This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


Leave a comment

2015 Travels July 19

SUNDAY JULY 19       BROKEN HILL

The usual start to the day.

Late morning, we went to the Plaza shopping centre. John wanted to fill some scripts at the chemist and needed to do this in person, because it was not long since they were filled at home. He wanted to ensure he had a good supply before we headed further north. Of course, the chemist was closed.

I bought food for tonight’s tea as daughter was coming again. I had originally thought to make a chicken Caesar salad, but decided against that. It was too cold to eat outside on the larger table, and there is not enough room on the inside dinette table to put a platter of salad for diners to help themselves. Also, I would have to buy a platter for the purpose. All too hard. I bought strips of pork belly rashers instead, to make sticky pork ribs, a favourite of ours. Also bought some mince, to make us hamburgers tomorrow night, and a good bottle of Sauv Blanc.

I directed John to the hardware store – he couldn’t remember from last time – then it was back to Bus.

As he did yesterday, John went off to do repairs at daughter’s, and I stayed with dog at the park.

We walked around it twice, looking and the variety of rigs, and watching newcomers roll in. The park was close to full. It has a real variety of sites, some with a surface of loose wood chips, some gravel, some cement. Obviously, grass is not a viable option in a place as dry as this. Daughter had told us that the town’s drinking water supply was so low that it would run out later this year. She didn’t know what would happen then. After our first cup of chlorinated tea, at her place on Friday, I had gotten out our water filter jug and set it up in Bus. It took away some of the chlorine taste from the water, but it still wasn’t great.

Spacious, private site

John, accidentally but fortunately, had found out from daughter that she no longer eats pork. He phoned me immediately. Luckily I had the mince, and it was determined that, yes, she would eat spag bol. So, change of meal plan. John and I would be eating pork rashers for a couple of days, as I had no room for them in the freezebox.

I phoned Warrawong on Darling, our next planned destination and booked us in for a couple of nights. It would be R & R after the tensions of family relations. I wanted to make sure we had a prime site with a direct view over the billabong there. The person who answered sounded young and British and told me in an offhand way there was no need to book as she was sure there would be a site somewhere. This was not quite what I was after. My heart sank at the thought that this place might now be using backpackers to run it – in our experiences, unless firmly directed by a manager, they were often not associated with high standards. We had often been told in our working travels that this was why many places preferred grey nomads as seasonal workers.

John came back about 3.30pm – earlier than I’d expected. He was exhausted, as sometimes happens to him after not much effort at all. He needed to sleep. Daughter was going to an art exhibition of the 2014 Archibald Prize paintings, that was on in town, and wanted him to go with her. But he was too tired. I don’t think she really understands how limited his capacities are, these days.

John had his sleep. I cooked.

Daughter arrived a bit after 6pm. She was not happy and did not want to talk about anything, so John and I conversed around her. I offered yoghurt for dessert but she did not want any of that – or any wine. Fine – all the more for us. We were planning to watch Master Chef so daughter left straight away. She did not want to stay and watch the program with us, as she dislikes one of the judges. Can’t say it was a pleasant visit.

The TV program was enjoyable – and so was the bottle of wine: a quality above our usual cheaper standards.

Another really cold night.


Leave a comment

2015 Travels July 18

SATURDAY JULY 18     BROKEN HILL

A grey-ish day today.

First thing, walked Couey to the far end of the park, where there was a rough area by the side fence, not used for camping. This was suitable for her morning “ablutions”. Cleaned that up, then we walked right around the park for exercise – then she got breakfast.

I left dog sleeping (hopefully) in Bus with John and drove to the Plaza shopping centre. At the newsagent, was pleasantly surprised to find they had the Saturday Age, as well as the Weekend Australian I’d expected. I did some food shopping, and bought John a roll for lunch.

John had surfaced when I got back. Dog complaining when I drove away may have had something to do with that. We read papers for a while, then he had his lunch and went off to do the odd jobs for daughter.

Couey and I stayed at Bus. I didn’t think she should be confined to the car for hours, at daughter’s.  I walked her around the park a couple of times, did some work on laptop, read some more of the papers, did some tea prep. Really enjoyed the pleasant afternoon by myself.

