After we left Gemtree, the mission was on to make it to the coast in time for my 20 year high school reunion on the 1st October. This meant some big days of travelling simply to make the miles, but we also wanted to make sure we saw a few of the things we wanted to see.
So we prioritised high-tailing it up to the Three Ways to turn onto the road towards Queensland until we got to Longreach. We stopped for a quick look at the Devil’s Marbles…
And then only twice overnight on the way. The first was a free camp about 140km east of the Three Ways turn off where we saw the most beautiful sunset… but had to deal with 37 degree heat and a billion bugs! Then we stopped at Corella Dam which was a beautiful spot that we’ve ear-marked when we come back that way in July/August next year. We tried to do a bit of yabbying/red claw catching, but no luck!
We also had to stop at Walkabout Creek Hotel! Still as in-love with his knife as ever, Corey couldn’t resist a knife gag in front of the sign!
Although our aim was to stay in Longreach, Corey really wanted to stay in a little caravan park in Ilfracombe, just under 30km out from Longreach and so that’s where we ended up and it was definitely worth it. Hosts Cathy and Jesse were great holding a happy hour gathering the three nights we were there in their purpose built shed. Each night, either Cathy or Jesse would tell tall stories, recite some bush poetry and give some insight and history about Ilfracombe and surrounds. It has definitely been the most sociable caravan park we’ve stayed in so far.
Apart from happy hour, we went into Longreach to do the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, which unfortunately with little kids, meant that we really didn’t do it justice. It is an amazing collection of outback history and filled with small detail that is impossible to take in with two little girls who were over it after an hour of walking around.
We stayed for the stockman show which was brilliant and certainly captivated the girls – Miss A loved it especially!
After the SHOF, we headed into town for some lunch and as it turned out, went searching for a boofhead sized Akubra.
I’m not sure if I’ve shared the story of Corey and his desire for an Akubra yet… You may recall when we were stuck in Port Augusta for a few days getting our replacement clutch that we headed out to the Australian Arid Botanical Gardens for the afternoon. In the small gift shop there, I found Corey trying on these Akubra hats. That in itself makes me chuckle as it’s no great secret that my darling husband has quite a ginormous head. Whether it’s a baseball cap, bucket hat, motorbike helmet… or as it turns out, an Akubra, it’s a very rare thing for him to find a) a hat that even fits his head and b) a hat that actually looks good when it’s on his head.
Should he ever regale this story, he would no doubt argue that he hit the jackpot with the Akubra he found (size 64 Coolabah style, for those who might care!) however, my retelling of the tale would not be the same. Notwithstanding my discouragement however, his object of desire has now become an Akubra. The only reason he didn’t purchase said Akubra at the Botanical Gardens is due to the fact that their logo had been stamped into the side of the hat and he wasn’t so keen on that.
So by the time we got to Longreach, he was dead keen on finding a size 64 Akubra so we traipsed through four different outfitters and sadly (for him, not me) none had anything in size 64 or above!
So alas, we left Longreach hatless and headed back to Ilfracombe where we headed to the local swimming pool. Having been born and bred in Queensland, I don’t do cold at the best of times and I especially don’t do cold swimming pools, but in Ilfracombe they have a mineral thermal hot spring pool which is like soaking in a hot bathtub – my kind of swimming. We spent a bit of time there before it was time to head to happy hour.
Having spoken to a few people during happy hour, we’d highly recommend Ilfracombe over Longreach if you’re headed that way!
Have you ever been to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame? Do you own an Akubra?