Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
5 September 2006 - Boulia to Winton

Location map We left Boulia on the Kennedy Development Road bound for Winton 360 kilometres away. The road was the usual development road single lane bitumen, a reasonably good surface, and with "Overtaking Opportunities" along the way. The terrain was fairly flat, generally Mitchell Grass plains with grass to the horizon all around; regions of black-clay Mitchell Grass plains were separated by red laterite with numerous pebbles and small stones scattered on the surface. These red laterite areas looked more barren than the Mitchell Grass Downs where cattle were quite common feeding alongside the road and in the distance for the first few hours of the day.

Passing cattle grazing near an unfenced road can be a problem if a beast suddenly runs across the road too close ahead to stop before hitting it. Most cattle see the car coming and don't react; if they feel they are too close to the road they move away from the road. The problem can be the occasional beast so absorbed in feeding that it doesn't notice the vehicle approaching until the last minute; then it panics and may do anything. Cattle looking at us are considered to be less of a problem but we still slow down and keep an eye on them; the ones with their heads down feeding need to be watched more carefully. Calves are also unpredictable.
Feral camels near the Boulia-Winton road..
Bustard crossing the Boulia-Winton road
Within half an hour of leaving Boulia we stopped to photograph a herd of feral camels resting a near the road and some Bustards crossing the road; these big birds (males grow to a metre tall) live in grasslands.

Black clay plains were interrupted by ridges of red laterite running from higher laterite outcrops to the north. The most obvious intrusion is at the Lilyvale Hills were the Cawnpore Lookout provides spectacular views over red laterite mesa formations as well as the Mitchell Grass Downs.
Looking from Cawnpore Lookout along the road to Boulia.
Towards Winton from Cawnpore Lookout.
In mid-afternoon we drove through two sprinkles of rain. The first resulted in about seven rain drops on the windscreen; the second was more substantial with about fifteen to twenty large drops. This was the first rain we had seen since leaving Broome.
Isolated rock outcrops continue out into the plans away from the Jump-Up country around Cawnpore Lookout.
Spinifex growing in poorly watered areas.
Mistletoe flower adds a touch of colour to drab acacia trees not in flower.
Arriving in Winton we went to the caravan park, set up for one night then drove into town for petrol. Winton was full of motorbikes, the petrol station people said there were 400, and that could have been correct. The bikes were on a charity run and were expected to leave tomorrow bound for Mt Isa; not the way we were going. Winton relies on three artesian bores for water; the bores are about 1,200 metres deep with sulphurous smelling water emerging at a temperature of 83° C. Water is cooled before being supplied to user but still smells strongly; a drink of tea has a unique taste when made with sulphurous water.
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