Longreach Water Hole

Several different people along journey had told us about Longreach water hole. Just out of Elliott and turn left after the stockyards. Elliott isn’t over large so driving though was easy. We saw the stockyards and started to turn left only to be greeted with a “Private Property Keep Out.” Sign.

We turned back onto the road and continued on. We went about 2 ks up the road before turning around and heading back. As we were almost to Elliott we saw a van turn into the road we stopped at. They continued on. We decided it must have been the right road after all.

The road was rough. I turned to Adrian and told him we would be staying longer than one night as I didn’t want to travel the road any time soon. As we continued on the aerial which had been very agitated with the road took a flying leap from the car. I stopped. Adrian found the aerial and placed in on the back seat to be reattached later. I laughed; it wasn’t just me then who didn’t like the road.

It was a long 12 ks into the water hole but well worth it. Vans were gathered along the riverbank. When we reached the main parking area we travelled left until we found a spot we could fit into. It was hard going through the trees and shrubs. Adrian had to guide me between some of the trees in spots. We found an area with two other vans just a little bit in front of us. It was a very close fit and when we went into the van we found we had two casualties. A branch had brushed the caravan taking part of the toilet vent out and the toilet roll had spiraled off the roll. After cleaning up the shattered pieces from the top Adrian fixed it with duct tape. (Duct tape fixes everything.)

We had barely stepped out of our van when a woman from one of the other van came rushing over to us, she seemed excited. “You have to watch the pelicans”. “OK we will keep an eye out for them.” We turned to go when we noticed the birds. There was almost no sound except for a little splashing of water. We were both a bit stunned. Coming down the river was hundreds and hundreds of pelicans fishing. The pelicans had formed a “V” shape as they moved. The feeding looked a bit like a Mexican wave. The wave started with the ones at the front ducked their heads down to fish then the ones behind them did the same seconds later. It continued until the last group had ducked their heads and it started again. Pelicans from the back came to the front. Kites flew overhead diving down to pick up escaped fish. Black birds (I don’t know the name of) followed for the leftovers. They all continued along and out of sight. The woman in the van next to us came over and said, “Wasn’t that amazing.” We both nodded “they do that twice a day every day. We have been here for 3 day and it still fascinates me.” It fascinated us as well. Truly amazing. I had never seen anything like it before.

We ate breakfast outside the next morning waiting for the pelicans. They did not disappoint.  The pelicans changed time depending on the weather. Some of the days were windy. They didn’t arrive on those days. Other days we only saw them the once, about lunchtime. We didn’t want to wander too far incase we missed them altogether.  After the pelicans had traveled down the river they would spend most of the day there before flying back up the river. This was again an amazing sight to see. Hundreds of pelicans flying, only feet above the water. Some were even lower having to rise up so they could flap their wings without hitting the water before dropping back to glide again.

We took the canoe off the car and took turns in paddling up the river. It did cross my mind to paddle out to the birds but one: they are wild birds and I didn’t know how they would react to me and secondly: I didn’t want to disturb them and put them off. (They may not come back.)

When we drove in we spotted a van we knew. On the first night we took a walk to catch up with the people. They introduce us to people they had met on the road and the 6 of us had happy hour together. I don’t know why they call it happy hour as the get together last longer than an hour. We staggered back to our van through the trees and shrubs, without a torch, at about 9pm on the first night to go straight to bed, not bothering to eat. The first couple left after 2 nights and we continued to have happy hour with the second couple. When they left they invited us to stay with them when we get to Tasmania. Soo nice. We did explain we wouldn’t be heading to Tasmania for another 2 years but they said it didn’t matter and to come and stay when we got there.

On one of the days Adrian and I took a walk beside the river. It seemed to go on for miles. Coming back, I was leading the way through the trees and bushes when Adrian called to me. I turned as I took my next step and walked right into a spider web. Of course I yelled and screamed.

“I told you to watch out.”

“GET IT OFF.”

“ok, ok”

“NOW”

“Ok, ok, come here.”

Adrian pulled the web from my hat.

“It is a good thing the spider isn’t here. I would have to hit you with a stick.”

“WHAT?”

“You don’t expect me to touch it with my hands, do you?”

“Ah, yes.”

My hero. We looked up to see the spider dangling from the tree I had walked past. It was as big as my palm. I do remember how Adrian acted with the spider on the chair in Kulin. He is not a fan of spiders. I can laugh about it now but at the time I was not impressed. Oh and I let Adrian lead now.

longreach-spidder

I was blown away with how many different birds were around the water hole. It wasn’t just the pelicans. There were plenty of other water birds and a lovely land birds. Don’t ask me the name most of them. I have an app on my ipad and a book but the birds I don’t know the names of are the one I can’t seem to find. If I know the name off the bird, I can find them. Most frustrating.

longreach-49

We kept on adding days to our stay. After arriving we talked about staying 3 days. We loved the spot so that we stayed 9 days. We drove into Elliott to get some foodstuff. The town didn’t look very inviting when we drove through it so we were unsure of what to expect when we went back. It didn’t take us long to look around as Elliott it is really only one street. In the way of shops the street had nothing but a caravan park come post office come store and the service station, (which has some foodstuff). We filled the car with fuel and purchased some gas. We asked the man where we could get some water and was told just across the road. The tap was on a little patch of grassed area. We filled up our 2 x 20L jerry cans with water. (Some of the caravaners at Longreach had placed pumps into the water for washing water but we don’t have an extra pump.)

After all of that we decided to treat ourselves to some lunch. As we waited Adrian spotted some small bananas on the counter. He grabbed some and added them to what I was buying. When the lady rang the bananas up telling us the price we were surprised. It worked out to be a dollar each. The woman chatted on saying how everyone loves bananas. I wanted to put them back at that price but I didn’t. When we jumped into the car Adrian voiced the same opinion. I took a photo of our small expensive banana just to remember. Two bites and they were gone.

longreach-51

We had seen a park in the town so made our way there with our takeaway lunch. Adrian started to walk to a table and chair set which was in the park when he heard a noise and looked up. The trees were filled with bats and they were not happy with him for coming into their territory. We had never seen so many bats in one place before. The picnic set was right under the trees. We decided not to sit there.

On our last 2 nights we were on our own so it was up to us to light a fire. I took the chance to try making some damper. We used a packet scone mix added some cheese and mix herbs. It burnt a little but it was yummy.

We never get tired of sitting back and enjoying the changing colours of sunset.

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