MONDAY JULY 20 BROKEN HILL TO WILCANNIA 215kms
Left the park about 10.20.
Went to the Plaza shops (yet again) where there was plenty of room for our rig in a far section of the car parks. Got John’s scripts filled, and a new battery for his blood sugar monitor.
Fuelled up at the Woolworths servo there – not really well set up for anything longer than a car, but we managed. $1.377cpl.
It was 11.40 when we left Broken Hill. A degree of directional confusion ensued – not sure whether that was due to us or GPS, but we ended up unnecessarily going right down the main street and through the busier centre of town.
Duty done – now the holiday can begin!
We soon started seeing lots of emus, and goats, along the road sides.
Noted that when (if) we are next in Broken Hill, we must do a day drive out along the Wilcannia road. There were some photogenic looking old buildings, eroded stream gullies, and country that would be interesting to wander about in with a camera. All only a few kms from town.
Blue sky and sunshine today. It was quite warm travelling with the sun coming in on me through the Bus window – nice.
Some low hills began to appear in a line coming up from the south – like a dune line – beginning to be visible about 50kms from Broken Hill. I think it was the Scropes Range. It ran parallel with the road for some way, then segued into the Spring Hills, which were very photogenic, with rocky outcrops and sparse, arid lands scrub. Out here, hills are a novelty.
We stopped at the Spring Hills Rest Area – quite a pleasant one with toilets, a kid’s playground, a shelter area, and some trees.
Scropes Range Rest Area
A young man driving a standard car pulled in just after us: he was driving from Perth to Byron Bay for a music festival…wow!
Well set up rest area
There was a big dry creek gully next to the rest area, with big culverts under the highway – an indication of what can happen when it rains in these parts.
We kept going through more hills and with cypress pines appearing. Passed the Dolo Hills Rest Area, which had great views over the flat plains to the east, which we then drove down onto. Dolo Creek was several metres wide, but shallow, with a bed of red sand.
Down onto the flat country
The GPS suddenly decided we should turn left – onto an unpaved station driveway. No idea why, but we didn’t do it. The gadget seemed to have these sudden brain fades. Nothing like this to make us start looking around frantically, wondering what she knows that we don’t.
Saw a huge feral cat crossing the road in front of us.
Drove straight through Wilcannia, which did not look any better kept than last time we were here.
Arrived at Warrawong on Darling at 2.15pm. The lady who greeted us was definitely not a backpacker. She was very pleasant and efficient and told us that she and her husband had been here for nine months as managers. But they only returned this morning from a week away, during which time the Sydney based owner of the place had arranged for a couple of backpackers to look after the place. So I was right! I gathered that their efforts had been less than satisfactory in tasks like cleaning! The grey nomads work ethic is better, just about every time…
The powered site cost us $37.50 a night, cash only – unusual these days. We were able to choose our own site, as only about four of the row along the bank were occupied. We chose Site 5, liking it both for its outlook and because there was only unpowered space on one side – which was not occupied during the time we were there.
Clear space between us and camp kitchen
There were changes from when we were here two years ago – as one would expect in a newly developing place. The area back from the “waterfront” sites was now grassed and well set up as powered sites, some quite close to the amenities. There was now a row of accommodation rooms, with a wide veranda across the front, and a big gas BBQ provided for every two units. They cost $120 a night.
We set up, then took Couey for a run down along the billabong track.
The billabong at Warrawong on Darling
There were now some well defined tracks to bush camp areas on the banks of the Darling – very nice.
Ancient river red gum in the bush camping area
There were some sections on the black soils of the tracks where vehicles had really churned up deep holes.
Bush camps by the Darling River
Couey had a wonderful time going in and out of the billabong after thrown sticks. Finally, a romp in water! Her attitude towards going into the water had completely swung around since last time here. Now, try keeping her out! I think we had created a monster. Now, she smelled like a swamp.
There’s a dog in there…
John had a sleep. I went to happy hour at the fire pit and communal gathering area by the camp kitchen. Saw something I’d not seen before, in all our years of bush wanderings. They had put a steel dropper post in the middle of the fire pit. When building the fire, they drop a hollow log over it. When the fire gets going, the smoke is funnelled up the hollow log and does not bother those sitting around the fire. Brilliant! Someone said it was an old aboriginal method….but they didn’t exactly have steel posts?
Fire pit chimney
It was a very enjoyable happy hour – or two. Most campers came. The managers served up some savouries – cheese, biscuits, sausage sliced.
John eventually appeared. Around 6.30 I left to go cook rice and pork rashers for tea. It was dark by now. Couey had waited patiently, tethered to the front of Bus, while we socialized.
Watched Master Chef again – the TV signal here was fine, as was the internet and mobile.
Another cold night.