It’s a long way to the top, Day 53 – And on to Croydon

Day 53 Monday July 28th 2014 Undara to Croydon

It is a warm sunny morning the road is lined with piles of basalt rocks the soil ranges in colour from pink through to red. The sky is cloudless. As far as Mt Surprise the road is good then it starts to get progressively skinnier with ragged edges. Sometimes there are new sections but mostly one lane of old asphalt. The creek beds are dry. We stop often for road works which means that one day this road will be good. We leave the volcanic plain as we cross the Newman Range. It is hot dry and dusty.

Georgetown is quiet, small and spread out. We buy groceries at the servo / supermarket and vegies at the fruiterer/cake shop. We call on a charming old butcher, he has a small shop with no display case. He cuts the meat on demand as you read from the list on the wall. Woody likes his daily newspaper, but here they are five days old. We scratch our heads because the mail truck has just been through, he doesn’t carry the papers. This is part of the experience of visiting other places.

While we’re in the supermarket a young local woman is at the counter and they’re having problems with the EFTPOS. “You in a hurry?” says the owner. “Yes” says the young woman (she’s got a long drive to Cairns ahead of her. “Too bad, so sad” says the owner “I’ve pulled the plug out you’ll just have to wait.” And wait we did. 

The streets are very wide and the few footpaths that there are a nicely paved. It is lunch time and thirty degrees there are horse floats parked and a couple of cowboys chatting. They must be cowboys because their hats look so good on them.

Georgetown, Qld

We stop for lunch at the Cumberland Chimney Cornish mine site. This is where gold from Croydon was smelted in the old days. The old chimney stands beside a water lily filled lagoon and bird life abounds. We chat with a convoy of blokes from Geelong who are on their way to Cairns and having a great old time.

Cumberland Chimney
Lagoon at Cumberland Chimney

The road finally improves and the last 60kms into Croydon are excellent. Lucky me I got the good shift and thoroughly enjoy every minute of the drive, the ochre colours of the landscape and the bright yellow kapok flowers.

The GPS tells us that we’re 3.3kms from Croydon but where the hell is it? There are half a dozen wide dusty streets. This is a gold mining town whose heyday ended at the outbreak of the First World War. It now has a few houses, a pub, a take away/ store, an historic general store, a police station and the shire council. In fact the council has to provide all of the other services to the community that are required. Council workers even arrange funerals as there is no undertaker. There are a handful of historic buildings that have been restored and are now open daily for self- guided tours. This method of touring really works and as well as being fascinating the buildings with their wide verandas, provide some respite from the searing heat. The heat feels and smells like Central Victoria at the height of summer.

We stop in at the Poddy Dodgers Bar in the Club Hotel for a cold drink and chat to a couple from Cape York and the cheery publican. The wall is pasted with very amusing car stickers. “I’ve lost my virginity, but I’ve still got the box it came in.”

“It’s not picking your nose that’s a problem, it’s where you put the boogies.”

Back at our neat little caravan park the air is warm and pleasant and the air is sweet. There is no TV. We get talking to the chap beside us and discover that he too is from our suburb.

Road trains on a warm night in Croydon, Qld

Towing Kms: 292Kms

Croydon – On the Savannah Way

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