I take on the Barkly Highway early in the morning. The Barkley is 755km long so was a fairly quiet long drive through vast bushlands with only a couple petrol stations in between. There were wet season buildup fires creeping across the country. I eventually cross the border back in to my home state of Queensland, 292 days after leaving Brisbane for the beginning of my trip. My destination is Mount Isa, or The Isa as locally known.
My first attraction upon reaching Mount Isa was Lake Moondarra. The lake was man made as a water storage facility to ensure the mines and community of the Isa had a reliable source of water. It was completed in 1958 and ever since has provided a much enjoyed recreation area for the locals for fishing, boating and swimming.
Several kilometers away is the town of Mount Isa, its 2 large mine chimneys smoking away. I soon found that there is not a great deal to see or do in the Isa, especially during the offseason with the temperatures hoving around 40 degrees celsius. Nonetheless I drove up to the lookout in the centre of town and had a mostly 360 degree view of the area. The mines are quite impressive how the mountains of rock are piled high so close to town.
The local tourist information center Outback At Isa is home to 3 attractions. One is a tour of the Hard Times mine which I decided not to do since I’ve already in been into gold, coal and opal mines in the last 9 months. The other 2 are a Mt Isa museum and Riversleigh Fossil Centre which I did for $23. The museum went into the history of the mines and the types of metals mined along with a history of the community which developed due to the mines.
The Fossil centre was interesting with a small collection of dinosaur bones which had been found in the surrounding area and lifesize models of extinct fauna which once roamed Australia over the last million years.
Within a couple days I’d seen pretty much everything so hit the road.