Another long day on the Matilda Hwy – Winton to Kynuna (164/3213k)

(written by Nancy — 2 June, posted 4 June)

After a fairly unappetizing dinner last night (we tried a new kind of soup packet with noodles that didn’t turn out so well) we packed up most of our bags so that we could try to get an early start this morning. So, when the alarm went off at 5:30 this morning we were up and at it trying to get the tent down and packed and the remaining stuff put away (Dave is getting better at taking instructions about tent-packing). We left the campground just before 6:30 and headed to the bakery to get breakfast.

After a breakfast of champions (cheese and bacon rolls and macchiatos) we hit the road about 7:30. It was not nearly as cold as it was when we left Longreach in the early morning so maybe we are finally getting into the warmer climate. We didn’t have much of a tailwind this morning – it seemed very quiet and deserted as we rode along wide open fields of grass. Not too many trees – a few dotted about but they looked pretty scraggly. We stopped for pictures a few times – saw some brolgas with the male spreading his wings in courtship (note the others don’t seem to be paying attention at all – he was probably just bothering them…hmmm, that sounds familiar….). We also saw another flock of emus. It is very hard to get a picture of them – the minute you stop they usually take off running, their feathers bouncing up and down.

Brolga courtship


We had a weird sighting that made both of us laugh – out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing around we came upon this fellow with a truck and crane that was moving wheelie bins from a trailer to his truck. It looked so odd – his work clothes were covered in oil and dirt and he never turned around to look at us even after Dave stopped to take his picture. Dave dubbed in ‘Wheelie-bin Repo-man of the Outback.’ You get a little bit crazy when there is not much to look at after hours on the bike…

Repo-man and his bins

Aside from Repo-man there wasn’t much change in the scenery until we hit about 60k, when we approached a small group of mesa – a bit odd looking after so much flatness. Australian mesa are typically quite old so they are not terribly big but they do stand out from the wide open plains. There was a roadside stop right near a group of the mesa so we pulled over to have our morning tea. A couple of caravans pulled in and one couple had started to make their morning tea and coffee. The lady literally ran over to us to ask if we wanted some tea or coffee – of course we could not refuse our first roadside offering of tea! We had a nice chat over a good cuppa and ate our lamingtons that we had picked up at the bakery for morning tea.

Road side angels

Mesa in outback

We continued on for another 100 kilometres of basically the same flat scenery. It warmed up quite a bit today – seemed warmer in the afternoon than it has been. We had tailwinds most of the day, though not as strong as the other day. Or perhaps it was just that we were getting tired – I was, anyway. A couple of times I had to tell Dave to slow down a bit, that we were not in a race – though he says one mustn’t complain when one is drafting for 100k.

Eventually we pulled into Kynuna around 3:00pm. This isn’t really a town – just two pubs/roadhouses and a couple of houses. The ‘famous’ Blue Heeler pub is here and has a caravan park at the back of it. Well, not really a caravan park but a dusty parking area with a shower shed. Unfortunately they are in the process of remodelling the kitchen so no pub meals were available. We went about 100m up the road to the Kynuna Roadhouse, which also has a caravan park out the back. Not only were they serving meals they also had live entertainment, so we pulled the bikes in to stay there.

'Famous' Blue Heeler hotel in Kynuna

The proprietor, a not-so-friendly type, pointed us to where there was actually some green grass to put up our tent. As we were taking a look a lady from one of the caravans came over and told us that would be a bad place to camp as the trucks pulled up just outside the fence all night – very noisy. Turns out this was Helen, the live entertainment for the evening. She showed us around to a better spot, talking all the while about her show. She also greeted every other camper coming in, drumming up business for her 6-7:30pm show. She was really a kick – she comes from South Australia and sings in the roadhouse every night during June and July.

Just Helen - the entertainment in Kynuna

We set up the tent and took showers while the caravan park filled up. Not sure where all these folks come from! We did meet up again with some folks we met in Winton – Larry and Hannah – who are on a long trip up to the gulf and then up to Cape York.

We all headed over to the roadhouse just after 6 to get dinner and hear the show. We pretty much got the last table – I am sure that Helen drummed up a lot of business for the roadhouse tonight! We had hamburgers and a XXXX (beer) – not too bad. I was glad we picked hamburgers as the other food looked a bit suss!

Dinner in Kynuna

Helen was great – very funny with lots of great stories. She sang the original Waltzing Matilda song (as written by Banjo Patterson and Christine somebody). My mom would have loved the show and would have certainly come away with multiple CDs had she been with us. Unfortunately we do not have room for CDs on our bike…

Kynuna sunset

Tomorrow we have what will now feel like a short day – only 80k or so to McKinlay, which I think is another roadhouse basically. It is, however, where they filmed Crocodile Dundee – as the signs have been telling us for the last 300k. No Telstra signal tonight so we will have to post this tomorrow – assuming we get signal at some point.


3 responses to “Another long day on the Matilda Hwy – Winton to Kynuna (164/3213k)

  1. LOVE the sunset picture!

  2. Great post…………….Helen was not what I expected seeing the XXXX and the ‘famous’ pub……………………..;)

    • Helen (or ‘Just Helen’, as she called herself) was at the Kynuna Roadhouse Caravan Park, not at the ‘famous’ Blue Heeler pub. She really did fit the atmosphere of the Kynuna Roadhouse! Lots of caravan parks have ‘entertainers’ who come up and stay for several weeks/months in the winter when all the grey nomads in their RVs are travelling through. They are really just buskers (albeit a bit older than the ones you find in the cities) that sing or do bush poetry for donations and try to sell their CDs. Quite funny, but the folks really seem to enjoy them.

      And the XXXX is the name of a ubiquitous Queensland beer – referred to as 4X. It doesn’t taste great but it’s about the only thing you can get up here!

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