The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

24 May, 2016

Toompine to Longreach

Toompine Pub, about 120 km north of Yowah - called in for a night as offered free accommodation and stayed 3 nights!! Free accommodation but the Pub sure did OK out of us as we had happy hour and meals each night - Managers Dogga Dave and Robyn certainly know the meaning of hospitality.  Great to visit these Aussie Pubs and feel the character of the place.  The extra days stay were due to Friday night entertainment by Country Music singer Adam Kilpatrick followed by Saturday's Quick Shears Competition.
Toompine Pub, you camp next to the community tennis courts and community hall for free!!

This little pony looks calm now but when the gate was left open you couldn't see him for dust as he bolted down the road, not returning until late the next day. 
I rode my bike down a track looking for a Waterhole, dodging emus and swarm of bees.  Didn't find the Waterhole, however was successful the next day after getting more detailed directions.  Another 10 vans came in on the Friday night and enjoyed a great smorgasbord dinner followed by entertainment by Adam Kilpatrick.  Adam did a live (free to air) stream so messaged Briony in NZ who watched it on her phone!!  Amazing as we were able to say hello to her in between his songs.

Watched the setting up of the Quick Shears Competition - around 5.30pm the action started with 3 sections, Beginners, Intermediate and Open.  All in all approx 20 shearers were present each trying to beat each others time to shear a sheep.  Before the open final they conducted an Auction to buy a Shearer and have a chance of sharing in the winnings - one shearer was auctioned for $700, and he won!  A lot of money was raised for the Flying Doctor and once the competition was over, the music was cranked up and the party began.  They had a great time and partied hard - good on them!   Said goodbye to Robyn in the pub the next morning and noticed a few sad, sorry heads sitting around.

Crowd gathers for the quick shear competition.

And they didn't take long to shear a sheep.

The eventual winner in the Open Section - in under 35 seconds.

Entertained  by Adam Kilpatrick who live streamed the performance and Briony could watch it live in NZ.

After the excitement of the weekend drove on to Quilpie where we fuelled up and continued out to free camp at Lake Houdraman.  Found a nice spot overlooking the Lake with plenty of birdlife incl. Pelicans and Black Swans.  Certainly a much quieter night tonight!

Lake Houdraman 6km east of Quilpie
Next day had a look around Quilpie before driving to Windorah.  Someone was getting an absolute downpoor as rain clouds to our NE were very black.  Weather was 32 degrees which was quite warm for this time of year.

Main access through Quilpie
Called into pub at Windorah for a coldie before camping at free camp on banks of Coopers Creek approx 10kms east of Windorah.  Hels did mention if it rains I'm in big trouble!! And yes it did rain for about 1/2 hr and after assessing the situation made a plan to take off if rain persisted.  Rain actually cooled temp down and a huge moon lit up the night sky. Thankfully the ground had dried a little by the time we had left but could see wheel tracks from a couple of campers who had left during the night.

Windorah Solar generation station

Cooper's Creek bridge constructed between 1946 & 1949

Stopped at the Windorah Pub for a coldie.
Headed back to Windorah before turning North to Jundah where we stopped for morning tea on the banks of the Thompson River.  Jundah received 9mm rain last night following a 35mm rain a couple of weeks ago!  Drove onto Swanvale Jump Up where we stayed the night - great view of the countryside and thought that if it did rain we would be on solid high ground.  Had a nice fire but Hels was attacked by Mozzies so was not able to enjoy the moon and stars.

Swanvale Jump Up camp
View from Swanvale Jump Up lookout

Thomson Development Rd between Windorah and Longreach, not a lot to see and the lone tree to stop by for morning coffee!

On way to Longreach called into Stonehenge where we did a slow drive through.  Didn't stop although after reading the Outback Book should have as there was suppose to be an area where you could leave your home suburb name by laying stones (would have been difficult for us as we tow our home!!!)  The drive into Longreach was very barren.  Booked into the Caravan Park which was a bit small and a bit 'all over the place' but was ok for a couple of days.  Quite warm with temp reaching 36 degrees.

Previous times we have visited Longreach we have gone through the Stockman's Hall of Fame so this time we went to the Qantas Museum.  Great place displaying history of Qantas and viewed theatre presentations on how Qantas started.  Easily spent a couple of hours wandering around - climbing into some of the old planes.  Definitely worth the visit.

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