A Travellerspoint blog

The trip to QLD to collect our new van

View Picking up our Sunland Scorpion from QLD on iandeborah's travel map.

Friday 3/6/22
We departed home in Busselton heading to QLD to collect our new van of choice.
Tonights Destination : Esperance
Trip 722 km

We headed off nice & early by 7.15am.
A comfort stop in Kojonup. Then a lunch & coffee stop in Ravensthorpe. Deborah resisted the craft shop on this occasion.

The next leg heading towards Esperance found a change of driver (Deb) who encountered two rather wide loads. We heard on the UHF, talk about 5.4 & on another occasion 5.5. We were both puzzled as to what that meant. But listening to further chatter we learnt it was 5.4 & 5.5 metres wide
Very wide loads. We spoke to the pilots behind & in front of the wide loads & easily overtook them.

We arrived in Esperance, checked into the Comfort Inn, Bay of Isles Motel on the waterfront. Enjoyed a walk along the foreshore & through town. Deborah (The Material Girl) found a craft shop open at 5 to 5 & had a gander (15 minutes later after it had closed) no purchases were made.

Temperature maximum today was 14 degrees.

Our choice of restaurant tonight was the Siam Thai Cuisine, a short walk away. We would highly recommend it.

Saturday 4/6/22
Tonights Destination: Madura Motel, WA
Trip 736 km
Temperature reached a balmy 16, we got very excited.

Departure was 7am.
Today we drove along the Eyre Highway. The highway has a special RFDRS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) airstrip, we dove on it & then we continued on the longest straight stretch in the world. 90 miles straight.
Morning tea today was at Balladonia & our lunch stop was at Caiguna. The roadhouse was full of big deep pot holes. It was very busy with many cars, cars with caravans & trucks. While Ian drove, and the mottled sun & shade from the gum trees on each side of the road, Deborah was lulled to a snooze or two. Ian spotted 2 mature persons riding their push bikes in an Easterly direction with the breeze at their backs. Dinner was at the Motel where the serves were large. Deborah noticed a Telstra phone box & took the liberty of calling her younger Sister, Maxine & touching base.
Today the time went forward 3/4 hour.

Sunday 5/6/22

Tonights Destination : Penong Hotel/Motel, Caroline Street.
Trip 608 km
Temperature maximum it reached a balmy 15 degrees.
We headed off by 7.30 today.

Today was a day of animal sightings. First we saw a random sheep right beside the roadside. We slowed down to safely pass him.
A little while later we saw a rabbit run out onto the road in front of us, it ran to the middle of the road, did a very quick
U-Turn & ran back to the passenger side of the road, the side it came out from. It was like it was playing chicken with us. It all happened in an instant, Ian had time to hit the brake to slow down as we were on cruise control. It ran away & we continued on our journey.
No one was injured in this instance.

Ian spied what looked like Eagles on the side of the road, so he slowed down so we didn’t spook them. Due to the inclement weather we could only snatched a murky picture of the last one taking off from the road kill.

Further on about 65km before the Nullarbor Roadhouse we spotted a sandy coloured medium sized wild dog or dingo crossing the road.
In addition to the animal sightings we also drove along several RFDS air strips drawn on the Eyre Highway.

We had a spot of morning tea, coffee from the flask & a muesli bar at the Nullarbor Roadhouse in the picnic area in a spot of sun.

Today was a drizzly day of driving in between spurts of sunshine. We crossed the boarder into South Australia, where we were not required to stop & have eaten all our fresh fruit in preparation. We were required to adjust our clocks forward another 45 minutes today.

Our lunch stop today was at Yalata.

We arrived without incident & took a walk around Penong. We found a windmill museum which wasn't here the last time we came through in 2014. They were lovely to see in action.

Wild goats being transported by truck.

The cafe/general store/ post office/laundromat is up for sale.
The laundry is well used. Being Sunday the general store was closed.

Dinner tonight was pizza @ the pub, Ian with enjoyed a stout & Deborah a shandy.
Deborah remembers staying at a pub was when she was 19 in QLD. Nothing has changed in that time.

Recollections of people from the district about the Opening Hotel.

Monday 6/6/22

Destination: Orooroo, Commercial Motel (the room was an apartment room. We would highly recommend it.)
Trip km 642 km

Temperature maximum reached a warm 15 for short periods of the day

It was dark this morning when we set off at 6.45. We were the first of the guests to depart. We went through the quarantine station at Ceduna. We were asked if we had any fruit or vegetables on board & to open the car for a search. Deb showed the boarder security the cooler bag which had ice packs in it. He was happy with that & we were sent on our way. We fuelled up & headed down the highway.

We stopped at the Kimba cafe for morning tea.

