Unaware of what a town like Mt Isa had to offer, like many other towns we intended on staying in, we stopped first at the visitors centre.
Turns out Mt Isa is a mining town, they mine copper, zinc, silver and lead. When we were trying to remember what they mined Alex’s response was a lot…
At the visitors center Alex saw that they offered mine tours, he had wanted to do one at a few towns we had passed whilst on our trip and so on this occasion he booked us in for the next day.
That night we booked ourselves into the local campgrounds where I witnessed the rudest treatment of an elderly couple and was rendered speechless by just how quickly it occurred. I then felt terrible for not saying something and staying in that particular place, but we couldn’t do much about it after the fact. So we settled in for a quiet night, amongst the caravans, where bed time seems to be extremely close to sunset…
The next day came where we would head down the mine. We arrived at the visitors center just before it began and soon found out it was just us and two other couples, a nice small tour group.
We were all kitted out in fluro orange jumpsuits, orange hard hats and some wellies. Our tour guide Bill, who had worked in the Mt Isa mines for over 40 years, asked us to keep our clothes on underneath. He was met with some amused glances, where he then explained that on occasion, more than you would think, many people who were given the jumpsuits would then strip down to their underwear or even nothing and think that no one would notice, or that they were supposed to do that. The thing was, the jumpsuits were dead see through, I mean if those going nudey didn’t realise that then well I have no words!
Anyway we kept our clothes on and kitted up, as you can see we were definitely proving #orangeisthenewblack
Unfortunately these were the only pictures we were able to capture. Once upon a time a woman had accidently dropped her camera whilst on the tour and then tried to claim compensation afterwards. From then on pictures were baned and the visitors center would take a picture for you which you could purchase afterwards. Someone rotten always ruins it for everyone hey. So we scored the sneaky picture above, don’t tell anyone we will get in lots of trouble…
Alright back to the tour.
So the tour itself was not in the towns working mine, it was in fact in a mine they build just for tours. After all there were so many people who wanted to see and understand what the fuss was about that had made the town what it was from the beginning.
The mine made for tours was not far from the main mine, which you could see from the visitors center, was made to feel like the real mine. I won’t bore you, or myself for that matter, with every moment of the tour. However I will mention that we went down, it was dark, we got to drill a wall with a seriously heavy and bloody shaky drill, and we got to eat some food, can’t complain really.
We resurfaced and after only a few hours underground we realised how easy it is and would be for those who have ever worked underground to not notice time go by. It was a surprising tour and a lot of interactive fun. I must say I was skeptical and unsure about really going on the tour, but we would both recommend it to anyone who happens to find themselves in Mt Isa.
That evening, we thought we had done so much that we couldn’t be bothered cooking, also it was Sunday with Queensland not having Sunday trading for us to shop for food. So off to a local pub we went.
We ordered steak, at the time it was delicious and then we headed back to our good old tent in the caravan retirement village. Not long after dinner I was not feeling 100% so we had an early night.
The next day I was still feeling really unwell and we put it down to the dinner the night before. We were leaving Mt Isa and heading in the direction of Cairns, so feeling unwell was alright since we were spending most of the next few days in the car.
The next few days for myself were really a blur, I slept 95% of the time and when I was awake the seat was back in the car with my eyes half closed. It was not a fun few days, and poor Alex did a serious amount of driving.
Great thing was, since there was not much to stop at in our eyes from Mt Isa to Cairns, we got through a lot of km in quick time.
Safe to say our welcome to Queensland with a good old steak was not what I had hoped, but Queensland itself was a nice and different change again in our journey.