Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
20 June 2011 - Winton to Hughenden
After leaving the Matilda Country Caravan Park we stopped in Winton to have a cup of coffee at the Bakery then headed off along the Kennedy Developmental Road to Hughenden.

The Kennedy Developmental Road was one of those developmental road which had changed. The bitumen was mostly two lanes wide and good quality; there were no sections of the single bitumen lane characteristic of developmental roads. But there was no gravel verge to the bitumen; Mitchell Grass clumps grew to the edge of the bitumen and hung over onto the road surface. That promised to be very rough if driven on. Traffic coming the other way was mostly 4WDs but we did pull over for one fuel tanker road train and the edge was rough indeed; fortunately we were moving slowly by the time we pulled off the bitumen. Another unusual feature was the fence on both sides of the road, except for a few kilometres around the village of Corfield.

A string of high tension power lines on tall concrete poles along the road and several microwave repeater towers on higher points near the road made it all seem very civilised. One section was being rebuilt and side roads had been laid on the black clay natural surface for seven kilometres; there hadn't been any rain for more than a week so these side roads were reasonable. There had been extensive patching and rebuilding along the road, there were even some sections with the beginning of a central line and for a while we had the unusual sight on a developmental road of continuous white lines along the edges of the bitumen indicating a full width road surface.

We were later told that the Queensland Government had made a deal with local authorities under which the government paid for the upgrade to the Winton-Hughenden road as compensation for removing the railway line. The railway track runs alongside the road and we could see dismantling in progress. At first all we could see was the remaining ballast after rails had been taken away; low bridges across stream beds had been remover but timber sleepers were in disorganised piles. As we moved towards Hughenden, about 100 kilometres from Winton we began seeing heavy machinery on the railway track and finally came to the grab lifting rails and putting them on a road train trailer; sleepers were now neatly stacked.

The road was mostly long straight sections. The surface was nearly level but undulated up and down over about three metres so it was never dead flat. There were no cuttings or embankments; the road had been laid directly on the plain and conforms with the natural surface which is defined as rolling Mitchell Grass Plains.

This is nominally cattle country but for much of the time the wide-open Mitchell Grass Plain in every direction was devoid of animals. We passed a few cattle grazing but not many for a region concentrating on cattle; but a large flock of sheep near the road was confirmation that some properties remain in the wool industry. Eight or nine emus near the road just after leaving Winton was the largest group of birds seen; even the few roadkill (mainly kangaroos with one sheep) lacked crows, eagles or kites feeding on them.

We stopped at Corfield for a hot drink; about half a dozen houses and the Club. Beside the Corfield Club a free camping area has been established complete with toilet - presumably in the hope that free campers will have a meal in the Club. Across the road is a large bitumen rest area but a sign there warns against camping. Traffic at Corfield was mostly caravans with four vans in the rest area at one time. While we were at the Corfield rest area three cows wandered across the highway and into the distance. They were walking in line and appeared to have a definite destination but we couldn't wee what it was. Stamford, 61 kilometres from Hughenden, was about the same size as Corfield (possibly smaller); we didn't stop there.

Mitchell Grass Plains Mitchell Grass Plains beside the Winton-Hughenden Road about 50 kilometres south west of Hughenden. Most parts of the plains have fewer trees and shrubs than shown here.

At about Stamford we crossed the watershed out of the Diamantina River catchment of the Lake Eyre Basin into the catchment of the Flinders River flowing north into the Gulf of Carpentaria. The rolling plains extend unbroken from Winton to Hughenden; they appear flat to the eye and a contour map showing streams is needed to detect the change. The few streams seen from the road were dry.
Travelling Australia - Winton to Hughenden - page 2
Arriving in Hughenden we followed the GPS to the large caravan park we had previously selected and checked in for a week. After setting up we went to have a look at Hughenden and to collect tourist information from the Information Centre. Then back to the van for a quiet evening. The day had been fairly warm, with blue sky, no cloud and bright sunshine but the night promised to be cold.

daily map