Broken Hill park

John arrived back about 4pm, having done most of the required jobs. He would have to go to a hardware store tomorrow, for glue to finish one repair task.

Daughter arrived on time at 6pm. I finished the dinner prep: potatoes cooked in foil in the electric frypan, scotch fillet steak with peppercorn sauce (from packet). Dessert was poached pears with custard. I’d bough a nice bottle of pinot gris to go with it all.

The woman ate then left, saying she was still not feeling well.

We watched football on TV, after doing the dishes and clearing up.


Leave a comment

2015 Travels July 17

FRIDAY JULY 17     MILDURA TO BROKEN HILL     332kms

It was another cool and cloudy day.

I was up at 8am and walked Couey along the river path again. On the way back, up a different track to the park, I noticed a sign pinned to a tree warning that rabbit bait had been laid in the area. I had never heard of the substance mentioned and there was no indication if it would be harmful to dogs. Couey had been free ranging along the path but I hadn’t seen her snaffling anything. Mind you, she could be very quick and furtive, because she knows I get cross with her for eating anything  apart from meals and treats provided by us. I think the dingo ancestry in cattle dogs makes opportunistic eating a hard trait to train out of them.

Left the park at 10.15. The manager had said, yesterday, to let him know when we were going, and he’d lift the “in” gate up for us to use, as the angle was much better for a rig our length. Such a helpful man. I didn’t really need to call in at the office to tell him – I had Couey on the lead and once she heard Bus start up, I think half of Mildura knew it was on the move – without her!

This was definitely our park of choice in Mildura, now.

The GPS tried to direct us to avoid going into town, by going west via Merbein. This was quite logical from where we were. But John wanted to stock up on citrus at the Orange World farm complex, so we drove back into Mildura, across the Murray and out through Buronga.

Stopped at Orange World, a few kms out of Buronga. As the plan was – I thought – to buy a bag of mandarins, I was OK with John going in alone and I would stay in Bus to alleviate dog dramas. He returned with a whole box of mandarins that he thought were a bargain for $15. But he’d also bought three jars of marmalade – orange, ruby grapefruit, and lime and ginger – that were $6 each, two jars of orange blossom honey (with an attached citrus peeler) that were $10 each, a $6 bag of lemons. He was given a free bag of oranges. Some of the produce would be gifted to his daughter in Broken Hill, but that was still a hell of a lot of citrus. Buying the lemons hurt – our tree at home was laden, but of course we couldn’t bring fruit into the quarantine area around Mildura.

Orange trees

I don’t bring jams away with us as John is a Type 2 diabetic. It appeared that I had been outflanked this time and marmalade was going to replace vegemite on his breakfast toast.

Passed the nearby Stanley Winery. It is absolutely huge – and expanding.

Part way to Wentworth, turned right at a T intersection. At this point, the Silver City Highway begins and this was where the GPS had wanted to bring us via the other side of the river.

Crossed the Darling River at Wentworth. The river was full. This rather surprised me, in view of the extended drought in the upper catchment regions.

We were soon into saltbush and sheep country.

Scrub country beyond the irrigated areas

Stopped at the Seven Trees Rest Area to switch to me driving. I hadn’t driven Bus for almost two years. It felt a bit strange at first. Of course, I received much ongoing instruction from the passenger! He preferred me to drive much more in the centre of the road, when there was no oncoming traffic, than I was comfortable with. He was just not used to seeing the fog line disappearing under the little side window in the footwell of the passenger’s side.

He soon fell asleep for a short time. Was much better when he was asleep….

I pulled into the Popiltah Rest Area, as we usually did on this route, for lunch and to give dog a run.

There were signs up warning to beware of the bees, and even a sign in the toilet to check under the seat for same!I won’t elaborate on the mental images that conjured up. As it was cold and windy, I think all the bees were tucked away cosily elsewhere – we didn’t see a one.

Because of the weather, we ate in Bus.

Saw the first of a number of triple trailer trucks going past, heading south, carrying dirt or ore of some kind. Found out later that there was a mineral salts extraction operation nearby.

Triple trailer road train

After we started off again, for several kms the picture on the GPS showed us driving through water. Supposedly, the road is in Coombah Lake. Along here, there was a series of lakes along the lower ground, Popiltah being one, filled occasionally when there are floods.

