Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
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30 June 2011 - Julia Creek to Mt Isa
Yesterday's rain had gone in the morning although there were still some muddy patches and pools around the caravan park. We packed up and connected without difficulty and were away through Julia Creek township a few minutes after 9 o'clock.

The road continued west from Julia Creek towards Cloncurry pretty much as it had for the two previous legs from Hughenden to Richmond and Richmond to Julia Creek; the land was gently undulating open grassland, sometimes with scattered trees and shrubs. Occasionally lines of trees were visible along watercourses, other trees were woody weeds. Road surface was variable but mostly fairly good.

Traffic on the Flinders Highway was remarkably light, continuing the trend of the previous two travelling days. On the 256 kilometres between Julia Creek and Mt Isa we passed 56 recreational vehicles (caravans, motorhomes, fifth-wheelers, camper trailers) going the other way. There seemed to be at least one of these in sight nearly all the time. The next largest category was road trains (cattle, ore, or general cargo); we passed 11 of these. Otherwise there was a handful of 4WD and sedans with a sprinkling of conventional trucks.

The weather remained quite good with a blue sky and moderate wind from behind.

One hundred kilometres from Julia Creek we came to the end of the Mitchell Grassland. The soil colour changed to red with pointed termite nests common (we hadn't seen a single termite nest on the black clay grassland but now they were widespread). Open eucalyptus woodland lined the road and bloodwoods were easy to identify among the trees by their flower bud clusters. We have been seeing bloodwoods about to flower for many weeks now and promising a spectacular display but they don't get around to giving that display. An understory of acacia shrubs with yellow flowers on glossy pale green leaves provided interesting contrast with the eucalyptus. The end of the grasslands was also the end of the flat and level road. Now we were in hillier country; fairly often with exposed boulders along the road or on the nearby hills.

We passed through Cloncurry without stopping and continued along the Flinders Highway towards Mt Isa. This was a hillier road winding through rocky ridges and peaks of nearly bare red rock. Traffic remained very light.

Arriving at Mt Isa we made our way to the selected caravan park and set up for about six nights. Then we went to the shopping area to catch up before returning to the van for a quiet, warm evening.
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