darling river trip

Submitted: Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 20:27
ThreadID: 31221 Views:2391 Replies:7 FollowUps:3
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I am gathering my thoughts on the trip down the Darling but have heard that there are a few things to watchout for;

We are towing a camper trailer and will mix it between the trailer and the occasion overnight accomodation.
The trip as I have planned for so far includes - Bourke - Tilpa - Menidee - Broken Hill - pooncarie - Mungo NP and then follow the lachlan bach to Forbes and the sydney in JULY.
I am starting the trip at BOURKE so i would be interested to know from those have been through bourke on a places to stay or not .
and some places to visit - or not
suggestions to include - possible campsites on the river or caravan parks in the town

If you have suggestion on the properties to stay at or camp sites along the river that you would recommend - I realise that other then the camping at the stations these may be access road to the river , but those sorts of access routes are usually the best.

I would also appreciate any commenst about things/ locations to avoid - ie security in the towns
thanks from the" Griswalds hit the bush"
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Reply By: maroni - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 20:53

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 20:53
stay at the caravan park north of bourke "kidman camp" nicest park i have ever stayed in, esp when you think you are at the back of bourke!! tilpa ia only pub great place...can't help with the rest sorry..maybe someone else can help there..
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Reply By: Warrie - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 20:55

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 20:55
Last August attempted to drive in a 4WD towing a 1t van from Wilcannia to Menindee along the road on the W side of the river. It rained ,turning the top inch of the road into grease and it became a skating rink. Two 4WD's on full left lock towing the van could not get up the road camber. It took 3hours to get 20km back to Wilcannia where we had a quiet pleasant night in the caravan park.

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Follow Up By: spinningwheels-pj - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 21:08

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 21:08
Thanks for the first hand advice - mud skating - well that would be fun - I read from this "stay off the road in the wet".

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Reply By: RustyHelen - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 21:54

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 21:54
We did it a few years ago both pulling off road campers. No issues. Plenty of spots to camp. Agree with Kidman camp-- when we were there they let us go down and camp by the river, no power but that is not an issue, and more than compensated for by the ability to have a fire.
We were hugely disappointed. One of those "dreams" we have-- do the down the Darling run--- Which was fine except little to no water below the irrigation at Bourke, and I believe it is worse now.
Did the cotton mill tour and very informative.
Towns there were safe as far as we could see. A bit further east and north of Bourke was a different story.
Mungo fantastic and wil be back there sometime.
As mentioned above, if it rains be prepared to sit it out. Mungo can be tricky if wet apparently.
Have a goodun.
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Follow Up By: spinningwheels-pj - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:18

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:18
The thought of the darling being a series of ponds or even a small stream would be disappointing.We will have to see - hoping the late summer Rains in QLD get past the irrigators up stream - so the darling has some life in it by that time.

Yep we are looking foward to Mungo and B/hill - may stay a day or two there as there is heaps to see as- a side trip along the way.

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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:03

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:03

This is my second attempt so if you get this twice I'm sorry.

This is a great trip and there is heaps to see, far too much to list here. I recommend you contact the Visitor Info centres in Bourke, sorry don't have the number, and Broken Hill 1800 630 008. They should be able to give you the track notes for the "Darling River Run" which includes info on places to camp with contact details for the stations and river access.

In Bourke, Kidman Camp is the place to stay, while there ask about taking a look at the Jandra and the Bus tour around town. It includes a visit to Back O Bourke Fruits and a Cotton Farm what they teach you about irrigation practices will open your eyes. Also Gundabook and Mt Oxley are very iteresting. The view from Mt Oxley is simply breath-taking.

You should plan to be in Louth for susnset and if you ask at Shindy's Inn they will tell you where to go to see the reflection off a grave stone that is also amazing. If yo are real lucky Wally form next door will take you and show you the spot and tell you the story. If you say to him say Hi for me. I fixed my brakes in his back yard, Easter 2000.

Just upstream of Tilpa is Killara Station where they have very nice farmstay accomodation or camping if you like. If you ask at the pub they may alos be able to put you in touch with a station that will allow you to camp by the river. There are also a couple of National Parks Camp Sites in that area.

