This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1 Comment

2009 Travels April 27

MONDAY 27 APRIL     ECHUCA TO HAY     200kms

Due to the rain we had not done any preliminary packing up, so it was well gone 10am before we pulled out of the caravan park.

A little hiccup had occurred when we couldn’t find the locking pin for the Treg bolt. It must have been loose in the van boot somewhere. This was pretty full of “stuff”, so we eventually used the spare I kept in the cutlery drawer. Must remember to replace that.

In the continuing rain, we drove north into NSW and on to Deniliquin. The road roughly paralleled the Murray River or tributaries, with swampy sections or billabongs coming close in a couple of places. But overall it was not particularly interesting – mostly broad grazing country. Tree lines marked creeks or rivers and the occasional homestead complex provided something different to look at, as did the small town of Mathoura, about half way.

In Deniliquin, we pulled into the van parking area so thoughtfully provided, and walked to the nearby shops to buy papers. John wanted the football post mortems from the weekend.

Whilst walking, saw a big flock of silvereyes in some bushes.

We stopped to look at a community art work project – featuring utes (utility vehicle) as objects of art. I took a photo of the very first one of these that had been completed – a mosaic covered ute. “Deni” had attempted to tackle the difficult task that faces such rural towns these days, of finding some unique niche that would attract visitors. Their quite successful solution had been to run an annual ute muster – a kind of festival and get-together for ute enthusiasts from all over the country. The art project was a spin off from that, I guessed.

Mosaic covered ute at the home of the Denni Ute Muster

We headed north again, out onto the Hay Plains. Flat, featureless, unattractive, especially in the continuing rain. According to some sources, the Hay Plains are the flattest part of Australia. Not only were they flat, but barren too.

After some time of the monotony of the plains, a single, tall dead tree came into view, with a big eagle’s nest in its few branches. It was so stark and somehow symptomatic in its deadness, that we simultaneously said “photo”.

The Black Swamp

The bitumen part of the road here was a bit narrow, so John pulled off onto the gravel verge – and down we sank! I couldn’t believe it.

Truck’s driver side wheels were about 1cm off the bitumen, the van wheel on that side was still on it. But we couldn’t drive out of it – trying only made the van start to move sideways, sliding down the roadside slope, threatening to pull Truck down backwards with it.  It didn’t take much imagination to envisage the van slid right down, at right angles to truck….

The most innocuous looking problems can be the worst….

I went and took photos of the tree that was the cause of all this, while John pondered options. We had never before been bogged with the van on. As with previous times we had bogged Truck, there was never an accessible tree or pole within cooee to attach the winch to. There must be some sort of rule of stuck vehicles – like, never where convenient or easy.

While we were trying to come up with some solution, a 4WD came along. This was not a very frequently trafficked road, either. We waved him down. He turned around – very cautiously – and came back to us.

We used our snatch strap and he pulled us forward and thus out – carefully, but easily.

We were very relieved. It just seemed so ridiculous, given all the hairy places we had taken the van, to be bogged on the verge of a made highway!

Later, we found out that this section of the plains is called the Black Swamp. That explained why I felt the ground was spongy underfoot, when I walked up a little track to take my photos. I also found out later, that the Black Swamp was supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a dead drover, who appeared as a horseman riding – but without a head! Given the nature of the country here, it was believable! Not somewhere I would want to do an overnight camp, for sure.

We drove on to Hay – carefully and uneventfully. Decided to stay the night here. It was still raining, and we’d had enough adventures for one day!

Went into the Hay Plains Caravan Park, for $21.60, after discount. We were able to stay hitched up, which was a bonus.

Did get a bit damp, doing the minimal set up, and felt the need for some exercise, so – despite the rain – walked to the shops. This took us across the bridge over the Murrumbidgee River – like the Murray had been, very low.

At the Visitor Information Centre, I collected some propaganda, otherwise called tourist information. There was a featured display of local postcards, prominent amongst them one of THAT tree! It kind of added insult to injury. I bought one to send to grandson; thought I could spin a pretty good story on it, for him.

