Desert Uplands Region May 22 - 24 2019
  Back on the plain, passing through the aptly named Bluff. Our campsite was up there somewhere.

The wires in the pic are for the railway and overhead power lines.

Somewhere near is a 100MW solar farm. Presumably making use of the power lines for distribution.

  Loading a coal train as we near Blackwater.

There's an International Coal Centre that looks well funded, but we see a future of renewables rather than coal.

  The power lines carry electricity from coal fired power stations nearer the coast for the coal mines and the railway.

There are several largish solar farms in the area that are presumably making use of them.

  To our west is the Great Dividing Range.

The Bowen and Galilee Basins straddle the range.

  As we near Clermont there are a few signs supporting the Adani (Indian Company) Carmichael coal mine which will (if it proceeds) be the first in the Galilee Basin.

Struggling for finance the mine has been scaled back and the railway limited to narrow gauge connected to existing lines rather than new standard gauge.

The mine is yet to gain environmental approval from the Queensland Government.

Its not good coal (high ash), the environmental work seems to be less than rigourous, and the ethics of Adani are (to me) questionable.

Apart from which renewable energy is cheaper.

  We camped in Blair Athol State Forest, north west of Clermont. Just a little way along a track, hidden among the trees.

Next day we headed west. Rather than take the main road north to Charters Towers we decided to take back roads.

The aim was to head west to Lou Lou Park station then north. Alas, the road north didn't exist so we headed further west around the south of Lake Galilee then north.


  We are crossing the dividing range without going up any hills.
  A vast, flat expanse.
  One of the many turns we made. The signpost near Laglan pointing to Lou Lou Park.
  The Belyando River was the largest we crossed. This is a smaller creek with an odd bridge, like a cattle grid.

We aren't sure how many pedestrians want to cross.

We pass Maynard, and Eastmere. Almost to Lake Dunn before we can head north.

  The junction near Lake Dunn where we turned north included "Heritage Trail" among the signs.

Near Lake Galilee we see another sign for "Heritage Trail". A track where a significant road should be. We think it may offer a glimpse of the lake.

  And so it does. We decide to stop for the night next to the lookout.

There's water in the lake from recent rains. Its ephemoral.

The birdlife is very shy. The swans just glide away. The ducks squawk a bit and become restless.

  Eventually they take flight.

Just like the ducks in flight wall decorations that were popular around 1960 England.

  We walked one way, the swans paddled the other way.
  Quite a large lake. Nearly 30 km long.

On our map the words "Dividing Range" extend across the lake in a NW - SE direction.

Which seems rather odd to us.

  This patch of water looked like a creek bed. Just the right depth for the heron.

A minor problem at tea time. Just as tea was ready the electrics went beep and the lights went out. A few seconds later the lights came back on, but the inverter remained beeping due to low volts.

The battery monitor showed 9kW being drawn from the battery. Patently not happening as a fuse would have blown.

No hot connections, it took a wee while to find a loose bolt holding wires to the load end of the battery monitor shunt. Loose enough to create a voltage drop sufficient to stop the inverter and to cause chaos for the battery monitor measurements.

  Panic over, breakfast as normal. Sunrise over the lake. What more could we wish for?
  We've seen a few kangaroos / wallabies and only two emus since we left Brisbane. Very little road kill. Perhaps a bit of evolution at work where those that know how to avoid the traffic survive.
  As we head north, towards Pentland, we occasionally see over the trees.. A vast expanse.
  Occasionally the obvious fires have been more (or less) damaging. Part of the life cycle in Aus.
  Deserts don't have permanent surface water. This is a desert. With a grid bridge across the Warrego Creek.
  It must be impressive during the occasional flood. But then we'd probably not see it as it would be inaccessible.
  Our camp for the night is Canns Camp Creek in White Mountains National Park. A bit of confusion as it seems the camp site was moved at some time.

The track in is like a firebreak gone wrong. Park to our right, something else to the left. About every 200m is a hump to stop water flowing down the track, and limit the speed of vehicles lest the wheels leave the ground in an imitation of a ski jumper.

We have a pleasant night in a forest camp. No sign of mountains.

According to the 2013 management plan between 50 and 100 people camp here every year.

 No internet, but a bit of planning from maps. We'll pass through Hughenden, internet for detailed planning and booking some camp sites, then head north. We have 5 days until the site we've booked in the Daintree National Park.

  On the way out we detoured to Sawpit Gully Lookout.
  Delighted by a view of some white mountain.

It took a while to decide that we really don't understand geology, at least not this bit in particular. Apparently all sandstones.

  The bit of cliff looks decidedly different. As does the sandstone under our feet that looks like the coloured deposits from further west and that we thought we saw forming in the floor of Lake Eyre.
  Returning from the lookout we saw what initially looked like very large, very tightly packed, termite mounds. But then we decided they might be volcanic, the holes being from bubbles of gas, that has been eroded.
  As the track rose up an incline the height of the pillars lessened - the tops were all at the same level. As the track reached that level there were no more. So we are guessing that they have been eroded.
  The instructions for the track in mentioned "the Telstra Tower". We didn't see it on the way in when we took the signposted fire break. Having followed our nose from Sawpit Gully Lookout we met the main road. With a sign. Just where the instructions said it would be.

For future poorly informed, prone to being lost, adventurers the coordinates for the track are -20.7298,145.1821

So really, what looked initially like a relatively uninteresting national park with a strange entry was much better than we thought. Obviously it pays to look deeper than first impressions.

  We decide to head to Hughendon, then north. In doing so we really have crossed the Great Dividing Range. We are crossing tributaries, one rises in the White Mountains. We are at the north end of the catchment. Cooper Creek flows a long way before entering Lake Eyre. About 1100 km south west.

White Mountains is a bit interesting as water from there flows east into the Burdekin River and thence to the sea, and northwards in the Flinders River to the Gulf, as well as south west in Torrens Creek to Cooper Creek. Also, the area is part of replenishing the Great Artesian Basin (remember those mound springs to the west of the Simpson Desert - some of the water may have come from here, a million or so years ago, its a long way). I guess that's all a result of straddling the Great Dividing Range.

Porcupine Gorge National Park May 25 - 26 2019

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