Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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11 September 2006 - Barcaldine to Emerald

Location map The day promised to be bright and sunny but the wind was strong and bitterly cold. We set off from Barcaldine on the Capricorn Highway bound for Emerald to the east. The road was in very long straight sections, undulating slightly and with a variable surface. Sometimes very good.

The vegetation changed fundamentally as we left the Mitchell Grass Plains and entered a region with more complex vegetative structure; woodland was now common incorporating a variety of species. The region is not far enough north to get regular monsoonal rain and too far north to get regular winter rains so it misses out on reliable rain and has many arid zone plants. The land began rising as we entered the western part of the Great Dividing Range. Quite early in the Dividing Range we crossed from the Lake Eyre Basin (Barcoo River headwaters) into the catchment area of rivers flowing into the Pacific Ocean (the Belyando River was next).

The Emerald caravan park was much more heavily patronised than we expected for the end of the tourist season. It turned out that accomodation in Emerald is scarce and hard to get so people arriving here tend to set up in caravan parks on a long-term basis.
A large reproduction of the "Sunflower" painting in Emerald marks this centre of sunflower growing.
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