This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels July 15

MONDAY 15 JULY     BOURKE TO CUNNAMULLA     272kms

I hurt my arm this morning. Was letting Couey outside, on her lead. John was out there and dog was so anxious to get out of Bus, to join him, that she exited in a great rush and dragged my arm against the door frame. The arm was grazed and bruised and there was a chunk missing out of a finger – not sure what bit did that. Guess I am learning when to take extra care, brace myself and so on.

Again, dog was not a willing traveller. After we packed up, she was tempted inside by peanut butter on a treat, then snapped at me as I got in.

Dog-related dramas aside, we were away in good time.

Must admit that I looked wistfully at Kidmans Camp as we passed by. Had always enjoyed staying there, and often managed to get some great sunset photos from the camp area.

Just like the other day, we needed to make five stops along the way, for John. We were noticing that after about two hours, the need to stop regularly seemed to ease off. But, obviously, this is yet something else medical related that will have to be checked when we are home again.

A quick stop under threatening skies

At one of the stops we took dog out for a walk on the lead. This time, she got back in Bus quite willingly. I daren’t hope that we are making progress….

The road was a bit “bouncy”, especially in the NSW part. All that increased truck traffic had not done the road any favours.

Rain had been forecast and this showed as increasing banks of black clouds to the west, as we drove. Eventually, there was some rain, but we seemed to drive out of that rain band.

Definitely rain…..

So – we made it to Qld, after three weeks on the road. Guess we didn’t exactly hurry. There had been some past trips, when we were coming north to work, when we had reached this far with only two or three overnight stops. But, with Bus, it seems more appropriate to travel in a more leisurely style than we once did. Maybe getting older also has something to do with it?

Previously, we would go from Bourke to Charleville in a day, but not this time. Cunnamulla was another place we’d only ever passed through. This time, it warranted a stay.

Refuelled at the big servo at the highway junction. $1.639cpl. The Qld government subsidized diesel but you wouldn’t know it from these prices.

From the servo, headed on into town and then out the Weir Road for about 3kms, to the Warrego Riverside Tourist Park.

This place was only opened last year and we found it very pleasant indeed. The sites were drive through ones. We got the last powered site available, right on the end of the row. It was not the best site, but that served us right for not booking ahead. It cost $32.

The last powered site…..

The amenities building featured a central hallway, or breezeway, that was both laundry and camp kitchen, with the bathrooms off each side.

This park was genuinely dog friendly – the owner’s late husband had been a vet. She told us places where we could walk dog, and where she could run off lead. The emphasis was on the can-do, rather than the can’t-do, as in Bourke.

There was a nice grassy area along the river bank, and a campfire pit.

The Warrego River itself was starkly scenic.

Warrego River

The owner had told us our site was one of the shorter ones, and she doubted we’d be able to leave the car on the back. We unhitched it and the man on the next site, with a Winnebago, very kindly said we could park Terios on the front of his site and he would be able to back out in the morning. He had to leave very early to go into Cunnamulla. He had stripped a tyre on the way here and then been told that, at best, he’d need at least a couple of new ones. He’d bought the used motorhome in 2006 and hadn’t replaced any of the tyres that were on it. He didn’t know about age related tyre deterioration, though he was finding out the hard way. I tried to explain as best I could and advised him to get the tyre dealer to show him how to read tyre ages.

Sharing site with obliging neighbour

Took Couey across to the river bank area for a walk, and I took some photos.

John then took her out on one of the designated tracks where they could play ball fetch. Dog was suitably tired then, for the rest of the day.

At 5pm, took our chairs and the dog across to the camp fire area, for happy hour. We’d not long settled there, when rain began, so the gathering was abandoned.

I cooked pasta with tuna, capers and olives, for tea.

The rain became steady all through the night. Before that, we’d almost decided to stay another night here – it was our sort of place, but reserved the decision once the rain set in.


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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.


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2001 Travels September 22

SATURDAY 22 SEPTEMBER   HAY TO BOURKE   590kms

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


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2000 Travels April 28

FRIDAY 28 APRIL   HAY TO BOURKE   622kms

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