Opinion SJ's 2020 OUTBACK TRIP

S J

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Feb 2, 2013
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I write reviews for Trip Advisor. This is the guts of them and says where we stopped etc. Any questions - please ask.

It makes sense if you read the Reviews too - we stopped for more than one night at a number of them.

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OUTBACK TRIP - 2020
I’ll use the same intro for all the motels, sites, experiences, scenic spots, restaurants etc we visited on our outback adventure. We travelled well over 4,000 klms over about a fortnight, by car – 3 adults and a Golden Retriever – Archie. I often wonder why Motels that accept dogs don’t do a link. It would be so helpful and be good for business. When you search you always get loads of places that seem to accept dogs – but when you check they say “no” to dogs! Very frustrating.

We stayed in Motels – and Hotel/Motel style Units. Ate in many a restaurant and occasionally at our accommodation (restaurant and used their facilities). We took beer and scotch with us – so arrived with a cold drink. We visited the John Flynn Museum, the QANTAS Museum, and the Outback Hall of Fame, cruised on the River/Waterhole at Longreach, saw Ghost towns – Mary Kathleen, and mines – Mt Isa. We saw the tree of knowledge in Barcaldine, the historic village in Miles, and the Giant Ant in Augathella. Not to mention dinosaurs, termite mounds, gems and ore, awesome road trains, and long flat beautiful scenery. We also stopped in quaint little towns – Banana, Chinchilla, Theodore, Winton, Bollon, Alfa, Jericho, Blackwater and Blackbutt, Dululu, Woolein, Taroom, Kaimkillenbun, Cooyar, Dalby and Moonie, Westmar, Wyandra, Tambo, Blackall, McKinlay, Mt Isa, Kynuna, Yarraman, and many many more. We saw so many animals – from ‘Roos to Emu families - Eagles and various birds. Archie made many a new friend in most spots we went. We met some lovely people (in the main) and would do it all again.

We found petrol to be well priced and easy to find. Days were warm/hot – nights could be cool – but not freezing. Loads of roadside places to pull up if need be – eg toilets and camp sites. Roads were generally above average – and could be very good. We found the coffee to be “different” so used the “Merlo” site to find good spots. This worked well.
My reviews will be based on the fact that we were in the Aussie outback – NOT a major City and not a Hilton/Marriott style hotel. So a top rating is not a “City” rating. It relates to comfort, size, air/con, beds, shower and general facilities and well-being. Some of the places we stayed did not look that flash – from the front – but provided very good service and accommodation.

All stops provided fridges and free Wi-Fi. Milk and tea/coffee, jugs etc. Also biscuits. Air/con ranged from excellent to noisy – but all stops had it. Some had micro-waves, hair dryers, etc. BUT – a major gripe of mine – most either didn’t have a clock in the room or had one that needed to be set. I like to know the time. Some didn’t have ice – which was a nuisance.

My main tips – book Motels in advance, work out where “your” petrol is (ie BP, Caltex, 91, 95 etc). Petrol was surprisingly “cheap”. Most towns have it all. Book events in advance – eg Qantas Museum, Sunset Cruise etc. Take a small esky with cold water/drinks. Use GPS – but have a good map to get an overall idea of the terrain. Also – take some long-life milk. And, finally, make sure the car is ready – tyres – to right pressure, tuning, suspension etc. You may travel 300klms between towns and 600 klms a day – and there is NOTHING in between some of them – and no phone reception at times. Road trains – 55 metres long are fun and need caution but are usually very courteous. Allow time and don’t take risks on the road. No need to speed if you allow time. I wouldn’t travel at night – so many ‘Roos. And – watch out for ‘Roos and Emus at all times. Dead or alive. It’s best to go round them rather than over.

AND, watch for eagles. Eagles take longer to get airborne (they sometimes come down to eat dead things).

St George – Australia (Kathy): We left home early heading for St George – road was mainly good (little traffic) but we encountered some corrugation and narrowing in minor parts. Stick to the limit and you’ll be OK – BUT watch the road – especially for ‘Roos and Emus.

Worth stopping for a few days - to see the river and winery.

We stopped at the Australia Hotel/Motel. Lovely spot on the river. Parked at our front door and ate at the hotel – great meals. A lovely walk along the river each morning and night made the stay well worth it. Very nice bakery (but get your coffee over the road). Good petrol station.

Friendly staff and nice room. Plenty of room to stretch out. Quiet and comfortable. Excellent shower – hot water and pressure. Clean and comfy beds. Fridge provided, along with the normal extras. Parking at our front door. Check in at the Hotel. We would have stayed longer if our timetable hadn’t been set. Ice easily available from the bar.

Quite a bit to see – the winery – the river – the town itself.

Augathella – Palms (Ben/Sharon): A novel experience. We travelled from St George via Cunnamulla and Charleville to Augathella. Stick to the limit and you’ll be OK – BUT watch the road – especially for ‘Roos, Eagles and Emus. One night is enough.

