Back in Longreach

This morning I didn’t feel anywhere near as cold as yesterday, as the aircon had been turned down (or up) a bit before bed. That said, I wish I could have been cooler when I got up to the first activity for the day: golf!

Kim kindly leant us his clubs last night, but he turned up anyway at 7:30 for 9 holes of golf at the Winton Golf Course. How do I describe it? I think the photos will sum it up, but it was mostly dirt, some weeds and one hole had about 20m of what could be the bare minimum of grass for a fairway. The greens were also interesting, and they weren’t green, but rather a black oily sand. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast.

The Fairway

I didn’t think I’d finish the round when only halfway through I was sweating profusely, the flies were all over me and I wasn’t scoring under 10! However a 9 on a par 3 helped me persevere. Dad managed a few pars! Kim probably did a little better than me, with his local knowledge… though he didn’t know one water hazard actually contained water, advising it was dry.

Following golf a beer was proffered, and accepted, before I phoned in my probation and then refreshed myself wonderfully in the pool at the motel. The cool water felt so good.

Packing up we were soon checked-out and eating a late breakfast in the Twilight Cafe again. Delicious country fattening food. Dad fueled the car, bought some ice, and I posted some cards, and then we were off again, back to Longreach.

The drive was as uneventful as last time, though the clouds were different. On the way to Winton we were on the edge of a high cloud front, but today the skies were littered with cumulus clouds, and it felt a lot hotter.

We once again checked into our accommodation, this time the Discovery Holiday Parks, where I’ve stayed before on my own. This time we booked a family unit though and it was more than adequate with new appliances and comfy beds.

We visited the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, well the reception and gift shop area at least, as after some enquiries we discovered that the contents were essentially the same as what we’d experienced in the Waltzing Matilda museum in Winton. Admittedly, it’s a much bigger museum, but when you know it all pretty much already, there’s little point in doing it all again.

The town seemed a bit more open than Winton, but after dark it shut down again.

We had dinner at Eagles Nest, and had a good laugh at the Billiards Room, a must visit if you done here. The food was great and the beverage list very large. I ended up having a Tui, what I’d usually only have in Queenstown. Tasted different out of a bottle than on tap though.

Tomorrow we’re heading back home!

The 28th

Well this morning we didn’t have a particularly early start, though I did feel like getting out early due to the temperature in the room. The aircon seems to be set at extremely cold or not at all, so this morning I woke to what felt like below zero temperatures. I promptly turned off the aircon, but it took walking outside to feel better.

Today we did have a very busy day.

Breakfast was at the Twilight Cafe again (we had lunch there yesterday), as the bakery was cash only and we didn’t have cash. This was the result of a lack of ATM’s in town, with the only working one only dispensing $20 per transaction – with a $2.50 transaction fee.

Following breakfast we made our way to Arno’s Wall and then drove on to the Winton Railway Station (I have a friend who loves railways), the Qantas Airfield Commemorative Cairn, Musical Fence and the Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum.

Afterwards, we continued on to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Fossil Preparation Facility where we took a tour of the facility, before walking out along the Jump Up to find three secular views outer the surrounding plains. Once again, a 360° was taken.

Back in Winton we didn’t have lunch, but had some snacks from a grocery store before visiting the Waltzing Matilda Centre, where we learnt the ins and outs of Waltzing Matilda and explored the very large museum incorporating all parts of the outback.

Mum got a headache and Sze Sze just wanted to cool down, so dad and I stopped at the North Gregory Hotel while the ladies headed to the motel. we then headed to the Australian Hotel, where Kim joined us for a couple beers to watch the Aussie cricket team collapse. The beer ended by the pool at the motel, where a swim was very refreshing.

Tonight we had dinner at the RSL, and while Kim wasn’t impressed the only other time he’d been, I think the meals tonight were enjoyed. I certainly liked my chicken kiev. we were also allowed to BYO, though I noticed the table over had their own bottle of vodka. Go figure!

On the way home I picked up some golf clubs from Kim’s place. More on that tomorrow.

A Tuesday in Winton

The aircon in our room made the blankets on the bed necessary, and it was an interesting contrast freezing in the boom and baking outside. Having all had an early night I was surprised we weren’t up until 8:30, though the rest felt good.

We had decided not to stay for breakfast, despite Barcaldine being a very nice town all round. Everything packed up again, we were off on our way to Longreach, where we stopped for breakfast in the Qantas Founders Museum, considering everything else in town was either shut or not serving food till midday.

Qantas Founders Museum Qantas Founders Museum

Continuing on, and with mum electing to drive the whole way, we finally made it to Winton in the early afternoon, a two hour drive from Longreach. We checked into some adequate rooms at the Boulder Opal Motel, promptly turning on the aircon. The temperature in the shade reached 38°C.

A slow walk around town gave us the impression everything was shut, but then it is Christmas and everyone seems to bugger off from these parts around now. Luckily we managed a feed in the Twilight Cafe, but we’re told they’d be shut before dinner. Everything else was also shutting before dinner, leaving us nowhere to eat! Again luckily, we found an open supermarket and got some things for dinner: chicken, tomatoes, bread and drinks.

I met up with Kim, having sent him some messages on Sze Sze’s mobile, as flOptus doesn’t believe in outback reception, but Telstra does.

I found free public wifi in town though, and our motel offers it around the reception and pool areas, so I sat by the pool in the shade of a fern tree… and sweated while being mobbed by flies. The wind slowly picked up in the late afternoon, helping to cool me down. And the pool finished the job.

A refreshing dip in the pool