Monday 8 May Lightning Ridge

Awake and ready to explore, it didn’t take long! Booked into a tour of underground art in pm and took a self guided tour around some eccentric homes, two castles and the bottle house, an interesting effect with the tops facing out. A Challenge for brickies ! The landscape here is flat and sandy with more trees than in the centre scrubby grasses. 

The underground tunnels are sandstone and the sculptures were all along the sides, it took an hour to go through. They were all carved by one man over fifteen years. There are all kinds of characters and well worth a visit. The chambers of the black hand is the name. internet here is intermittent, so this may never be published. 

Tuesday 9 May

We arrived at our next stop very quickly, Carinya farm stay is only 10 km down the road. The last  three km on a sandy corrugated road we drove very slowly. Jacinda welcomed us and told us to choose where to set up, as far away from anyone else as your power lead allows. No overcrowding here. It is quiet except for the geese and our nearest neighbours, four large pigs. They seem to pick on the black one. Right now the wind has dropped and we are sitting by our campfire listening to the pigs snoring. There are sheep somewhere, large bales of wool in the shearing shed. We’ve seen an alpaca and two goats, and the kids and lambs in a pen closer to the house. Lots of chooks. There is a small flock of unfamiliar noisy black birds swooping around, screeching like corellas. Forgot the bird book. It’s a long time since we camped out like this.

We had a lazy couple of hours doing not much at all then decided to try the hot bore water pool down the road. Two pools, not large and full of grey nomads except for one family. We chose the smaller pool with only four people, shallow enough to sit in. The other one was way too hot, I don’t know how they could stay in it. We turned pink and wrinkly, even more than I already am! Refreshing and soothing somehow. We have had a full moon for a week but it’s waning now, stars are bright in a cloudless sky.

Now out of town, at  Calinya farm stay the  Milky Way is stretched above us, like a starry blanket. The moon has crept up from the horizon, almost golden through the dusty air.

Wednesday 10 May . 

Jacinda gave us  a farm tour of sorts she actually gave us a history of the farm and how they live now. Then we wandered around to the chooks then the lambs which we bottle fed. A cheeky kid kept trying to butt in on the others to get more. 

Now we are at. Riverfront, St George caravan park, for two nights. Arrived about 4.30 not having eaten since breakfast and I was feeling quite sick . I did a bit of driving so Pat could nap but headache and sinus congestion made me lightheaded and my eyes hurt. The sunlight is brighter here. Lovely slow river and our campfire is on the bank. Wind has gone and we’re a lot warmer now. Guy next to us has a JR pup, he’s gorgeous. Long walk uphill to shower and toilet., it’s too dark to see the way! 

Thursday 11 May 

To St George, Riverside campsite, fireplace and wood provided. Only drawback was the amenities were in a tin shed up the hill. The river was wide and full, unfamiliar birds in the trees. Rustic, not manicured, how we like it.

Rode our bikes into St George 7 km, to the visitors centre first. The cottonwool I had seen on the sides of the roads turned out to be just that, we’re in cotton growing country. We signed up for a cotton farm tour tomorrow and a river cruise at 4 pm.  Rode another three km to the winery where we had coffee and shared a frittata, could have eaten one each easily, delicious. I had a half glass of Shiraz, lighter than in Vic because of the weather, very nice. Rode back to camp to get the car for the river cruise. Just a bit too late. We should have called the guy to find out where the.jetty was, a long walk in a hurry! We saw the boat and waved but they didn’t come over. Went to Foodworks instead, plus I bought some Jean shorts. That lost us 10 minutes at least. Chatted to a nice couple, at their campfire all evening. Teacher talk mostly, he was a principal of a primary school, retired  now.

Friday 12 May

Packed up and at the visitors centre before 9.00 for the cotton tour. Minibus full of old people! Oh dear we are too! We were supposed to go to the winery too but asked if we could miss that , we’d been yesterday. He only charged us half.Interesting talk, the cotton fields were being harvested by an enormous machine that rolled the fluff into giant bales wrapped in plastic Our guide was full of facts and figures and didn’t stop talking for two hours. I was interested but not that much! 

12 noon we left the tour and headed here to Dalby.302 km. With food and fuel stops it was 4.30 when we arrived.Hardly any towns all the way, bit boring scenery.Got lucky, a site with an ensuite right in town, bigger than St George. Luxury.

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