Mt. Isa – a stop for a checkup!

This entry is for those who like the details. On arrival at Mt. Isa we had

  • traveled for 11 days
  • covered 2,671 km
  • used 431 litres of fuel
  • travelled at and average speed of 70 kph
  • taken 38.3 hours of driving.

Caravan interior at Mt. Isa with Julie working on blog for Lark Quarry and Gary using camera on self timer in the caravan cupboard.

Our van is a 14 “foot” Avan poptop (Madison 2) and a current model FG Ford G6 E with a 6-cylinder engine and 6-speed auto gearbox tows it. It is much smaller than the extreme wide-angle photo shows, but very comfortable for two.

In open country highways we generally try to cruise about 90 kph. Our longest drive was 470 km from Winton to Mt Isa. After a day in which you pack up a van and set it up again at the end of the trip, that is a very tiring effort. A drive of 300 km is good, leaving you some energy to look around after you are set up.

The famous northern road trains – generally triple trailers about 55 metres long and traveling at 120 kph on the flat (and very slow up hills!) are pretty scary whether they are passing or overtaking. They push a lot of air in front of them. The highways here are a fairly narrow two lanes but very straight and generally flat. A problem with a caravan’s limited rear vision is that you can’t see someone is overtaking you until they are alongside the van.

We have found it necessary to be flexible in our planning. Our original plan was to travel from Winton To Hughenden, to check out some more of the famous dinosaur trail. However problems with our electricity (continually tripping circuit breakers), no working gas supply (no stove and refrigerator) meant the need for an early departure for Mt. Isa and an appointment with a mechanic. The only other source of caravan repairs between here and Perth (more than 10.000 km) is Darwin so we can’t afford to not get fixed now.

A young mechanic actually made a “house-call” to our van in the Park, fixed the gas and gave us some advise about the power problem, which was probably caused by dodgy electrics in the van park in Winton, rather than our van.

So we have 3 more nights in Mt. Isa, to look around and rest up before we trek on further.


5 thoughts on “Mt. Isa – a stop for a checkup!

  1. Sounds like an adventure- especially with the unexpected…we had an issue with our gas stove a few times camping- very inconvenient.

    Mt Isa looks mad- love the pics- the one from the top of the mountain is my fav.

    Have never seen a real road train for myself- be sure to try to get a good pic of one. Ah! The serenity!

    Safe travels….

    • I’ll certainly look out for a road train photo – Paula I am glad you are enjoying the photos and I hope the writing is improving. Thanks so much for the feedback. As you know caravan parks go deathly quiet at 9 pm and this is quite therapeutic for me, reflecting on the day

    • To tell you the truth I don’t remember. It was three years ago and I went to the owner of the Park and asked if he had anyone he could recommend. This guy comes to the Parks all the time in a well fitted out truck. He replaced the gas control brass fitting which had a fine hair crack from bottoming on the grass going into a steep site. I also got him to replace the stripped thread in one of my van jacks. Sorry I can’t remember the name but he was well known in Isa.

      • Good luck with the repairs and the rest of your trip Di. I am not sure if you know (or want too) that this reply is coming from Prague, Czechoslovakia. We have been in Europe for 9 weeks – you will find the stories further on in the blog. Home tomorrow. I will be thinking of taking the Van back West either 2014 or 15 as I never did get to finish the South West corner. Hope I was of help. It actually gives me a bit of a kick that parts of my Travel Blog are being read 3 years after the journey was interrupted.

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