Full moon at Moura.
Full moon at Moura. Alan Betteridge

Whoops! Honey, I grabbed the wrong fuel pump

OPINION: After the problem with the fridge at Springsure it now appeared to be working fine, although we weren't game to play with the thermostat in case that was the cause of the problem.

After setting up at the Dawson River rest area Christine once again settled down to a quiet afternoon while I went off to explore the river.

It really is amazing how large it is and there were a number of large(ish) boats coming and going.

Late that afternoon, we witnessed the arrival of a 200 series diesel Toyota LandCruiser with a new van in tow pull into the area.

That in itself was not unusual but the noises emanating from it were - it sounded distinctly sick.

It turned out the couple had filled with what they thought was Caltex Vortex diesel in Biloela but it was in fact Vortex premium unleaded.

Not realising their error, they drove 65km to Moura.

By the time they arrived, far-reaching (and expensive) damage had been done.

The local RACQ contractor was called and after a cursory examination declared the vehicle would need to be taken back into Moura on a flatbed truck for some extensive repairs, which, he added, could take up to six weeks to complete.

The total repair bill could be as high as $20-25,000 but he wouldn't know for sure until it had been assessed back at the workshop.

To further add insult to injury, the vehicle was only three months old and had done only 7000km.

Every person at the rest area felt sorry for the chap because it could so easily have been anyone of us to make that mistake.

After three days in Moura, we headed down to Calliope to a free stop that a fellow traveller at Moura had told us about on the Calliope-Monto road.

The area is on the top end of Lake Awonga and is beside Futter Creek, he assured me it was full of redclaw and I would have no problems catching a good feed.

When we arrived there was only a few others camped and after setting up, headed down to the water to set the yabbie pot.

I needn't have bothered because after three nights the only things ever in the trap were a couple of poor unsuspecting guppies.

Ah, well, maybe next time.

Leaving Calliope, we reluctantly turned south for home down the Bruce Hwy.

Although we intended to take a few more days to reach home, by-and-large our outback odyssey had come to an end.

Would we do it again?

Absolutely, it had been a real eye opener for us and we had experienced the type of hospitality that only the people of the Australian outback can offer.

The advice I would give anyone planning such a trip is to be prepared to change your plans if you have to and have a UHF radio installed.

Have the vehicle serviced before you go and tell the service person what you intend to do.

If they say the fan belts/radiator hoses need to be replaced have them done before you go and keep the old ones as spares.

It is much cheaper (and convenient) to have this work done at your home base than in the middle of the outback.


  • Tow vehicle: Mitsubishi Pajero turbo diesel, manual
  • Caravan: Coromal Seka 475 off-road
  • Distance travelled: Just under 4500km
  • Average fuel consumption: 13.3l/100km
  • Highest price paid for fuel: 171.9c per litre (Cloncurry)
  • Christine's efforts to save regional Queensland's economy: Not currently known - awaiting Mastercard statement

This the final column in a series by Maryborough couple Alan and Christine Betteridge who have been touring western Queensland with their caravan in tow and keeping us entertained with their travel tales.

Do you have a travel yarn to tell us? Share your story and photo by clicking here.

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