Day 78 – Wednesday, 10 August 2022

What a night!!!!!! It stayed very humid, and there was almost no breeze at all. Barry came to see us while we were eating tea at 6:00pm. He is the station rep who collects the site fees – $15.00 per person, per night.

We paid for one night only, with the plan in mind that we would re-assess the situation when we woke up this morning.

After tea, with all the windows and skylights open, it was still oppressive. The camp was dark and quiet as most seemed to have retired already.

After our long journey we were both tired and were in bed (sweating profusely) by 8:30pm. By this time Russ was experiencing very hot feet, none of which helps him cope with his anxiety, even with the invertor on and the fan blowing. I filled the red bucket with water and he often sat up, put each foot in the bucket, then laid down again to try and sleep.

We did nod off, but it was most uncomfortable. I woke up about 11:36pm (and couldn’t believe I still had most of the night to try and get through) and went to the loo and had a drink of water. Unfortunately, I was wide awake but overtired. I lay there for ages and then the most unexpected event occurred. It started to rain!! We probably only got between one and two millimetres, but the breeze that came with the rain turned into a wind.

I woke Russ up to close the skylights in the main section of the van while I attended to the ones in the ensuite. We had to close two of the windows but were able to leave the others open. We didn’t even need to put the awning down as the wind was on the opposite side of the van.

Russ informed me that he had received an email from Fitzroy Crossing that said they were not taking bookings but had plenty of available sited if we turned up. Wow, we had a plan with power and water.

After that Russ promptly went back to sleep and I grabbed my little lightweight blanket. I finally fell asleep once again about 1:30pm.

We woke up to a humid, but much cooler morning. We were all packed up and ready to move out at 9:37am. We are unable to get a site before 11:00am at Fitzroy Crossing so there is no hurry.

Russ spotted a bird in the tree as we were moving off and grabbed my camera to get some shots. It turned out to be a Paperbark Flycatcher, another bird we have not seen or photographed before.

The temperature was already hovering around 31 degrees as we left Larrawa. We had a short break along the gravel road to take photos of wildflowers, and then continued onto the highway.

The landscape began to change once again. The travel is never boring as we spend our time on the lookout for noteworthy photos, be it rock formations, road surfaces off into the distance, floodways, one lane bridges, and let’s not forget the birdlife. I am just amazed at the quality of some of the pictures which have been taken from the moving vehicle

and through the front windscreen during our long journey. I love my camera.

The landscape changed from very hilly to flat plains, fat termite mounds instead of tall ones, no large trees but plenty of saplings, and savannah grass as far as the eye can see. There are also the ubiquitous spinifex bushes (and yes, mum, they are still sharply pointed as I backed into one while getting my wildflower shots earlier). To add insult to injury I also got bitten by a green ant which hasn’t happened since the days in Townsville.

Yesterday I took 579 photos and today I added another 250 to that.

The Ngumpan Cliffs were passed about 10:30am. They are spectacular rock formations dotted with clumps of spinifex bushes.

After the cliffs we dropped down onto a plain, and we then had trees instead of bushes, and a thicker understory. We also encountered much more traffic than all of yesterday, going in both directions, which is weird as we are still travelling the Great Northern Highway.

A lot of the journey was spent travelling in a northerly direction, but sometimes the road turned enough to register north, and north-west.

As we got closer to Fitzroy Crossing, we once again came across a couple of one lane bridges. At least we didn’t have to contend with traffic from either direction as we crossed.

Directions from Wikicamps had us turning off the highway about four kilometres from Fitzroy Crossing township. The Fitzroy River Lodge is a fairly extensive operation. They have over 100 caravan sites with power and water available, two large unpowered areas (most of those lack shade), a large safari tent area where we think they hosted school groups before Covid, 45 rooms in the motel style lodge built around a swimming pool (which other park users can also use), studio apartments overlooking the Fitzroy River, tennis courts, bar and restaurant. It is a slick operation and the ladies at the reception desk were delighful.

We paid our fees for the next three nights – $52 per night -(which will bring our schedule back into line), we were given a map, shown the few sites we couldn’t use as they are for larger rigs and more expensive, and told to put our receipt onto the dash of the vehicle and pick whatever spot we liked to park and set up.

We were able to drive through onto our chosen location and it has shade and is not too far from the laundry facilities. They also gave us a voucher which would give us a 5% discount at the local IGA store.

Once we were inside with the air conditioner going Russ took another look at the schedule (a big mistake to have let him see it) and he requested that I try to get an extra day at the start of our booking at Carnarvon.

We were lucky that the office could oblige us so I really need to revamp the schedule so it is up to date (and then I may have to hide it!). However, this stop at Fitzroy Crossing does give us the opportunity to see Geikie Gorge which hadn’t been on our list until now.

We have lots of birds in the trees around us, and still has some humidity in the air, but it is not as hot as they last few days.

The internet is very slow so I am hoping that it will manage to speed up just a bit tomorrow morning when less people are using it. This should enable us to update the blog and photos before we print the diary and send it off. If not, we will head into town and find a Telstra Air spot to do our business.