Another early start saw the group assembled for an 8am photo shoot outside the Eulo hotel, our unscheduled digs for the previous evening given the road closures en route to Tiboburra. The long drive to Innamincka began with some novel games for drivers and passengers alike including “name that roadkill” and “Mr Whoopie”. The detour took us through Thargominda where Ivan went shopping for a replacement sleeping bag and Melinda rejoiced at the cleanliness and convenience of the town’s amentities. Soon after Thargominda disaster struck the Kargas vehicle with the first major catastrophe of the trip – Nick unwittingly set a number lock on his ipod rendering it inoperable for the remainder of the trip; the ensuing battle for the use of Zac’s ipod would be fierce and unrelenting!
12.25 EST saw the convoy finally off the tar and onto the dirt where we would remain for the foreseeable future, we all aired down and set off for the famous Burke and Wills dig tree just outside Innamincka. An area steeped in Australian history and folklore, a scene of heroic endeavour but ultimate tragedy; so much to see, but the lure of throwing rocks into Cooper’s creek proved too much for Nick and the other younger travelers. Oh well, perhaps next time! We left the Dig tree…sorry…everyone but Blaire left the Dig tree as Cam drove off without her, but not for long as the Red Jelly bean quickly ran out of fuel no sooner had we left. Note for self Cam, fill up before leaving and don’t forget co-pilot!
We arrived in Innamincka only to cause traffic chaos as we surrounded the bowser and set to refueling our thirsty vehicles. A couple of nice cold beers in “Outa-mincka” was a fitting afternoon break, but too soon again we were off in search of a campsite. Our pre-planned itinerary had us camping at Policeman’s waterhole, we were too late for that prime spot, but we found a very satisfactory alternative at Waterski creek a little way up the road. It was our first night of camping, plenty of firewood was collected and a bonfire was quickly established. Benny, Hayden and Gerry soon had the crowd in raptures with an impromptu corroborree and Helen had the group in stitches after not once, but twice getting her fingers caught in the wet-wipes container!
All-in-all it was a great day. We finally got into the dirt which made the trip seem more real and saw parts of Australia that many of us had only ever read about, yet Leanne seemed a little reserved, if not sad. It was, she confided, disappointment at a comment Ivan had made the previous evening. Tomorrow, he declared, he would be a new man – Leanne was hoping for Hugh Jackman!
Our accommodation for the previous night - highly recommended!
Group photo out the front of the Eulo Queen Hotel
And from the other end of the vehicles
We hit the road - still bitumen - not that wide, but still bitumen
And this road just goes.... and goes!
First stop - Thargomindah - Ivan and Lea had left a sleeping bag in the cabin at Forbes, and were hoping to buy a sleeping bag - best get this blanket while we can!! Interestingly we got a phonecall that we had taken (by mistake) two pillows from the cabin and could we post them back - No! ;-)
Time for morning tea - never a small affair at Camp Bennett
Lots of stations out this way!
By the way - no more bitumen any more
But every now and then a short stretch of the black stuff - very happy not to meet this bloke on the dirt
A regular occurence - collecting fire wood
The Dig Tree - Burke and Wills stuff
Checking out the Dig Tree
The G man - ready to go
Cam's Suzuki was never far behind
Innamincka Trading Post - time to refuel
The regular shuffle - who needs petrol - who needs diesel
And jobs here for everyone - Matthew doing his bit
Time also, to have a beer at the Innamincka Hotel before heading out to camp
OK - maybe two beers! Darren, Steve, Benny and Ivan enjoying some relax time.
Kids have found that pool table again
Cam, Blaire and Di chilling out
Ivan and Lea - Lea, you've got two!
Camp tonight at Ski Creek
Nice little place
A lovely spot on the banks of the Cooper Creek
Tim and Di and the Bennett's in with water views
Some lovely scenery shots
Jerry had a crab pot in there
Helen got her finger stuck in the top of the Wet Ones container (plastic jaws on it) - not content with doing damage to her finger, half an hour later she had her thumb stuck in it! A source of great enjoyment for her three fellas!
Time for the camp fire - Benny got his PVC didgeridoo out - we all had a go at it
Ivan threatens to blow a pooper valve
Hayden shows a real knack - Adam does well on the clapping sticks
Then Benny got his real didg out - looks like a nice one mate, sure you should have it in the dirt?? ;-)
All three of them got to it, and got a bit of a tune happening
Gerry got in the swing of things (sounds and all!)