A Tyre-ing day at Lawn Hill

Today is day 6 and it’s time for our Aussie adventure to hit the outback. We pass through Normanton to stock up on fuel and ice, but also stop to take the obligatory selfie with Kyrs the Croc.

We have a lot of distance to cover today so from here we head south to the Burke and Wills Roadhouse and turn right towards Gregory Downs.

After passing through Gregory Downs we head towards Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, leaving the sealed road behind and hitting the dirt.

Although it has been a very dry wet season, there are still the occasional water crossings, like Lawn Hill Creek.

We arrive at Adel’s Grove and hire a canoe for the National Park next door. Exploring the Lawn Hill Gorge in a canoe is a fantastic experience and pretty much makes the day for Doug, to whom canoeing is what mountain biking is to me.

We reach the Indarri falls and stop for a quick swim and water massage under the falls.
Although it’s nearly time to return the canoe and get to our campsite for the night, we take a quick walk up the hill from the canoe landing and see the falls from above.

The gorge continues, but requires a long walk on foot, or a portage with the canoe, neither of which we have time for today, but we paddle back feeling satisfied with our progress and very glad we decided to travel via the dirt roads and Lawn Hill rather than stay on the sealed road via Mount Isa… until…

About 30km after leaving the Boodjamulla National Park, and the relative safety of other humans and supplies at Adel’s grove, we hit a snag.

We both start to smell burning rubber but before we can slow down and check what is going on, we hear a loud bang and the tell-tale rumble of driving on a flat tyre. Unfortunately once we pull off the road we quickly realise it is much worse than that.

The tyre didn’t so much puncture as it did… well, explode. My guess is that something had weakened the tyre earlier in the day, a rock or pothole, and we had started losing some pressure without realising. Once we continued to drive at reasonable speed on a dirt road the weakness and/or lack of pressure caused the tyre to overheat and then blow out.

Regardless, the result is the same. We have a spare tyre, but that requires unpacking more than half the car to get to and manhandling a burning (literally) hot dead wheel. We also now have no spare tyre, and I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think my repair kit will be much help on this one…

Needless to say we drive slowly and carefully from here on to our campsite at Myumba, and when we continue out in the morning, until we are safely back on the sealed road from Thorntoria HS to the Barkly Highway. Next stop, Northern Territory!