Came to a sign saying unfenced road – and the roadside fences disappeared for a while. At the same time, regular little heaps of white bones kept appearing beside the road.

We saw lots of goats beside the road, in small herds. Saw a set of small stockyards and thought they might be holding yards for goats. Increasingly, pastoralists in these parts are seeing goats – both feral and farmed – as an extra source of income. Saw some black faced sheep grazing near the road. A ewe was feeding twin lambs – one on either side of her, with their little tails waggling furiously.

Goats beside the road

Saw signs directing off to a gold exploration operation. I did not know that there was gold in the area to the south of Broken Hill.

Changed drivers again, as John was tiring. I was supposed to stop just south of Broken Hill, to change back and allow him to drive us through town. However, by then, there was a big truck following me very closely and I didn’t get a chance to pull off the road. I was quite happy driving us through town and out to the caravan park, anyway.

We went, as usual, to the Broken Hill Tourist Park ,arriving about 2.30pm. I had booked our stay here before we left home, asking for en-suite site 9, if it was possible. And that’s where they put us – great! It is a nice big site, with a fence on one side, so is a good area for Couey to be tethered. The park was very busy, as I had expected. Our site cost $42.50 a night, after discount.

After set up, John phoned his daughter. He was surprised to find she had finished work early and spent the afternoon at home. He thought this was because of our arrival and felt guilty for not making more of an effort to arrive earlier. Much apologizing. Next day, she let slip that it was because she had not been feeling well!

We had been looking forward all day to buying fish and chips for tea and maybe sharing same with daughter. But she told John she was on a diet and no longer eating take away foods. Hmmm….

Drove to her place, with Couey in the back of Terios. Upon arrival we were greeted with a statement that we couldn’t have the dog in the house or yard because it would upset her cats. She had given away the dog she had last time we were here, in 2013. So Couey spent a few hours in the car, apart from when I went out and took her for a walk around a couple of blocks. The blocks in that part of Broken Hill are huge and we walked a long way.

When we got back to the car, parked in the driveway, I was about to put Couey back in the car, when one of said cats came thought the side fence. It puffed itself up, hissed really loudly at Couey, and advanced on her. Couey jumped into the car in a big hurry. Who was going to upset who, I wondered?

We were going to return to Bus, buying fish and chips on the way for our tea, but daughter decided she would cook up some pasta. She warmed up a tin of tomatoes to go with it. I think the pasta was rather stale; the parmesan she put out was months past its use-by date. A token gesture, in all. She kept feeling her neck glands, so we left as soon as possible. Arranged she would come to Bus tomorrow, and I would cook steak. It pays to be specific, in advance.

Daughter mentioned several maintenance type things that needed doing round her house and it was arranged that John would go round there tomorrow at 1pm to tackle the work.

We were back at Bus at 7pm, local time. Watched football on TV.

It was a very cold night.


1 Comment

2013 Travels July 3

WEDNESDAY 3 JULY     BROKEN HILL TO COPI HOLLOW     110kms

We got up earlier than usual, to pack up. That went smoothly, and we were out of the park by 9.30am.

Started off driving the two vehicles separately, because John was going to the local caravan repair place to see if they could fix the grey water drainage.

This business had not been open for the last two days (I wonder how the guy with the damaged wheel fared?). Today, they said they couldn’t do anything to help us until next Friday week! John booked a slot for then, in case, but we really did not want to still be hanging around these parts by then.

Fuelled up both vehicles. Diesel was $1.499 cpl.

Went to Home Hardware, where a very helpful young man got John some hose fittings and pipe lengths, suitable for the Bus drainage system, including a very small diameter piece that could be used to poke into hoses to try to unblock same. I bought a small piece of flyscreen mesh, so I could make a basic sink strainer, to try to reduce food particles heading for the grey water tank.

In the hardware shop car park, hitched up Terios to Bus. Great service at that shop – a very big contrast to the caravan place.

Bought a pull apart loaf for lunch, at the Woolworths centre.

At midday we left Broken Hill. It was a pleasant drive SE towards Menindee, through slightly hilly country initially.

