Sadly, reluctantly, we left the Developmental Road. Reluctantly only because it meant the end of the Cape, for now at least.
But we were embarking on another adventure – to the Gulf of Carpentaria, then down through the outback to slowly wend our way home.
We turned off the Developmental Road at Fairview, and took the Palmerville Road down to the Burke Developmental Road.
The Palmerville Road is a quirky little road, wending its way through some beautiful scenery, crossing several creeks and traversing a few stations in the area.
Like the Old Tele Track there are still a few old telegraph poles standing as a reminder of how difficult communications used to be – sort of like talking on viber still is now!
We did a bit of bird and animal spotting along the road.
It was very nice to be able to spot roos and point them out without having somebody point a rifle at them.
First camp was beside the Palmer River. The open fire, candlelit dinner and starry sky was suitably romantic for the secluded river location.
Waking up to the sound of birds and running water inspired me to do some work while watching the sun rise over the gun trees.
But then it was back on the road – well after having to reopen the tent to look for my mobile phone.
It’s difficult to keep track of where the phone gets left while you’re here. If there’s no service it can sit in the console for days, but with the GPS battery flat (we’ve lost the charger), lately I’ve been using it as a calculator to keep track of where we are and how many kilometres we have to travel before hitting anything remotely “civilised”.
So this morning, just as we were about to leave I had a quick look in the console to make sure it was there. And it wasn’t. Nor was it in my backpack, my camera bag, my clothes bag, or the back of the car.
It wasn’t in any of those places when Doc checked them for a second time either.
So there was nothing left for it but to open up the tent and have a look in there. And that’s where it was. I guess I’ll stop giving Doc a hard time for folding up the tent with his car keys inside now.
So with less than 400k to Karumba it shouldn’t be a long journey and we should arrive early afternoon.
I don’t know why I keep saying that!
Between stopping for lunch, chasing brolgas, and driving slowly to avoid the dust of road trains, we arrived late afternoon.
It seems that the last wet was a big one, so there’s still a lot of water around. Creeks and rivers are still flowing, and there are brolgas everywhere. We’ve even seen quite a few jabirus.
I’d been trying to get a decent photo of brolgas, but every time I saw some and pointed them to stop for a photo, it was too late. We were already driving past. But then I spied a flock of 30 or more brolgas at a creek ahead, and gave the word to stop. So we did, but before I could get close enough to take a photo they all took off.
Somehow, they heard the sound of a 2.5 ton diesel Landcruiser creeping up on them. Doc, bless him, thought the best way to get close enough for a good shot was to drive very slowly (which obviously means very quietly) up to them. He wanted to save me having to walk through the grass and scrub.
And there’s a lot of kangaroos. When you’re driving you get used to seeing roos early mornings and late afternoons, but these have even been out during the day. It’s been a nice change to be able to spot roos and not have somebody point a rifle at them.
So now we’re in Karumba and we’re off to the pub for fish & chips and to watch the sunset.