“There’s nothing at all to see down that way,” a fellow traveller warned us as we set out along the Eyre Developmental Road that links the Queensland outback town of Bedourie to its southern neighbour of Birdsville. My response was merely a polite smile as I kept my thoughts to myself and my foot well clear of my mouth, for I’ve rarely seen any fragment of the outback that has no visual appeal in some way, but perhaps that’s just because I’m easy to please.
As we rattled on our way it was soon evident that travellers who could see nothing of interest along the route would either have to have their eyes closed or have a passion for the outback that would rival the enthusiasm of an octopus grappling with the concept of a stroll in a rainforest.
After recent rain, the landscape was splashed with gaudy wildflowers and by the time we reached the Cuttaburra Crossing, where the road crosses Eyre Creek some 65kms south of Bedourie, I was completely stumped as to why anyone would claim that there’s nothing to see in the region. Speed might have blurred the passing scenery and chased any wildlife from view, but only someone as blind as a slab of stone could fail to see some hint of beauty at the Cuttaburra Crossing.
There’s water here even during the most heavy handed of droughts, and that single fact guarantees that it’s the hub of the world for many species of birds. Within only a few minutes of our arrival at the crossing, I’d spotted corellas, galahs, red-rumped parrots, whistling kites, and zebra finches among the surrounding vegetation. And with pelicans, white necked herons, spoonbills, and dotterels parading along the banks of the creek and through its calm waters, I was in no hurry to leave.
With free camping permitted, we set up home at the water’s edge and watched outback life on our doorstep, and spied on the more timid birds that frequent the area from a less than comfortable seat in the waterfront bird hide.
Eyre Creek is home to yellowbelly too, and travellers who enjoy a free feed of fish can toss in a line and try their luck, but the waterway’s stocks of fish are not an infinite resource, so ensure that you take only what you need for a meal or two. Human survival, unlike that of the birds, is not reliant on a diet of fish, so rather than catch enough to fill your freezer and to generously hand out to friends and family, consider the welfare of the many species of birds that come to the creek to dine, and don’t be too greedy.
The camping area, which can accommodate vehicles and rigs of every size imaginable, is well back from the road, and with little if any nocturnal traffic passing by a quiet night is almost guaranteed. There’s a covered picnic table among shading trees, a pit toilet that’s wheelchair accessible and, in the middle of nowhere, there’s even a dump point.
The birds are undoubtedly the star attraction at this tranquil outback location, but if your emotions aren’t stirred by the natural beauty on display at the Cuttaburra Crossing and if, at the end of your journey, you insist that there’s nothing to see in this corner of the outback, you have my sympathy.
Cuttaburra crossing is on the Eyre Developmental Road and is 65kms south of the Queensland town of Bedourie. The majority of the road is unsealed but is suitable for all vehicles at most times of the year. Rain can make the crossing impassable however, so check on the condition of the road before your departure.
There is a picnic table and a bird hide in addition to a dump point and a pit toilet that is wheelchair accessible.
There is no charge to camp here.
Pets are permitted but should not be allowed to harass the wildlife.
For additional regional information, log onto the website of www.thediamantina.com.au