01-Jul-2007 -- We’re a group of fathers and sons from Berowra (on the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney) who came up with the idea of the “Toughen-Up-Tour” to; visit parts of Australia not on the usual tourist routes, provide our sons with an opportunity to rough it for a few weeks away from the modern conveniences we all take for granted, develop some father and son bonding and provide an insight into the outback history of Australia as part of “keeping the dream alive”!
Toughen-Up-Tour I took place in June/July 2005 as “Berowra to Birdsville via the Simpson Desert” and was undertaken as a trip clockwise from Tibooburra via the Strezleki Track, the Oodnadatta Track, Dalhousie Springs, the French Line west to east across the Simpson Desert, Birdsville, Innamincka and the Bore Track back to Tibooburra.
Having read about the Degree Confluence Project in a 4WD magazine we were keen to be able to be one of the select few to put our names to at least one of those confluence points remaining to be logged within Australia so, as part of Toughen-Up-Tour II “Berowra to Birdsville via the Diamantina”, we identified two potential points for visiting – the first at 23S 142E NE of Diamantina National Park and the second at 23S 140E SE of Boulia.
Toughen-Up-Tour II took place in June/July 2007 and was undertaken as a trip via Narrabri, Mitchell, Longreach, Winton, Old Cork, Diamantina Lakes, Boulia, Bedourie, Birdsville, Coongie Lakes, the Bore Track, Tibooburra and Byrock.
Unfortunately the first of our proposed confluence point visits was unable to be completed owing to extensive flooding of the Diamantina River catchment just days before our arrival, however our second point fell less than 5km off the road from Coorabulka to Boulia near Five Mile Creek.
We pulled-up about 15kms south of Boulia around 2.00pm, having travelled that day from Warracoota Waterholes in the Diamantina National Park, and with plenty of time up our sleeves to attempt this confluence point visit before stopping in Boulia to camp the night. We logged our position on the main road and, with a bit of four wheel driving across the lumps and hollows of the Mitchell grass plains and along a fence inspection track carefully avoiding off-cuts of fencing wire, we were able to get within 1.68kms of the point before stopping the vehicles and setting out on foot across a Mitchell grass and gibber plain.
After a short walk of 20 – 25 minutes we arrived in the general vicinity of our chosen point and then spent quite some time circling the point until we were satisfied the GPS reading was zeroed – which is not as easy as it sounds because we found that it can even be affected by too many people being close to the GPS at once!!
However we were eventually successful in logging this confluence point as our own and extend the challenge to similar groups to make their own attempts upon those points yet to be logged in Australia and so “keep the dream alive”!