Brisbane to Desert Uplands Region May 19 - 21 2019
  Winter in Queensland, if such a thing really exists. Just that its a bit cooler. Which means more comfortable heading north. To Cape York.

Sunday morning, after a most strange election, we set off early and reach Auburn River National Park. Just south west of Munduberra. We've lived in Queensland for nearly 30 years and not been here previously. Its a big state.

The park is granite. A small gorge cut by the Auburn River on the way to the coast, about 180 km for crows. A tributary of a few other rivers.

We are west of Fraser Island, about 400km from home. Really a convenient overnight stop. But also a couple of short walks to give our legs, stiff after hours in the cab, some exercise.

  To help us on our way a glimpse of a peregrine falcon.

We've remembered the bird book this trip. But not looked at it yet .....

The last 7km into the park were reputedly rough. Not too bad for us, a dirt road with a few corrugations and holes.

Some fluid had appeared on left hand rear shock absorber, on the axle, on the back of the brake, and in the lip of the wheel rim. Lots of searching and checking. No loss of brake fluid, inside drum looked dry, too high on the shock absorber to have come from it (new and only travelled today), the shock absorber seemed to be working ok, no distinguishable smell so perhaps water from an overfull tank. Over the next couple of days it seems to have dried. Monitoring will continue......

  There's an area which includes the Bowen Basin and the Galilee Basin. Bounded more or less by Blackwater, Longreach, Hughenden and Charters Towers. Referred to as "The Desert Uplands Region".

The first thing we notice as we turn west along the Capricorn Highway is the rail line. Two lines, electrified. For coal from the Bowen Basin. Many millions of tonnes per year of it. Mostly thermal coal, on its way to the coast for export.

  Shortly before Blackwater we turn south towards Blackdown Tablelands National Park and Munall Camping Ground.

There's a steep road to the top of the escarpment.

Sandstone, on the edge of the Bowen Basin. The northern end of the Expedition Range.

  A quick glimpse of the plain from horseshoe lookout. Lost in the afternoon haze.
  A walk to the magnificent sounding Goon Goon Dinna. Past an old, decaying, stockyard.

The first European use of the tableland was cattle. Poor soil and pasture meant the cattle were moved down to the plain after a few days.

Around 1971 the road was built to support logging. A particular sought after tree type.

  Its greener here than the plain. And the remains of a shack, just the fireplace really.
  Mimosa Creek winds across the plateau. The track is a bit posh for us, with steps and stepping stones.

There's been a fire not too long ago so most of the things the interpretive signs point to have been burned.

  But a quinine bush (I think, because its next to a sign that says it is) survived.
  The sandstone is coarse. If our experience of other rock art sites is anything to go by that makes it difficult to paint on or carve. That leaves stencils of hands, the ochre sprayed.

Under a suitable overhang that has protected them.

The hand prints seem to be of left hands (assuming palm down) so perhaps spraying involved the right hand.

We wonder if there are left handed Aboriginals.

  Nearby a fallen tree that has lost its bark. The burrows of insects have been filled with clay.
  Next morning a walk in the opposite direction from the campsite. To Mook Mook.

These are deep rock pools in Mimosa Creek. They look like they would be just the right size to sit in and cool off during summer.

  The view from Mook Mook lookout, where Mimosa Creek winds down to the plain.
  There's a strong 4G mobile phone signal. Last night our specialist "remote area support person" was enlisted through the sat phone to book us a second night in the campsite. This was a thankyou call. If we'd known there was reception we could have booked it ourselves.

We'll know for next time.

  Around the lookout are all sorts of flowers, near the edge of the cliff.

I never cease to marvel at the difference in vegetation as altitude increases.

  Few birds near the campsite we caught a glimpse of wrens and finches near the track.
  Some more rock pools. Fascinated as there is water flow into one but no obvious flow out.
  One of the tasks for the off season was replacing the roof solar panels. We now have 1350W of semi-flexible solar panels, with a weight reduction of about 80kg.

I had two panels leftover so turned them into portable panels. Ideal for camping in forests where shadows limit panel output.

The portable panels made the difference between worrying about electricity and having adequate.

  We stopped at the Horseshoe Lookout again on the way out. Less haze and the sun earlier in the day makes for a much better view.
Desert Uplands Region May 22 - 24 2019

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