Setting out on the Overlander's Way
Trip Start Aug 14, 2010
188Trip End Aug 05, 2011
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Where I stayed
Out the back of Prairie Hotel
Total Roadtrip Distance so far… 10,892km
Our van was booked in for a service this morning. She’s done over 10,000kms (so we’re now due our free tyre rotation!) with us already and well we’re heading into the Outback today so we’re hoping she’ll be in good health for it! So oil, filter and fluids changed and checked along with the usual service necessities and three new wiper blades (free!) later we were on the road west. She even received some lovely compliments from the mechanic! Great aul girl for her age!
After making the essential stop off at Coles for some supplies before we head into a land where everything is extortionately priced and a full petrol tank and jerry can later we were on the Overlander’s Way
Our first stop for the day and our stop for lunch was the historical town of Charters Towers. It’s only 130km west of Townsville and was founded as a gold mining town when an aboriginal boy found gold here in 1871. The town as a result later became known as “The World”. From here we continued onto to the town of Prairie where we parked up for the night. Our neighbours in the small paddock next door were an alpaca, a buffalo and two cattle. Luckily John had already started on the chicken tika masala dinner before he spotted the alpaca!
Back in the 1900’s Prairie had a population of about 300 with two hotels, two guest houses, two general stores, two blacksmiths, two churches, one butcher shop, a saddlery shop, a café, a school of arts hall, a privately owned dance hall, a large garage, a stock and station agency, a dairy, a barbers shop, a shearing shed, a Chainman’s garden (later also a bakery), a school, a post office, a railway station and a sale yard. Today however the present day Prairie now has one hotel, a police station, a café/post office/roadhouse, a town hall, a school (with a current enrolment of 15) and a truck transport business
We parked up in the camping area that’s behind the famous Prairie hotel and at $6 each for the night it was good value. After packing up the van and having some dinner we headed into the historic hotel bar for a beer. The bar is a unique little spot with a collection of stockman’s hats on the ceilings along with other memorabilia along the walls. The owners four kids were busy running around as well and we probably stood out like sore thumbs in this place as everyone here seemed to know each other but they were a friendly lot and we got chatting to the owner Tom and a local at the bar. Apparently this hotel is haunted and the story goes back to the 1930’s when another hotel set up in town. A ringer was paid to burn down the hotel but after lighting the fire he went back upstairs to retrieve his bottle of rum. He downed the contents of the rum and fell asleep. He was badly burned by the fire but did not get his gold sovereign he was promised for lighting the fire. The story is that now he haunts the hotel in search of his sovereign! Yeah, glad we didn’t know that before we slept here!
The following morning was St. Patrick’s Day. We kitted Didgery out in her Irish tattoos as well as ourselves. The hotel owner took some photos of us and we proudly donned the Irish flag across our back window for the day! It was a bit strange not being at home in Dublin for the occasion but we made it our own! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!