AT Reader Frances Barnes from Witta in Queensland reckons the Quirkiest Place she’s stayed in outback Australia is a little place between Longreach and Windorah.
The name Stonehenge conjures up images of Neolithic monuments and burial grounds. The mystery of how the stone circle was constructed and why. Was it the Druids? Was it Merlin and his magic powers? These queries relate to the famous Stonehenge, England. Stonehenge Australia, although not as well known, is equally as interesting and a very quirky outback community.
Luckily for us, on our way from Longreach to Windorah in outback Queensland, we decided to stay overnight at Stonehenge. There are no museums, cathedrals, theme parks, fancy cafes or stylish shopping malls. Its charm is the vastness of the open plains, the colour of the sunsets, the wildlife and the essence of life outback.
Our accommodation, the local motel, had quirky murals covering its concrete block walls. The showers were a long hike down a dark corridor and the toilets were complete with resident frogs. You order an evening meal at the bar and are invited to eat with the owners. No frills; in other words, just good cheer and fellowship.
Over a glass of refreshing beer and a counter lunch, our hosts said, “Have you seen the Rock Holes? They’re worth a look. Go back down the road a bit and turn right at the white tyre hanging in the tree. Can’t miss it.”
Rock holes? Here in this pancake landscape, they were not something we had expected to see.
“Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to sign the Address Book. Look for it on the side of the road.” More quirky directions. Were we expected to find that hanging in a tree also?
We found the Address Book. Not pages stapled between a cardboard cover, with gratuitous remarks like “Had a wonderful time, glorious views, hope to be back soon”. No! The Stonehenge Address Book is a wide area of flat sandy soil with messages, names and international addresses written in stones. The wind blows over them, the rain washes them. They are there for all to see and miraculously there is no trace of vandalism. We added our names and took a photo of a “Smiley” to record this happy site.
Leaving the Address Book, we turned and drove along the track to the Rock Holes. They lie in the sandy banks of the Thompson River, dry during winter before turning into a torrent in the wet months. As you leave the sunny, open plains and climb down to walk along the shadowy riverbed, a flood of wonder fills the air. The gums surrounding you are equally as majestic and mysterious as stone monuments. The holes are filled with clear water that reflects the sky and ghost gums, giving them an extra dimension. The intense quiet is broken only by the shriek of a Corella. We soaked up the atmosphere. It was awe-inspiring. We found it hard to leave this ancient, natural beauty and still cherish the memory of the elusive Rock Holes at Stonehenge.