FRIDAY 5 JULY COPI HOLLOW
The nights in these parts had been chilly, but the days fine, with lots of blue skies.
The solar screens had made a big difference inside Bus on the cold nights. The fan heater did not have to run as much, to keep us cosy.
Today was not as windy.
After our usual slow morning start, we bundled dog into Terios and set off to do some exploring.
Followed the dirt road round from Copi Hollow to the much larger Lake Pamamaroo, then skirted round that.
There were, at intervals, rough tracks going off towards the lake edge, which we assumed led to bush camping spots by the water. We took one of those and came upon a caravan parked in a clearing, right beside the lake.
A man came out of the van, in a hurry, looked at us and demanded quite aggressively that we not let the dog out of the car. We hadn’t been about to, but I didn’t think anyone free camping had any right to behave as if he owned the clearing and we were trespassing. The message was quite clear, that he didn’t want company in “his” clearing. Just to annoy him, I took my time wandering around and taking photos, while he stood with hands on hips and glared. I hoped that, with the weekend coming, his patch was invaded by noisy campers with a heap of children!
We continued on, looking at another couple of the lakeside camp spots. There certainly were some attractive camp places, for people who were self contained and didn’t need any facilities.
So, around to the Main Weir, part of the system that diverts water from the Darling River for storage in the Menindee Lakes.
Had a wander around a fairly extensive free camping area near the Weir. There were several lots of campers set up; some looked like they’d been there for a while.
The camping area did have toilets, unlike the lake side clearings that we’d visited earlier, but seemed rather bare and dusty.
According to display signs, the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition, in its early stages, had set up a base camp here, for three months, over summer.
Obviously, this was before the Weir and irrigation system were set up, but presumably the original Pamamaroo Creek must have been a pleasant enough place.
Ate our packed lunch there. Gave dog a good run where there were no people to be upset by her.
After a couple of hours at the Weir area, drove towards Menindee, stopping to look at the Menindee Caravan Park. By the shore of Menindee Lake, we did not think it nearly as attractive as Copi Hollow.
In the dry, dusty, not very attractive Menindee township, I collected some material from the Information Centre. Had a discussion with a couple of people there about the conditions of the two routes from here to Wilcannia – one each side of the Darling River.
Bought some supplies at the supermarket, cruised around looking at the town.
Drove to look at the railway bridge over the Darling. Built in 1927, it was part of the railway connecting Sydney and Broken Hill, now the main east-west line. The bridge had a sort of hinged opening section in the centre, that could be lifted up by a type of crane arrangement, now dismantled. This allowed the passage of paddle steamers up the Darling to Wilcannia and beyond. That river traffic no longer exists, of course. For about fifty years, this bridge was also the road crossing of the river, trains and vehicles sharing it. Now, the road bridge is some distance downstream, at the other end of town.
Left the town and followed the road around the curve of Menindee Lake, some 20kms to the little settlement called Sunset Strip.
As the name suggests, this is a narrow section of houses by the lake. It was a mix of pretty basic, not very attractive holiday houses, through to some quite pleasant ones, possibly the homes of the permanent dwellers. When the Lake had water in it, I could see the attraction as a holiday place for people of the area, or even as a permanent home for retirees and the like. But, when the Lake dried up – not so nice, just dry sand and dust.
Like at Copi Hollow, sunsets across the Lake could be spectacular – hence the name.
We parked and wandered about on the little “beach” and dog had a run and explore. The breeze was making little wavelets at the water’s edge that she was none too sure about. This was one very cautious dog.
Back at camp, John got under Bus and reconnected the drain system.
We decanted a ten litre cask of water into our fresh water tank. The gauge indicated it was getting low-ish. Did not want to risk not having enough water and damaging the hot water service or pump. If it was up to me, I’d have used lake water boiled on stove to do the dishes, and left the hot water turned off, but John didn’t want to do it that way.
The caravan park was getting much busier as people arrived for the weekend – mostly into the permanent structures.
I made tea of frozen battered fish, with French fries.