Off the Tourist Trail #4 Pentland, Queensland

We needed warmth NOW. We’d left the cold south a few weeks ago, but hadn’t yet hit the tropics. You KNOW you’re not warm enough when even the thermal pools feel cold …
The solution? Head further north – and QUICKLY!
Our map (no, I DON’T mean ‘GPS’) showed a road heading north from Blackall, up through historic Barcaldine to Torrens Creek, one of 5 small towns* on the Overlander’s Way between Hughenden and Charters Towers. And apart from a few km of gravel at the far end, sealed all the way! Sweet!!
We thought we’d hit paydirt on this deserted (only 6 other vehicles) and scenic (passing through 2 national parks**) inland superhighway – until we reached the dirt! Dirt? Hah! 35 km of the worst bulldust roads we’d ever driven on! But still … not only did we save 2-3 days on going round the looooong way, we had the added bliss of warmth! Travelling several hundred km further north in one day hadn’t been for nothing …
So … where to bail up, lie low for awhile and return the car and trailer to their natural colour?

Then we thought of Pentland, only a short distance east from where the dirt superhighway emerged onto the REAL road! We’d driven through it in 2009, amazed by the magnificent wildflowers of the White Mountains National Park – and the Pentland wetland (aka ‘swamp’) at the back of the town gave it the edge over Torrens Creek. Before you start wondering what kind of people think a swamp makes a place MORE instead of LESS enticing, think birdwatching!!

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Pentland – you’re in good company with (at a rough estimate) many millions of Aussies – and (I daresay) Oprah! Sad, when it’s a great place to spend a couple of days in a real Aussie small town.

The Pentland caravan park is one of those wonderful quiet country parks with everything – and on our June 2010 visit, was only $22 per night for a powered site! Bargain!! And within walking distance of the town’s services and attractions, including art gallery and historic Norwood police cells.

The next day, trailer de-red-dusted and washing on the line, we wandered down to the swamp wetland for a closer look A glorious spot, the extensive waterway was loaded with birds including Comb-crested Jacana, Magpie Goose and Cotton Pygmy Goose – unruffled by the young lad leading a cow along the verge. I’d also mention the hundreds of Whistling Duck in the distance, too far away to identify as either Plumed or Wandering subspecies …
And back at the caravan park for lunch, so warm we actually had to sit in the shade (!), Great Bowerbird swooped and cried around us, waiting (vainly) for stray morsels to fall. As if!
The Overland Way passes through the spectacular White Mountains NP – and one of the best wildflower displays this side of Western Australia. Although limited (god knows why), there IS public access at Canns Camp Creek campground, the Burra Range lookout and a short, flower lined walk down a fire trail to the creek – although it’s moot whether the latter is an ‘official’ visitor access point …

Returning to Pentland from viewing the breathtaking wild and remote vista from the lookout, an odd little bird, not destined to be roadkill today, scuttled across the road in front of us! What was it? Although pretty unlikely (wrong habitat and known distribution), I desperately wanted it to be a Plains Wanderer (how cool is that name?) but expert Pilchard didn’t see it clearly enough to identify preferring (thankfully, I guess) to actually watch the road when driving!

Although unlikely that we’ll nearly skittle the same bird in the same spot a year or two down the track, it’s just enough to make us return to Pentland one day on the off chance! Yes, we have an active fantasy life …

Till next time!!

*Prairie, Torrens Creek, Pentland, Homestead and Balfe’s Creek – all (other than Homestead) with Caravan Park/ hotel/motel accomodation; and all with other facilities such as stores, fuel, pub etc. Go on! Have a stopover!!
**Forest Den and Moorrinya, if you care!

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24 comments

  • What is pentland like to live inn, we are mid 60 and thinking of retiring any thoughts from anyone
    Cheers

    • Hi Heather! I have only ever stayed there in the caravan park – and that was a few years ago! All I can say was that we enjoyed our stay. Maybe some of my other readers can help 😀 Good luck!

  • @Emma – thanx so much for following – I hope you’re also a reader!
    @Gina – Get outta here!

