Desert Trek 2000

Well it was back from Fraser Island and instead of 2 days lay over at Fox Mountain Lodge, we decided to "buy" a little weather insurance and cut that back to 1 day to re-stock and embark on our western trek the following day. Our journey will take us on a figure 8 to the Western deserts region of South West Queensland and Northern South Australia & New South Wales.

Heading West takes us away from the coastal plain and into the Great Dividing Ranges which run parallel to the East coast of Australia. West of the ranges in our region is the famous Darling Downs, a vast expanse of very fertile, undulating plains supporting all manner of Grazing and Agriculture. A large town on the edge of the downs is Dalby and  there is a nice place to stop for lunch by a fountain in a park on the main street.

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Lunch in Dalby

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Prickly Pear flower & buds

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Pelican Rest caravan park in St.George

Our destination for the first night was the town of St. George on the Balonne River. A popular fishing and water recreation spot is the man made lake on the edge of town. We couldn't help noticing the Prickly Pear trees on the road side. The Pear is a cactus that was introduced to Australia in the early days of white settlement and it went wild over thousands of square miles. When it became so thick it was impossible to ride a horse between the plants, agriculture or grazing was out of the question. The "Prickly Pear Plague" was a huge problem as every segment of pear would grow a new plant as soon as it was on the ground. The solution came when the Cactoblastus Moth was introduced to the region. The large larvae of the moth was a voracious feeder on the fleshy plant. The pear still grows but is kept in check now and has the most beautiful flowers in season. We noticed the yellow ones pictured here and also a bright red variety further west.

We stayed in a new caravan park at was so new that the grass hadn't yet got a go on. The facilities however, were second to none and a nice hot shower after a day on the road was just what the doctor ordered.

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