THURSDAY 11 APRIL NARROMINE TO NORTH BOURKE 340kms
We left the park about 9am.
The day was somewhat hotter, as one would expect, heading north and inland. It was even a bit uncomfortable for travel, by the time we reached Bourke
There were a lot of trucks on the road, between Narromine and Nyngan. This stretch is part of the main route from Broken Hill to Sydney, so I guess that explained it.
Mostly, it was an uneventful drive.
We stopped briefly at Nevertire – a tiny village – for me to take a photo. The name symbolizes my attitude to travel, but apart from that, I thought it featured in a bush poem – maybe one of Paterson’s?
Morning tea was at Nyngan. I used hot water from the thermos flask I carry in Truck, to make our tea and coffee, and cut a slice of fruit cake – not home made – for John.
Nyngan had obviously declined from the town it once was; some rather nice old buildings were now semi-derelict, including an hotel. But the town had created a very pleasant rest area in its centre, and there was a second one, too, just on the edge of town by the Bogan River.
Until after Nyngan, we had been passing through a mix of cultivated and grazing lands, but after this, gradually, the crop lands decreased. Closer to Bourke the country was clearly more arid, with areas of mulga scrub appearing and occasional bare red earth patches. Although, on the map, the road from Nyngan looked straight and potentially dull, it was in fact slightly undulating and with little hamlets at intervals – and thus, interesting enough. It was a rather narrow road, though.
We had our lunch of sandwiches I’d made this morning, in a rest area in the bush.
In Bourke, went straight to the fuel depot and got diesel – 90cpl. Having been here a couple of times before, know our way around the place, a bit, now.
We went then to the supermarket. It is now a new IGA one – with a heavily fenced carpark. There was a security guard manning the entrance. The new building had no windows – only a pair of doors, with a roller security screen that comes down and covers these, after hours.
I found the shelves were very sparsely stocked, with many open gaps. But they had the frozen battered, oven bake fish that I wanted to get for tea. John selected some indulgences – crisps and the like!
Later, a fellow camper was telling us that he had witnessed a ruckus there, involving a local girl, who was yelling that she had been cheated at the register. The camper had gone in to get some alcohol, (it was a licensed supermarket) and been surprised to find that the public was not actually allowed inside the alcohol section. One had to ask at a cashier’s window for what they wanted, and it was passed through, after payment. He seemed to think that this arrangement revealed much about the nature of the town.
Business completed, we drove out to North Bourke, across the bridge over the Darling River.
Booked into the Kidmans Camp caravan park. This was a relatively new park that we hadn’t tried before – mainly because we didn’t know it was there, until we passed it, driving north, in 2000. Our powered site cost $16.
Kidmans Camp was a very pleasant place to stay. The guests seemed to be a mix of tourists and short term itinerant workers, here to work on the orchards or the cotton farms that have grown up around Bourke, reliant on irrigation water from the Darling.
It was a hot afternoon, and after a minimal set up, John needed an afternoon nap. I went for a wander around the park. Then I had a shower – the almost new bathroom was very nice.
I cooked fries to go with our fish – all cooked in the electric frypan, outside the van.
After tea, we got talking to a man in a camper van that was set up next to us. He was travelling on his own. His talk indicated that he’d had an interesting life, having been n engineer and a helicopter pilot, who lost much of his wealth in the ’87 share market crash. We were not talking at all loudly, but a man in a tent, two rows behind us, demanded that we be quiet, because he had to get up and work in the morning!