This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1 Comment

2015 Travels July 23


The rain continued, off and on, through the night.

Before John got going, I was able to walk Couey around the park and across the grass area at the back, without getting my feet too wet.

Left the park just before 10am and immediately went to refuel at the servo on the opposite corner. It was a major truck stop and refuelling area – we had heard truck noises from here, throughout last night. Diesel cost $1.439 cpl.

It was a grey, misty, damp day.

There had been a big exodus from the park this morning. I think it is much more an overnight destination than a longer stay place.

We had first travelled the Kidman Way some fifteen years ago, not long after it was made into a sealed route. Then, there were not many trucks on it. Now there are heaps.

Trucks on the Kidman Way

At one point, we had occasional glimpses of patches of blue sky, but mostly it was just ominous looking grey clouds.

A cheerful note was seeing a small group of greeny coloured parrots having a bath in a big roadside puddle. Rain is great for wildlife in these usually dry parts.

Ephemeral bird bath

We passed a broken down rig. A 4WD was parked behind a van, with hazard lights going. There appeared to be a problem with the van – there was something strange under its front – maybe holding it up? No one was visible, or waving us down, so we kept going. They were parked on a rare area of hard shoulder at the road’s edge – lucky they were able to find a firm area as these would be rather rare today.

We had a brief stop at a large rest area and gave Couey a walk and a drink.

Rest area with hard surface

This was obviously a normally popular free camp area, with lots of tracks and parking spots off in the mulga. But there was no one here now – too muddy and wet. There were little piles of hay on the sealed surface of the rest area – must have been a stock transport stopped there recently.

Free camping areas in dry weather

Arrived at Bourke at 12,30. Drove out the highway to the north for a short way and topped up the fuel. $1.459 cpl. Then drove to the IGA supermarket, where John parked Bus in the street, and I went in to get milk and bread. The place was very busy, so I suspected it was pension day. There was a security person on duty. This is a supermarket where, in the alcohol section, all the stock is on shelves that are behind heavy wire mesh walls. You can see what they have but can’t touch. Customers have to ask for what they want at a small window in the wire.

Went to the Mitchell Caravan Park. Our en-suite site cost $35 for the night. The bathroom was a good one and very clean.

Bourke site

There seemed to be new, young owners/managers, from when we were last here a couple of years ago. They were very pleasant people who seemed much more dog empathetic than the previous ones. They said we could walk Couey, on her lead, along the back area of the park – a notable change from last time, where the only place we were welcome to walk was out of the establishment.

Very little set up was needed. In a break in the weather, we walked dog around the park. There was a very nice central grass and garden area, with a row of bottle trees across its end. One of these had a tap in it!

Don’t know if it works…

I was pleased I’d made an advance booking. This park was effectively full also, apart from a couple of sites that were partly under water.

Place for happy hour in better weather

We chatted travel for a while with a man from a Trakmaster van, fairly similar to the one we’d had, but newer.

Bottle trees

Tea was steak, potato fries and egg.

Watched MasterChef – now down to three finalists. Then had an early night.


2013 Travels July 14

SUNDAY 14 JULY     COBAR TO BOURKE     172kms.

We were away at 9am.

Couey was back to being reluctant to get into Bus at moving time. She actually snapped at John when he lifted her in.

We had to get fuel before leaving Cobar. Had intended to do so on the way in the other day, but our way into Cobar brought us to the caravan park first. Today, we joined the rush of travellers  fuelling up before leaving town, and had to queue. Hint to travellers – refuel when you arrive in town, not departure morning, when everyone else has the same idea!

Diesel was $1.569 cpl.

We’d driven the Kidman Way a number of times before. The way north from Cobar was the usual flat, not very interesting country. There were more trucks using this route than we had seen before. Not as many as on the Newell Highway, but still too many. The lack of truck traffic used to be one of the great attractions of going this way.

John needed to make five stops along the way. I estimated one stop for every thirty kms of travel! We could sort of joke about it – what else can one do?

This time, fuelled up as we arrived in Bourke, at the BP servo, where we paid $1.639 cpl. This morning, back in Cobar, also at a BP outlet, and not that far away, it had been 7 cents a litre cheaper – quite a price differential over a short distance.

In the past, we’d always stayed at Kidmans Camp at North Bourke. But they did not take dogs, so this time we went into the Mitchell Caravan Park, in the town. Our en-suite site cost $35. The gravelled site was small, with no real space to put out our awning, had we wished to, and not much space between us and the next van. Our little bathroom was clean and well fitted out.

Bourke site

Although the park accepted dogs, it could not be described as dog-friendly! The manageress was insistent that dogs be taken out of the park to do their business. Try explaining that, after the long night, to a dog with a full bladder…… But I got the impression that they’d had too many guests who didn’t abide by the normal common rules, as – unfortunately for the rest of us – is too often the case.

