Lava tubes and a man with a chicken on his head

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Jul 11, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Leaving Katherine we weren't entirely sure which way we were going to head. We decided to head through Queensland and on up to Port Douglas to check out the barrier reef,there were other options but this was just very different to anything we had done in the trip so far. I think we had had enough of the dirt roads and the corrugations and seen more than enough gorges.So south it was leaving the beautiful Katherine Gorge and heading down the Stuart highway to three ways before heading East along the Barkley! highway into Queensland.

On our way south we stopped into the hot springs in Mataranka which were warmer than Katherine and then purely by chance stopped over night in Daly Waters at the pub. Daly waters is actually quite famous for a number of reasons not just that Qantas used to land there to refuel when they flew to London from Sydney but also for the pub which the girls leave their underwear at and the evening entertainment outback style with the singer with a chicken on his head (Wedge tailed Eagle). It was a hilarious evening and the campsite is so popular that when we stopped there was a queue of 7 caravans after us waiting to check in as well. I think to fully enjoy it you have to be Australian though to get the humour. This is one of those hidden little gems that are thoroughly recommended. The food is meant to be good as well and the beer is cheap.

The drive on from Daly Waters south to three ways Alice / Katherine / Mount Isa and onto Mount Isa was pretty much the same with the terrain being pretty featureless, at one point I could see 20km behind and another 15km ahead as the road was dead straight. We only stopped in Mount Isa to refuel and got hold of the cheapest fuel of the trip 1.29c with a 10c reduction at Coles to 1.19c per litre, most expensive being the Imnijit store on the Gibb at 1.95.

Unfortunately we decided to take a miss on the dinosaur quarry at Winton and instead take a look at the lava tubes in Undarra which is north of Townsville. Unfortunately because we ended up driving a development road, (road trains come first and you move off the single lane tar for them) and during the roadworks an idiot passed us and showered the side of the car with gravel and smashed the rear cargo area window, fortunately the tinting held it together long enough for me to gaffer tape the whole window. NRMA were great and arranged for a replacement window, unfortunately they don't come to your door step and fit the replacement as they do in the UK, our replacement was Cairns or Port Douglas which was around 450km away.(London to Penzance)

Undarra is meant to have the largest number of lava tubes in the world and are absolutely amazing, if you ever get to this part of the world make sure you visit and if possible do the extende day visit, check out the photos to see what I mean.

Leaving Undarra we headed onto Port Douglas via the Atherton table top area and for the first time in 2 months we got cold, yes it was freezing and more like NZ in the winter, the fields were really green and there were even dairy cows!

So this is the penultimate blog, our last one will be from home and I guess will cover Port Douglas and the long drive home all 2663k of it.
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