The Kimba Silos.

We came across a couple of dead goats on the side of the highway with big horns.

The traffic coming towards us today was much steadier, not as many trucks or caravans. It was a good drive until Garfield our Garmin took us on a one track road with lots of wash away dips for a 17km shortcut. We will remember to avoid this on our return journey.

We passed several clusters of windfarm turbines both on the top of the hill (turning fast) & in the low lands (turning slow.) We drove into Port Augusta for fuel top up & found a patch of sun opposite the library to sit & enjoy lunch.

Arriving in Orroroo just before 4pm after viewing A large Red Gum Tree with a 10.89m circumference & over 500 years old.

We took the opportunity to go for a walk around town where we found a car graveyard which seems typical of many country towns & a new monument to the local industry is the wool press.

Returning to our large room with ensuite in the Commercial Hotel, then mixing with the locals at the bar & then partaking in dinner. It's off to bed early tonight as we have a big drive tomorrow.

Tuesday 7/6/22

Destination: Cobar
Trip 786 km
Wednesday 8/6/22

Heading off at our normal time 7am towards the Copper City Motel in Cobar.
One of the towns we passed through, Peterborough, has a long history with steam trains. Although we didn’t have time to stop we have put it on our return agenda. It had a wonderful street library housed in an old fridge. It was notably 9 degrees @ 9am. Passing through Yunta we picked up some fuel.

Passing through a roadside hamlet "Mannahill", it also had a lovely old railway station.
Further along passing through Olary it reached 10 degrees.

We entered NSW @ Cocburn @ 10.06am where we added a further 30minutes to our watches.

Just prior to Broken Hill we spied a huge array of solar panels.

Our lunch stop was at the top of a hill, Netallia. Tables with a roof & toilets, what more could you ask for?
During our travels today we saw many sheep, wild goats & wild emus.

Flicking through the radio channels we came across one called Outback Radio 585AM frequency. It stayed with us the whole day. We listened to a wide range of music, most of which took us back to when we were children.
Bands from the Seekers, Slim Dusty, Pink Floyd.
Songs like Beautiful Balloon, Some Girl.
It was very memorable.

We reached the Silver City Motel by 4.30 & were welcomed & handed the key to our room. No 12. We quickly noticed the toilet was not flushing & there was no hot water. We reported the issues to reception who did seem to know about it. They hadn't however notified us before we were given the key. Apparently a plumber was coming. In the meantime Deborah rang around all the other motels & even the budget pub to find there were no rooms available in the town. So we waited for an update. Finally it was sorted. The flusher continued to systematic. Ian found a short term work around. Although the bed was comfy, and aircond very quiet, Make up your own mind but we are not really staying here again.

Diagonally across the road was the RSL.( Returned Services Club.) The staff were very welcoming. We shared a delicious seafood platter & as there were not mussels available Deborah scored some extra oysters. Talking to a couple of other diners we learnt there was a free camping area out the back of the RSL. Free but with the proviso campers spend some money in the club.

Destination: originally Talwood, destination Moree, NSW
Trip 719 km

Departing Cobar at 7, heading towards Bourke. We saw this painted silo.
Not long after departing Cobar we came up in a queque behind a camper van which was behind a car and caravan, which was behind a 5.4M wide load. Good UHF communication by Deborah and the wide load pilot helped us pass smoothly.

We headed onto Brewarrina, and then Goodooga. Everyone is welcome at the old church at Goodooga
We found a post office to buy a stamp to post a special person's birthday card. Looking across the paddock from the Post Office we saw about 30 caravans. We drove over to have a look & found it was a free camping area with a hot bore spring pool called "Great Artesian Bath," with tables & chairs, electric bbqs, also with toilets & hot showers, a dump point & a hybrid gym equipment outdoors & all Free. This areas rich aboriginal history remains culturally strong. It is always open & has wheelchair access to the baths.
The school has around 30 students, a Principal, 8 teachers & a teachers aide & 2 Aboriginal Education Officers.
About 200 people live in town not including farms. Town has a health clinic. The Post Office sells burgers & fish & chips & orders in food from Lightening Ridge for campers and local request.

All day we continued getting signal from our favourite radio station 585 AM. Today we heard Kylie songs, Bee Gees- Spicks and Specks, Kenny Rogers- She believes in me, Nancy Sinatra - These boots are made for walking. Can you see how we just loved listening?

However talking to one of the campers, Ken, we discovered the road we were heading onto was still closed due to flooding. At this point we came up with an altered route which meant a few extra kilometres & a change of nights accommodation. Needless to say, similar to Cobar, all accommodation in Goondiwindi was full so next option was to try Moree. Several places we called were all full. Thinking we might need to spend the night in the car, we did locate a lovely motel room at Dragon Phoenix Motel. After arriving, settling inn, checking the facilities we went for a walk around the block & ordered Thai & took it back to the room to eat & relax.

