to Cunamulla or west to Thargomindah.
Oh, & for anyone wondering….. the fish have resisted my best efforts to entice them to have a single nibble on my hook. At Eulo store I asked the laconic shopkeeper what was the best bait to use. His one word answer …. “Dynamite”. “So they’re just not on the bite at the moment” I asked. He just shook his head & smiled.