We ventured from the comfort and safety of Chelle’s apartment in Townsville to continue our quest for adventure. Chelle being the super teacher that she is had left long before we got out of bed (and we got out of bed at 7AM!). So glad I’m not a teacher…
The goal for today was to get to Undarra Lava Tubes, south west of Atherton. We had two options – go southwest from Townsville to Charters Tower, then north, all along the highway. Or… go north towards Ingham, then inland across the great dividing range. The second option looked to be significantly shorter in distance, and didn’t look that twisty.
The roads out of Ingham, like lots of North Queensland are lined with sugar cane farms as far as can be seen. At the end of the season when they burn off the fields, prior to harvest, is really a spectacular sight.
Well… we certainly had our share of adventure today! The ‘shortcut’ that we took only had bitumen for the first 30 kilometers. And, the windy/twisty climb over the range? Significantly steeper and longer than I’d estimated! And, when that lovely bitumen ran out? Why, we were left with 110km of dirt roads, which were mostly OK, but occasionally there were corrugations so severe that the entire car was violently shaking! We kept a steady pace of about 40kph, slower when it was rougher, faster when it was smoother. Long day of driving. Again!
It’s not all complaints! It was truly beautiful scenery, and we barely saw a soul – except for the kind gentleman that helped us find directions after we learnt (the hard way) that our GPS navigation is rather rubbish on small 4WD tracks…
After close to four hours on the dirt, we finally popped out onto bitumen again. It was such an amazing feeling, being able to drive fast and smoothly.
We’d missed lunch, so made up for it with an early dinner that aimed to use as much of the food that we are loaded up with. The catch? We only had fumes left in a single butane cylinder – so, we had to be incredibly frugal with the little that we had (no boiling water, so no pasta). Risa came up with a great concoction using some rice that we cooked at Chelle’s, some of the fresh vegetables that we’d received from the Ayr races (still so fresh), and a few random cans (tomato, tuna, olives etc), so in the end, dinner was actually pretty good!
We pushed on a little further, trying to get a little closer to the national park (still some 220km away). The bitumen highway that we were on was dreadfully narrow in places – and it had to be shared with enormous road trains! Luckily, we didn’t pass any in those narrow sections.
Tonight was also our first ‘outback sunset’ and let’s just say it didn’t disappoint! Gorgeous colours and hues – though I was too busy trying to drive and keep an eye out for kangaroos.
As the last of the light was leaving the sky, we found a small rest stop/petrol station/caravan park/restaurant. We parked up outside (instead of paying the $20 to park inside with the use of their toilets) and got ready for an early night.
今日は、早くににタウンズヴィルを出発し、溶岩ドームの中に入る事のできる場所があるUndaraを目指しました。 日曜日にシェルといった滝と途中まで道のりは一緒でしたが、滝から分岐した道を進んで行くと、私たちが想像していた以上に急な山道でした。 そう、地理の時間に習ったオーストラリア グレートディバイディング山脈です！！ なつかしー！ なぜか高校の頃このややこしい名前が妙に気に入ってました笑
道路は、最初のうちは舗装されていましたが、そのうち細くなって、さらには、１００km以上は周りは、広大なブッシュ（乾いた草むらと低い木々）で牛が放牧されていました。 カンガルーもぴょんぴょん飛び回り、なんと絵生のエミューも見る事ができました。 その他にも図鑑でみて見てみたかったキレイな野鳥や、カンガルーの死体をほおばる野生では、見たことがないくらい巨大なワシや鷹をも沢山見る事ができ、見所満載の山道でした。が。。。なんせ舗装されていないので、ガタガタ、ボコボコでかなり大変な運転となりましたが、無事メインのハイウェイにたどり着くことができ、早めの夕飯を食べ、1時間程運転した所で、暗くなり始めたので今晩は早めに切り上げることにしました。