From Airlie Beach to Mt Isa – scratch that I mean Cloncurry

Lets work backwards again. We set out from an overnight stop in a little caravan park in Pentland BFN and set out for Mt Isa. We talked of underground mine tours etc. after long stretches of not much and no mobile coverage, Fi was able to ring ahead and book us some sites. The office closed at 5.30 but we had to ring when we arrived.

After The princess had a coffee go through and we needed to toilet we stopped about 20km from Cloncurry where is was going to top up fuel.

There was an informative board on the local area


We hit the road only to find about 7km down the road i lost power. The foot was flat to the floor but nothing was happening. We coasted into a roadside stop. Once in neutral she revved no problem. Craig and i agreed it was Nullabor syndrome and i might have to limp into town at slow speeds. We pulled out then no power, then she stalled – on the Flinders Highway with road trains and to make matters worse, it was on a bend. No amount of starting would get the Prado going and when she did, she ran like a pig.

The roadtrains were not happy! Craig then had to turn the car and van around and winch me onto the side of the road while Kate got the kids out and onto the grass in case a truck didn’t see us.

After some roadside diagnostics, I rang RACQ. They were very helpful, patched me through to the local bloke and said it would be an hour. This was 5pm.

So we waited, the kids explored, then complained “its too hot” and the “there are too many flys and they are annoying”. To amuse them we played the game of how many trucks would pass us before they arrived. Needless to say no one won as i lost count.






Kate and Fiona did some bitchy faces for us (see above)!!!!!! Did they try?!?!

Craig them gave them some fly netting to wear


This will be the next big fashion hit!

Anyway the Mortons took off and left us…oh sorry i mean headed to get us caravan sites then come back for my van, Kate and the kids!

This was at 6pm after i rang RACQ again and they said they were on the way but the wait time was actually 2 hours!!

So we got the families and vans to a “lovely” park in Cloncurry while i waited beside the car all by my lonesome in the outback by myself. Now some might be scared of Wolf Creek style action. I found it very peaceful and relaxing, it was so quiet (when there are no roadtrains and cars) and no kids!!

Got these sunsets



And the moon a bit earlier


Now before i continue while i have been complaining about Queenslanders inability to drive, speeding up on overtakes, roadworks etc, i will say many nice people pulled over to see if we, then I was OK and needed help. Not sure this would have happened in Victoria.

At 7pm i rang them to get an update and advise the caravan was gone. They said they were still on the way. Then about 20min later Craig arrived back and then the roadside help arrived.

I was concerned the truck said they were diesel mechanics and the Prado is petrol, and the first works were “shit it is variable valve timing”. Some quick work determined the engine was being starved of fuel. Then the boss, Billy, turned up. Now there is an interesting character! The two guys that turned up were British and had been here for 3 months. Great guys and one nudged me and said don’t tell Billy what to do, it is not worth it. Great advice too.

Billy then left to get the tow truck and they looked at the car. I said can we check the fuel filter, so one of the boys takes the fuel line off and the other cranks the car. Not the fuel filter as plenty is coming through. Then he smelt the fuel and his nose screws up and it is announced “this isn’t unleaded”. I get to smell and it smelt like kerosine or similar, not unleaded.

Looks like i got a dodgy batch of fuel. The last 5 fill ups were BP so i blame them, just not sure which one…..

Tow truck arrives, on the back it goes with directions to the workshop and a promise they will try and look at it tomorrow. I think a thank you slab may help incentives the mechanics!?!?

So what an eventful day! Yesterday i got a stone in the windscreen from Craig’s van. The glass is in tact, just a nice star crack.

On the way yesterday we saw the Big Mango in Bowen and had beautiful mango sorbet




Thats me for now, i am exhausted!

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One Response to From Airlie Beach to Mt Isa – scratch that I mean Cloncurry

  1. Vicki. says:

    Gee Mark you must have run over a chinaman somewhere what with the caravan tyres, windscreen and now car problems, surely that,s got to be the end of it, and you will have a problem free run from here on. don,t let this dampen the rest of your fabulous holiday.

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