We found a hardware store and bought a new coupling pin, to be the spare in the cutlery drawer.

The forecast was for very cold nights in inland NSW, this coming week. Not sure this trip is getting any better……

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

2006 Travels April 4


We did not leave Swan Hill until after some tasks had been completed.

Resize of 04-03-2006 Murray River view downstream

Murray River at Swan Hill

I visited a jeweller to get my watch going again. But the verdict was that there was something other than just the battery wrong with it. I had little choice but to buy a new one, as I really had to have a watch to function properly at Adels. So I bought a stainless steel one, quite nice, for $200. Had the band from my old one fitted to the new one, as it was a style I preferred.

We also bought a case for the video camera – more compact than the one we had been using.

John posted off the fleece jackets, bought in Halls Gap,  to Brussels.

We drove to Hay via Tooleybuc and Balranald, to stay on the better faster roads, even though it was not the most direct route.

Topped up the fuel at Balranald, at 222kms done. $1.37cpl.

There were a few spots of rain at one stage in the afternoon, confirming that summer had really gone.

Booked into the Hay Plains Caravan Park. $18 after discount.

We set out to go for a walk, but did not go very far because I had a really sore heel, ankle back. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with it; there had not been any incident or accident to account for it. All I could think of was that it was an aftermath from all the standing at the Games work.

Resize of 04-04-2006 Murrumbidgee at Hay

Murrumbidgee River at Hay

To add to the accumulating woes on this trip, after tea, John pulled out a filling when using dental floss. It would need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Resize of 04-04-2006 to h

Leave a comment

2001 Travels September 21


We completed the packing of Truck through the morning, and left home before midday.

09-21-2001 presume im going too.jpg

I presume that I am coming too?

I’d arranged for a neighbour to come in and feed the cats, and replenish the litter trays. The cats live inside most of the time, and it wouldn’t hurt them to be confined to quarters for the duration. One of them acted like he knew we were going off and leaving them – again – and he followed us closely all morning.

We travelled the McIvor Highway to Heathcote and then on to Echuca.

Ate our packed lunch as we went.

We had fine weather for the day, and it warmed up as we got further north.

From Echuca, struck north, through Deniliquin to Hay, which was the night’s destination. We did not stop in any of the towns to sightsee. The aim of the first two days was simply to get to the first place we planned to spend time at.

We spent the night in a cabin at the Hay Plains Caravan Park.

Tea was fish and chips – John went out again in Truck and bought these.

It was so good to be on the move again, albeit for a short time.

09-21-2001 to hay

Leave a comment

2000 Travels April 27


We managed an efficient pack up and departure.

It was a pleasant day for driving.

We travelled via Yarra Glen, Yea, Seymour, Tatura, Echuca, to Hay. In accordance with our general concept of leaving the exploration of parts closer to home until later years, the aim for the next few days was to get a reasonable distance northwards.

Truck was still blowing fuses! We stopped at an auto electrician in a little hamlet near Tatura. They were able to work on it immediately. John was impressed with their work, as he watched. It only took about an hour and cost us $29, with new globes too. The problem had been a rubbed wire shorting something. Pity Landrover missed that.

We took in some interestingly varied country today. From the forested ranges between Yarra Glen and Yea, through the dairying and crop country of the Goulburn Valley, to the extremely flat and somewhat boring areas north of Echuca.

We had a few stops to make coffee and to have our packed lunch.

Reached Hay late in the afternoon, feeling that was quite enough for one day.

At the Hay Plains Holiday Park, we were able to stay hitched up – for $13.50 for the night.

As dusk approached, we went for a walk across the Murrumbidgee River and around the town. That was enjoyable for an hour or so.

Tea was cold meats and a coleslaw that I’d made yesterday – it was alright to carry that through today’s quarantine areas.

John suddenly realized that, yesterday. he’d left some tools outside the unit, after doing the work in there, so he phoned K and left a message to retrieve same.

It was so good to be on the move again!

04-27-2000 to hay