  • Red
    thank you so much for stopping by my blog. The profile pic was actually taken this past Sept 3 months after I turned 43.

    Hugs n Blessings
    Gina

  • I am a follower! I hope you will stop by my blog and follow back!

    Sincerely,
    Emma Michaels
    http://EmmaMichaels.Blogspot.com

  • @Dorren McGettigan – welcome and thanx! Floods are pretty bad – but haven’t affected all areas. Tourism still alive and well!

  • Doreen McGettigan

    Oh that Mrs. Tuna..it was 14 degrees in Philadelphia today…I am Freezing!!
    I am so glad you are staying dry over here we are hearing of horrible floods over there..I know Australia is huge..just glad you are dry.
    I am a new visitor and follower via Java..

    http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

  • @River – KILLER mosquitoes by the swamp; but the caravan park – a bit further away – was mostly immune!!
    @Facing50 – ah yes, but you’d have to find someone willing to swap! And sorry, girlfriend, but that ain’t me! Not today, anyway!!
    @TOG – yep, will head O/S just as soon as I’m all done with OZ! That should take – hmmmm – perhaps another 20 years?!?!
    @Michelle Globetrotter – well, you’ll just have to head on back out there, girlfriend! Thanx for following!!
    @Ms Bibi – WOW! You’re the only other person (OZ or otherwise) I’ve come across who’s actually hear of it!! Well done!!
    @Mrs Tuna – Very, VERY wrong …

  • Would it be wrong to tell you it was 71 degrees in phoenix today?

  • Beautiful pictures. I hope to visit Australia soon. I actually heard of Pentland. My cousin from Slovakia went to study in Australia for two years and before she left she took few months just traveling around and visiting neat places like Pentland. She took some gorgeous pictures as well.

    Thank you for stopping by and visiting me at Daily Organized Chaos.

  • Michelle Globetrotter

    I traveled across Queensland last year but never had a chance to see Pentland. It looks awesome!

  • It sounds like you had quite a trip! Maybe you should jump on a plane and come to California, USA for your next holiday 🙂

    ~Ron

  • What I would give for a house swap at the moment! It’s grey here…yes just grey!
    Lovely photographs and a really interesting post especially for those of us who have never visited Australia or indeed heard of a Great Bowerbird before.
    Hope the sun keeps shining for you and keep those posts coming I need my fix of blue skies and colourful flowers.
    Carol

  • I’ve never heard of Pentland, but it looks lik a very pretty area. Being a wetland though, is there a mosquito problem at dusk?

  • @Trudy Callan – Welcome and thanx!
    @Life According to Talia – well, buckle up girlfriend! You’re in for quite a ride!
    @Casino Freebies 3 – so happy you found me too!
    @Mary – barring the next Ice Age, we won’t be having your freezing cold any time soon, even in the depths of winter!! Look and drool!!
    @Tammy – Welcome to you too! Thanx for dropping by and following!!

  • Hi there…thanks for stopping by today. I am now following you back. Have a wondeful weekend.

  • It sounds like a great spot to visit. These old bones could use some warming about now :-). Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Casino Freebies 3

    So Happy that I found you at the blog hop!
    New Follower:
    Casino Freebies 3
    http://casinofreebies3.blogspot.com/

  • Life according to Talia

    Never been to Australia, always been curious about it though! Definitely following to learn more about your adventures!

  • What a great blog you have here. Such gorgeous pictures of Australia. I have many readers in Australia; so I always enjoy seeing photos.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy travels.

  • @Jim – You’re too kind … although I was devastated not to win your cool prize!!

  • Glad you’ve found some dry land over there.
    Your usual interesting and descriptive post.

  • @Cate – the red dust and eucalypts are in danger of being subsumed by brown mud and water … but luckily, I’ve got a few more pix up my sleeve!!

  • Hi there, doing my weekly drop into your blog via Java’s bog-hop 🙂
    Love your pics of the red dust and eucalyptus – I miss those colours living here in NZ now.

    LOVED your posts about the cockatoos as well. They are such destructive – yet stunning birds!

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