For the previous part of this trip, click here.
LAURA TO SYDNEY
Friday 1 September 2000
We have a problem with our 12 volt battery box and this delays our leaving. We get away at 8:50 am and at 9:05 am we arrive at Split Rock Aboriginal Site. This has some very good Aboriginal paintings depicting fish, birds, animals and people.
We leave at 10 am and at 12:15 pm we reach Mount Molloy. We add some fuel (10 litres at $10) but the tank is not full.
We leave the others here as they are heading back into Cairns but we are heading straight home. We leave at 12:35 pm and at 1 pm we pull into Mareeba. We fill up with fuel, 75.9 litres at a cost of $72.75. Since Seisa we have travelled 1165 kilometres using 147.9 litres at an average of 12.7 litres/100 km.
We are back on the road 10 minutes later. We are heading south by the most direct route which is via inland Queensland. We get onto the Kennedy Highway and 4 pm we pass the Oasis Roadhouse. We now take the Gregory Development Road. This is a single lane of tar which means when vehicles approach from the other direction, you have to both go off onto the dirt on the side. However, when road trains (some with three or four trailers) come along, they do not pull over and you need to get as far away from the centre as possible.
Soon it is getting dark and there are lots of kangaroos around. I have slowed down from the 110 km/h we were doing to about 80 km/h. Once it is dark it is very hard to pick out the kangaroos, even with high beam on. To make matters worse, for some reason there are dozens of mosquitos in the car but we do not have the windows open. We spend all the time killing them.
A huge semi-trailer comes up behind us and I over the radio tell him to pass me but he says no. About 15 minutes later he calls and says he is going to pass us. I pull right off and he goes zooming pass. I think that I will get in close behind him and let him hit all the kangaroos. He is doing 100 km/h but this is worse than before. The kangaroos are coming around the back of his truck and I have even less time to react. I slow right down till he is out of range and put the high beam back on. This is a little better. We arrive at Charters Towers at 7:10 pm. I am mentally exhausted from the last two hours driving.
We book into a motel at $69 a twin and head off for dinner. We refuel and take 50.5 litres at a cost of $47. We have averaged 9.1 litres/100 km and today we have travelled 796 kilometres.
We work out where the mozzies came from. It looks like they entered the car last night at the camping area and slept all day, only coming our once it was dark. We spray the car with fly spray that we find in the motel unit. When we come out after having a shower and on our way to dinner, we find dead mosquitos in their hundreds in the car!
Distance: 796 kilometres, Fuel: 12.7 to Mareeba, then 9.1 to Charters Towers
Saturday 2 September 2000
We leave Charters Towers at 8:25 am and reach Emerald at 1:15 pm. We have travelled 487 kilometres at an average speed of 108 km/h. We have lunch here, but it is a bit hard to find places open on a Saturday afternoon. We have forgotten that country towns in Queensland are like Sydney used to be in the 1960s.
We are back on the road at 1:37 pm and head south on the Gregory Highway. We take the Dawson Highway at Springsure and at 3:10 pm we roll into Rollston. Here we refuel, taking 38.1 litres at a cost of $40.
We leave town on the Carnarvon Development Road and at 5:05 pm we pass through Injune and at 6:15 pm we arrive at Roma. We book into the Club Hotel Motel at $73.70 for a twin. We have done 882 kilometres today at an average of about 98 km/h.
Distance: 882 kilometres, Fuel: ?
Sunday 3 September 2000
We leave Roma at 8:15 am and at 9:45 am we travel via the Warrego Highwy to Miles where we stopped on the way up. We head south on the Leichahardt Highway and at 11:10 am we stop at Moonie and refuel. We only put in 20.4 litres at a cost of $20.
At 12:13 pm we reach Goondiwindi and we refuel here again (we can now reach home without refuelling). We take 68.5 litres at $65. We have travelled 1244 kilometres since Charters Towers at an average of 10.2 litres/100 km.
We travel via Warialda, Bingara, Barraba and Manilla and at 5:26 pm we pass through Tamworth. It is almost 20 kilometres less this way than the way we went up.
At 10:37 pm we arrive back at Daryl's place. We have travelled 1093 kilometres today. We used 66.1 litres at a cost of $68 averaging 9.0 litres/100 km.
We have been away 25 days and travelled 7,870 kilometres. We have had a great time. The LandRover has performed very good except for the minor problem with the rear door at Weipa and the transmission at Bramwell Station. We have figured out that to get the best out of it, you need to floor it in muddy and loose conditions and let the traction control take over. Driving it like you would a normal 4WD (like my Prado) means you get nowhere.
I cannot wait to get back to Cape York again.