Our motel was in Augathella – so off the highway. Road was quite good.

While our room was nothing to look at from the outside – it was large and comfortable – with free Wi-Fi. As we were part of the Hotel complex we ate there – and there was no-where else. Simple but good food. Cold beer/wine. Ice available from bar. Good shower and air/con.

Augathella is an interesting experience. It has a main street and then as you explore you see so much more – from the giant ant to the local churches and school. A good petrol station.

When we stopped a car rally happened to arrive which was fun. Quite busy but good service.

Longreach – Abajaz: We travelled via Barcaldine – road was good. Perhaps the best road to date.

We stayed here 4 nights all up. A few odd rules on dogs but it all worked well in the end. We had a back (front?) door which we used for him. And had another door to get to the car – 2 metres away. Beds were comfortable and shower hot and good pressure. Close to town and ALL attractions. Ice in the room – once we filled the trays.

Only strange thing was floor was polished and the beds were on coasters – you can imagine the fun. Air/con rather noisy but did the job. Nice little “kitchen” area. Good fridge. Free wifi. We had a lovely “walk” right outside that took us to the town centre in 10 minutes. Owners (Rodd/Liane) were most helpful and provided good help. Petrol virtually next door. Off the highway – but within sight of the Station.

Tip – when we visited the Qantas Museum and Hall of Fame we left the dog with the local vet - $25. Well worth the money. Both places needed to be booked in advance. As did the Sunset Cruise/camp oven meal. The cruise was a major success.

Cloncurry – Wagon Wheel: We travelled here via Winton (lovely Info Centre) – good road. Mt Isa – an hour away – good road. A good spot to stop for a while.

We used the Wagon Wheel as a base to visit Mt Isa and surrounds – the Isa is about an hour away - Mary Kathleen on the way – a ghost town (watch this road VERY carefully here – potholes a mile deep). Air/con was first rate as was shower. Free wifi. Like most motels out here – it was dated but clean and tidy. Restaurant was very good. Car at front door – safe parking. Beds very comfortable and modern.

Andrea and Wayne run a tight ship – safe and quiet. The meals in the restaurant are very good. Big serves and good value. All beer and wine is available at a fair price. Brekkie was awesome – huge meals and a good price. The bangers and mash for dinner was a special winner for me.

Special mention to Andrea – she was the perfect host. Could not help enough. Made sure we fitted in for our 2 night stop and always ensured we were looked after in the restaurant. Provided us with top information and plenty of ice. We would have been happy to stay longer.

Emerald – Emerald Tower: We travelled here via Barcaldine – road good but busier. Worth a few days to look about.

A lovely – typically country - motel set slightly off the main road – but walking distance to main shopping area and eating places. Room very good – clean and large – with excellent air/con. Free wifi. Shower was good. Ice in the room.

We actually ate there – just out our back door in a lovely little spot – table and chairs and provided cutlery. We went to the nearby Woolies and did a “Ploughmans”. Bought our own grog at the local BWS. Archie loved it. Parking at front door and easy access in and out. Owners (Stella) were excellent. The sort of place you’d stay at for longer.

Miles - Starline: We travelled here via the A3/A5 – Blackwater, Dingo, Dululu, Banana, Theodore, and Taroom. Roads were quite good at the speed posted – little traffic.

A wonderful spot to stop over. On the main drag but very quiet – excellent air/con. Owners were excellent. Room may have been the best on the trip overall. Clean and spotless with top inclusions and great shower. Free wifi. Owners more than willing to help (Teegan). Ice in the room). Nice coffee shop easy walk – and pub.

Close to ALL amenities but meals can be had via the Office (accessed from local pub which we ate at – they allowed Archie to sit with us at a very nice outside table). Lovely easy walk around the town – very near a good petrol station. I must also mention the Outback Village – within walking distance.

The Starline is a MUST if you visit Miles. The sort of place you’d stay at for longer.
 

stanleyg

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Apr 17, 2013
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mmmm chilled watermelon. great for summer and reminds me of a melon joke.
Glad you enjoyed your trip SJ. maybe for some of the more remote locales you should preface your comments with "if you want all the comforts of home , consider staying home".
we "HAD" some friends in Sydney that went on a winnebago through Qld, NT and WA.
all they did was moan and they were absolutely livid when they reached the NT and were confronted by grog sales restrictions.
 
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S J

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 2, 2013
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Time Traveller
mmmm chilled watermelon. great for summer and reminds me of a melon joke.
Glad you enjoyed your trip SJ. maybe for some of the more remote locales you should preface your comments with "if you want all the comforts of home , consider staying home".
we "HAD" some friends in Sydney that went on a winnebago through Qld, NT and WA.
all they did was moan and they were absolutely livid when they reached the NT and were confronted by grog sales restrictions.
I thoroughly enjoyed it - even with the dog along ... :)
 
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