Up at the crack of dawn to leave Brisbane on our little rotor bladed plane, arriving at Longreach Airport 2 and a half hours later. This is proper Outback territory, and there’d been lots of murmuring about how we were heading into the hottest September in the territory on record. 40 degree air hit us in the face as we stepped off the plane, but we can take it. We filmed in 45 degrees in the middle of the Arizona desert last year. With no shade! The 2 hour drive to Winton was remarkable for its complete lack of any change in the landscape. No houses, side roads or pylons, just dusty flat earth and patches of dead grass with the occasional stumpy tree, as far as the eye can see.
Winton is one of the most famous Outback towns in Australia, as it’s the town where the song ‘Waltzing Matilda’ was first performed, as well as the birthplace of Australia’s national airline, Qantas. It’s not a big place though, with only a population of around 1000 people. As we reached the outskirts we were greeted with something resembling the film ‘Mad Max’. Each house seems to have been cobbled together out of whatever they could get their hands on at the time, with some of them little more than portacabins on stilts. The only part of Winton with any traditional charm is the high street, which has a beautiful art deco hotel and several old colonial buildings placed along it.
One of our reasons for being here is the 8 day Outback festival. It was in full swing, the high street littered with dried manure from the roo poo shooting contest, so once we’d checked into our hotel we headed down to sit the yard of the hotel and soak up the atmosphere. It was there that a mosquito seems to have taken a shine to our researcher LJ and left her with 28 bites on her legs, which she’s none too pleased about. From a distance it looks like she’s wearing polka dot leggings.