Plenty to see on the Plenty Highway
Leaving Bouila we headed off down the Donohue Highway to Tobermorey.
The road was written up as a pretty terrible, full of corrugations, bull dust holes and other perils. Disappointingly, there were very few of these. It seems that things have been on the improve. There was plenty of bitumen.
But it was still a long and dusty drive to Tobermorey. Here the facilities were a little basic, when the station generator was going the lights were on and the shower water pumped plenty nice and hot. When the generator wasn’t on none of this happened. Allthego was caught short all lathered up when bingo, the generator went out. 10 minutes later it came on again and all was well for Allthego. Now there is a Tobermorey on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. Nothing like this cattle station in western Queensland! But, like in Scotland, there was plenty of green grass to set up on so it was a very pleasant stopover.
Next morning we were off down the road to Jervois cattle station. We crossed into the Northern Territory and joined the Plenty Highway for the 220 km journey. Now this was all gravel with plenty of corrugations, but again not too bad. Wouldn’t like to have the family sedan on it though. A highlight along this stretch was stopping at a turkey mound (hope I have this right) beside the road. Now, in the natural world these so called turkey mounds occur where the water ‘leaks’ out of the artesian basin to the surface and forms ponds.. Graziers have humped these up above the surrounding plain to form mounds, these days adding pumps to assist the natural flow. They are havens for birds. We saw plenty of finches and a few parrots and ducks.
Jervois Station was a little more basic than Tobermorey. How much? Well it was a 300 metre walk to the facilities. And it was plenty dark too! But the showers were plenty hot and there were no generator issues. The highlight here was completing the Census and handing our paper copy to the station people for later collection by census staff moving along the Plenty Highway. Plenty of room for issues here.
The country side has really been great, the bush in plenty good shape but still needing plenty more rain this coming spring/summer.
Next morning, we were off on the final 200 km leg along the Plenty to Gemtree. This took us past the Harts Range community, famous for its annual race day. It also has the only police station along this 800 km stretch of road. Two officers are stationed here to keep control. Enough said!
Gemtree is a camping ground, plenty of facilities. It specialises as a venue for gem fossikers. No grass, just that lovely red dirt surrounded by mulga trees. We were there for two nights. On our first night we enjoyed an absolutely tremendous camp oven dinner put on by our hosts. Plenty of roast beef, potato, pumpkin, onion, cauliflower, brocoli and gravy. Bit of cheese sauce in there too.
The next day Allthego undertook a strenuous walk examining the various flora of the region. Homealone was holed up at the van immersed in a cross stitch. The walk took a little longer than estimated. Homealone became concerned as the return time passed, so she called out a posse to search for the lone explorer. The quad bike posse found Allthego striding up the final stages of the walk and transported him to the campsite, despite various minor protestations that it wasn’t really necessary. There was a bit of discussion after this about the necessity of it all. All’s well that ends well, someone said!
The night concluded over a camp fire with some tasty BBQ chicken kebabs and rice.
As the night descended we reflected on the plenty of things we had seen on the Plenty Highway. One of the great Australian road trips. We now head for Uluru.