Our next destination was Lara Station Wetlands, 13km off the Landsborough highway A2 heading from Barcaldine to Blackall.
Lara Station is on about 6,000 hectares and the owners opened the gates to campers and caravaners after drought force them to destock their cattle. Jodie lost her partner Michael in a helicopter crash on the same day the first tourist booked in at Lara’s camping ground in 2014.
The property’s wetlands are fed from a single century-old bore on the Great Artesian Basin. Birdwatchers have documented more than 80 different bird species in the wetlands.
On leaving the Gem Fields we called into a small convenience store for a few snacks to eat along the drive. The store owner told me that she’s heard the flies were pretty bad from Barcaldine and further west and suggested I purchase some head nets ( The Nullabor Burka) as apparently the stores were running out of them further west.
I tend to go by gut feeling and my gut was saying you really should get one each and one for the dog. Pleased with myself, I jumped back into the car and proudly displayed my purchase to MM who just looked at me shaking his head. Later he told me the was thinking…. What a waste of money.
Stopping at Barcaldine for some lunch, we did notice a few flies but no big deal and certainly nothing that would warrant having to wear a head net. It wasn’t until we arrived at Lara Station and stopped at the caretakers office to pay our entry fee that we discovered how bad the flies were. The head nets were still in the packets sitting in the car on the floor. We could barely talk to the caretaker and I was jigging around like an epileptic as the flies swarmed around my face. We quickly paid our dues and rushed back to the car for some relief.
We drove around the wetlands and found a lovely place to set up camp. We were choking on flies as we tried to set up the caravan and in desperation I grabbed the head nets from the car and put mine on. MM took about 5 minutes longer before he too put one on.
It was quite hot and we had arrived in shorts and singlets. The nets kept the flies off our faces but they were landing all over our skin and it was driving me crazy. Ah, then the penny dropped. So that’s why I see pictures of the cow cockies out west wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants in the searing heat. Once I had changed into appropriate clothing I was happier and come sunset, the flies all disappeared and we could sit and enjoy a cold beer and the view in peace.
We had planned to camp for the week but the next morning decided we couldn’t handle the flies. Wearing the head nets and covering our skin gave some relief but the constant buzzing was too much. We found ourselves confined to the caravan, so off we drove to the next stop. More to come….