My last post ended at Birdsville, but this starts with a few pods drawn in Innamincka. Birdsville was busy and a bit impersonal, large numbers of people on their way either to or from the Simpson Desert, ready for a shower and a chance to catch up on washing. The next destination was Bedourie, but serendipity struck again – the road was dry, dusty and featureless till suddenly we came upon masses of yellow flowers, bushes, small trees and found we were at Eyre Creek. The creek was alive with birds, pelicans as usual, spoonbills striding through the shallows sweeping their bills from side to side in the water, black ibis, terns, and zebra finches in the bushes. After taking lots of photos we went a short way up the road and by chance found a rest area with a good toilet (always a bonus!) and bird hides right by the creek. We stopped for lunch, then looked at each other and said ‘bush camp?’ The answer of course was yes, and we settled in. More birds, including budgies and whistling kites, appeared for a magical evening.
The next significant stop for us was Porcupine Gorge, having been heading north then eastwards. After booking a campsite at the Hughenden information centre we were on our way again, with a short stop at the side of the road to search for fossils, in particular belemnites, cylindrical blue-brown objects between 20 and 60 or so cm long. They were part of cuttlefish like creatures that became extinct about 60 million years ago. Once we learned to recognise them we found a lot, mostly split in half horizontally but a couple of complete ones.
Porcupine Gorge was another treat, very much like Karijini in Western Australia in colour and landform, red soils and imposing red white and brown walls. A good walk down into the bottom, then an easy walk along the floor as far as we could go. Fish in the remaining pools and a stream making its way through which would become a torrent in the wet season. During the night we could hear wildlife all around, but only caught sight of a small marsupial, probably a bettong. Early in the night we heard noises close outside, rushed out just in time to catch a guilty looking bettong with its head in our water bucket, which it had tipped over, and was drinking the resultant puddle. The vegetation in the gorge was a bit different from close by, unusual low growing trees with small fruit in particular.
Next morning on the road again, towards the Undarra Lava Tubes.