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Birdsville trip July
Rawnsley Park luxury
Coming Events
By Tractor to Birdsville
Flinders Opportunity
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Issue: 6 August 2009

During the past month we took a trip to Birdsville and Innamicka, and we do it all again on  a similar trip this Saturday (15th). It will be the last Birdsville trip with the bus.
Thank you to those who have commented on the electronic newsletter - your thoughts are much appreciated.

We have a busy few months coming up with trips to the Gawler Ranges, Flinders Ranges, Terowie and Eyre Peninsula and not forgetting our Christmas trip to Kangaroo Island.

Our best wishes to you, and hope all is well.
Trip Report !
  Birdsville July 18th

"In Flight Service" - (freshly prepared lunch packs) enabled a number of passengers to take the opportunity of a plane flight over Lake Eyre during our stop in Marree.

Whilst our passengers were in the air, Jenny was busy on the ground preparing lunch to pre -ordered choices. This enabled us to leave for Mungerannie without too much delay after the hour and a half plane flight.

Reaching the Derwent River near Mungerannie, we were surprised to find very little water, and learned later much of it is being used for Station requirements. The Mungerannie wetland was created by artesian flow from a bore sunk on the Mungerannie Station in the early 1900's. The wetland extends along Derwent Creek with the main body approximately 600 metres in length. The wetland is of high environmental and social value as an established habitat and refuge for wildlife and a popular tourist destination.

On to Birdsville, and after a look at the Race Track, went to find John at the Birdsville Working Museum. He was between "tours", and having a busy day. The interest in Lake Eyre has brought more people into town - by air and 4WD. We confirmed our booking for the following morning (21st July - his birthday), and went to find our rooms at the Birdsville Hotel.
We were enjoying good weather, and the next day was no exception - sunshine and 30c.
A trip out to Big Red on a road with deep corrugations tested the vehicle. On returning to Birdsville, a few screws in the back of seats required attention.

We decided to take the Cordillo Downs road from Birdsville to Innamincka.
The Qld and SA roads were about the same condition (rough), and the SA being shorter alternative by around 100km, won. Of the two roads, the SA has more historical interest as it passes Cadelga Ruins and the historic Cordillo Woolshed.
We enjoyed lunch in the old Woolshed building.

The Adventure Way was planned to take tourists from Brisbane to Adelaide.
A section of this from the Queensland border and just south of the Burke and Wills Bridge to the Dig Tree turnoff is now bitumen, and makes for a pleasant change from the corrugations on the South Australian side of the border. Roadworks continue on this road, and at some point it will be sealed to Innamincka and become the "Burke and Wills Way".

Now, a great alternative travelling between Innamincka and Tibooburra.
The Dillon Highway is reasonable to the junction with the Old Strzelecki Track.
Whilst sandy in parts, the Old Strzelecki is a preferable choice over the Moomba road, and ends at the Merty Merty Junction, The "Roller Coaster" to Cameron Corner is in good repair, and from the NSW border we took the Middle Road (Jump Up) to Olive Downs to Tibooburra. This route is around 50km further than the road through Waka, but far less corrugated. We also saw a lot of wildlife on this track.

South of Tibooburra we visited Depot Glen and managed to rescue a lamb which had become bogged in the Depot Glen waterhole.
A visit to Mitch the Owl man at Stephens Creek capped off a great trip.

Oh - I should mention that on the last few trips we have been fortunate in having the Terowie Institute and Supper Room available for our lunch.
It is so good to have shelter from the wind and rain as we return to Adelaide.
Rawnsley Park
Coongie Lakes Million star restaurant!
For those travellers after the ultimate luxury in Outback dining, Rawnsley Park's new Starlight Dinner offers exquisite cuisine served under a canopy of stars.

The four course, silver-service dinner is set amongst Coolibah trees, with food prepared by Rawnsley Park's Woolshed Restaurant. Local wines are included in the dinner package, served alongside dishes featuring the finest local and seasonal produce.

Menu items include fresh asparagus wrapped in smoked
salmon; herbed lamb cutlets seasoned with pepper leaf and
fennel served on potato and pumpkin rosti with red wine jus; and layered two chocolate granache served with pistachio biscotti.
Dinners are held twice a month on selected dates or by prior arrangement for groups of six or more and include vehicle transfers. Various accommodation options are also
available at Rawnsley Park Station, including the new luxury eco-villas.
Events Diary 2009
4th -5th   : Birdsville Races -     details
  12th        : Quorn Show
  12th        : Flinders Ranges - "A brush  with Art"                   (until 3rd October) - details
  18th -19th : Betoota Races       - details  
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6,000km tractor trek slow going
A man who is driving a tractor around outback Queensland to raise funds says the community support he has received to date has been "unbelievable"

Frank Chiverton is part way through a 10-week trip from Dalby to raise money for Guide Dogs Queensland.

Mr Chiverton will drive almost 6,000 kilometres and says his 1966 revamped tractor has been attracting a lot of attention on remote roads.

"People pull you up Mr Chivertonand take photos of you and then go past and shout you lunch at Noccundra or Eulo, and it just goes on and on from there,"he said.

Picture: Mr Chiverton with his visually impaired grandson.                                         

"It's not a cab, I'm just sitting out in the open.

"I do have a bit of a windscreen at the front of it so the wind and the dust and the sand just flows in it, through it and around me ... but that's great, that's what it is all about."

Mr Chiverton says the tractor travels at less than 40 kilometres an hour and the stretch between Innamincka and Birdsville was a challenge.

"That's probably the only time during the trip when I asked myself what are you doing out here?" he said.

"I ran into a wind storm and the visibility is down, the track had blown over - and I wasn't sure of some of those big claypans and you think where the hell is the road?

"Where I'd been the Birdsville Track was like a bitumen highway."

Mr Chiverton is in Mount Isa this week as part of the city's rodeo festivities and is due to complete his journey in October.

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Flinders Ranges trips
September 20th
October 14th

We have 3 seats available on each of our Flinders Ranges/Arkaroola trips. The five day trip has accommodation at Rawnsley Park on both the first and fourth nights, with 2 nights in Arkaroola. The world renowned "Ridge Top Tour" is included in the package fare of $1050 per person.

Click Here for Itinerary details

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Joan and John from Queensland were part of our Cooper Creek group in June. They were involved at the opening of the restored Elizabeth Symon Nursing Home at Innamincka, and generously made up a folder of photos and information.
View one of the articles  from Australian Geographic

Our quarterly "Desert Sky News" will be published later this month, and will include a couple of reader contributions!


Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours
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