Day 40 – Bulldust on the Plenty Highway – NT Border to Gem Tree (410km)

After all the talk of Min Min lights yesterday, I fancied my chances last night. Sad to report that we had no such encounters…

20130622_RCH_3800Mornings (and evenings) are getting quite cool recently (since Mount Isa), so I dug out my Ugg Boots to help with the chill. Not sure the exact temperature, but the engine monitor read 7˚C, so I’m guessing it was 5-10 degrees. The area that we camped was made up of incredibly sharp shards of quartz – you could feel how sharp it was through your thongs, I’d hate to lose my shoes in an area like this. The road is also made up of the same material, which is probably why so many people talk about tyre sidewalls being shredded (which is why I have two spares).

20130622_RCH_3804It was just a short drive to the Northern Territory border. This is Risa’s first time in NT, so we did a little celebratory dance.

20130622_RCH_3805 20130622_RCH_3808 20130622_RCH_3809It was also just a short drive to Tobermorey Station, a massive (1.5 million acres or 6100km2, which is bigger than half of Japan’s prefectures… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Japanese_prefectures_by_area) cattle farm that also has accommodation, a general store and the most expensive fuel we’ve yet purchased ($2.30/L!). Lucky I topped the tank up with our 20L jerry can before arriving… It’s amazing the logistics involved for farms as large as this. Trying to move all the cattle requires the use of helicopters (as well as horses, motorbikes and dogs). It would be fun to spend a couple of days doing a farm stay somewhere like this…

20130622_RCH_3813 20130622_RCH_3815The policeman in Boulia said that the roads would improve once we got to NT, and for a while they did (not that the roads were bad on the QLD side), but soon we were in gentle corrugations (gentle because they didn’t shake the car to pieces) and eventually rough corrugations, sand ad rocks. I think the policeman was wrong.

I don’t know when it happened, but we noticed that the landscape around us was no longer dead/dull/dusty, but was surprisingly green. We couldn’t work out why there weren’t cows grazing here as it looked far more nutritious than the straw they were eating. But, what do I know about livestock.

20130622_RCH_3817 20130622_RCH_3818Fuel stops weren’t as frequent as they were heading towards The Cape, but they certainly weren’t that far apart. Just to be safe, we stopped in Jervois Station and topped up again, even though we’d only travelled about 220km since Tobermorey. Fuel was a much more tolerable $2.09/L here…

The driving started to become mesmerising. I was concentrating on what was a hundred or so meters ahead, looking for rocks, holes and ruts, but the staring became an optical illusion – it reminded me of what happens after a big session of Guitar Hero.

20130622_RCH_3821After hours and days of flat plains and small hills, it was amazing to see this mountain range (Harts Range). I have a thing for mountains, and these were looking mighty fine. It was getting late in the afternoon and I wanted to make sure that we could find a camp that would give us a nice view. Not so easy, but we followed a dirt trail that led to a fossicking area and eventually found a small clearing between trees.

20130622_RCH_3826 20130622_RCH_3832 20130622_RCH_3833It was absolutely spectacular watching the 360˚ of light. The amazing red and yellow hues in the west, and the subtle pink, blue and purple hues in the east. And, just to really seal the deal, a near full moon joined the mix. Once again, we’d shunned the campsites and found somewhere gorgeous for free.

40日目 6月22日(金)

今日も、赤い地を終日運転の1日。ちなみに昨晩はミンミンライトは、見れませんでした笑
日中の太陽が照っている日向は27、8°位の体感気温ですが、日没は急激に寒くなり朝方は10°以下まで冷え込むので、朝車から出るのが辛くなってきました。。 朝日が昇るのが、8時頃なので、毎日朝日で目覚めるので早起き気分だけど笑

ブリスベンを出発して40日目。ようやくクイーンズランド州を脱出し、ノーザン テリトリー州に突入致しました! ばんざーいい!!  クイーンズランドは、デカかった。。 でもノーザンテリトリーは、ウルルー(エアーズロック)、カカドゥー国立公園、デビルズマーブルなどなど見所満載な場所が多数なので、これからももっと楽しみがいっぱいです☆
今私たちが走っているのは、Plenty Highway ()。Plentyとは、英語でたっぷりっていう意味もあるんだけど、このプレンティーハイウェィのプレンティーは、誰かの名字にちなんでつけられた道路らしい。けど何もない道路に たっぷり! なんて同じ意味があるのが、ちょっとおもしろい。だって本当に何もないから。

ガソリンスタンドは、200kmごとしかないので、(だいたい札幌から道南の森町まで) 準備もタンクも満タンに。(スペアの燃料必須。)
前にも書いたと思うけど、何もない中に時々放牧された牛を見つけます。その牧場1つ1つの大きさは、なんと6100平方キロメートル。 数字で言われてもピンとこないと思うのでこちらの表をご覧下さい。
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%83%BD%E9%81%93%E5%BA%9C%E7%9C%8C%E3%81%AE%E9%9D%A2%E7%A9%8D%E4%B8%80%E8%A6%A7

なんと日本で23番目に大きい山口県とほぼ同じ大きさ笑  マジかい!

飼育っていうか本当に放し飼いそのものです。 パトロールはもちろんヘリコプターで行われます。
でもこの辺は、草さえもない、木陰や水場が数十キロちかくない場所が多く、とくに近年は干ばつの影響で多くの牛が餓死しているそうです。

砂金堀場(今は閉鎖されているっぽい)っとサインが道端にあったので、そこを辿ってみると岩山が遠くに広がるナイスな景色のフリーキャンプサイトがあったので、今晩は、そこにお泊まり。 タダのキャンプサイトの方が断然景色がいいし、周りに人がいないし最高〜☆

今日もまたまた素晴しい夕焼け。 毎日“今まで見た夕焼けの中で1番きれいな夕焼け” 記録を塗り替えさえられています。

あと、満月が近いので、星はあまり見えないけど月がこんなに明るいのかと驚かされます。

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3 responses

  1. gary cooper

    nice

    June 23, 2013 at 18:08

  2. Janke

    Awesome tralog guys. Just finished catching up. Great Pictures!

    June 25, 2013 at 20:17

    • PEKOiSM

      Cheers, Janke. Sometimes I think there is a little too much, but we’re pretty busy everyday, so always (usually) lots to write about.

      June 27, 2013 at 17:09

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