I thought that next time we came this way we should take an ordinary powered site – those were nicely grassed and would give us more room and a better spot for dog.

After basic set up, drove Terios to the Back O’Bourke Exhibition Centre, a very impressive new building on the northern edge of town, with really helpful staff in their information section.

Having just done a part day’s travel, we were not in the mood to do the full exhibition experience on offer, featuring aspects like history, aboriginal culture, outback lifestyle, so just had a short browse around there. Another item for the next-time list.

Drove back to town, to the Old Wharf area, where there was an interesting display of old machinery and a viewing platform on what was actually a replica of the original wharf, back in the days when Bourke was an important inland port. As the Darling River level fluctuated greatly between seasons, platforms at different levels allowed for the loading and unloading of the paddle steamers, regardless of river height.

Darling River ……again

Took Couey for a walk from there, on a path along the river levee, on the lead. This short walk tired John out, not so the dog.

Drove around the streets, looking at some of the substantial old buildings of the town – some interesting architectural styles that seemed unique to the town. I would like to spend time wandering slowly about the place, photographing some of these relics from the glory days. But not today….I would need to be driving myself, and alone!

The town did not seem to be as rowdy or threatening as it had on previous visits.

There wasn’t much of the day left by the time we got back to Bus.

Tea was ham steaks, potato and pineapple.

Spent the evening as usual: watching some TV, reading. John played his World of Warcraft computer game. I had an early night.

Leave a comment

2009 Travels August 27


We were away by 7am.

This was a route we’d driven several times before, through the semi-arid grazing and mulga country.

Refuelled at the usual place at the corner at Cunnamulla.

In an event typical of this benighted trip, we had another flat tyre, on the driver’s side rear – again – about 50kms south of Cunnamulla. That was the spare wheel we’d put on two days ago. We’d been carrying it as a spare, since it was repaired at Lightning Ridge. THAT repair didn’t last long!

Now we’d used both spares. It was not a nice feeling, to be going several hundred kms with no spare, through country where settlements were few and far between.

It was a relief to reach Kidmans Camp at North Bourke, mid afternoon, after stopping briefly beside the road to eat lunch, earlier.

Our site at Kidmans cost $26.

We unhitched, and John drove on into Bourke, to a tyre place. They found that the guy in Lightning Ridge had essentially wrecked the tyre, by carving off some of the edge beading! Why on earth would he have done that? John came back with a brand new tyre on the – solid – spare wheel. We mounted that on back of Truck, and put the split one on the van mounting. He’d fuelled up in town too.

Kidmans Camp was as lovely as always. They now had two swimming pools. I couldn’t get motivated to try either, but we went walking down the tracks to the Darling River. The river level was medium – had seen it much lower in other years.

We watched the tourist river boat return to dock from its afternoon cruise.

Lazed about for the rest of the day.

There was another wonderful inland sunset here.

Leave a comment

2006 Travels April 5


John went to the park office and found the number for a dentist in Griffith – there was none in Hay! We had not actually intended to go through Griffith, but…. John phoned the dentist. He had no room to squeeze an appointment in for him in reasonable time. John tried to phone another one in that town, was told they would check and call back. They didn’t.

I twisted the ankle on my good foot, this morning, stumbling on some uneven ground.

I used Sensis to get some different dentist contacts in the areas we would be going to. Found one in Charleville, but when I phoned, found there was only an emergency dentist there now and there was no hope of a transient getting in.

Then found one in Mt Isa, where we were able to get an appointment for next Monday. So we would be detouring to the Mount, instead of turning north at Cloncurry, as usual. Well, that would be better than a side track to Griffith, anyway, and the tooth repair would just have to wait a few days.

I came to two conclusions after this exercise. One was that Telstra sucks, for eliminating the old, friendly, Directory Assistance, and replacing it with Sensis. I bet the charges would be high for my efforts today. Secondly, the bush was very badly served for dentists!

It was a long day, but it was nearly 10am before we left Hay.

Refuelled at Hillston – 311kms. $1.43cpl.

It got warmer through the day. Some cloud developed later and it was actually a bit cooler between Cobar and Bourke.

We found a good roadside stop, about 100kms south of Cobar, to stop and eat our packed lunch – at Gilgunnia.

There was some roadside water lying about – there had been rain, in recent weeks, through these parts.

At Cobar we debated whether to stay there, or press on to Bourke, a further 170kms. John wanted to go on and, in the end, I was pleased we did, now that we must reach Mt Isa in four days.

Filled Truck on the way through Bourke, at the fuel depot there. 430kms. $1.40cpl.

Continued on to North Bourke and booked into Kidmans Camp. $22.

