|Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
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|28 June 2011 - Richmond to Julia Creek|
Thickening cloud yesterday afternoon had produced a little rain after sunset but it didn't last; the night was dry and warmer than previous nights. The caravan park had filled up yesterday afternoon with a large number of caravans staying hooked up; we were one of those which had stayed connected and were soon on our way in the morning. The weather was a little cloudy with a cool wind which would be a tailwind for us today.
We soon left Richmond behind on the Flinders Highway bound for Julia Creek 146 kilometres away. The land was the same rolling Mitchell Grass Plains we had crossed between Hughenden and Richmond. The road was two-lanes of bitumen; sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy. The tail wind was also a factor in car and van moving around but the major element was the road as we discovered when we came to a smooth section and the bouncing and bumping stopped. The railway line ran beside the road and several sets of high-voltage electrical cables on tall concrete poles ran parallel with the road. The road passes three or four very small villages (population about 10) but otherwise there are no signs of human habitation; any pastoral homesteads are out of sight back from the road.
Traffic was very light. Nine caravans and one motorhome passed us going in the opposite direction and one road train with four trailers usually used for ore carrying also passed in the opposite direction. There was only a handful of other traffic (trucks and sedans). We passed a few herds of cattle and one of sheep. Emus have been absent for today and yesterday but today we saw a group of three brolgas. Most roadkill were kangaroos although some pigs were also dead on the side of the road.
We stopped for a cup of coffee at the only rest area on this stretch of road and listened to the wind over the caravan roof. But the tail wind kept fuel consumption down to 18.7 litres per 100 kilometres for the day.
Arriving in Julia Creek we made our way to the council caravan park and checked in for two night. After setting up we went to the information centre then walked along the shops. In Julia Creek the shops are adjacent to each other along a shopping street. Previous towns we visited have had shops scattered around several blocks.
On the edge of the township along the banks of Julia Creek where the old highway crosses is a council designated free-camping area which is a pleasantly grassy spot within easy distance of the shopping centre. Council support for free-camping is usually successfully opposed by local caravan park owners as unwanted competition but in Julia Creek the council owns and operates the caravan park as a means of attracting visitors and a free-camping area complements the caravan park in working towards that goal. Several times in our travels local tourism people have explained their primary goal is to persuade travellers to stop overnight in their township; their next goal is to convince travellers to extend their stay to two nights. In both cases the ultimate goal is to benefit from travellers' expenditure and council operated caravan park and free-camping area make a lot of sense when these business goals are understood.