After an early rise and pack up at the Lion’s Den, we made our way South in order to commence our cross-country adventure along the Savannah Way. Leaving the rainforest behind us, we ventured in to areas of agriculture; cattle stations were followed by the Atherton Tablelands, an area of intensive cropping which interested James far more than Caro, who drove so that James could stare out of the window. The drive also brought our first sighting of a live kangaroo, as opposed to the decidedly and unpleasantly flattened variety, ticking another box on the must-see list.
We broke the journey in Atherton in search of caffeine and internet. We settled down to a cup of proper Earl Grey in The Access Place only to find, rather ironically, that their wifi wasn’t working. In the end this didn’t bother us as the tea and coffee were great and the atmosphere and staff so pleasant that we could have happily sat there all day. Our overall impression of Atherton was of sleepy contentment which we thoroughly enjoyed, particularly after managing to connect to free wifi by loitering outside the high street banks, top tip for Australia!
Back on the road we made a brief stop at Diner Falls but were disappointed that large amounts of concrete had been used to create the pools, somewhat ruining the beauty of the area. The accompanying volcanic crater, however, was well worth the extra 10 minute walk beyond the falls and made us feel a bit lightheaded when we considered the dangers involved in building the walkways.
We pushed on south, intending to spend the night at Undarra National Park where it is possible to tour the lava tubes created by historic eruptions from the surrounding volcanoes. Upon arrival, we were advised that the park was hosting an event, Opera in the Outback, and that site bookings were conditional on event attendance. Naturally, we gave that a wide berth and carried on to Mount Surprise (population 65) and the excellent, Flintstones inspired, Bedrock Village campsite.
Everyone loves a morbid sense of humour:
The following day we went back to Undarra and did the only free activity on offer; a crater walk around the rim of Kalkani crater. Caro was unable to stop referring to this as the Undarra-darra crater, if only in her own head. The walk yielded fantastic uninterrupted views across 100s of kilometres of volcanoes and surrounding landscape.
After the 500km+ drive of the previous day we kept it short and stopped for the night a couple of hundred kilometres further along the Savannah way in Georgetown, which was deserted. Not feeling a night here we found a campsite at Flat Creek Station nearby… for “nearby” read “45 minute drive down bumpy gravel track”. The camp site was brilliant; having passed through several cattle pens, we booked in at the homestead and were shown to the site by a modern-day cowboy; big hat, checked shirt, rugby shorts and dealer boots. James made a mental note to throw away all of his existing clothes and emulate this man’s wardrobe at the earliest possible opportunity. We had the campsite to ourselves, save for a few kangaroos, some semi-feral cows and the multiple frogs living in the gents, and spent the evening chilling with a few beers and unconcernedly walking to and from the shower block in our underwear.