Australia Day 18 – Crossing the Great Divide

Distance Driven: 382 km

Steps Taken: 9,641

We started our morning in Townsville.  We stayed at another Big4 holiday park.  I just love their attention to detail.  The playground and splash pool were all shaded.  Just perfect for little ones to play.

Since we knew we had a big day of driving we got Roland playing as soon as possible.

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He continues to gain confidence on the jumping pillow.  Today I had him actually jumping, lifting his legs and landing on his bum!  He had a blast.

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Running after him on the playground I decided to add in some extra effort.  I haven’t been running nearly as much as I would like so I added squats, push-ups, and pull-ups and I ran after him.

We finished packing up and headed across the Great Divide – the mountains that stretch across a portion of Australia and have caused a dramatic difference in landscape from one side to the other.

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We are headed for McKinley but that will take us a few days.  Have you figured out why we’re going there yet?

Heading into the Outback we had heard of the Road Trains.  They are regular transport trucks but with three, four or even five trailers.  They are one thing to see and another thing when trying to pass them in a heavy clunky motorhome.

We have also been seeing a lot of cars we don’t know from home.  Being right-hand drive vehicles plus the lack of salt (causing corrosion) we get to see all sorts of new cars.  This one example.

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As we pass through the mountains of the great divide we come to the first town, Charters Towers.

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Lying some 140 km from the coast you might wonder why such a town exists (as I wonder why any town exists, how did people decided to come here to live and build the community I am seeing)

 

Charters Towers was created on accident.  You see, an aboriginal was showing some prospectors around, on Christmas Eve 1871, when horses bolted after a lightning strike. The boy found both the horses and a nugget of gold at the base of a creek.

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Soon the town was bustling and I mean stock exchange, gold rush, second largest city in Australia and all in the late 1800!  It had a population of 30,000 back in the day.

As with any gold rush, in came the unscrupulous.  A stock exchange was created to help protect the potential investors.

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Unfortunately, in the 1900’s it became uneconomical to continue to mine the gold.  With this and WW1 most people left the area and now there are just 8,500 people.

Present day the Stock Exchange is a few little shops like a bookstore, art gallery, gift shop and café.

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Much to my excitement Charters Towers has an Ambulance Museum.  Of course, it was closed.  But that didn’t stop me from looking through the windows!

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And yes, Dan gets his Fire Halls too.

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The further we drove the sparser the trees became.  The only farming we have seen is hay, cows, and horses.

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We have managed to drive as far as Hughenden, that’s 382 kilometers WEST and that is just a drop in the bucket as far as the Outback is concerned.

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We were treated to a lovely sunset and dark quickly fell as I made a hodgepodge of supper.

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As the kids fell asleep Dan and I sat outside in the cooling air (remember it got up to 30C today!)

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The stars are beautiful.  We are finally away form the light pollution of the coast and I can see so many stars!

 

In Dan’s high school days he and his friends played Robotech. (It was also an anime they watched.)

In the second series, the characters were located in South America and they were part of the Army of the Southern Cross.  Dan and his friends would have never seen this particular constellation as they are from the northern hemisphere and it is in the southern.

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Tonight, we broke out the tech and used an App called GoSkyWatch and we found it!

Day 18 (151)Jupiter was so bright tonight that I could actually capture it with an IPhone.

 

 

The stars are so bright and stunning.  I could stare at them for hours.  I wish I had the equipment with me to show you every last detail of the milky way and all the constellation I see tonight.

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