Cairns to Lawn Hill – Oasis

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Following on from the first part of the journey (click HERE) we packed up shop at Normanton and prepared to drive all the way to Lawn Hill (8hr drive) just to escape the heat quicker. It was a long day and not alot happened on the way, dry grass, scattered trees and 34 degree temps. Gregory downs was an okay stop, some green grass present, toilets and playground, you can also swim and free camp on the river there which we noticed as we drove out. Really lovely river!

The last stretch into Lawn Hill was dirt so the drive was slower but we eventually made it to the little oasis that is Adele’s Grove. It cost about $50 for a family a night to camp here, so yes its not cheap but its worth it. The grove camping area is a massive area under a canopy of trees and there is so much space for you to choose a spot. Its  pretty easy to pick a spot that’s still kind of private cause there is plenty of bushes and trees providing privacy. Fires are allowed here too! Swimming in the river/creek is beautiful, its lagoon green/blue and was so refreshing in the middle of the day when it was hot. The week before we came it had been getting down to 8 degrees at night, however it was now only getting down to 17 and 30 during the day.

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At night plenty of kangaroos wander through the camp area and you can hear the micro bats whizzing above you eating up all the insects. Through the day the bird life is plentiful and I enjoyed watching the bower birds decorate their homes and dance to attract a mate, so cute.

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At Lawn Hill National Park, a short drive from Adele’s Grove there is plenty of walks and we did the Island Stack walk one day and saw so many lovely wild flowers and great views. On another day we took a large canoe which held all of us in (kids are small) and we (I mean Adrian) paddled all the way up to the upper gorge, about halfway you have to jump out and pull the canoe up to the next level. The environment is wonderfully prehistoric looking, the gorge towers over you on either side and you can hear your echoes. The water is emerald and lush vegetation clings to the sides of the river, its an oasis in the dry land that surrounds it. We even found a little micro-bat clinging to the side of a rock face as we canoed past. The swimming where you have to get your canoe out and go to the next level is amazing, with lovely waterfalls and steps into the creek, you can also reach this location on one of the walks. You can camp cheaper in the national park however I noticed it wasn’t as well shaded, I was happy with Adele’s Grove.

Before I finish I want to mention our stay in Mount Isa on our return trip. Finally some cold weather! We visited the Underground Hospital here, you MUST visit next time you go to Mount Isa, it was fantastic. A secret hospital made during WW2 and then hidden for many years, eventually someone heard a rumor that a secret hospital was hidden in a hill and work began by some miners on their days off to dig and recover it. It was found with all the equipment left in it, including a little area for “Maternity” complete with birth stirrups and cots. I even saw one of the earliest breast expressing machines in a collection of other hospital equipment in the museum building.

In Julia Creek stop at the well done information centre and if you time it right for a gold coin donation per person you can watch the famous Julia Creek dunnart (its a very tiny mouse) at its feeding time in the nocturnal house onsite at the centre. The dunnart has very cool story behind it! It was thought to be extinct!

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We also stayed at Richmond again and this time took the time to visit the world renowed museum Kronosaurus Korner! Yes its world renowed! Richmond is part of the Dinosaur trail (Hughenden, Richmond, Winton) you can buy a pass and visit all these towns and their museums if you want to do all of them. Their are places where you can freely go and find fossils for your self! And some pretty amazing ones have been found by visitors. We stay at the caravan park in Richmond over looking the man made lake, for camper trailers and tents grab the unpowered sites cause they are on lovely green grass and overlook the lake.

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Well that’s the Lawn Hill trip for you, hope its given you some camping inspiration x

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