Three Ways – Barkly Homestead – Mt Isa
Imagine this. You’ve been driving along in outback Australia for an hour or so, with no traffic in sight, then quite suddenly you drive past an indigenous man walking along on the other side of the road. He waves and continues on his way, seemingly quite unperturbed.
You never know what you’re going to see next in this incredible and constantly-changing countryside.
Getting stuck behind a road train can happen sometimes, especially on the road from Three Ways to Barkly Homestead, which is an unusually twisty stretch.
This is how the road courtesy works. If you can’t see ahead and you’re stuck behind a road train, then you just have to wait until the driver indicates that it’s safe for you to pass, because no way are they going to stop and let you through. Once they get up to speed they don’t want to stop for anything, unless of course there are roadworks, which happened quite a lot en route to Queensland. These road trains are up to 53 metres in length anyway, (four trailers) so you wouldn’t want to mess with them.
Barkly Homestead is a great little oasis in the desert where I had a most enjoyable stay. I arrived much earlier than expected and was fortunate to get upgraded to a bigger room as the room I was meant to have wasn’t quite ready.
One of the aspects of travelling solo, (especially as a woman) you have to make the effort to approach people if you want to talk to them. Luckily, I’m not backward in coming forward …
I made for the swimming pool (no shade and in 43 deg you definitely need a hat on) and met a New Zealand couple from Taranaki who had lived in Australia for 15 years. They are in their 60s and now travelling around in their four wheel drive with a rooftop tent. (Personally, I don’t think I would like to have to climb (or clamber?) up to this every night – might be OK if you’re young and nimble).
This couple had been working remotely managing stores in several Aboriginal communities like Bijidanga on the Dampier Peninsula. Having been to this area myself, it made for some very stimulating conversation!
They had many stories to tell! And, having lived and worked in Broome for 18 months I had a few stories of my own to relate.
I partook of a tasty barramundi dinner at Barkly Homestead which served me well, and left about 7.30 in the morning, to drive to Queensland. It was very exciting getting to the border.
Made it to Mt Isa (or ‘the Isa’ as the locals say) by early afternoon. It is the largest and most populous city in Queensland’s western interior, and one of the largest centres in outback Australia.
I headed straight for the campground where I had booked into a cabin – and immediately switched on the aircon. There was a note to say you could only turn on two appliances at the same time, due to a power shortage.
Went into the town to get some supplies, and walked through the large undercover shopping centre with supermarket, K-Mart etc. Nice to be able to refresh in the aircon for a while. Not too many people walking around and the shops are open quite late here.
Yes, there were a few tourist attractions here in Mt Isa, but I was content to relax and read after my drive.
I did take a slight detour to have a look at this memorial, and was surprised that it was so small.
Stopped for a morning coffee in Cloncurry, which I really liked. It was a pretty little town.
Heading for Richmond next and I hear that the museum Kronosaurus Korner is home to a fantastic collection of marine fossils.