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Homeward bound after the Big Red Bash

The Lake campsite near Quilpie

There’s been so much reporting of the Big Red Bash that I won’t add to it here other than to express what a memorable experience it was to have around 70 AOR trailers in one place with everyone enjoying the music and having a great time around the campfires.

When our gang finally emerged from the penetrating dust of Big Red to the relative luxury of the greenery on the Birdsville Common the first priority was  washing, washing …..and more washing.   With a queue a mile long for the laundry at the caravan park the small portable twin tub machines got a major workout.  Fortunately, several of our group were organised enough to carry these handy little numbers that work quite efficiently off the van’s 12 volt system.

After a couple of days enjoying the sights and sounds of downtown Birdsville we were all set to depart when our brand new Disco had other ideas, in the form of a flat battery!  Of course this provided great early morning entertainment for all our ‘Cruiser owners who  emerged from the comfort of their vans to make the most of the photo opportunity.  Steve’s first solution was to use the services of the much-touted Landrover Assist but this hit a snag when the Birdsville Common didn’t qualify as an identifiable address! In the meantime Al came to the rescue (as he so often does) with a portable ARB device that provided a jump start. Gotta buy one of those!  Fellow travellers were to have even more reason to be thankful for Al’s store of gadgets on their trip down the Birdsville Track – but that’s another story.

As most of our gang were heading off to the Flinders Rangers and beyond  with an indefinite time frame it was time to say goodbye to everyone but Des and Jo in their Matrix pop-top who were heading in our direction back to the coast.

We had no idea what to expect as we headed towards the Cordillo Downs Road and have to say it surpassed our expectations. The road was in good condition, passing through arid areas of ubiquitous red sand hills covered with desert foliage about to burst into spring flowers and the spectacular colours and textures of the surrounding countryside.

The Cadelga Homestead ruins had been recommended as a good campsite and though only early in the day we decided to make this our first stop.  Apart from sense of sadness pervading a place that represents the ruins of someone’s hopes and dreams, it’s an interesting stopover. The rock buildings light up  with the setting sun, an old Austin motorcar is an attraction for car buffs and the noisy galahs coming in to roost in the trees beside waterhole. It was a great spot for a long afternoon nap followed by a relaxing campfire with the entertainment of grebes and other water birds doing their thing in the lagoon.

Cordillo Downs Station, covering a somewhat staggering 7,800 square miles was once the largest property in Australia.   It boasts the world’s largest shearing shed, the other major draw card in these parts.  Though long ago fallen into disuse it is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register and well worth a look for some insights into the history of the Station.

After an overnight stay and re-fuel in Innaminka our next stop was Alroy Camping Grounds  which came highly recommended by other AOR owners.  Located near Eulo Alroy is a working station property but well set up for camping with plenty of space, well maintained facilities and lots of photo opportunities around the river.  It’s always a bonus to chat with one of the owners, in this case Mary who was a great source of first hand information about the running of the property and the local area. As usual when another AOR van arrived it was an immediate invitation to share our campfire and yet another a great night of camaraderie and fun.

Regretfully from here it was a direct route home but after the big clean up we’re already planning our next adventure!

RHONDA BUDDEN

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