Thursday morning two weeks ago I continued my drive south along the Carnarvon highway. Two heavy goods transports came towards me. One was even escorted by police, and they forced every car to stop at the side of the road. So the heavy truck could speed in the other direction opposite to me. Shortly after that forced stop, I crossed again the Great Dividing range, which brought me into the beginning of the Murray-Darling basin. This huge area of river systems covers about 14% of the Australian land mass, and eventually drains into the southern ocean in Adelaide – theoretically. From the 530,000 gigalitres of annual rainfall (which is about 50 times the size of Lake Argyle) 94% evaporate, 2% drain into the ground, and just 4% run off into the ocean. I briefly stopped in Injune, a small mining town. At the local fuel station several red trucks with fracking rigs from Halliburton (you know the company, where Dick Cheney was CEO before he was appointed by G.W. Bush as vice president…and which was also involved in the construcion of the BP Deepwater Horizon, which eventually exploded in the Gulf of Mexico). Now that company seems to try the next big opportunity in fracking of coal seem gas in the outback of Queensland. Next to the fuel station are the remains of the old railway station, with an old steam locomotive infront of it. As several other branchlines, also this one was closed after the road from Roma to Injune was sealed, and eventually used by road trains. In the regional centre of Roma I had my lunch and briefly stopped at the largest bottle tree of Roma. Bottle trees are pretty common around the outback of QLD, but these are not to be confused with the Boab trees in the western part of the NT, and the Kimberleys. In the afternoon I headed further south to Surat which is located directly at the Balonne river. The Balonne river is mostly a small creek, now after some rain it’s a small murky river, with good fishing opportunities, but also heaps of flies and mossies around. I took a short walk along the river to the local weir, which was constructed in order to supply the town with water, even in times a low rain. Surat is a pretty calm town, the basic stores were still open, but due to the recent restrictions the remaining shops remained closed. Luckily the public toilets including free showers behind the council building remained open. So I took the possibility before I headed off to the west in the late afternoon in the direction to Glenmorgan. I stayed the last night in my vehicle on a flat gravel area a few kilometres before that small community.

Heading along the Great Dividing range in the morning
Steam locomotive infront of the old building of the railway station in Injune…
…and the old coal mine, which was in operation until the late 1960’s. As the railway changed to diesel powered propulsion, there was no longer a demand for transport coal
This big bottle tree is probably the only attraction in Roma…I mean the circumference is quite large.
That’s the last remnant of the past rainy season…luckily the water is no longer such high, that you would need a 4WD
These green grazing area was about 7km North of Surat
The Ballone river is quite murky due to the rain in the past months…
…but the river is far away from getting over it’s banks as during the flooding in 2011…
…and the water of the Balonne river eventually drains into the Darling river and flows down to Adelaide to drain into the southern ocean, if it’s not evaporated during the more than 1,000 kilometre long way
Finally on the way to the east. Due to all the clouds, it wasn’t that hot during the day, which made a pretty lovely afternoon.

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