|Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
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|2 May 2011 - Charleville to Eulo|
The morning was a little cloudy but not cold as we drove out of Evening Star Tourist Park after a very pleasant stay lasting nearly two weeks. After passing through Charleville itself we headed south along the Mitchell Highway bound for Cunnamulla enroute to Eulo.
Cunnamulla is 99 kilometres from Charleville. The Mitchell Highway undergoes a steady transformation as it goes south towards Cunnamulla. Leaving Charleville it is a narrow two-lane road with a reasonable bitumen surface; but the edge of the bitumen has a sharp lip with an unpleasant drop of about 10cm off the edge. The bitumen was narrow enough to make passing oncoming road trains a bit tense and the temptation often was to stop and pull off to avoid any risk of striking the oncoming truck. For one oversize load coming the other way we did pull over then had to negotiate the edge lip to get back onto the road; that was unpleasant. As the highway moves south passing Wyandra, the road widens enough to have continuous white lines along the edges indicating full-width lanes, much more comfortable to drive on. Then the road surface changes with an orange-brown material used which maintains a level surface. By this stage the Mitchell Highway is quite reasonable.
The road between Charleville and Cunnamulla is flat and mostly made up of long straight sections; there are no overtaking lanes.
Traffic was very light all day. We were passed by only one vehicle before Cunnamulla and met about a dozen going the other way, about half of these were caravans, there were three or four road trains and two wide load (agricultural machinery) which required some care while passing. One group of three caravans going in the other direction allowed a check on how far UHF transmissions travelled over flat, open ground. Noting how long it took to meet the group after we heard them talking to a harvester they were overtaking and applying estimated relative speed we calculated that we had heard them clearly from 12 kilometres away.
The mulga scrub around Charleville slowly gave way to more open grassland with scattered patches of eucalyptus and acacia as we approached Cunnamulla. The land is mainly used for cattle grazing although some sheep were grazing closer to Cunnamulla. Much of the road is unfenced and grids are often crossed; we only saw a couple of groups of cattle on or close to the road and slowed in case they moved in front of us unexpectedly, but they didn't move. Emus were present in substantial numbers, more than 50 all told, in groups of two to ten. Most kangaroos were roadkill although we did meet two kangaroos which ignored our roo whistles and dithered on the road like emus then began hoping along the road in front of us going in the same direction but slower; for a while it looked as if they would become roadkill but I was able to slow enough to avoid hitting them. Kangaroos usually remain under cover during the day but we were told in Eulo that a cloudy day upsets their daily habit and they can be out and about during the day.
Near Wyandra we passed a large truck full of goats, presumably bound for a meatworks. We had heard in Charleville that feral goats have become a valuable resource after regular markets for goat meat killed in accordance with Islamic religious requirements were established in Indonesia; a feral goat is now worth more than $60. Unfortunately, they are difficult to domesticate and do not thrive when restricted to a single paddock; they are also vulnerable to wild dogs which are an increasing problem in south-west Queensland.
About 18 km before Cunnamulla we passed a side-road sign announcing an irrigation farm. After that side road we noticed scraps of raw cotton in the roadside grass, a sure sign that bales of cotton have been carried along that road to the cotton gin for processing but whether that was to gins at St George or whether Cunnamulla has a gin we didn't know.
In Cunnamulla we refuelled then continued on across the very full Warrego River towards Eulo. This road was variously one and two lanes, mostly two lanes, with an acceptable surface; indeed, the road was generally better than the Warrego Highway. About 30 kilometres before Eulo we passed the first thick patch of mulga and mulga was present nearly continuously from there to Eulo.
Arriving in Eulo (population less than 100, one pub, one general store, one school, one police station) I checked in to the Eulo Queen Hotel which charged us $5 a head for an unpowered site on the grass behind the hotel. I parked beside a hanging tree which gave us a private enclosed and shaded area beside the caravan. In the evening we went into the hotel for dinner; the hotel seemed to be relying on travellers for its business.
|Travelling Australia - Charleville to Eulo - page 2|