Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
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10 July 2013

Soudan Bore to WWII Memorial rest area
A strong, gusty wind had made the caravan rock a little during the night and kept the branches noisily moving in the bloodwood tree we had stopped under. The noise of the wind faded away sometime during the night and by morning the wind was mild but, nevertheless, still obvious. There was some high cloud but the weather was generally fine.

Shortly after leaving Soudan the Barkly Highway entered grassland stretching away on both sides of the road. This was similar to the grasses we had crossed on the Tableland Highway yesterday but with the difference that there were few cattle in sight here. Grassland continued until after the NT/Qld border; by the time we reached the border outside air temperature was 26°C and the wind had increased to be a main factor in driving; several comments were heard on the UHF radio about the problems of accelerating against this wind. Sometimes it wasn't clear whether it was the road or the wind moving the caravan around.

The quality of the Barkly Highway noticeably deteriorated after we left Soudan and the surface became rougher than we have experienced on major Northern Territory roads during this trip. Deterioration had been so marked that a major rebuild was in progress on the last 20 kilometres before entering Queensland. This project involved building side roads as detours then ripping up the original road and building a new one. The first section of the rebuild was finished and the result was most satisfactory but there were many kilometres yet to rebuild and the detour went past several kilometres of the original road yet to be ripped up.

We stopped at the border for a cup of coffee in the van; then stopped again in Camooweal for fuel.

East of Camooweal, heading towards Mt Isa, the flat grassland we had been crossing for most of the way since leaving Soudan rest area was replaced by trees and undergrowth growing on hilly terrain. The road was no longer flat and straight but usually going up or down a hill, often while going around a bend. The road was also gently rising and by the time we stopped at Inca Creek for lunch the road was at an elevation of 331 metres, 100 metres above Camooweal's elevation of 231 metres.

After we left Inca Creek the vegetation and road continued the same with a further increase in elevation to 393 metres at the WWII Monument rest area a further 66 kilometres from Inca Creek. This monument was established to commemorate the construction of the Barkly Highway during the Second World War and is the site of a large free camping area which is so big, and with so much scattered vegetation, that it is not possible to see all the caravans there. We pulled in to one section clear of vans and by dusk there were ten others in sight, well spaced out, and we knew there were other hidden by vegetation.

One reason for being well back from the road was that the Barkly Highway here was on a hill and the numerous road trains passing the rest area were noisy as they climbed the hill.

high aircraft We were under the air route between Brisbane and Darwin and frequently heard high-flying aircraft. This one had the setting sun, already below the horizon from the ground, shining up into the engine exhaust.
Soudan to WWII Memorial - page 2
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