The roads are hot in North West Queensland but would you cook your food on it?
That’s what the folks at Cloncurry Shire Council are suggesting with their cheeky Australia Day video.
Pointing out that Cloncurry has broken the Queensland record for most consecutive days over 40 degrees – a title Camooweal might fight them for – the video showed locals taking it in their stride at landmarks like the Chinaman Creek dam and Mary Kathleen Park.
New local Paul Karn donned the budgie smugglers to show the Curry way to cool down – pour a bucket of ice water over you before downing a coldie in a can. Just a quick slug, mind – it heats up too quick to finish.
He then takes his cooking oil and food out to “cook” the snags and eggs on the barbie, ie the bitumen. “Ten minutes that’ll be ready,” he said and he played backyard cricket before returning to the road to find his “nice Cloncurry meat” well cooked.
Meanwhile down in Boulia, sweltering in 45 degree heat on Thursday, they were also thinking about cooking on the road.
Boulia Shire Council works director Harin Karra measured the temperature after he smelled melting bitumen on Tuesday.
“I quickly checked the temperature on the road right in front of me. The temperature gauge registered 68 degrees," he said. “I reckon you could not only cook eggs out there, but sausages and steak as well! You can literally pick the bitumen up off the road with a pencil, it is melting."
Mr Karra said cold water taps do not exist in Boulia during summer.
"I think I should try putting a teabag in some tap water and leave it outside for a while, I will have a nice hot cup of tea," he said.
The bitumen has been sizzling across north-west Queensland this summer.
Paul Finlay, who runs the Camooweal Drovers Camp museum, said he never drives far at this time of year because the bitumen gets so hot it could blow car tyres.
"It is pretty bloody hot up here at the moment, but if you are born here you are used to it," he said.
"You just have to get up early and get things done in the morning. You only go outside in the middle of the day if you want to die."
Camooweal has endured 40 consecutive days of the maximum temperature reaching 40 degrees or higher, as has Cloncurry.
Cloncurry Shire mayor Greg Campbell said you always get a warm welcome when you visit the town.
"The town pool has been getting a good workout and air-conditioners are cranked all the way up but nothing much out of the ordinary," Mr Campbell said.
"You appreciate a cold beer and a bit of shade more at this time of year."
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kimba Wong said increased cloud cover throughout the west on Monday would bring temperatures back to monthly averages, which are 36.7 degrees in Cloncurry, 37.3 in Camooweal and 38.5 in Boulia.
- with additional reporting by Lydia Lynch (Brisbane Times) and Melissa North