Well the time is almost here for us to depart on our Birdsville adventure. We will all be awake well before dawn, bundling our belongings into the two little Cessnas.
Here is our Final* AeroMagic Birdsville 2016 Itinerary
Day 1 - Monday 29th August
Depart Archerfield at 10am precisely after detailed passenger briefing for Chinchilla via Dayboro (min 1hr 32mins flying time). Short (40min) liquid transfer stopover then depart for Roma (min 1hr 03mins off the ground). Arrive Roma at approx 2pm. Overnight at Bryant’s Motel (0402 947 471) near the centre of town. Tourist options include Heroes Avenue, Romavilla Winery, The Big Rig Oil & Gas Interpretative Centre, pub crawl, another pub crawl. There are lots of pubs. Might be some sort of magic show on the street or in a hotel bar that night if that kind of thing floats your boat.
Day 2 – Tuesday 30th August
Optional: Depart Roma at 10ish for a round trip to Carnarvon Gorge (min 1hr 02mins each way plus 10 to 15 mins overhead the gorge). Unfortunately, we could not arrange transport from the airfield to the resort so the ground portion of this will have to wait for another trip. Return to Roma for more local sightseeing and another night at Bryant’s Motel.
Alternate: Practice street magic in Roma as a rehearsal for Birdsville.
Day 3 – Wednesday 31st August
Depart Roma sorta kinda 10 or so Charleville (min 1hr 34mins). Accommodation is at the Cosmos Country Motor Inn (07 4654 2499). Charleville is the home of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, for whom we a raising funds and awareness on this trip, so we best go and say hello. Other attractions include School of Distance (was School of the Air but the interwebs stuffed that name right up), Cosmos Centre (for the starry eyed), WW2 Bunker, pub crawls, etc. Maybe more magic might materialise in a hotel bar or on the street corner.
Day 4 – Thursday 1st September
Depart Charleville when damn well ready for Windorah (no rush to get here, there’s sod all to do but refuel the aircraft and swat flies – hope you like giant red sand hills). Flying time is 2hrs 08mins but might take longer if there’s something to look at on the way like a cloud or a tree. Accommodation is in cabins at Cooper Cabins (07 4656 3101). It’s on the edge of town, so that means a good 264 metre taxi ride to the centre of the “CBD”. The Hyatt closed down a few years back. Apparently. The only listed attraction is the Visitor Information Centre - must be a frickin’ ripper. They say the Western Star Hotel has won awards for various things but I suspect there’s not much competition in these parts. If we are lucky there might be some left over yabbies from the races the day before. The only magic trick I want to see here is someone pulling a good time out of a hat.
Day 5 Friday 2nd September
Depart Windorah at first light or as soon as possible thereafter to get away from the over- excitement of this town (no we are not allowed to fly in the dark). Also there’s a party on down the road a bit with our names all over it. Flying time from Windorah to Birdsville is just under 2 hours. Quite coincidentally, the Birdsville Races start today so if you fancy a flutter or to join in the fun with 7000 other desperados, you are in the right place. Luxurious accommodation is under the aircraft wing (quite literally) on the airfield. Drinking to excess is encouraged as there is no flying tomorrow (not in an aircraft at least). Or perhaps some street magic outside the Birdsville Pub?
Day 6 – Saturday 3rd September
More races, more party, more fun. And possibly a small hangover to start the day (assuming you actually ended the previous one). Tomorrow’s duty pilots should exercise some restraint, all others can go for it (but remember you will be trapped in a small tin can tomorrow with no toilets).
Day 7 – Sunday 4th September
Depart Birdsville when ready (hopefully early) for Cameron Corner (2hrs 26mins – less with a tailwind) where NSW, QLD and SA all come together in peace without fighting over who gets a bigger share of the GST. A quick magic show in 3 states at once, then off to Cunnamulla (2 hrs 32mins) for an overnight in a (hopefully) decent bed at the Warrego Hotel Motel (07 4655 1737). We passed on the Billabong Hotel Motel with the catchy - if not redundant - slogan “Need a Drink?”? If you want to see some of the local sights, go for it, I’ll be at the bar.
Day 8 – Monday 5th September
The last day! Pray for a good westerly wind and you should be back at Archerfield by mid-afternoon at the latest. Stopovers are planned for Goondiwindi and perhaps Stanthorpe, but total time in the air should be less than 4 hours 50 mins all up for the 3 legs (less if the wind co-operates).
* Important Small Print
As we are all VFR pilots, we cannot and do not fly in inclement weather. It’s way too scary. We don’t like clouds – mountains hide in them. Therefore, the itinerary is subject to change at the pilot’s whim at any time and no particular route, destination or timetable is guaranteed. However, as the weather at this time of year is fairly stable and predictable we do not foresee any major issues. Although, some pilots are reputed to have a mind of their own so you just never know. Estimated elapsed times are based on TKJ at normal cruise; RRG will generally fly faster and TKJ may fly slower to conserve fuel.