We were tired, dusty and happy as we flopped into bed after day 1. Still dusty but not so tired the next morning we made the stroll up the famous Big Red sand dune for a look.
It was just beautiful up there. Kaz took heaps if her great photographs. Chloe rolled around on the steep hills with all the other kids while Noah and I hatched a plan to grab Jack and come back here for a “boys trip” across the Simpson. I really am looking forward to going back up on another trip without the crowds.
Once the music was back on we were treated to the likes of The Chantoozies, 1927, Mark Gable, Bjorn Again, Chocolate Starfish and the Living End.
My favorites were both bands I wouldn’t normally go for. Chocolate Starfish and The Living End absolutely tore it up… unreal! What great live acts.
Both these bands have Bjorn Again to thank for really warming the crowd up. They were brillant and for the first time got every single one of the (reportedly) 10 000 strong crowd on their feet. What a great moment.
A nice moment was a tribute to INXS which featured a few of the great artists singing classics like Never Tear Us Apart, Devil Inside and Steve Balbi doing Don’t Change – he really got the crowd going.
We rolled back into bed double-dusty and exhausted. We were treated to an “after concert” by a keen fire side fellow on his guitar. He sang with gusto and confidence but sadly no-one in our tent would have turned our red “Voice” chairs.
We were up bright and early as we had an idea the road out to “Bashville” (thats what they call the site) could be busy. As we headed on out we were really impressed at the welcome at the gates and how quickly we were escorted to our camp spot. Lots of cars, dust and people about but generally a smooth and stress free experience.
We set up in a flash like the seasoned professionals that we are. After meeting the new neighbours we loaded the esky and promptly headed to the concert area.
There was soon and official opening of the ‘Bash done by important people. A very moving “Welcome To Country” was actually a highlight of the day for us as we have become very aware of acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we are so privileged to experience.
The national anthem was included in this ceremony with half of it being sung in what I assume is the local dialect (think of the style the NZ anthem is presented). It was brillant and we would love to see this done all the time.
Dale Ryder of Boom Crash Opera, was first up and brought back many happy memories of seeing BCO at Patricks Night Club in Penant Hills… 30 years ago! The likes of Mark Williams and Richard Clapton kept the memories flooding back.
One of the best acts on the first night was Steve Balbi of Noiseworks fame. He has been a solo act for a lot of years now and did not disappoint.
He put in a great set consisting of mainly his own material but also a few wildly reworked Noiseworks classics. I will be sure not to miss him when he is next in Orange as he was fantastic.
The next two days were so epic I am going to blog them up in a second post.
The day had nearly arrived. We got ourselves to Birdsville the afternoon before, what did we find?
Unsurprisingly there were a few other people around. The place was mayhem! There were cars and people everywhere. Closed roads, a cop on every corner moving traffic around and orange jumpsuit SES people organising the really really long fuel queue.
After doing a lap of what is normally a sleepy few streets, we joined that queue and the girls promptly abandoned ship and for a look around. As well as the mission of finding the ticket collection point they found hot chips and doughnuts.
We refueled and camped at the town common with all the people we met in the fuel and doughnut queue that day. It may sound like no fun at all but, there was good vibes, friendly smiles and excitement in the air!
The ‘Bash starts tomorrow and will no doubt need its own blog post so stay tuned.
We have made it! The run down from Bedourie to Birdsville was an easy little 188km jaunt. A few short little sections of dirt reminded us that we need to prepare Myrtle a bit before the corrugations and dust.
We spent our night at Bedourie in the the council run campground. Cheap, a laundry, clean showers and an added bonus, the town pool right next door!
The main pool was heated to a very nice 30° but the artesian spa was dialled up to 40°! We boiled very quickly in there and was snap frozen like Birdseye peas on deaprture out of the tub! It was freezing in the wind.
The town had hosted their annual camel and pig raes only a day before so there was the added bonus of a coffee from one of the vendors in town on our depature.
We had a great time. We wished our stay wasn’t just a quick overnighter but it was on to the main event, BRB 2019.
