Well and truly into the Outback now, this week heralded our arrival into the Northern Territory and over 900km of driving on unsealed, badly corrugated, red dirt roads.
Everything was pretty dusty I can tell you and we’ll be pleased to hit the bitumen again soon (it’s not often we say that!)
Spot of the Week:
Boodjamulla ( Lawn Hill) National Park, QLD
Free Camp of the Week:
Murrays Place, Gregory Downs, QLD.
There is usually a small fee to camp at Murrays, however at this time he couldn’t provide toilets (long story) so he let us camp in his garden for free! Murray is a very friendly, down to earth Aussie bloke and he also has a very cute little shop on site where you can buy some basics.
Tip of the Week:
Book your permits for National Parks well in advance, especially in peak season.
We saw a few disappointed people turning up to Boodjamulla National Park, only to have to make the long drive back because they hadn’t booked and it was full.
Disaster of the Week:
The rifle threat!
One morning we awoke in our free camp spot to some old bloke telling us he had been about to shoot us the previous evening. Apparently, we had broken “Camp Etiquette” aka while searching for a croc-free camp spot in the dark, we had temporarily driven to close to his caravan! If we’re talking about “camp etiquette” mate, I’m not sure rifles are kosher!
The Budget ($ AUD):
Fuel – $398.60
Groceries – $19
Camping Fees – $58.60
Internet – $2.50
Kayak Hire (Boodjamulla NP) – $27
Total – $506.70
A great result for us!
Day 1 – Karumba to Gregory Downs, QLD
After explaining to the Normanton Police our interesting start to the day (#see disaster of the week!), we finally got to have breakfast and a coffee.
This was enjoyed in a lovely park in Normanton, albeit next to a statue of Krys the Croc – the world’s largest crocodile ever captured.
As sad as it is, at over 8m long and 2 ton in weight, I’m pretty glad Krys is no longer tormenting locals and their cows!
After some quick checks on the car and a sneaky use of the internet at the Normanton Visitor Centre, we were off, headed for the remote town of Gregory Downs, where we would camp for the night.
Gregory Downs has a total of 80 people living there and is the second biggest town in Queensland’s Burke Shire – that’s how remote things are getting!
Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous little town, with an awesome free camp and loads of essential amenities like showers and free drinking water – hoorah!
Day 2 – Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, QLD
After negotiating the very rough road into Boodjamulla National Park from Gregory Downs, we were welcomed by the sublime beauty that this epic wilderness is renowned for. Nothing can prepare you for the colours of the vibrant red gorge walls and the crystal waters of Lawn Hill creek.
After setting up camp and getting some washing sorted, we waited for the temperature to drop a little so we could set out on the Constance Range walk.
The Constance is only a short 6km return trip, but it packed in some stunning sites.
It follows the Lawn Hill Creek for about half an hour or so (while you look out for turtles and even maybe a freshwater croc) and then starts to climb the range.
The lookout out the top is breathtaking with views over the creek and across the savannah for miles and not a soul or building visible!
Day 3 – Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, QLD
After a quite chilly night (as in, we needed the big thick jumper chilly), we awoke early to another perfect blue day.
Taking advantage of the cooler morning weather, we made an early start and headed out on the Upper Gorge walk.
Another stunning hike in Boodjamulla NP, this one started with an easy climb from the campground, before heading back down to the creek at Indarri Falls.
Indarri Falls is the perfect place for a refreshing swim at the gorge and at only approx. 30 min walk or 20 minute canoe trip, is a must.
Then it’s back along the creek with lots of viewing spots, before the final climb up to the top of the gorge.
This is actually pretty easy and only takes about 30 minutes.
And, it’s certainly worth it, because you end up right at the edge of the gorge taking in the spectacular view of the creek and the wildlife below.
The early get away saw us back at the campsite well before lunch, so we had the rest of the day to just relax with a book and a game of scrabble – bliss!
Day 4 – Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, QLD
This was a cruisey day, when we just did a short walk to yet another lookout and enjoyed a dip in the gorge.
Then it was a bit more washing, a bit more cooking and a bit more sitting with a good book!
Day 5 – Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, QLD
On our final day in this amazing part of Australia, we decided to go for a canoe, so headed down the creek where we could hire one.
And what a treat! We had the most wonderful hour paddling on the water up to Indarri falls and back and even enjoyed a nice swim too.
At $27 AUD, this was quite a splurge for us, but well worth it!
Our last night at Boodjamulla brought yet another treat!
Something that we haven’t shared with you yet is that, once a week, we get a pot on the gas cooker with popcorn on the go and sit back to enjoy a movie on the laptop.
It’s not a bad life when you are under the stars in the middle of nowhere!
After all, budget travel doesn’t all have to be about roughing it, does it?
Day 6 – Riversleigh and Gregory Downs, QLD
Riversleigh is a UNESCO fossil site not that far from Boodjamulla, so we went for a look on our way back to Gregory Downs.
The drive was beautiful, with dramatic changing scenery the whole way and some river crossings!
Our stroll around the Riversleigh Fossil Site itself was then quite interesting – seeing the remains of a creature that was living 25 million years ago is pretty mad!
On arriving back in Gregory Downs in the afternoon, the boys decided that it was the right thing to do to support the Gregory Hotel.
So, over we walked and sat at the bar for a few beers and a soda and lime for me.
I have no idea what the landlady’s name was, but as you would expect in the Outback, she was a real character and definitely up for a chat.
Day 7 – Southern Lost City, Limmen National Park, NT
Yay, we final made it to the Northern Territory! Our second state in Australia – not bad after 5 months!
By far, this had been the biggest day of our trip. We covered 763km over 11.5 hrs – amazing considering it was very slow going in some spots, with whole sections of the road that were extremely rough, especially those after the town Borroloola, QLD.
It was also relentlessly hot – 35 deg, I think summer is coming early!
The long exhausting day was well worth it however, after we drove into the camping area at the Southern Lost City, Limmen National Park.
The camp area itself was not that special, but the view of the sandstone stacks was truly amazing and we knew we did not have to hurry out the following morning.
Another successful week on the road through some of the most remote parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory.
We can’t wait to see what treasures the Territory has in store for us!
2 thoughts on “The Great Budget 4wd Trip Around Australia – Week 9”
Love your post, it seems that i can always get a lot of useful information from your post! Thanks a lot.
Great Agness, thanks so much. Stay tuned for more adventures