From Maryborough we turned inland to explore central and western QLD. The first long day via the back roads took us to Miles, where we found a lovely riverside free camp for the night. After a quick visit to the information centre to buy a cloth badge we hit the road again headed for Charleville.
Charleville is a cool town with heaps to do and see.
The draw card is definitely the Bilby Experience, where you get to see these critters up close and even pat them. Not only was it an educational experience, but also the bilbies are awesome with their huge ears and expression-full eyes.
Of all the things I learned it was the fact about the Easter bilbies chocolates and the donated money that struck a cord. Apparently, the only Easter Bilbies that actually donate money to the conservation of the bilbies are the ones that have the green ‘Save the Bilby Fund’ label attached. Any other chocolate bilbies do NOT donate money to save this cute furry little critter. So please spread the word for this coming Easter (soap box speech over).
We also visited the Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory. Unfortunately due to the heat we were not able to do the viewing of the sun, but we took full advantage of playing in the Cosmos Centre. Another educational experience was definitely making up for the lack of schooling. We learned how the astronauts lived in the space stations, about how meteorites fall to earth, saw actual space rocks and learned how historical figures viewed space. It was pretty cool and had heaps of interactive things to play with.
From Charleville we headed towards Quilpie and found ourselves on another important road, the Diamantina Development Road. According to the sign, it is the longest road in Australia, stretching from Charleville to Mt Isa. Quilpie was a cool little town, famous for their boulder opals. The church had the most amazing boulder opal decorated altar, font and pulpit. Given our recent love of finding shiny things in the ground, we decided to try our hand at boulder opal fossicking. Luckily there was an area just outside of town that provided for that experience. We found some lovely bits to take home.
From Quilpie to Eromanga, the road provided some really interesting sculptures and natural phenomena. Our best guess for the trees looking like they were split horizontally was goats, but unlike some other places we did not see a single goat in the area. If anyone else has any suggestions would love to hear them.
The weather was against us again with rain not only on the horizon but closing in. I know that these areas are in desperate need of rain and I won’t begrudge any one that, it did make it a little difficult to camp and to get out and see things.
We did spend a little more time at the Eromanga Pub than we intended, but it was raining and it was also the best place to see what was going on in the town. The most exciting thing was watching a truck carrying a truck recovery vehicle and backing it down the main road. Pretty impressive! We also decided that we wouldn’t order a seafood basket at the pub…given that it was the furthest town away from the sea, we were pretty sure the fish would have been frozen.
Our only disappointment was that the Eromanga Natural History Museum was closed. We could have added yet another dinosaur experience to the list.