This is where I assume that like normal travelers who have long planned a trip the object is to take the shortest amount of time getting to the Cape.  Assuming that, I think this route is easiest because of the roads being in good nick,  there is always something to see, it may not be interesting but there's always something out there, and in daylight it's a pretty safe route. Melbourne to Shepparton via the Hume and Goulbourn Valley Highways, Shepparton to Tocumwal then to Moree via the Newell Highway, then to St George via Mungindi and on to Charters Towers via Roma, Emerald, Clermont, and then to Townsville and Cairns

If you are persuaded to take this route there are many historical, beautiful and just plain special places on the way.  We don't plan to cover the more travelled tourist destinations but some of the out of the way places we found interesting.  The major highlight of this trip for us was the first sight of the ocean at Cardwell, coming after 3,000 odd km of the inland it's a real eye opener but more on that later.

Moree is where the intrepid traveler turns left and enters the fringe of the outback and travels through Mungindi, St George and then to Roma on the Canarvon Highway.  Whilst in Moree we recommend that all your valuables are contained in a tight fisted grip at all times, rumour has it they will steal your socks while you sit on the toilet. BUT !!!


We found the Moree Lodge Motel in Wirialda Street, Moree.  The place was clean and I mean clean enough to eat off any surface, no cigarette smells, quiet and away from the highway and run by some very nice expatriate Victorians looking for a better life style.  The tariff was very reasonable, service excellent and the motel was in close proximity to the natural springs that visitors like to use to ease their aches and pains.  The springs are open all day but closed at 7 pm when we went through in August 2002.  But be warned do not leave valuables in sight in vehicles and do not leave them lying around or they will be gone.

Roma will surprise the first time visitor it really is an old place with distinctive architecture, a pace slower than most and, genuine people who have yet to learn the tourist is the goose that lays the golden egg.  I believe in checking markets and supermarkets for fresh fruit and vegetables as I go because even the best fridge cannot freeze meat, keep the daily drink ration and chill the salad veggies.  Roma was no dearer than the Safeway Supermarket in Narre Warren.  In Roma fuel prices fluctuate but it is usually cheaper than Victoria because in Queensland the rebate from the fuel excise is actually returned to the consumer through the pump and itís a pity other states have not taken the same steps.  

The Canarvon Highway stinks, every 100 metres or so there is the carcass of a dead Kangaroo of Wallaby and if ever there is a place to reinforce the message that you are in Kangaroo Country this is it. So beware. There are some positives as each carcass seems to support its own murder of crows and near Canarvon Gorge I saw the biggest wedge tailed eagle sitting on a carcass apparently defying me to run her over.  I stopped to get my camera out of the back seat and she set off.  As she flew over the Nissan Patrol I was absolutely gobsmacked by her size she appeared longer than the car and I was stopped by her grace and beauty.  This is not the first time this has happened but a first for the feathered variety.

Southern Queensland where the colours start to change and this change begins in the sky for some reason the blue appears more vivid.


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