We drove straight to the Copi Hollow Caravan Park, which was rather like entering a time warp. It resembled  what I remembered of coastal caravan parks  of about the 1960’s, with streets of old vans with attached solid annexe structures.

Lots of permanent structures at Copi Hollow; amenities block centre right.

But there was also a very nice, grassy, lakefront camping area. with power, if wanted, but only untreated lake water available. Knowing how much farming, cotton growing and hence chemical use occurred further upstream on the Darling, I wouldn’t be using this water supply for anything other than washing dishes.

We found a great spot, railed off on one side, so unlikely to have anyone else park close by. There were only three other rigs, spaced around the water front area. Our powered choice cost $25 per night. It was some distance from the amenities block, but the lakefront position more than made up for that inconvenience.

Prime waterfront camp at Copi Hollow….

There seemed to be few other people occupying the park, which belonged to the Broken Hill Speedboat Club. In summer, I don’t think it would be a great place for the casual tourist, because there would be much boat activity on the lake, but at this time of year it was very quiet.

The lake – Copi Hollow – was quite extensive, and full. Not always the case – in times of drought and with the way the man made water storages are managed, the lakes system can dry up. That would impact heavily on the way the Menindee Lakes are used as a playground for Broken Hill residents.

Some of the Menindee Lakes system. Copi Hollow the small lake, centre left. (Zoom)

After setting up, and a late lunch, we sat for a while enjoying the view across the water and the sound of little waves lapping the banks in front of us. Really serene and peaceful.

Took Couey for a walk along the channel that linked Copi Hollow to the main Menindee Lake. The banks were raised up, levee style, so there was a clear walk route in the scrubby area. Dog could free range and had a great time following all the new scents, though she never ventures very far from us. We walked about 3kms.

Back at camp, I took photos of the dusk and sunset across the lake – absolutely beautiful, and alone worth coming here for.

After our late lunch, tea was tomato soup, bread and cheese rolls, and yoghurt.

John discovered he could only get one channel on the TV, but it was the ABC, so could be worse.

Since there is only lake water available here, we would have to be careful with our water usage from the Bus tank.

I was ready for bed by 8.30pm! My internal time clock certainly changes when we travel. I think it relates to spending much more time in the open air, and in natural light.


Leave a comment

2013 Travels July 2

TUESDAY 2 JULY     BROKEN HILL

As I was having my breakfast outside under the awning, a departing caravan went past, with a horrible noise coming from a wheel. People were yelling at the driver to stop – he must not have realized the screeching racket was coming from his rig. The wheel was very wobbly. A couple of the wheel studs had sheared right off. He said he’d had a tyre repaired, on that wheel, a day or two before he even got to Broken Hill. He said the tyre place had used a rattle gun and must have over-tightened the nuts.

It was quite scary to think that he’d probably been doing a fair speed on the highway, with a wheel like that – because the missing studs were nowhere to be found on the site he’d occupied. He set off again – very slowly – to limp around town to see if he could somehow get it fixed.

We got going about 11am. Drove to daughter’s office and I went in and collected the glasses. I thanked her, politely, refused to engage in any discussion, and left.

I wanted to drive out to The Pinnacles, about 20kms SW of town, to see them closer up. The road was unsealed, but quite good to drive on. The first venture of Terios “off road”.

Closer up, they looked really interesting, so I was looking forward to some walking and exploring there. Then we came to a locked gate with No Entry on, and were passed by a mining type truck that had come through it.

The Pinnacles

I took some photos from a greater distance than I’d hoped, and we turned back.

Different Pinnacle shapes

Subsequent research, which I hadn’t thought to do before hand, indicated that there was mining for silver, lead and zinc at The Pinnacles, for a hundred years, from the 1880’s. It seemed the closed mine was now re-opened.

After that anti-climax, drove back to town, to the Perilya Twin Lakes Park again, to give dog a good walk.

Being a week day, the adjacent Perilya Mine was working and of interest to the male of the establishment. I preferred the park without the background noise and dust.

Mining memorabilia at Perilya Park

With our tourist venture for the day completed, John decided he could fit in a game of bowls, so it was a quick change for him at Bus, and to the bowls club. I kept Terios, in order to do some shopping, then had computer time and walked dog again.

