Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
1 August 2013

Fletcher Creek to Campaspe River
Another cold night and morning (7.5 °C at 6:30 a.m. is cold as far as we are concerned) but the sun quickly warmed things (the gas heater in the caravan helped warm us). The sun was bright enough to begin charging the caravan battery via the solar panels shortly after eight o'clock. The Fletcher Creek rest area is renowned for the long time people stay there, we understand that up to 30 days is permitted, so there was not the usual morning exodus of caravans we take part in from other rest area, most of which have a 20 hour limit. We were one of the few caravans leaving this morning with more than twenty firmly established and staying in place.

Once out on the Gregory Developmental Road we saw more of this well-known rest area. The part we had stayed in, on the northern side of the Creek and eastern side of the road, was the formal Fletcher Creek rest area. For up to 15 kilometres in both directions on the Gregory DevelopmentalRoad formal blue and white roadside signs indicated this as the rest area. But across the Creek, land on both sides of the road is also used as a rest area; vans are lined along the creek in both directions as far as the eye can see and more caravans are set up back from the creek. From a quick look as we drove past we estimate at least 80 to 100 caravans were free camping. There was plenty of space for more arrivals.

The Gregory Developmental Road was a good two-lane road for the 40 kilometres into Charters Towers. The land was mainly open woodland with some very large boulders scattered around indicating the volcanic origins of the region. In Charters Towers we made our way to the public dump point joining a queue of five caravans to use the facility. After refuelling we left Charters Towers on the Flinders Highway heading inland. The Flinders Highway is a major Queensland highway linking Townsville with Cloncurry (and on to Mt Isa via the Barkly Highway) and carries large volumes of traffic for Mt Isa. Unlike the Gregory and Flinders Developmental Highways we had been for the past few days which carried very light traffic, the Flinders Highway was busy with road trains frequently passing in both directions.

The road was a good two-lane one with quite a good surface and built with many long and straight stretches, many of which were fairly flat. But overall the land was fairly hilly as we made our way across the Dividing Range. Vegetation was still mostly the woodland we had been traversing for several days but there was a tendency towards fairly low trees (to about three or four metres) with a mallee type of growth where several trunks grow from the same point on the ground. Apart from a succession of very small villages (supposedly established as Cobb and Co horse changing stations in the 1800s) there were no houses along the road. This remains cattle country and there were entrances to properties marked by a gate set back from the road with a wide, gravel roadway.

The railway line from Townsville to Mt Isa runs mostly beside the road; this line is fairly busy with mine traffic.

campaspe river The Campaspe River - not a drop of water in sight. The bridge is on the Townsville - Mt Isa railway line.
1 August 2013 - page 2
Just before midday we reached our destination for the day at the rest area beside the Campaspe River and stopped for the night. The rest area (with a toilet, water tank and two picnic shelters) held about fourteen caravans by sunset and was still not full. Noise was occasionally obvious since we had the highway with frequent road trains on one side and the railway line on the other with three trains in the afternoon. But noise was short term and not really a problem.

daily map