It was our first night in St George and the outback was putting on a show – another glorious sunset.
I dragged the bench from the van outside so we could have a comfy seat to watch it from.
We had arrived to a camp on the outskirts of town just an hour before and I had made my Halloumi and Eggplant burger for dinner. I wasn’t entirely sure we were meant to camp here but with the vastness of the outback it was unlikely we would be found.
Willow had finished sniffing around the van. Upon noticing the bench had been moved she was quick to jump up and sit next to me. She also noticed I had some treats in my hand.
So, there we sat.
Cats and wine
St George is a town of 2000 or so that sits on the Balonne River. It’s known as a centre for wheat and cotton growing, and sheep grazing, but we weren’t there for those things.
We visited the cellar door at Riversands Winery – and the next minute I was doing a wine tasting. I have to recommend the Muscat, though I did pick up a Shiraz for Steph.
I met a few caravaners and had to explain that I was on a road trip with my cat. They were kind enough to take a photo of us outside. Though, Willow clearly was not impressed with the Shiraz, and possibly prefers a Merlot.
Before leaving St George we got to meet cats Pearl and Merlin and I was fascinated with their rescue story.
You can read their story here.
We arrived that evening to the town of Thallon and parked up at the free camping area.
Many progressive towns, realising the economical benefit, offer free camping as an incentive to bring travellers to the area. That night I got a safe place to camp and even a hot shower.
Thallon is a town of 250 people that sits in a grain growing region. The most striking feature of the town is the mural painted on the silos.
The artwork was created and painted by a pair of Brisbane artists and used over 500 litres of paint.
One Ton Post
The little paws you see above – these Dusty little explorer paws – as they stand, one paw is in New South Wales and the other is in Queensland.
We were at Mungindi, a border town that is split by the Barwon River, just out of town. The One Ton Post is a survey peg erected by John Brewer Cameron in 1881. It marks the point that the border stops following the Barwon River and heads 700km West along the 29th Parallel.
It also marks the completion of three years of harsh and enduring survey work.
We have produced a short educational film below detailing the situation.
The site also features a replica fencers hut. It would have been a tough life out here for those who worked on the border fence.
Willow enjoyed exploring the old relics and may have broken her record for the most border crossings in one day!
Close the loops
We spent two nights in Mungindi before returning to Goondiwindi via Boomi.
Now, there was something very important that we missed when we came through Goondiwindi a week ago – it was Ginger the Cotton Cat.
As we left Goondiwindi the sun was setting behind us and the moon rising in front of us. I stopped the van on the side of the road to get some photos.
These two snaps were taken standing at the same point, one pointed East and the other West.
I avoid driving at night. It’s the time that wildlife is most active and they often get injured on roads, or worse.
We pulled in for the night just off the highway.
Over the next few days we slowly made our way back to Brisbane, via Warwick. One of those nights we spent at Inglewood, a historical tobacco growing area.
I wandered down to the river and when I looked behind me Willow was following me down the little trail.
I sat and watched her smell the plants until it was time for dinner.
The Australian outback is vast. So vast.
As one drives through it it is hard to fully grasp its immensity. The roads extend out from the outback towns likes spokes on a wheel, but they can extend for hundreds of kilometres – sometimes in eerily straight lines.
Most of these roads are now sealed but we got a taste of some real outback driving between Mungindi and Goondiwindi on the Boomi Road.
It took me back to our time in Western Queensland the previous year and that excited feeling as we ventured further and further out to the desert.
We pulled over and cut the engine, stepped outside, and just listened.
The wind crept through the trees and somewhere in the distance a flock of galahs were taking flight.
We rested there for a while, enveloped by the tranquility of the outback, and the flies.
It seemed like an eternity ago that we were visiting the flowers in Toowoomba. Only three weeks had passed but it felt like we had seen so much on our Springtime Road Trip.
When we finally rolled back into Brisbane we had covered over 1,700km, met 6 amazing cats and shared their stories, witnessed night-after-night of glorious sunsets, but most importantly – Willow and I had shared the experience together.
For us, the concept of home is malleable. But one thing is certain – home is wherever Steph is.
This brings me to a surprise I’ve been keeping from you.
Together the three of us are now renting a place in Brisbane while we work towards the next stage of our adventure.
This summer I will return to Tasmania to pick up our new van! A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 which I will be converting into a home on wheels for three. I will be sharing my experiences with you as it is built, along with Willow’s introduction to her new van home.
We are lucky to have a friend in the countryside near Brisbane who we can stay with when we all need some out-of-city time and there will still be plenty of excursions over the coming year.
In November next year – after Steph finishes her studies – we will say goodbye to Brisbane and the three of us will be back on the road full-time where our hearts truly belong – living and working on the road with a little black adventure cat!
Although it will be sad to say goodbye to our current home on wheels, we are preparing for our future – and most of all – the amazing adventures that await!
* * *
I hope you have enjoyed our Springtime Road Trip. It certainly has been an intense three weeks bringing you all the stories and photographs of our trip. You can find a summary and links to all the stories here.
Wow! Yes, we are getting a new van home. Is anyone in the market to buy our old van? .. I have to ask!
I have really enjoyed meeting all the cats and their owners on this trip. I hope that you have enjoyed hearing their stories as this is something I wish to do more of in the future.