I bought a sink plunger to try to unblock the grey water tank, which had not received any attention since Gol Gol. As a plumber, I was a definite failure. It didn’t occur to me that there was an outlet from the shower, too, into the tank – and it was lower than the sink. The shower base was being used to store things like shoes and dog food. All I gained from the plunger exercise was a big, unpleasant, clean up job of the shower and its contents, after my efforts  caused some of the grey water tank contents to take the line of least resistance.

I collected John from bowls, where he’d had an enjoyable afternoon that took his mind off personal issues. He was less than impressed with my DIY plumbing effort, but did concede there was definitely a problem. I thought we’d established that days ago!

I made tea of ham steaks, pineapple, potato wedges, eggs.

After tea watched an interesting episode of a TV program called Kitchen Cabinet – personal encounters with various politicians on their home turf.


Leave a comment

2013 Travels July 1

MONDAY 1 JULY     BROKEN HILL

First thing, I trotted up to the office to try to book us in for an extra night. Luckily, we were able to have just one more night on the site we occupied. How good was that, in school holiday time, in a very busy park?

I did a load of washing, and walked dog around the park. Daughter appeared about 11.30 and she and her father set out for Menindee, in her car.

Menindee Lake

I went shopping for foodstuffs, leaving Couey in Terios while I did so. Had some computer time in between trips to the washing line, and began to organize the cooking of fried rice for tonight’s tea. Daughter had wanted us to eat at her place again, but John didn’t want to – partly because it would be a late meal, and partly because she had talked of making an eggplant moussaka. Definitely not his sort of food. It would also take the pressure off daughter to rush back to make a meal.

I really enjoyed the calm and leisurely day.

Unfortunately, it was evident when they arrived back, about 5pm, that the day had not been a successful father-daughter bonding exercise! Father was deposited, daughter drove away, with no farewells or see you laters. I guess the dog had a good day out, though.

I presumed, then, that there would just be the two of us for tea.

John was not happy, obviously. A bit later, he couldn’t find the glasses he needs for any close up work – reading, TV, computing. He hoped he hadn’t left them in daughter’s car, He was just about to phone her, when a text came in saying that she had found them and that I – and only I – could collect them from her office tomorrow, after 10am! Efforts to arrange to collect them sooner were not successful.

We passed a pleasant evening playing Yahtzee and Mhing – a card game – about all John could manage with limited vision.

John thought the Menindee area was attractive, so he wanted to go and spend a few days at a place he saw today.

Guess I hadn’t needed to book that extra night, after all……


Leave a comment

2013 Travels June 30

SUNDAY 30 JUNE     BROKEN HILL

Daughter had said that she had to go into the office to do a few end-of-financial year things, in the morning, so we had arranged that she would contact us when finished and we would go do some walking.

At 3pm, after we’d waited, and lunched, decided to do it alone, and drove to the Perilya Twin Lakes Park, where it was pleasing to find they allowed dogs on leash.

The park was lovely and the walk around its perimeter long enough for us to feel exercised.

Perilya Park

The adjacent Perilya lead and silver mine contrasted with the green lushness of the park, which had been established by the mining company.

Part of the Perilya Mine

Drove up to the Line of Lode, as I wanted to take some photos looking over Broken Hill.

We had, on previous visits, explored the cafe and display centre, located up here, and the Miners’ Memorial, in its distinctive rusty building. The huge mining waste “hill” shows the line of where the original ore lode stretched, in the low jagged range that was the “broken hill”. The position on top makes these buildings visible from much of the town.

On the Line of Lode

From the top, one looks out over the main, central part of the town, in one direction, and South Broken Hill in the other. It is very much a physically divided town. As well as the Line of Lode bisecting the town, the east-west railway runs just below the hill line.

Broken Hill central city area, north side of Line of Lode

I was hoping to be able to take a photo that showed the Pinnacles in the distance, having previously bought a Woodroffe painting showing these hills. They were more distant than I realized.

The railway from Line of Lode. Pinnacles just visible in distance

At the adjacent visitor centre, I collected some tourist material. Looked for polo shirts, but could not find any that tempted purchase.

On the way to the Line of Lode, John had “discovered” where the Bowls Club was located.

