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Tesla adventure in Outback Queensland and North-QLD

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Earlier this year Richard McNeall posted an appeal via the AEVA Australian Electric Vehicle Association forums checking which Tesla owners had an interest to drive around Australia and help to establish a charging route, promoting the installation of 3 phase 32 Amp charging points at regular intervals.
In communication with David L. and Richard I committed to do part of the job covering Queensland.

Finally, last Wednesday after a week of intensive preparation and numerous phone calls, I started a trip that will bring me to Miriam Vale (future DC charging place on the QLD EV highway) and then going inland to Biloela, Rolleston (+visit of the famous Carnarvon Gorge), Emerald, Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton, Cloncurry, Mount Isa, Camooweal, and eventually Tablelands, Tenant Creek NT.
Route part 1 Outback & N QLD.jpg

Route part 2 Outback & N QLD.jpg


Quite a few readers here must have read about:
- RichardMCN’s Tesla trips Anti-clockwise Adventure and the more recent Red Centre Adventure.
- MDK’s adventure to conquer the Nullarbor Plain driving from Perth to Brisbane and back. Soon thereafter he started the initiative of building an Australian charging map, an effort continued later on by Damon.
- Blue Heaven’s Outback Mystery Tour
- Techno Phile’s support to various trips in WA and starting the initiative with AEVA WA to distribute free AEVA sponsored 3 phase sockets to Road Houses and Motels along the way.
- My own trips connecting the N-QLD Daintree and Hobart Tasmania by Tesla resulting in a good number of new charging points visible on the Plugshare App
- Damon’s efforts to create an Australian Tesla Charging Map
And of course, this is a good moment to thank TOCA, AEVA and the many other people who contributed to the Australian Charging Map!

Goal of my trip this time around was to help TOCA/AEVA to close the gaps in the charging facilities on the Northern route between the Threeways Roadhouse and Cairns. Of course, a bit of tourism and adventure come along the way.


Part 1: Bribie Island to Gin Gin

I’ have topped-up the Tesla batteries at Gin Gin Showgrounds a few times already but this time there was a new caretaker who manages it very efficiently and charges $10 AUD per top-up giving you a receipt.
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While charging in Gin Gin I mounted some new gear to my car...anybody here has experience with Kangaroo Whistlers?
At $6 AUD it thought it wouldn't make me struggle to survive...
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On my trip to Gin Gin I notice an abnormally high power consumption. In the photos below you can see my cars consumption being 172 Wh/km for the last ve done the trip to Gin Gin 3 times already but this time around the consumption was considerable higher, see pics:
Trip consumption 130917 to Gin Gin.jpg

And compared to a previous trip to Gin Gin:
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According B Vanderdonk at Brisbane SC the new tyres mounted the day before my departure may be a reason for higher friction and additionally we had a tiny bit of head wind. Just a reminder to not calculate the range to tight...
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Part 2: Gin Gin to Emerald
Electra got a second top-up at Calliope Station where we had a very enjoyable time with Sylvia W, a local Tesla owner who is very keen of Tesla, EVs and renewable energy. She created a Facebook page “Central Queensland Tesla Interest Page” to that purpose which is well worth following!
Calliope Station Early Morning Fog.jpg

Sunrise at Calliope Station.jpg

Early morning at Calliope Station.jpg

Adjusting Tyre Pressure at Calliope Station.jpg

Looking forward to reduce the consumption on these long drives, David upped the tyre pressure slightly as to have less friction!

Electra’s third top-up was done at Biloela Heritage Park which will be a new spot on Plugshare. It’s a convenient site with multiple 3 phase 32 Amp 5-pin sockets featuring an inside and open air heritage museum, close to accommodation, food and town centre.
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Part 3: Biloela to Emerald

Driving further to Rolleston we found 2 more potential charging sites in Moura. I handed over a TOCA/AEVA sponsored 3 phase socket to the manager of the Moura Motel who will get it installed soon and at the Moura Meridian motel there is a keen interest to get a Tesla Destination Charger installed. In this way, Tesla and other EV owners may benefit.
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Rolleston was intended to be the place to stay overnight and top-up batteries before heading to the Carnarvon National Park and make some walks through the Carnarvon Gorge....but here we got into troubles: there was a delay for installation of the 3 phase power socket at the local caravan park and charging at single phase 15 Amp wouldn’t give a large enough top-up for a return trip to the Gorge. Regretfully, I had to skip this interesting part of the program and continue to the next possible 3 phase charging spot in Springsure, about 70km further towards Emerald.

