(31 July - 1 August 2010)
Every town has a welcoming sign, usually in spirit of the “This town welcomes you – enjoy your stay!”, however, the sign that you sight as you drive into Mt Isa from the east reads: “Welcome to the Isa . . . Now, you’re a real Australian!”. So, what does that say about all of you who have yet to visit the Isa? Fakes – the lot of you!
And, you thought, just by supporting the Wallabies or the Socceroos made you an Aussie – pah! Now you know what you actually have to do – visit the Isa, obviously!
Anyway, the drive into Mt Isa, and the initial view of the town from the hills around, with the smoke stacks and surrounding rocky scenery is reminiscent of scenes from Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior). And what of the place?
It’s still the mining town it has always been – in fact there is a personal connection to the place for me as it was 39 years ago, my dad came up here for a job interview, and as part of the benefits, each family was given a return flight to Cairns each month to do their groceries as there was no supermarket in town. The prospect of the isolation and living off frozen food for a month deterred my parents so we ended up in Wollongong instead.
The best thing about Mt Isa, if you’re a kid (and if you’re a parent – natch!) is that’s home to Queensland’s largest all abilities playground, which features rides, climbing frames, flying foxes, water-park and skate(board) park. The tribe couldn’t get enough of the place – especially when they discovered there were also some state-of-the-art toilets which spoke to you (“Your time is 10 minutes”), followed by muzak and automatically fed out a set amount of toilet paper.
We ventured a little out of town to visit Lake Moondarra, where we watched either whistling kites or little eagles soar and dart about seeking prey. Much to the tribe’s dismay, the only other wildlife were a dead turtle on the grass and deceased bats caught in the electrical cables.