To Woolworths to shop for food, but with no idea whether I was catering for two or three, tonight, then back to Bus.

Daughter eventually appeared. She hadn’t gotten up till 3pm! She stayed to tea, of fettucine with a tomato sauce (no meat!), followed by strawberries with yoghurt and cream.

After some discussion about possible arrangements for tomorrow, it was decided that daughter should take John out to Menindee, for a look around out there, and take her dog out for the treat of a day out for it. I said I wanted to stay at camp with our dog, and do our washing. I quite looked forward to just dog and me, for the day!

We planned that, on Tuesday, John would spend the day doing handyman work around daughter’s house and garden. There were quite a few things she wanted done, and found it hard to find tradesmen she trusted – or the money to pay for same. She had arranged to be off work on Tuesday, so tomorrow I would see if I could book us an extra day here.

My wrist seemed almost better, in terms of pain. Just the occasional twinge if pressure was put on it at certain angles. But the bruised area still looked bad – pretty sure I had somehow broken a blood vessel in there.


2 Comments

2013 Travels June 28

FRIDAY 28 JUNE     GOL GOL TO BROKEN HILL     323kms

We seemed to be settling into a sleep till 8.30 routine! I remained surprised that Couey was so good and didn’t stir from her seat nest until I was up and dressed.

After breakfast, John took out the stopcock part and drove off to get a new one. It seemed he had, tacitly, agreed that there was a problem, after all!

I packed up as much as I could and took Couey for a couple of short walks around the grounds, while we waited……and waited…..

It was nearly midday when John got back. The park manager had stopped by to see if we were leaving. I offered to pay for an extra day because we were still here, but he said no to that.

John fitted the new part, but still nothing drained out of the tank. So I then wondered if the outlet was blocked by grease or the like? Would just have to worry about it later. It was high time we got going.

Refuelled just up the road at Buronga. $1.509 cpl. This time my calculation had us achieving 5.8kms per litre. Better fuel economy on flatter ground, than going over the Dividing Range.

Stopped at Orange World, a citrus farm sales outlet on the road to Wentworth. Bought oranges and mandarins. As had become normal, to get out to buy the fruit, I had to deal with dog jumping at me and the door, frantic to get out too. It was so weird, how desperate she was to get out then, but once we were camped up, was happy to wander in and out with no drama.

There were fairly frequent “comfort” stops for John.

Stopped beside the Silver City Highway

The skies ahead of us were vast and quite dramatic, with big cloud banks. I wasn’t sure whether rain was forecast, or not. Somehow, the large windscreen area of Bus accentuated the sense of space outside. Perhaps the small Defender windscreen had limited our outlook more than we realized at the time.

I experimented with taking photos from the moving Bus. Stopping to take photos was not going to happen, with dog prone to making such a fuss. John had never been encouraging of photo stops for me, anyway. I was fairly pleased with my photo results through the large front window.

Through the Bus window…..

We had a proper stop at Popiltah Lake, for a late lunch, and to give dog a ball chasing session.

Rest area at Lake Popiltah
Lake Popiltah

Reached the Broken Hill Tourist Park just after 4pm. local (S.A.) time. So 4.30 to us. Again, I’d phoned yesterday to make a booking.

I was so pleased with the en-suite site we’d been allocated. It was huge. There was a wood chip base – acceptable in this arid region. We were on the end of a row, against a fence, so the site was quiet and private, and the bathroom roomy and clean. The dog had plenty of roaming room on a long rope.

Broken Hill site

Putting the awning up was easier, but I thought we were still not doing things in the right sequence.

The site cost $41.40 a night, after discount.

After we were set up, texted John’s daughter to say we had arrived and invited her to come share a fish and chip dinner with us. After a while, she phoned – just as John was about to set off to buy our tea. That was lucky!

Having visitors in Bus was so much easier than in the van, because the beds could be used as lounge seating, even though the dinette table only works for two.

The fish and chips , that John went out and bought, were not great. It was a long way from the sea!

Daughter didn’t stay long, but said she had arranged to take some days off from work while we were in town. That was positive, if easy, as she was now running her own business.

My arm  was not as sore today, but looked really dire – black to the elbow and bruise streak 4-5cms wide.


