Toompine Hotel – Free Camping
We arrived on a Sunday in Quilpie and there was nothing open, except for the pub and a petrol station. There was no-one out and about and seemed very lonely. So we topped up with fuel and moved on. We really didn’t have a camp spot in mind now but knew we were wanting to get to Eulo. By this time Chris was starting to feel quite unwell so I took over the driving.
We were now on the Quilpie-Thargomindah road which once again is sealed and in good condition. It was late afternoon now and the kangaroos were terrible. Jumping out at us all over the place. I was feeling tired myself so we decided to stop at a town called Toompine. Oh my goodness what a wonderful place.
Toompine is known as the pub with no town. The Cobb & Co also used to have regular services here in the 1800’s. The pub is over 120 years old and is the only building standing from its hey day in the 1860’s.
The camping is free as is the use of the toilets and the best shower ever! They just ask that you buy a meal or a drink to support the pub. The staff of 2 are so friendly and very helpful. We enjoyed an evening meal, drinks and a chat with fellow campers then went back for breakfast and coffee in the morning.
After a huge breakfast we set off towards Eulo for the mud baths. Jo was really keen for a mud bath so all us girls thought why not! We met the caretaker and she showed us around and Chris was not at all interested. So he sat in the car feeling unwell and waited for us. The bath was one of the most funniest and memorable days for us all. Our skin felt lovely and soft especially after being in this region where it dries out your skin terribly. So with our skin feeling lovely we set off towards Cunnumulla.
31km’s south of Cunnumulla – Free Camping
As we were now making our way home we started to do long driving days. We chose not to stop in Cunnumulla so just filled up with fuel and did a bit of grocery shopping. We are now travelling on the Mitchell Highway to a rest stop 31 KM’s south of Cunnumulla. What a great little spot, well back from the road and with toilets how could you not be happy with this. There is a gap in the fence big enough for car and camper to fit through which takes you out the back even further from the road. We enjoyed a pleasant evening around the fire.
With a very restful nights sleep we set off towards Bourke with our next destination being Gundabooka National Park. We spent a fair bit of time at the Wharf precinct which is located at the northern end of Sturt Street in Bourke.
Here we found a fully restored 1923 vintage Crossley oil fueled stationary engine. This engine is manufactured by the Crossley Brothers of Manchester, England. It is a four stroke diesel type engine which followed on from the steam engine era. They were used in many applications such as electricity generation, water pumping and factory machine operation.
This particular engine was originally used from 1923 to 1938 in the Sydney Power House to generate electricity for Sydney. It was later used in the Allowrie Butter Factory at Coffs Harbour from 1938 to 1949, and then at a Narromine property from 1949 to 1964 to pump water for crop irrigation.
There is also a fully restored 1924 Garford Type 15 Pumper. It was manufactured in Lima, Ohio, USA. Its maximum speed was 35 miles per hour with a 4 cyl engine and 3 speed gear box. It had the ability to pump 250 gallons per minute. These were used extensively in NSW during their time.
We topped up with water at the Visitor Information Centre. Purchased some gifts, maps and information for our journey to Gundabooka National Park. We drove about 3km south from Bourke and turned onto the Louth Road for about 43 km. This road follows the Darling River. Albeit a dirt road it wasn’t in too bad condition but it certainly wasn’t the best road we’ve been on since this trip.
Gundabooka National Park – Yanda Campground – $6.00 per person per night
Just register and pay at the registration booth and choose your site. A large and well laid out campground complete with bush toilets. We had a site very close to the river with majestic river red gums and a shelter with gas BBQ’s. We took a few walks around the park and along the river and settled in for a pleasant evening. Gundabooka National Park sits on 92,131 hectares of land and if you have a kayak you could certainly enjoy paddling around or try a spot of fishing.
The Louth Road was shaky in parts but not terrible. We pulled into Louth which is a nice little town with friendly people. We filled up with fuel and while talking to the publican he was told us how terrible the drought has been in this part of the country. It was certainly very dry and is taking its toll on everything, very sad to see indeed. I asked him if the road was better on the other side of the river as compared to this side. He said he has been getting conflicting reports from travellers, so we decided to carry on and keep to the same side.
Paroo-Darling National Park – Coaches and Horses Campground – $6.00 per person per night
Once again no need to book ahead just turn up pay and register and choose a site. It is first in best dressed. This really is a beautiful campground and the sunsets were just amazing. We found 2 sites right on the river and enjoyed a few walks around the campground and settled in for the afternoon. The campground is complete with bush toilets, shaded picnic tables and BBQ’s.
We are travelling on what they call the Darling River Run Road. The full track starts up in Queensland from Lighting Ridge down to Victoria in Wenworth where the Darling River meets up with the Murray River. It is about a 950km trek and you can get on and off where you like or start at either end and travel the full route. We only travelled a relatively small section from Bourke to Wilcannia. The section we travelled on, had its fair share of bull-dust, washouts and corrugations.
We packed up in the morning travelled into Wilcannia which is about 50km away, topped up with fuel and made our way to Broken Hill which had us back on the highway. We visited the Palace Hotel, you know the one where they filmed Priscilla Queen of the Desert and then purchased lunch. After a quick top up of fuel we said our goodbyes to Cindy and Jo and made our way home from Broken Hill.
We pulled into Yunta and I was driving again, Chris decided to put some air in the tyres and after filling up with fuel we headed off. Shortly after, once I got up to speed I felt a shudder, like the car was pulling over to the left. I just thought it was a gust of wind and ignored it. Chris then said “what was that” and “what is that noise” at that point I looked in the mirrors and said I don’t know but I can see all this rubber flying in the air!
Oops a blown tyre on the camper! my first time at this sort of thing happening. At least I know now if I feel something like that again I’ll be aware.
In all of the 1,000kms of roads we have travelled on we have never blown a tyre. So I guess there always has to be a first time for everything.