Wilcannia is worth a drive around but keep your eyes open for restless locals. Also there is a fruit fly exclusion zone which you enter between Wilcannia and Menindee so be careful of carrying fruit on that leg. If you plan to restock in Menindee you should be Ok.

Camping at Menindee there are heaps of options but the simplest and one of the best is at the Bourke and Wills Camp near "Block Dam" or along the river down stream of there.

Lastly and most importantly take your time. There is heaps to see and the distances, once you reach Bourke, are not great. You can go Sydney to Bourke in a day if you set off early and it is worth the effort if you can. Gives you more time on the river.

Happy travels
AnswerID: 157392

Follow Up By: spinningwheels-pj - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:12

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:12
Hi Duncs

thanks heaps for the info - We like sound of the tour - cotton and irrigation - would be good to see as the rug rats have school project on outback life etc - so a chapter on burke and surrounds would be great .

One thing on my plan is a side trip Broken Hill - basing ourselves at mendindee as the hill has a lot to see - your suggetion on taking it slowly - well heeded .

PJ - DiD
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Reply By: Michael O'Reilly - Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:36

Monday, Feb 27, 2006 at 22:36
A detour to Gundabooka NP is worth it. Good camping at Dry Tank or you can stay in the shearers quarters. Aboriginal art site plus old shearing sheds make for interesting place to visit. Hard but rearding climb up Mt Gunderbooka.

National Parks now own Yanda and Redbank, two properties on the River. Perhaps contact the Parks Office in Cobar or Bouke to see if you can stay at either of them.

Trilby Station downstream of Louth comes highly recommended.

Ditto for Kidman's Camp. Spotless and dust-free! Have done the Jandra paddle boat trip at Bourke. Kids loved it.

AnswerID: 157402

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 13:06

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 13:06

I don't recommend trying to see Broken Hill while based at Menindee. It is 110km and as you say there is a lot to see. Again, far more than you can put into a couple of day trips from Menindee.

We (work) have people come to Broken Hill for a month at a time relieving while locals are on hols. The shift roster is great and allows plenty of time for site seeing. Typically in that month relieving staff would have 12 full days off duty, no one has yet complained of being bored.

I would recommend a second trip to visit the Hill. There are plenty of things to see in town and lots more in the general area, Tibbobura, Milparinka, White Cliffs, Mootawingee (spelling?? changes regularly) the list goes on. I reckon you are better off to concentrate on the area close to the river this time. If you do come to the Hill this time I highly recommend "Whites Mineral Art Museum". It is run by Bushy White an ex miner who has a great passion for the history of mining and uses models to explain very clearly the different mining systems that have been used in Broken Hill over the past 100 years or so.

AnswerID: 157515

Reply By: Member - Peter (1) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 19:21

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 19:21
Did the trip Oct./Nov. last year, from Bourke to the Murray and then followed the Murray to the ocean. First, note of caution: DON'T TRAVEL ON WET ROADS. As previously mentioned, they become skating rinks, had to wait extra day in Bourke for road to be opened. I was travelling in Rodeo 4x4 diesel towing 16ft off-road caravan.
Now for the highlights:- Stay overnight at Louth, there is free camping across river from Shinty's Inn. I recommend this so you can see the "Burning Cross" of Louth at sunset, check at Inn or Tourist Info. at Bourke. Next stop was Trilby Station 50ks south, take road west of river. Nice quiet station stay where you have choice of sites near shearer's quarters or sites along river. Also recommend Idelia Station about a further 50ks south, nice lawned sites with clean toilets and laundry. Only stopped for a beer at Tilpa Pub before travelling on via Wilcannia to Menindee. Before reaching town turn left to follow road all the way to free camping spot near Main Weir. As mentioned previously, be prepared to lose all fruit and veg. at Quarantine point. After a couple of nights there moved on to Pooncarrie for a couple of nights and then on to Wentworth and the mighty Murray. Unfortunately the Darling was right down and only a trickle in some places, but it was still a great trip.
I didn't go to Mungo as was running short of time to be back in Perth by Xmas, but there are many turn offs to various parks and other station stay places. Take your time to visit and explore as many places as you can as it's a big big country, I also recommend that perhaps you make Broken Hill and surrounding areas a seperate trip.
Have a safe and happy trip,
It doesn't get any better than this!!!
Peter (1)

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