Along the sides of the roads today we came across we initially thought was fine bits of wool from the wild goats. We realised later after a truck coming from the other direction was loaded with cotton with bits floating off as it drove by.

Again we saw many sheep, wild goats, fenced farm goats, emus & even some cows today.

Lightening Ridge even had a metal emu sculpture.

Thursday 9/6/22

Destination: Nirimba, QLD via Caboolture (The Sunland Factory)
Trip 578 km

We were on the road @7am, it was 1 degrees and then dropped to -1 as we drove out of Moree headed to Goondiwindi. As we prepared to drive off Ian noticed ice on our windscreen and poured some water on the windsceen to help it defrost without cracking it. The roadside was lined with scrunchy, frosty, icy grass. It was cold.

We fuelled up at Millerran. A nice painted water tank was spied by the roadside.

We crossed into QLD today as we drove into Goondiwindi.

Driving along & listening to JPY (John Paul Young), "Love is in the air" on our favourite outback radio station, Dolly Parton & so many familiar artists until the station was too crackly to listen to. We then listened to the abc then Triple M in Brisbane. Today's drive went like clockwork.

Arriving into Millmerran for a fuel stop we came up behind a semi-trailer travelling very slowly with hazard lights flashing. It was then that we noticed that the rear section of his load of steel pipes had slipped sideways. We quickly overtook him with ample space to avoid any dangerous slippage. The UHF worked extremly well today communicating with truck drivers getting past them.

Morning tea today was just outside of Millmerrin a lovely slice of Deborah's home made fruit cake and cuppa coffee.

We drove through Toowoomba down the steep range in low gear onto wards Brisbane & Caboolture deborah noticed how the population has expanded & housing sprawl even around Plainlands.

Lunch today was at Chermside.

In many of the rivers and creek crossing we noticed high levels of water.

We arrived at the Sunland factory roughly on time around 2.30pm. The factory tour certainly did not disappoint us.They all knew we were coming and all got to meet the owners of the new orange Scorpion 18.6 van they were putting together. We had a good look through the van. Took a few pictures(the van pictures will be on another blog page), left the mattress for them to place on the bedbase after installation. There were 5 vans in total in the workshop.

Diesel prices throughout this trip were as follows:
Busselton 207.7 cents per litre
Esperance 211.9
Norseman 216.9
Caiguna 216.9
Mundrabilla 250
Ceduna. 199.9
Port Augusta 209.9
with 4c off with Woolies loyalty card & a further 4c if you had a RAA card. In WA we have RAC. We have to ask RAC to see if they will sort out reciprocal with agreements in SA.
Yunta. 202.9
Bourke. 214.9
Moree. 213.9
Milmerran. 205.9

Total km of our trip over was 4,791km.
That's all for now until the return trip.
Stay safe everyone!

Posted by iandeborah 11:23

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Gosh you have done some km’s in a short amount of time. Sounds like you have been rocking to a great station. You are so lucky to have seen any life on the Nullarbor- we saw nothing.
Stay safe

by Sally

An interesting trip east, guys. So exciting to be picking up the new van. Are you going back the same way or visit new towns heading west?

by Vicki Berkhout

Sally & Li, the outback radio station definitely was memorable & set us up nicely for the time we had it. Now to enjoy family time & plan our trip back! Stay safe & enjoy your travels also.

by iandeborah

Vicki, we are planning our trip back now, it won't be the same but we want to revisit Peterborough either on our return trip or another time. We do have a deadline we need to be back for & that is the 2nd July. It won't be a quick trip, we also do not have time to dawdle. It will be a new adventure for us either way. Hope you & Phil are both well & having a ton of fun.

by iandeborah

Oh my goodness that's a lot of kms.
Awesome blog .. very interesting info of your journey.. thoroughly enjoyed..
Love the painted silos
Still lots of water about then..
Great to finally see "sunny" at Sunland... will await that blog with much anticipation 😀

by Rose and Rob

Fabulous...you have arrived and seen your new babe...excitment overload

by Jan Clarke

Hi Jan & Ian, yibba da yibbida. Picking it up 15 or 16th to drive home. Travel safe yourselves.

by iandeborah

What a fabulous and interesting trip.
Loved that music channel.
Safe travels home.

by Bob and Wendy

Gosh you have done some km’s in a short amount of time. Sounds like you have been rocking to a great station. You are so lucky to have seen any life on the Nullarbor- we saw nothing.
Stay safe

by Sally

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.