After our night under the most amazing night sky in the Bladensburg NP, we made our way to Boulia. Paul expanded his drone skills and had it follow the Legend for a couple of kilometres as we drove out of the park. It’s a strange experience watching footage of us driving, when we were the ones filming!
The trip through Winton and on to Boulia on the Developmental Road was an unusual one. The road is black top, but only single lane, with very intermittent “overtaking opportunities”. Oncoming traffic necessitated one vehicle moving off the road into the coarse gravel. In a perfect world, the oncoming party would also slow down a bit, to reduce the risk of stones being thrown at windscreens. Of course, we find sometimes that slowing down is a courtesy not extended by everyone, and one vehicle with a caravan even tried playing chicken with us – not slowing down at all as we tried to find somewhere safe to pull off the road for them. Towing in the outback, actually, everywhere that we’ve been so far, has shown us the Good, Bad and the Ugly of other caravanners.
We’d planned to stop at Middleton on the way to Boulia, and were bemused to find it nowhere in sight by the GPS coordinates! Someone had moved Middleton!!
40km down the road, the blink-and-you-miss-it settlement of Middleton appeared in front of us out of the heat haze, much like the fabled Brigadoon of Scotland, appearing once every one hundred years. Middleton has been around longer than that, and was one of the 9 Pillars of the Cobb & Co coach route. They even have one of the original coaches out the front of the pub!
Arriving in Boulia during daylight hours (so no, we didn’t see the mysterious Min Min Lights!), we had only planned to stay for one night. The lovely Manager waived the fees for the children, in light of our charity trip. We were very appreciative. Kirstine asked to change a note for some $1 coins for the laundry, and the Manager, Booie, gave Kirstine the change AND $6 in coins. We thought there had been a misunderstanding, and offered Booie the note, but she refused to accept. The coins were a bonus! Booie showed us to a lovely shaded grassy site, and promised to bring her German Shepherd (GSD), Jessie, to play with Luna.
True to her word, Booie and Jessie came to visit, and the two Shepherds hit it off straight away. I don’t think we’ve laughed so hard in a long time, watching the GSDs playing chasey and tearing around the grassed area as if the devil himself were after them. Booie turned on the sprinkler for the kids, which added a new element of fun for the dogs! Kids and dogs were soon soaking wet, and we were enjoying a wonderful warm afternoon in Boulia.
The next morning we weren’t ready to leave, and went to ask Booie if we could stay another two nights. Busy with cleaning, she said she would catch up with us later. Bringing Jessie for a play later in the afternoon, Booie told us not to worry about payment for the rest of our stay. Our jaws dropped, and we thanked her heartily. Booie told us that Jessie doesn’t get many opportunities to play with other dogs, so she was enjoying having us there!
We were near the entrance to the park, so the Legend was a talking point for all the guests. One camper shook Paul’s hand and wished him a good recovery. Others came to speak with us because the kids had been chatting to them in their adventures around the park. Booie and Kirstine had a talk while the dogs were playing. Booie is also the wife of a first responder, so Kirstine wanted to make sure that she and her husband have support if they need it, in their remote location.
On our final morning in Boulia, Jessie came back for a final play with Luna. Booie hugged us and asked if we’d be back, even giving us a tea towel as a souvenir of our first visit to Boulia. As if she hadn’t gifted us enough with the free site, laundry money and her company!!
If you’re in Boulia, please stop and see Booie the Beautiful, and her wonderful caravan park and German Shepherd.