Dowling Track & Kilcowera Station

A few of us were traveling north from southern NSW recently and decided to give the newly named Dowling Track a go. It goes from Bourke NSW to Quilpie in Qld with a total distance of 567 km or so the brochure says.

We were in no hurry so had plenty of stops to check out the scattered wildflowers, the waterholes and the many birds. It's a good gravel road, a few corrugations but all up pretty much ok.

We found the locals at Fords Bridge pub a sociable lot and had a bit of a yarn there. Yantabulla is basically a ghost town, it's sad to see these little towns so deserted. By comparison Hungerford was a hive of activity with the mobil refueling man there, the mail truck just in and a few locals holding up the bar.

We deviated off the Dowling Track briefly and slipped up the road to check out Currawinya NP for a few hours. It seems there's no rangers stationed there, we couldn't find anyone anyway. A vote decided that Hungerford caravan park would do us for the night with hot showers, toilets, power and the rubbity just over the road.

A leisurely start the next day saw us back on the Dowling track following the border fence westwards over the mighty Martha range (129 m above sea level he,he,he snigger) and going across a bit of a creek (dry) with a 2m flood level indicator on it, hmm.

We had picked up a brochure for Kilcowera Station in Bourke and bookedourselves in so that was our next stop about 90 k's north of Hungerford. The owners showed us to the campground at their shearers quarters. Most impressed with the set up, bbq's, fireplaces, heaps of wood, camp kitchen and power available. We were all campers but they have accommodation in the quarters for about 20 people I think. We put the rest of the day in perving around the quarters, shearing shed, sheep and cattle yards and down to a monstrous big lagoon for a bit of birding.

Next day we went off in convoy on the 60 km self drive tour around the place and saw caves, waterholes, heaps of birds, roos, wallaroos, goats, a few cattle, Lake Wyara and Murderers Bore. The drive was a bit rough in places (rocks) but well sign posted and we were given maps, directions and information.

On our third day at Kilcowera we dropped the yabby pots in a dam and some of us went on a water run with Toni around the other place they own, it's next door. Then back to camp for the very happy hour and a camp oven dinner Greg had prepared for us. It was great to have access to this place and to get to know G&T a bit and find out first hand what it's like living and working in such a remote place.

Back on the Dowling track the next morning and heading to Thargomindah 95 kms to the north. I was surprised to find about 30 kms of bitumen on the way. Thargo is a tidy town of about 250 souls, we went to the VIC for info and met Pauline, she then took us to the water museum and gave us a demo of the hydro power. The Vic is in the old hospital building and it is built of locally made mud bricks, there's also a museum in an old mud brick house. We all went on the river walk and had our lunch beside a beautiful waterhole with stacks of birds. The general store had a good supply of fresh fruit and veg and we were able to stock up before heading up the road.

The last 200 kms of the Dowling track is on a good gravel road with a fair smattering of tar. There had been some rain fairly recently so the countryside was fairly green and looked very nice around Toompine. There's an airstrip, demountable buildings, a tennis court, a pub and cemetery there.

We carried on and crossed the Bulloo river again a little further up the road and then on to Quilpie where we spent 2 days checking out the local attractions: opal fossicking, Baldy Top lookout, Lake Houdraman, the art gallery and the pub and bakery.

The Dowling track was a good drive, off the beaten track and not too much traffic, plenty to see and do, nice little towns with friendly locals and we crossed 3 rivers, the Darling, the Paroo and the Bulloo.

Posted By John Gill on 20th June 2008

Updated : 14th August 2008 | Words : 760 | Views : 8480

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