The conclusion of Keith Skinner’s ‘Dig Tree’/ ‘Natural Sciences Loop’ road trip takes another twist in the road, CAMPS sites he recommends and where you can eat some more top pies!
by Keith Skinner
Next day I drove on to St George, via Mitchell and stayed at the Pelican Rest Tourist Park (Caravan Parks Australia Wide, site 435). The park has a pool and green grass, things I had missed so far on my trip. I visited the St George Information Centre and found a local cotton farmer takes visitors on farm tours (again only on Thursdays). I found this tour very informative and well worth the tour cost. I also purchased more local, top quality, steaks from one of the St George butcher shops.
From St George I took a southern direction via Dirranbandi (great bakery here as well and good RV parking in the main street) to Lightning Ridge via the Castlereagh Highway, thinking to stay a few nights at the Opal Caravan Park (Caravan Parks Australia Wide, site 316). I’ve stayed there before and they also have a fire pit and entertainment at the camp kitchen every night. A free bus also takes travellers from the park into the town’s Bowls Club every night; a great free service. But again, the weather intervened.
I had just stopped at the Hebel General Store (Camps site 1010), for a homemade pie (they’re great) when I saw a wave of dust coming from the west. I had never seen such a sight. It engulfed all as it moved south-east. Out the window went Lightning Ridge as I was not sitting in the van for days waiting for the dust to clear. So it was on Moree via Walgett, with the aim of outrunning the dust.
I knew the Gwydir Caravan Park and Thermal Pools (Caravan Parks Australia Wide, site 363) at Moree was a good clean and green park, with hot spring pools within the park grounds. So I took the risk of outrunning the dust and headed there for my last stopover before making my run for home.
A funny thing here: I met a couple in the hot spring pools and we discussed my trip home to Brisbane. The couple were heading for the Sunshine Coast and they asked about the roads and points of interest they may see on the way to the Sunshine Coast, via Brisbane. I told the couple about a great camp spot I’d visited before called Lake Coolmunda (Camps 10, site 926) just 16 kms on the east side of Inglewood Queensland.
There is a caravan park, a low-cost camp and a park on the edge of the lake, suitable for morning or afternoon tea stops. I spoke with great enthusiasm about this beautiful green area with a huge lake that I would guess as being about 12 kms by 5 kms across and about 30 meters deep at its centre. They thanked me for the info and said they would definitely call in to that beautiful spot.
When I headed off the next day, I took my own advice and stopped at Lake Coolmunda for a coffee. WOW, what a shock I got. The lake was empty and dry. The boat ramp was a road down into the lake, used by four wheel drivers to get to the lake bed. My first thought was of the couple that I had sent here to see the beautiful green area with a huge lake. They must have thought I was on drugs or something. The lake did not resemble in any way what I had described.
I turned around and headed home, considering the trip I had just completed. The good, bad and the wins and losses, I had faced in my two week trip. Moreover, that in the future – to never give advice to travellers!