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Shakti & Jorg - From Gladstone to Gumeracha
Finally our Gladstone LNG methane emissions survey has come to an end so now it is time to head back to Adelaide. 
We drove here in our Mitsubishi Van.  Coming here it took 3 nights and 4 days.  We drove directly and concentrated on getting here.  You can’t relax and enjoy till the work is done.  Now we have all the emissions we want (and more) so we can slowly head back and enjoy the ride and the trip.
We left Gladstone in the late morning after making sure to get a loaf of our favourite dark rye sourdough from Woolworths.  We drove past Calliope and past Callide, the power station and waved good-bye at the billowing white emissions.  I am sure it was emitting 100,000 ultra-fine particles.  We planned to make it to Injune but didn’t quite make it there; not because we couldn’t but because we found something else. 
We drove through Biloela and Banana.  Banana has nothing to do with bananas.  It was named after a yellow bull they called Banana who helped the local stockmen herd some of the wilder cattle in the yards.  I think it is nice and thoughtful to name the town after the bull.
From there we drove through Moura and Bauhinia.  We refueled at every place where there was fuel.  You don’t want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere to where we were headed off to now. 
Just before Rolleston we turned into Arcadia Valley Road.  Our main motive was to avoid people.  So we avoided Carnarvon National Park because we were sure it would be full of grey nomads.  This little road seemed quite deserted. Then there was a sign to the Lake Nuga Nuga National Park.  We drove into it.  What a fantastic place.  The lake was full of dead trees giving it an eerie look.  And the place was full of birds.  We found a great camp spot.  We arrived early enough to set up our roof tent and prepare ourselves and just watch the birds.  There was hardly anyone there at all.  Far in the distance we saw just one light on one side and one on the other.  Nothing else.  We sat and had a lakeside dinner and watched the moon rise over the trees.

As much as we wanted to stay another day we headed off.  We still had over 2000 kilometers to go.  Then it was to Injune, Mitchell and towards Charleville.  It wasn’t easy to find a camp spot since there were fences everywhere.  We almost gave up but then just before Charleville we found a sign – “Rock Pool”.  It was a camp spot (which we normally avoid) but it was getting dark so we decided to try it.  Just near the entrance there was a rock pool which many caravans and campervans all around it.  We decided to try to see if there was anything else further in.  And yes, the further in we went, the less cars and people there were.  We ended up at the end with nobody around at all.  It was another beautiful dark spot. 
Next morning by the time we departed, most of the caravans were gone.  I think they like places with power and facilities.  We drove past Charleville and Quiplie towards Innamincka.  It is a long distance.  We were approaching Eromanga and found a gravel site on the side of the road.  We drove in and went quite a ways in where there was again absolutely nobody.  Here it was open space and no trees.  The sky was filled with stars.  The Milky Way was so clear.  The night was dark but not for too long.  We sat with a glass of wine after dinner and watched the golden full moon rise. 

Next morning was beautiful.  The sand was golden with the sun and our dark skin was glowing too.  We drove past Eromanga towards Innamincka.  We would soon cross the border into South Australia.  But all the places we wanted to go were either fenced off and we couldn’t get there or else it was closed due to the flooding.  We made it to Innamincka.  All campgrounds were closed due to flooding except the Commons.  We were quite wary of a Commons Campground thinking it would be full of people but the lady at the motel said that we can go take a look and if we like it we can stay there and if we don’t like it we can come back and she can find us a motel room.
So we went to look.  But as always there were several campervans near the entrance but the further we went the more deserted it was.  We easily found a beautiful spot right by the CooperCreek totally on our own.   But the night was cold.  It was warm inside our rooftop tent but you eventually had to get up.

From Innamincka we drove the new Strzlecki Track.  The old one was flooded.  And we went to Leigh Creek where we decided to stay at the Motel.  Leigh Creek is also special to us because the manager of the Leigh Creek Pub was our celebrant when we got married 20 years ago in the Flinders Ranges.

Then the next day we drove to our favourite place, Brachina Gorge.  Brachina Gorge is a corridor in time.  The trees, rock formation etc have been there for billions of year.  The power is incredible.  We went to Brachina Gorge campground which is at the end and only accessible with 4-wheel drive.  This is where we got married 20 years ago in the middle of summer.  We had lunch in our spot and just sat and watched the kangaroos and goats go by and basked in the sun.  Then, unfortunately we had to head home before the rain.  Rain was forecast from that night.  Brachina will be revisited again as soon as possible.

Then we drove through Quorn, Willmington, Melrose and
Gladstone!  No methane here. Then through Clare, Gawler,
Williamstown and back to Gumeracha.  Stonehenge SJ, our
wonderful house was waiting for us.

Flying is great but driving is also great.  Both are different and
you see the land in very different ways. 

Lake Nuga Nuga.jpg
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