We left Port Augusta quite early for what was going to be a long drive. First stop was the town of Woomera where the famous rocket test range is, I can remember as boy in primary school reading about the exciting things they were doing in Woomera, they even launched a satellite from there. The history of Woomera is all around with many displays of rockets, missiles and jets in various historical parks around town.
When I finally got dragged away from Woomera we headed north, the most disappointing thing about travelling distances in South Australia was the lack of shade and rest rooms, a few bush excursions were required. We came across Lake Hart which is is a dried salt lake at the moment. Lea and I ventured down and had a look.
It was nice to have an easy day after the long drive from Menindee. Once we passed the quarantine inspection point in South Australia we saw some amazing country, the Flinders Ranges are spectacular.
Today was all about relaxing with no particular agenda. It was a good day for some laundry and shopping and general loafing around. We did head out for a look around in the afternoon had a fantastic time. It always pays to get away from the usual sights, you never know what you’ll discover. Tomorrow we head off to Coober Pedy.
We wanted to visit the Menindee Lakes on this trip but sadly they have been completely dry for quite a few months now, that wasn’t going to stop us from pitching the tent on the Darling River though. The Menindee region is a pleasant 1 1/2 hour drive from Broken Hill, we seem to have arrived when the countryside was at it’s best with lots of wild flowers on the side of the road and green as far as you can see. Travelling this far west really gives you an idea of how large Australia is, totally flat in all directions so talk about big sky country.
We arrive at Menindee which is a sleepy little place and went straight to the information centre, had a good look around and bought myself a Menindee camo cap. With my newly established beard progressing well I look a bit like an extra on Duck Dynasty wearing it.
Camping at Kinchenga National park is really straight forward, there is a registration area on the entry track where you pay $7.00 per day for vehicle access and $5.00 per person per day for camping so our night on the Darling cost us $17.00 (Bargain!).
We found a fantastic campsite a picnic table and drop toilet down-wind (thankfully) we I set up cam then sat down with a glass of wine and soaked up the tranquillity then a rather large goanna walked by to say g’day.
First stop on today’s adventures was the Broken Hill Miner’s Memorial, perched on a hill amongst the mines in the centre of town. A very fitting tribute to all those who have lost their lives since the late 1800s in mining disasters and accidents, health issues (particularly lead poisoning), and complications from injuries. No such thing as workplace health and safety ‘back in the day’.
We then visited Jack Absolom’s Gallery, to be greeted by the man himself at the door. Quite an interesting old chap and his landscape artwork was truly inspiring and true to the places he has spent much time visiting. We even bought a small framed print to take home. Joe really loved having this opportunity to meet Jack, whose camp cooking recipes have provided much inspiration over the years.
Late morning we drove the 27km north west to historic Silverton, spending time in the very old cemetery and then heading into town to check out the collection of old buildings, dating back to the 1880s. One such building was the Silverton Pub…not to be passed by of course! We enjoyed one of their legendary hot dogs which was washed down by an icy cold beer. Then more historic buildings to peruse, a local museum with an extensive collection, the Mad Max Museum, then time for further refreshment in the form of a quandong icecream cone – absolutely delicious!
We then had about an hour to kill before heading further west chasing another magical outback sunset…so back to the pub!! Then west in the late afternoon, first to view the weir then to the Mundi Mundi lookout which looks over the vastness of the Mundi Mundi Plains to the west. Out came the camp table, chairs, nibbles and wine – yes, things are done in style in the outback setting. We were joined by a number of others who came to this spot like pilgrims on a mission, fantastic. We waited, and waited, sipped some wine, and waited some more before we were rewarded with the most amazing sunset I reckon I have seen. There we were witness to a palate of golden colours after the sun went down behind the curve of the earth in the distance. A very ‘WOW’ moment. Ah, the serenity…
What a day! Lea and I are exhausted from a huge day in Broken Hill, what an interesting place with spectacular surrounds. We arrived yesterday after travelling from Bourke some 620 km with a 40km detour to Mt Grenfell (near Cobar) so see some Aboriginal rock art, it was well worth visiting.
Broken Hill awaits
Well it might seem weird but our first destination was the Broken Hill Cemetery, we’ve always found cemeteries as a great source of local history and the larger ones have tour maps pointing out the interesting residents. Broken Hill was no exception, we walked around this large cemetery for an hour and a half following the guide. We saw Pro Harts grave and many notable locals, so very interesting.
Nothing like listening to John Williamson on the road and hearing a song about a town you’ve just visited, this was the case with Lightning Ridge, gee Johno knows how to tell the tale and get it right. Well long drops (toilets) and rest areas are non existent between Walget and Bourke so we pulled over past a bridge over a billabong and tried our instant canteen set up, total success. The spot was a great photo opportunity…
We arrived at Bourke mid afternoon and found our digs at Kidman’s Camp, what a great place. If you stay here don’t miss Poetry on a Plate, a great meal around the camp fire and some wonderful poetry accompanied on guitar. Truly an awesome way to relax at the end of the day. Here are some pics of our stay in Bourke, tomorrow we travel to Broken Hill.
There is nothing like a road trip to clear your mind and re-charge the soul, day one saw us travel to Lightning Ridge on Newell Highway, we haven’t travelled down the Newell since our 1996 family road trip with the kids, oh the sounds of “are we there yet”, “he hit me”and “I have to pee” are but a distant memory and we cruise down the highway taking it all in. We drove through some wonderful farming country and a very green Western NSW due to the recent rains. There is canola growing everywhere on the side of the road and quite few wild flowers. We noticed a lot of prickly pear cactus between Moree and Walden, it seems it’s becoming a pest again. We left at 5:30am and arrived around 4:30pm, rather than rambling on I’ll let the pictures tell the story (click the image to view a larger version):
One more day to go and it’s time to pack the wagon. Our test run to Mount Isa taught us a lot on what to and not to take plus, how to set the back up for convenience. We always stopped to make lunch when we were travelling, the Waeco CFX 40 fridge is was great keeping everything cool and fresh but our plates, cutlery and every thing else we needed were in stackable plastic crates that required the back to get unpacked every time we needed something. What a pain in the A$%e.
This time we purchased some cheap plastic drawers that can hold the FUEs (Frequently Used Essentials) and are easy to open leaving everything in place. If they only last one trip they’ll be worth it. I still have one stackable crate for camping gear which we’ll only need to set up camp and the rest of the camping gear is up on the roof rack inside a waterproof rack bag. We’ll only need to get at this when we stop to camp which is only 2 times and the rest we’ll stay in cabin parks.
Just have to load the clothes and we’re ready – Early night for a 5:30 am departure to Lightning Ridge.
Welcome to the new rubio.id.au blog! The original blogsite was our way of journaling our travels around Australia, I made my last post in 2009 when I started using Facebook to share our adventures.
Lea and I are about to embark on a 1 month Journey for our home in the Moreton Region travelling through Western NSW, South Australia, the Northern Territory then via Mt Isa and Townsville back home. It’s an exciting trip and I felt I should do more than post some pics on FB.
So here’s the new blog, it’s not just for this trip but other odds and ends that might prove interesting. So come and join us on our travels, projects and odds and ends. We welcome your comments and feedback, Let the adventures begin!