Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mud and opals

They've moved the lizard but not much else has changed in the delightful little town of Eulo since we were last here eight years ago. (The lizard 'statue' celebrates the annual lizard race.) We called in to the General Store that really is a general store.

The mud springs west of Eulo, built over thousands of years through a fissure above the artesian basin, are no longer active. The name is a bit deceptive because they are (normally) neither muddy or springy. We didn't walk in to have a good look because after all the rain around here this week the entire countryside is a sea of mud - it looks solid until you step into it or drive over it. And we didn't think to pack our gumboots!

We decided to explore further west to an opal town called Yowah. Which I'd never heard of. But obviously others have because there's a sealed road all the way in and when we got there we discovered it was a special weekend for gem collectors and there was a market on in town. The permanent residents are few in number but they have a splendid school (for the three students who attend), a golf course (which can't be used this year because it's covered in long grass because of the wet), a gallery, a library and an airstrip. We enjoyed our visit very much but couldn't pretend even a passing interest in the beautifully polished gems, rocks and opals or even the apparently famous 'Yowah Nuts'  which look like rocks but when split have an opal inside. The stall holders were a friendly bunch.

I especially enjoyed seeing flowering emu bushes, beautiful Leopard Trees and, unexpectedly, Brolgas on the way. And just on dusk we stopped at the bore east of Eulo which is a known birdwatching spot and I saw my first Hall's Babblers on the sand hill next to the dam. Magic.

Click on photos to view large.

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