Springsure silos charging spot.jpg

The charging point was hard to find, hidden behind the a metal shed linked to the silo complex.
Springsure silos charging spot b.jpg


We are hopeful that in the near future Rolleston Caravan Park will have the 3 phase socket!

About 15km before arriving at Emerald you can visit Lake Maraboon which features some holiday houses and the Lake Maraboon Holiday Village. This last site has multiple cabins and powered sites but over more has appropriate 3 phase power sockets and is keen to be on Plugshare! It's a nice alternative for people who prefer to stay overnight out of town.

Today we arrived at Emerald and are staying at the Comfort Inn Midlander Motel where we find the only Tesla Destination Charger on our way to Camooweal.
 

RichardMcN

Member
Mar 12, 2016
620
486
Sydney
Good on you @Dylanpete , the perfect trip to fill in our 6 missing sites in Qld and create a brand new direct shortcut from Brisbane to Darwin ! And sounds like a fun trip on top of that !

Just to fill people in, Dylanpete is one of the original pioneers (maybe THE original poineer) of long distance road tripping in Australia, and an inspiration to many ...

Tesla Model S in Australia: Breaking the shackles and conquering new frontiers

and

Taste of Tasmania by Tesla Model S85: 10 days energized with renewable energy

I'll be watching every post !
 
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 4: Emerald – Alpha – Barcaldine:

Charging at Emerald was the easiest exercise till now, as there is a Tesla Destination Charger at the Comfort Inn Midlander
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For charging in Alpha I had obtained an OK from the Council to do it at the Showground:
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However, I also tried to find a solution for charging linked to “food & lodging” and based on our DD we had selected the Alpha Caravan And Villa RV park which has 3-phase power. As you can note below I preached the benefits for them to install an appropriate socket. Some further followed-up may be needed.
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We stayed overnight at Barcaldine as we knew that Barcaldine Country Motor Inn had a 3 phase 20 Amp 5-p socket. We also took the time to convince the owner + the sparky to swap it with a 32 Amp one, see pics below.

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Eager to learn a bit more about Australian history, we visited the Australian Workers Heritage Centre and went to see the Tree of Knowledge Memorial. The legend has it that the striking shearers formed the Labor Movement under the shade of this tree and that the Australian Labor Party has its roots over here. These places are absolutely worth a visit!

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Above: replica of an old post office

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Above: first generators brought to Barcaldine
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 4 a: side trip to Lara Wetlands:

If you’re interested in bird life than a visit to the Lara Wetlands will pay off. It’s about 40 kms south of Barcaldine including some unsealed road. Our Tesla Model S85 having the air suspension option, did cope very well with the road corrugation and dust and we had some magnific sunset there.

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Above: zoom in a little, who was just crossing the road?
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Above: Driving towards Lara wetlands
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Above: Lara wetlands
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Above: Electra getting a little dusty
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Above and under: Magnificient outback sunset on the way back to Barcaldine
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 5: Barcaldine – Longreach:

On the way to Longreach:
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Photographer at work in the vastness of the Outback

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Old and New technology in Ilfracombe

Arriving at Longreach you can’t miss the “Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame” and the “Qantas Founders Museum”, 2 places where you can learn more about Australian History and that do a great effort to preserve the outback’s very rich cultural heritage.
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Electra arriving at the Stockman's Hall of Fame

