The nature of my job, the early Monday deadlines, and the small size of the team means that I’m on duty some part of all seven days of the week.
It means long hours but I never begrudge any of the time I spend working for the North West Star. For all its faults it’s given me some of the best personal and professional satisfaction of my life.
However I always try to have Sunday afternoons to myself, a bit of “sacrosanct time” to zone out and smell the flowers – if they are in bloom.
I can usually be found on Sunday afternoons tramping around places like Lake Moondarra or Heywood Granite Mine, regardless of the heat, though I will stock myself up with plenty of water, given our extreme conditions in North West Queensland.
On Sunday just gone (February 4) I decided it was time for another visit to Warrigal waterhole and Painted Rock.
It was my third time out that way and rather than drive all the way there I park at the gate on the highway and walk the 3.4km to the waterhole.
Though there are directions on the gate, I missed the waterhole the first time I did the walk in 2016.
I think I must have walked past it until the path petered out and disappointed I trudged back without seeing it.
The second time, which was around this time last year, I noticed the signpost near the waterhole.
There was no actual sign on the signpost, it was presumably removed by persons unknown long ago, but I figured it must have been important and I took the side track to find first the beautiful old Aboriginal paintings on the rock that gave the place its name and then the cool waterhole itself.
This time round I was keen to do something I didn’t do last year – jump in to the water.
And after a hot 3.4km walk, the dip was refreshing and delightful, despite the fact that the water level was down due to lack of rain.
The waterhole, along with a similar one at Fountain Creek is one of the great joys of our Outback experience, a rare chance to jump in and cool down regardless of the weather – Derek Barry