Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
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5 August 2011 - Belyando Crossing to Clermont
Vans staying at Belyando Crossing Roadhouse are parked nose to tail in two lines of three; the first in the line (we were in that position) can leave when they wish but those behind can move on only if they can get past other vans. Neighbouring caravans had all gone by the time we were ready. As we were making the final preparation to leave we were investigated by the local apostle-bird gang, bigger than most - about 30 birds - who investigated our van with much loud twittering and running about. At one stage we thought they were going to jump into the caravan in their eternal search; but they soon moved on and we last saw them investigating a cattle road-train parked outside the roadhouse, as noisy and active as ever.

A sign beside the Gregory Developmental Road at Belyando Crossing advises travellers they are entering the Central Highland so we were not surprised to find the road gradually, but definitely, climbing. The crossing (across the Belyando River, hence the name) is at 189 metres elevation but we were soon at an elevation of between 230 and 260 metres. The road was generally reasonable with two lanes so passing oncoming traffic was easy but there were three sections, each up to ten kilometres long, where the surface was rough and very uncomfortable. Traffic remained light with road-trains and caravans in the majority.

Apostle-birds were feeding along the road verge in large numbers and crows were gathered in groups on some of the road kill. We saw one eagle; unlike eagles seen previously this one took-off from the road-kill well before we arrived and reached a safe height in good time. There were not a lot of roadkill carcasses; possibly because traffic seemed fairly light.

We stopped for a break 86 kilometres from Belyando Crossing in an official rest area covered in bitumen with white lines showing where trucks and caravans could park. While at that rest area we heard brolgas and looked up to see a flock of about twenty circling as they gained height. Shortly after we saw brolgas in a crop of harvested cotton; it seemed late in the season for cotton but one corner of this crop had been missed by the harvester and the cotton was easy to identify. We had been seeing scraps of raw cotton along the road for some time; this raw cotton escapes from cotton bales being transported to the gin and lies in the grass along the road to the gin, presumably the Emerald cotton gin. Just beyond the cotton paddock we passed several very large paddocks of sorghum ready for harvesting. But this was not the beginning of a cropping region; once we were past the last sorghum paddock the natural woodland, complete with cattle, dominated the scenery.

The weather was unusual; cool to cold in the morning with cloud increasing. Then a few minutes of very fine rain to get our attention.

Approaching Clermont we passed coal mine spoil dumps and conveyor systems near the road. This town prides itself on the number of working coal mines nearby. In town, we followed a good series of signs to the caravan park; it was just about full but I had previously booked and we set set up on a big, well laid-out site.

After lunch we drove around Clermont for a while then returned to the van. At about sunset there was a brief shower of rain which cleared quickly. Clermont is at an elevation of 278 metres.

Brolgas in flight A flight of brolgas soaring together to gain height about 80 kilometres north of Clermont.

Belyando Crossing to Clermont - page 2
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