1 Comment

2007 Travels May 2

WEDNESDAY 2 MAY   MILDURA TO BROKEN HILL   300kms   

We had been able to remain hitched up last night – big tick to the caravan park – so there was not much to do to get on the road again.

But before we left, once it was past 8am, John consulted the local phone book and started phoning refrigeration places, to find one that could deal with our kind of fridge. Past experience suggested that it was either gas or thermostat. After some initial phone calls, we were able to drive straight to a place that would check it all out, parking in the laneway at the back of the business. The unit was found to need re-gassing, which was efficiently done. It did not take long – all remarkably hassle free. Maybe things were going our way now?

I wondered if all the extreme heat that the van had been in, last year, had caused a loss of refrigerant, somehow?

Crossed the mighty Murray, into NSW. Refuelled at Buronga – still $1.30cpl.

The very good Silver City Highway carried us north, with no dramas. Once away from the influence of the Darling River and the availability of irrigation water, the country quickly became flat, dry grasslands, with  patches of red sandy soil showing through. There were enough patches of scrub and stunted trees to keep it vaguely interesting.

We stopped at the rest area at Lake Popiltah, about the half way mark, to eat the sandwiches I’d made this morning. M usually only had a piece of fruit for lunch – she believes in simplified travel!

Lake Popiltah was dry, and from the look of the grass growing in its base, had been that way for some time. It is one of a series of shallow depressions, sometimes filled from high water in an anabranch of the Darling River, to the east. Since the flow of the Darling was heavily controlled by irrigation schemes and diversions, even in good years, the lake was more often dry than not.

The dry bed of Lake Popiltah

The large rest area would probably be fine for an overnight camp, with plentiful shade trees, including some of the cypress pines that I love, and a view out over the dry lake area. There was plenty of room to spread out. There were long drop toilets – rather “on the nose”. The rest stop was close to the road, though, and traffic noise might be obvious at night. However, it was great for a lunch break.

Lunch stop Lake Popiltah Rest Area

I can’t say that the southern approach to Broken Hill is all that attractive, skirting as it does the first of the large mining operations. I navigated us through to the Broken Hill City Caravan park, on the Adelaide road.

After discount, our site cost $22.50 a night. The sites were fairly small, the surface was wood chips – a good idea in this arid environment, where grass is not feasible. Wood chips do not get tracked into the van like small gravel does. Gets my tick of approval.

Since it was only mid  afternoon by the time we had set up, (Broken Hill operates on SA time, so we’d gained time) we decided to check out some galleries. Drove to the Boris Hlavica photography gallery where I had, on our last visit, bought a superb photo of Lake Eyre at dusk. I wanted to see what might be new there, and show the works to M. Although she had been through Broken Hill before, she had not been here. I managed to be quite disciplined, and bought only a card to send off for step daughter’s birthday.

We then tried to find a couple of advertised galleries that sold aboriginal art works. One was closed, and the other had moved. By this time, we couldn’t be bothered trying to track it down, so went back to camp, for the usual leisurely end to the day.


Leave a comment

2005 Travels September 29

THURSDAY 29 SEPTEMBER     BROKEN HILL

Last night I was browsing a booklet obtained from the Information Centre. Saw an ad for a landscape photographer, so today it was off to the gallery of Boris Hlavica. His photos were wonderful. I could really have spent up big but confined self to buying a photo of Lake Eyre at dusk. The focus was on detail of the salt surface, but the moon was rising in the distance. He told us that he didn’t even see that until after it was developed! In conversation, discovered that he used to live nearby us, at Mt Evelyn.

Resize of IMGP1488

Driving around the town, came across a small gallery tucked away on a corner in an old part of town. It was something a bit different – an artist called Wendy Martin. We browsed. I bought a painting of a bush scene done on a chunk of Broken Hill quartz type rock. Kitch, but attractive.

John decided he wanted to get Truck serviced – it was due soon – by W the mechanic who worked at Pungalina, who lived at Birchip in Victoria. He had been so impressed by what he saw of W’s work, and we had been so unimpressed, of recent time, with the work of the official service centres in Melbourne. So he phoned W and arranged for this to happen on Monday. We would stay a night or two at the caravan park there.