When I was 18 I did a bus trip with friends to Darwin and we spent some time in Longreach. I really can’t remember what we did (it was over 25 years ago, and, you know, beer was involved…) but I know we went to the Stockmans Hall of Fame. Round two visit, in 2019, the Smiths spent a long time in there, recognising a whole lot of places we have already been to, such as Kununurra, Katherine and Mataranka.The Stockmans Show was also great. Lachie demonstrated (with hilarious ‘Dad humour’ jokes) some skills involving horses, sheep, clever dogs and not-so-clever dogs. Apparently his guitar was also a Maton 808, therefore have equal value as the best kelpie there.Noah discovered that the streets running north/south were named after land birds such as Emu and Hawke whereas the east/west streets were named after water birds – Swan and Duck. So much history around here for our younger history nerd. Much excitement as the the old Cobb & Co wagon clip clipped down the street.More tours – now the Qantas Museum. In 2002 a 1979 Boeing 747 (City of Bunbury) landed at Longreach, never to leave again – it was destined for the museum and the runway was too short for it to take off again. Chloe is now going to be a pilot and fly her family all over the world. She even made us some tickets for first class! The is also an old 707 (City of Canberra) in the lot, previously owned by Michael Jackson and quite lavishly decorated in late 1970s style.Next stop is Winton where I’m sure we will meet more Big Bash peeps.
We have got some kilometers under our belt now as we headed over the border into enemy territory.
First step out of the car onto the Queensland soil was the lovely town of St George on the Balonne River. What a beautiful town. The massive river remimded me of the Murray complete with red gums and bird life. We had a nice lunch, a coffee and a look around.
We treated ourselves to a van park stopover in Roma as we were a little damp and stinky. Although the park owner was very friendly and helpful, in his own words “there is nothing to see here in Roma… it is just a stopover”. I disagree, the warm showers were well worth it!
Out of Roma we decided to head west towards Augathella. We did have plans to try for Canarvon NP but felt that it was just a bit out of our way. We also wanted some extra days in Longreach and Winton areas.
We camped in a beatiful spot on the Barcoo River at Tambo near the site of the first Qantas crash site. The town common is a free camp area but we enjoyed it so much it was very easy to spend some $$ in the town to help support them.
The “Tambo Teddies” are a famous name in Australian craft circles (so I am told). Chloe came out the shop with Harriett under her wing and she is already much loved. In the 1990s the recessionp hit the wool industry here and the town started to make pure wool teddies, leather and all. We watched them being made and saw a fresh piece of wool/hide ready to be the next teddy.
Lunch was in Barcaldine and a political history lesson under The Tree of Knowledge. This is where the Australian Labor Party started. We turned around and counted six pubs along the same street and wondered if the late Bob Hawke had been to every one of them.
We will be in Longreach by now. Hopefully I wont be the only person drinking ‘New in the pub tonight 🤤. Go the Blues!
The day has finally come and we are back on the road. We had a leisurely run out of Orange, up to Dubbo and onwards.
The most exciting thing that happend enroute may appear minor and inconsequential but it has truly saved my sanity. I have been chasing a rattle under the dash ever since the the Gibb Rr Rd last year. I have pulled the whole dash board apart over the last 10 months looking for it with no luck.
Let me set the scene for you:
Me: I can not find this ****ing noise! It has to be right there somewhere (pointing at the dash).
Kaz: Maybe its the CD stacker?
What do you know… ejecting the 6 CDs fixed it!
We decided a little place called Cumborah would do for the night. Piling out of the car we had Myrtle up in no time and we were soon sitting around the Noah fire enjoying a drink.
We have brought away with us a little fire pit called “The Wedge”. Kaz miss-read it and hense forth it will be known as “The Weirdo”.
We had a great time feeding wood to The Weirdo, eating our snags and planning our next days drive.
Half an hour after hitting the sack the pitter-patter of rain drops sent us off to sleep. What a nice overnighter area. Cost is by donation only and we were happy to pop a few $$ in the box.
The next morning we made the short drive to the bustling metropolis that is Lightning Ridge. Lots of holes in the ground and lots of tourists as well!
We visited the local MPS to say hello as Kaz has made a few trips out here in her district role. It was a good time to drop by as they were celebrating NAIDOC Week with a delicious cake! (sorry… no pic… eating!)