Sunday, 12 May 2019

Longreach - Thompson River Cruise

Longreach is as far north as we have visited before in outback Queensland.  On that occasion we visited The Stockman's Hall of Fame and the Qantas Museum and 747 Plane.  Therefore, we didn't visit them again this time. What we did want to do was take one of the cruises on the Thompson River.

Once we set up our van our first port of call was the Information Centre.  Our plan was to catch up with family on Wednesday night and take the cruise on Thursday.  No, they don't run the cruise on Thursday, the only day of the week that they don't. So Wednesday it was.  We had time to go home and get organised quickly, before being at our collection point for the bus to the river.  We hadn't even had a chance to see Mick's cousin.

The tour company we chose has a paddle boat and any overflow go onto a second little boat. 

Initially we were disappointed to be on the second boat, but that soon changed, as we got to see the paddle boat on the river.

The water was lovely and calm, providing some wonderful reflections in the late afternoon light.

The Thompson River is actually a string of waterholes, except in flood events.  The boats cruise on the longest, which is 14kms long.  The Barcoo River, which is just south of Longreach is also a string of waterholes.  These two rivers merge to form the Coopers Creek.  They are the only two rivers in the world to merge to create a creek.

We noticed some huge stick nests in trees by the river bank.  They are the nests of Whistling Kites and can be about 80 years old. 

Apparently, they mate for life and after they die, the next generation keep going with the same nest.

Our boat captain was really informative and entertaining.

By the end of our cruise the sun was setting.

Once we completed our cruise we moved to the camp ground, where a fire was alight and camp ovens had been cooking our tea.  Before we were served, we were told what a stockman would do when he returned to camp after a days work, looking after his horses first and then having tea.

We were instructed how to use the camp fire tables if we weren't comfortable eating on our laps.  Too funny.

The stew and mashed potato (from great granny's recipe) was yummy.  Simple is often the best.

This was followed by apple pie and custard and some bush poetry, courtesy of Scotty, the barefoot poet.  He delivered them so well.

Next, some damper was put in the camp ovens to cook while we were entertained by a light and sound show about Captain Starlight, which was well done.

By the time it had finished, the damper was cooked and served with cocky's joy (golden syrup) and billy tea.  

The evening concluded with singing the national anthem as the flag was raised.

We tend to be a bit cynical about some tourist attractions, but thoroughly enjoyed our evening.  The whole event is run by a local family who have diversified from just their property to doing Cobb and Co rides, the cruise and station tours. They have a large store in town and do a tent show out the back of that each day, which is also apparently very well done.  We didn't have time to do any more this time.

We were even home in time to catch up with Mick's cousin.

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