Australia’s Longest Shortcut

On the Road again….

Our big Adventure had begun. You may remember that we had started across the Outback Way, known as Australia’s Longest Shortcut, prior to our months of work in the Outback. Having driven from Perth to Laverton, and then to Uluru, we now were planning to complete the journey across the Great Central Road to the east and Brisbane.

Straight roads become the norm..

We had so much packed in the back of our new Four-Wheel Drive, I wasn’t sure whether we would be able to find toom to sleep. We would have to make a space, however, because we had many miles head of us. First, we headed to Alice Springs. We had a room booked for the night there as we had had 7 months of a rather uncomfortable bed and we were looking forward to a luxurious night for our first night on the road.

Cattle watch us as we drive by….

Our first leg was supposed to take us ten hours according to Google- it was about 480km, and a lot of that was rough Outback tracks. We extended that by taking a few explorations down inviting looking roads and wandering our way back to civilization. Alice Springs had been where we were buying our groceries while in the Outback, so we had visited before, but it was a welcome sight. Here we really felt as if we were on the road again, as we stocked up on food for the next few days and then sought out our accommodation. Unfortunately, our bed was no more comfortable than the one supplied by our previous employers, but we were going to get used to all types of beds over the next few years.

An early start on the first full day of our trip and we headed north for 68 km, finding the beginning of the Plenty Highway that would take us across the centre of Australia to Boulia, Winton, and onto Brisbane. As always on Outback roads, we kept our fuel tank full, topping up whenever there was an opportunity. Sometimes there can be hundreds of kilometres between fuel stops. However, fuel was far from our minds as we turned onto the narrow road and set out on the lonely road east. Excitement ruled.

Good looking cattle.

We hit gravel about 100 km later and after that it was long straight roads, heat and dust. We stopped at Jervois Homestead for fuel after 280 km and carried on through the day. We enjoy the company and the songs, the quiet and the feeling of being ‘away from it all’. There was no need to rush, so we just drove steadily on. The scenery slowly changed, and various animals watched as we past. We crossed into Queensland at Tobermorey and were now on the Donohue Highway.

The gravel road ends, but the straight road doesn’t….

Tobermorey to Boulia is another 250 km, but the miles kept rolling by. Already we felt like we were getting closer to civilization again- it hadn’t been as far as we had expected Dusk was falling as we drove into the home of the unexplained Min Min lights, but they were not showing themselves to us. We found a camp off the road at some ruins and spend a much more comfortable night in the back of our car than we had the previous night in a bed that we had paid for! Despite sleeping on top of most of our clothes and other miscellaneous junk, we managed to make a nice soft nest- which is just as well as there were a few more nights to spend on the roadside yet!

Lovely looking water at Boulia

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