Taking your time to visit these places you realize the hardship and sacrifice from many people that worked in the outback and did their own effort to establish a level of harmony with nature and local people.
We luckily arrived in time to see the Stockman’s show!
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For feeding Electra’s batteries we traced that Longreach Motor Inn had a 3 ph 10 Amp socket in their workshop. Leon, the Manager at the motel worked till recently in a Motel in Coober Pedy where he met another Tesla adventurer and was very happy to help us.
We jointly figured out that the current socket could be converted to a 32 Amp so we passed him on an appropriate 32 Amp socket donated by AEVA/TOCA.
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To speed up our charging, I went to the Longreach Showgrounds where I also had an OK to use their 32 Amp sockets, and noted that with the current drought conditions I am not the only one with a fatal attraction for showgrounds!
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 6: Longreach – Winton:
Sunset time on the outskirts of Longreach
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The next morning, leaving to Winton, driving through the endless outback.
Feeling really outback here, it’s so quiet on the road, but why is power consumption way above my expectation? Do we have any headwind? The grass isn't really moving...got to check it with our high tech wind vane! No wonder consumption got boosted to about 230 Wh/km while driving at a speed of only 100 kmh!
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They didn't feel bothered by the wind and kept consuming the same amount of food?
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Longreach to Winton isn’t a major distance for Electra to give us troubles so we just continued at 100 kmh to arrive just in time and climb into the Red Dirt Tours 4-W drive bus and participate in the “Dinosaur Stampede Tour”.

Some photos taken in Winton:
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Above: Blessed with the first rays of sunlight...
Under: Winton waking up for the Winton Outback Festival
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Anybody knows who's in that photo besides "the undersigned"?
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 6: Longreach - Winton:
As written above, we participated in the Dinosaurs Stampede Tours.
Besides going to view the fossilized imprints of Dinosaurs, Vicky told us lots of stories about the land, the outback and the current troubles local stockmen now encounter due to drought.
The Winton area got plenty of rain and flooding in winter time but that water wasn’t of any help to the exhausted Mitchell grass lands and hungry cattle as this grass variety is only thriving well at temp over 25C for proper germination and growth.
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Fossilized Dinosaur imprint
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And this guy was leaving some imprints on our table while taking lunch
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On our way back: wishing and hoping the road train is going to let us pass soon
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 6: Longreach - Winton

Getting back to Winton we planned to stay at the Boulder Opal Motor Inn , as part of a strategical plan to be able to walk to and from the Showgrounds while leaving the car charging at the Showgrounds. At least that would allow me to take a nap after participating in that organized Dinosaur Stampede tour. However, that strategy didn’t take into account that the ongoing “Winton Outback Festival” starting the next day, would draw more than 100 travelers to camp at powered sites booked at the Showgrounds with 37C outside temperature! Everyone arriving wanted their caravan or mobile home aircon cranking out as much cold air as possible triggering a very big voltage drop on the Showground’s network.
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Electra wasn’t very pleased with that and charging at 32 Amp was near to impossible so I had to stick around to restart charging and adjust setting as it got regularly interrupted.
First our car got a real VIP treatment in a spacey and shady area but when voltage got too low we moved to the source of the energy...that didn't really help much
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The next morning I immediately went to see Robert, Manager of the motel to jointly check how and where to install a AEVA/TOCA donated 3 phase 32 Amp 5-pin socket for the future EV drivers staying at his place. We figured out a connection could be made from the laundry room which already used 3-phase.
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Blue heaven

Fair Dinkum Tesla
Nov 25, 2014
1,151
1,376
South West Australia
Section 6: Longreach – Winton:
Sunset time on the outskirts of Longreach
View attachment 249891

The next morning, leaving to Winton, driving through the endless outback.
Feeling really outback here, it’s so quiet on the road, but why is power consumption way above my expectation? Do we have any headwind? The grass isn't really moving...got to check it with our high tech wind vane! No wonder consumption got boosted to about 230 Wh/km while driving at a speed of only 100 kmh!View attachment 249893

They didn't feel bothered by the wind and kept consuming the same amount of food?
View attachment 249892

Longreach to Winton isn’t a major distance for Electra to give us troubles so we just continued at 100 kmh to arrive just in time and climb into the Red Dirt Tours 4-W drive bus and participate in the “Dinosaur Stampede Tour”.

Some photos taken in Winton:
View attachment 249894
Above: Blessed with the first rays of sunlight...
Under: Winton waking up for the Winton Outback Festival
View attachment 249895
View attachment 249896 View attachment 249898

Anybody knows who's in that photo besides "the undersigned"?
View attachment 249897

Banjo Paterson.
Really enjoying the photos by the way.
 
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wilsilly

Member
Aug 22, 2016
41
45
Calliope, Qld
Great photos @Dylanpete getting a good dose of history of the central west of Queensland as well as finding new charging places. Look forward to your reports/photos of the next section of your trip. Don't you love the big skies out there? and most impressed by your improvised weather vane, every outback traveller should carry one!
 
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