Heading west from the Sunshine Coast, Charleville was pretty much where we hit the red dirt that told us we were in the Queensland Outback.
We’d passed through a lot of cattle country on the way. I got zapped by an electric fence at a campsite in Chinchilla. Our first tourist stop was Roma where the folks went to see the cattle sales. It’s the biggest sale yard in the southern hemisphere and they do free tours 0800 on sale days. I was a bit miffed that dogs had to stay in the carpark with the trucks. Saw a few of my distant cousins there, real working dogs on the backs of dust covered utes. Got to hear the cattle bellowing and the auctioneers singing. But best of all the place smelt awesome! The folks showed me pictures of the auctions later, back in camp. Wish I’d seen it myself but, seeing is second best to smelling, as any dog knows!
In Charleville we pulled into the Evening Star Tourist Park, mostly because it had good reviews on the Sparrow-phone. It turned out to be a great place. They had big sites, the amenities got a big tick from the Sparrow and they had a big range of extra benefits.
Every night they had a big campfire with free damper. There was a bar selling cut price drinks at happy hour and they were lots of traveldogs. The first night a visiting astronomer came in with his big telescope and the folks went stargazing. They did it at the big old shearing shed, away from the camp lights. Dogs were welcome on lead but were not allowed to look through the telescope. I went along for the walk. A couple of Echidnas were scratching around near the viewing site, so being on the lead probably saved me from embarrassing the folks! The starman clipped my i-phone onto his telescope and took some picture for me. How’s that for dog friendly?
Both nights they had a country singer Alec Beckett, nice old fella who knew lots of Slim Dusty and Johnny Cash songs. Mostly sung and accompanied himself but did a few numbers with the invisible band. I still don’t get where the invisible band are hidden! Anyway, he went over a treat with the folks sitting around the campfire. The owners did a Running Bear sketch with him and some folks even danced later in the night. On our second night they did a big campfire dinner, so the folks didn’t have to cook. Corned silverside with ginger sauce, veggies and a chocolate sponge pudding, $20 a head, free for dogs. Of course, everyone ‘accidentally’ dropped bits for the dogs. We were all big winners by the end of the night.
During the day we’d walked around town. Charleville is a big old town with big old pubs and a big old railway station. A big old train comes twice a week! The folks went to see some Bilbies at the Charleville Bilby Experience (they weren’t very big) and checked out the Royal Flying Doctor Museum. I was on ‘guard the van’ duties for both – parked under the shade of a big old tree of course!
It’s been about 30 degrees during the day, no wind, no rain but the nights have been as cold as 3 degrees. It was so cold that I was even allowed up on the bed a couple of mornings. The folks got me a jumper at the op-shop in Charleville, but I haven’t decided if I’ll wear it yet, they had a big old laugh when I tried it on!