Friday 12th November 2004
After catching the ferry back over to Townsville, we jumped in the car and headed inland into the outback towards Charters Towers. We'd made the decision that we wouldn't go up to Cairns as we'd got a bit of sick of beaches and bars. It's a hard life innit!?
Julie wasn't looking forward to driving in the outback, mainly because of the road trains. We'd heard that the road trains roar up behind you at serious speeds and the best thing is to pull off the road and get out of the way. The road trains are usually 3 or 4 trailers long and the units pulling them are big powerful things.
The first one we saw was going about 80Kmh (speed limit 110 Kmh) on a long flat road. You need at least 1Km of empty road ahead of you to get past these things. I stamped the pedal to the floor and flew past it. It seemed to take an age to get past the thing, Joo wouldn't have known as she had her eyes closed the whole time!
It was only a short hop from Townsville to Charters Towers (150 Km), so we decided to have a wander around the town. Joo finally managed to find a bikini in a town that's nowhere near the sea.
We had a 600Km drive to do the next day, so we got an early night at the motel.
Saturday 13th November 2004
We left Charters Towers early that morning for our long drive of over 600 Km's (370 miles). We're heading for a tiny place called McKinlay, which is the home of the 'Walkabout Creek Hotel' where they filmed 'Crocodile Dundee'.
After a couple of hundred K's, we swapped over driving and Joo took to the wheel. We'd only got about 15 Km's and noticed something on the horizon that just didn't seem to look quite right.
Whatever it was, it was taking up the whole of the road and we'd not seen anything coming the other way for sometime. As we got closer, we realised it was a big dumper truck being taken to a nearby mine.
The truck was being carried in 2 parts it was that big. Full police escort and wide load pilots were in front and behind it.
Joo was worried about the road trains but she didn't reckon she'd have to overtake something this size.
The wide load pilots advised us to overtake and we literally drove underneath one side of the dumper truck. One down..... one to go! We did the same on the second truck and finally made it past them.
The road down to McKinlay was classed as a major unsealed road on the map, which is ok for all vehicles. It was the longest 85Km's (50 miles) I'd ever driven. The road was shocking and was a mixture of sand, gravel, red dust and grass. It was more suited to a 4x4 to be honest, but the map assured us otherwise.
After finally making it to McKinlay, a drink was needed. Imagine driving Manchester to Blackpool on just a gravel road, with not a thing around you for miles. Pretty scary stuff!
The pub itself wasn't really anything special to be honest. There were pictures inside of when they were filming the movie and a collection of dodgy merchandise.
McKinlay's population doubled when we arrived and there's very little to do there. It's home to the largest silver mine in the world and the road trains coming up from the mine always stop at McKinlay roadhouse to fill up.
This was our only option for food, so we joined the truck drivers and had steak and eggs.
I have to say that the steak was the biggest I'd seen and the most tastiest.
With the lack of entertainment on offer, we went to back our motel room and got some well earned rest.
Here's the piccies....
Look at the size of this beast!
Walkabout Creek - McKinlay