All that hard work on the banana farm in Innisfail had finally paid off. We were about to set off on a road trip through the outback of Queensland, up to Darwin, then straight down the centre, finishing up in Melbourne. We had already spent nine months travelling the east coast, but we were looking forward to the vast open roads inland. Finally me, my mate Phil, and Steven, a funny Irishman we’d befriended in Innisfail, were on the road. We first headed down the highway from Cairns to Townsville, then across to Mount Isa. We wanted to stick to the highways to be safe. On the third day we left Mount Isa, on what would be the last day of the road trip as we knew it. It was mid-morning and already very hot. I was doing the first leg of the drive until we reached the Northern Territory. After a couple of hundred kilometres we stopped in Camooweal for fuel and, knowing we were minutes from the border, jumped straight back on the road. At around 11.30am, about 30 metres from the border, the rear left tyre of our Ford Falcon blew. We slid across the road at 110kph, despite my best efforts to hold the wheel straight. The car spun 180 degrees and hit the verge, sending it rolling four times until it ended up on its roof. Before I could even get my bearings Phil and Steven had crawled out of the car and were yelling for me to get the hell out because there was a fire. I was upside down, could feel blood all over my face and my right arm was pinned down by the door frame. I shouted to Phil that my arm was stuck and the next thing I knew he was pulling it free and dragging me through the back door. By this stage several other cars had stopped and people were helping to extinguish the fire and salvage our luggage which had flown from the boot. I couldn’t see through my right eye, I was spitting chunks of glass, my face and right arm were covered in blood and I had a lot of pain down one side of my neck. An ambulance arrived pretty sharpish and took me to Camooweal hospital where my eyes were given a good clean out. After that I was back in an ambulance and transferred to Mount Isa. I was X-rayed and examined meticulously and at 6.30pm was given the all clear that there was no serious damage. I didn’t even need stitches in my arm and, after a cocktail of solutions was deposited into my eyes, I could see just fine. But I didn’t have any way of getting back to Camooweal, where the boys were, so the hospital insisted I stayed there until 7pm the following day, when I could jump on a Greyhound bus. I was given my own room, I got to have a shower while my clothes were laundered and I was served some of the best meals I’ve had since I’ve been travelling. And when it was time for me to go, all the staff chipped in and paid for my $50 bus ticket! The memory of the accident will stay with me forever, but so will the memory of my time at Mount Isa Hospital. The friendliness and warmth of all the staff and the outstanding quality of aid and support they provided was second to none. So we’re back on the road again, car-less, but enjoying our time here all the same. With only three months left we are relying on the kindness of strangers to give us lifts. So far we’re doing pretty well. After spending previous weeks scuba-diving, bungee jumping and skydiving, it was ironic that it was something I do every day that nearly killed me. Steven and Phil walked away from the accident unscathed. I had a touch of whiplash and a scabby arm. We will tell this story over many campfires to come, though we will never forget how lucky we are to be alive and well.
About The Author
TNT Magazine has been guiding independent travellers around the world for 35 years. Originally founded in 1983, TNT Magazine has been regarded by many as the youth travellers bible, offering a mix of inspiring travel content, news, lifestyle, fashion, jobs and accommodation. Our mantra is live life & travel which encompasses what we are all about. To live life to the full, and help young adults navigate the tribulations of working, living and experiencing adventure through travel. We have developed a great reputation throughout the world as an independent and trusted source of quality content and advice.
November 18, 2011
September 30, 2014
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