Cut off for five months — and loving it
WHEN it floods out beyond the edge of the empty Outback, life turns into "a David Attenborough documentary".
"It blows you away,'' said Lake Nash station manager Erin Gibson, who runs the 1.7 million hectare cattle property, three hours' drive west of Mount Isa.
His family and some of 10 staff are likely to be happily isolated by floodwaters for up to five months.
"Dust comes to life, it turns into a world of grass, flowers, birds, wildlife, and everything is fat and happy," the cattleman said.
Like a Slim Dusty soundtrack, the mighty Georgina River spreads as an inland sea over the blacksoil plains of the Barkly Tableland, spills into the Channel Country, 1700km west of Brisbane, and snakes to Lake Eyre.
Farmers from Cape York to Charleville, Longreach to Lake Nash, are in a state of "euphoric disbelief" as scores of flooding rivers, and soaking rain up to 200mm and more, deliver drought-breaking hope in rural Queensland.
"We're still trying to let it sink in,'' the Lake Nash station manager said.
"You don't want to get too overexcited.
"But this is a game-changer.''
The Diamantina River, Georgina River and Eyre Creek are in flood. The Cloncurry, Thomson, Flinders, Norman, Paroo, Barcoo and Cooper Creek, too.
At Cairns, more than 200mm of torrential rain in 24 hours flooded roads and turned the Barron River Falls into a raging torrent under a typical wet season.
Heavy rain, which may cause flash flooding, and winds up to 90km are forecast out west as the tropical monsoon low moves from the Gulf towards Alice Springs.