I booked my flight to Longreach (October 8) and back (October 16), for our Birdsville road trip, first mooted by Nicole and Simon when we were at Uluru, after I told them that I would love to visit the Middleton Hotel, a lone and evocative haven, 170 kilometres from the nearest town, on the road between Winton and Boulia. I suggested staying overnight in Boulia, whereat Nicole said we might as well go to Birdsville. I jumped at the chance. The beauty of driving from Longreach to Birdsville and back is that the entire journey will be through essential Australia – the glorious channel country and the red centre.