The clouds that had developed led to a very pretty sunset. We sat out on the lovely grassed area outside our van and watched the sunset. It reminded us of happy hours at Pungalina, last year.

Resize of 04-05-2006 01 Sunset Bourke

Resize of 04-05-2006 02 Sunset Bourke2

Resize of 04-05-2006 03 Sunset Bourke3

At shower time, John discovered he didn’t pack his soap container – or soap! It had taken him a week to find this out??

Resize of 04-05-2006 to nb


Leave a comment

2005 Travels March 12


Today saw the usual, routine, trip north through the centre of NSW.

As the day progressed and we moved further north, it became drier and hotter, and more monotonous – but only because it was a route we had done before.

Resize of 3-12-2005  north of Griffith.jpg

Excellent rest areas in these parts

Refuelled at West Griffith – $1.18cpl; Cobar – $1.20cpl and Bourke – $1.20cpl.

Had a brief stop near Hillston for a leg stretch, then ate early lunch at the rest stop at the Lachlan River Crossing. Bird watched there and had a reasonable break.

Resize of 3-12-2005 Lachlan Riverpark area.jpg

Plenty of room by the Lachlan River

Resize of 3-12-2005 Lachlan River Matilda Way.jpg

It was mid afternoon when we reached Bourke.

Went into Kidmans Camp Caravan Park at North Bourke. $22 for the site. We always enjoyed coming to this place – lush green grass on the sites, excellent amenities, interest in what developments had been made since last time we were here. We have seen the place grow from its early days.

Set up for the minimum overnight stop, then walked down to the Darling River, which borders the property. Wandered about down there for a short time, then relaxed sitting outside the van for the remainder of the afternoon.

Resize of 03-12-2005 to nb

Leave a comment

2002 Travels April 11


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?

04-11-2002 nevertire.jpg


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!

04-11-2002 to bourke

Leave a comment

2001 Travels September 22


Another day of travel.

Fine weather. Good roads. Not much traffic, despite it being school holidays in Victoria.

From Hay, we travelled to Goolgowi, then north up the Kidman Way that we’d travelled before, through Hillston and Cobar to Bourke.

We reached Bourke in the late afternoon. Accommodation was another caravan park cabin. We had decided we’d not be setting up the tent for single nights, when there were other options available! Besides, the nights were cold!

Tea was meant to be cold meat and salad, but John decided he wanted a bacon and egg toasted sandwich. That was alright – we had all the ingredients to hand.

09-22-2001 overnight cabin where.jpg

Overnight cabin accommodation

When we travel like this, the Chescold fridge gets unloaded from Truck and put onto 240v power in our accommodation. We don’t have a 12v connection for it in Truck. It stays cold all day without being turned on. Just have to make sure that when it is being moved out again, we turn it off 10 or 15 minutes before moving it, to allow the electrical element to cool down. A fridge mechanic somewhere once explained this makes the element last longer.

09-22-2001 to b

Leave a comment

2000 Travels April 28


Refuelled at South Hay, after a reasonably early start. 87cpl.

I posted K’s birthday card and cheque in Hay.

The weather was getting warmer as we went north.

We travelled NE to Goolgowi, then north to Hillston. My road atlas showed that the route north from there, through Cobar to Bourke, was not sealed, but we decided to try that way as being the most direct for where we were aiming. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the newly named Kidman Way was also fairly newly sealed – all the way. It was a very good road, with very little traffic. So much better than battling with truck traffic on the Newell Highway.

We had a lunch stop by the Lachlan River, just north of Hillston.

After the flat Hay Plains, the country north of Hillston became more wooded and interesting to drive through. It was quite green, with much grass and surface water lying about.

We did not stop to explore Cobar, being focussed on getting to Qld. It was obviously a mining town but seemed to be rather languishing, from the little we saw as we drove through and stopped briefly for fuel – 93cpl.

After Cobar we were in mulga scrub country.

In Bourke, checked into the Bourke Caravan Park, taking an ensuite site, for $18. We did a basic set up. The site was quite adequate.

We had not been very impressed by Bourke as we’d driven through to the caravan park. There were numbers of indigenous people wandering about, battered and graffitied  houses, with boarded up window spaces. I was shocked to see how many businesses had bars over their windows.

We drove to get the night’s fish and chip tea, having been advised to do so by the caravan park lady, rather than walk the relatively short distance. Given what we’d seen already, we certainly did not feel like walking for exercise, here.

The fish and chips were alright.

Later in the evening, there were two green frogs on the partition outside the van. I thought they may have come out of the hollow upright poles, and were feeding on insects attracted by the nearby bright light. Very cute – I love frogs!

J phoned K. The tenant had found the tools. K would bundle them up and parcel post them to Rubyvale.

So, here we were at the legendary Bourke. I would have to say it was a let down, because of the obvious issues of the place.

04-28-2000 to bourke