The recce is over!
After travelling 11,040 kms, in 14 days, from the Gold Coast to Alice Springs, Broome, Darwin and back, the recce is over!
Today we travelled the final leg from Longreach to the Gold Coast. We were on the road around 4.30 am in pitch black, but it wasn’t long before the pre dawn glow was on the horizon. Today, the landscape started becoming more familiar. The gum trees get taller as you move closer to the coast, as do all the other trees. But the most noticeable difference to the last 11 days was the bright blue sky and absence of heavy cloud cover. I can’t remember a day since arriving in Alice Springs, when I haven’t been able to see rain falling from a heavy cloud formation in at least one location somewhere in the vast skies which you can see for hundreds of kms in all directions. The skies are magical in big sky country. The trees are smaller, and for the most part, the roads were long, straight and flat, providing a 360 degree view of the horizon. So when the sun finally came up this morning, and there was hardly any cloud around, and absolutely no rain in sight, it certainly stood out. As did the fact that we had changed seasons, from the wet season to the summer! It’s quite a shock to see parts of outback Queensland that appear not to have had any rain at all in recent times. The brown grassy fields certainly look thirsty.
Yesterday, we started the day in Tenant Creek, which had a 1 in 50 year flood last Friday. Today, we were in central Queensland, approaching Roma, and the landscape looked more like what you would expect of ‘the outback’ than anywhere else we had driven. As we edged closer and closer towards the Great Dividing Range, the tell tale signs gave away that we were indeed leaving the outback and almost home. Roadworks, many more cars, electricity lines, lower speed limits, and houses dotting the fields and hills was a sure sign that the journey was almost over.
And so it is, now over. It’s been monumental, with the most amazing scenery. Australia really is a beautiful country. It’s just such a shame that our back yard is so BIG, because many of us will never get to see it in person. So I’ll sign off for now with the Northern Territory slogan, “You’ll never never know, if you never never go!”