Country Hospitality

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 17:59
ThreadID: 69782 Views:2524 Replies:2 FollowUps:2
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Four of our very good friends (two couples) and ourselves have just experienced a great “Plan C” camping holiday over an “extended” June long weekend.

Our “Plan A” was a six day camping trip to Mungo National Park in NSW south west region, from Thursday to the following Tuesday.
The day before we left, we received feedback from the local rangers that rain was forecast for the Mungo area and we decided to implement some alternative strategy, as the road in and the Park itself may be closed at any time if rain occurred in the area.

Our plan was to drive from Adelaide to Renmark the first day and had booked a three bedroom cabin at a Caravan Park on the banks of the Murray, due to our latish departure.
The cabin facilities were superb and after “settling in” with a bottle of our favorite bottle or two of champagne and beers for the boys, we took a 15 minute stroll to the local Pub for a convivial meal, just to “set the scene” you understand.
All of this was to ensure a hassle free early morning departure for our ultimate destination.

Due to the forecast inclement weather, we rang the local rangers for a possible “Plan B” destination to the Murray River National Park (Katarapko) about 20 minutes drive back towards Adelaide as an alternative, but the advice we got was that rain was also forecast for the Friday and Saturday in that area as well.
We decided to push on to our original destination but travel on to Pooncarie, about 33 kilometers further up the bitumen, than the Top Hut Road turnoff to Mungo National Park.
On reaching the turnoff a sign stated that all roads were currently open but we decided to continue on to Pooncarie (end of bitumen) and reassess our options.

We arrived at Pooncarie (population about 60) and called in to the local Pub for a “revival” drink to our parched throats.
While consuming my first beer, I made a call to the Mungo Rangers Headquarters for an update and was given an honest assessment that while the Top Hut Road was currently open, if rain occurred as forecast, the local roads would be closed and not only could we not traverse around the National park area, but in fact may be “resident” for a few days extra.

While deciding whether we would “risk” the drive further north to the Menindee Lakes area, we struck up a conversation with an amiable local who was a Sheep Shearer during season and an “odd job” man at other times. He gave us some local advice that was to set the scene for an enjoyable stay in the area.

We had two options available to us if we chose to camp in the area.
The first was the “common” just up from the pub and which had basic amenities.
The second option was an area a few clicks out of town, just short of the bridge over the Darling on the alternate route to Broken Hill, some three hundred and something clicks further on. This area did not have resident amenities but we had brought our own "comfort stations" with us.

We decided on the area just short of the bridge and thanking our local “expert” proceeded to our camping area.
We set up camp on the banks of the Darling River which actually had water in it and over the next four and a bit days, had the whole area to ourselves, except for a “bunch” of wild goats who kept their distance and a brief interlude of a couple of trail bikers who soon decided on greener pastures elsewhere.
We had a reasonable quantity of firewood we brought in, plus a fair hoard of local “tree droppings” that were scattered throughout the camping area which provided more than enough for a continuous camp fire to sit around, cook on, and um’ look at.

Where am I going with this?

If it wasn’t for a local we encountered in a little old Country Pub, we would not have discovered the perfect camping spot for our stay in the area.
We never asked his name and never got to buy him a beer, but his local knowledge set the scene for a most enjoyable “Plan C” camping holiday and one which all of us will remember with fond memories, despite the occasional rain shower which did not dilute our decision to camp there rather than risk further “unknown” circumstances.

Oh, I love our Country and the folk in it.

Just a little bit of “trivia” we obtained from the barmaid during a second visit to the bar. (just to be amiable you understand)
Pooncarie is a small town at the end of the bitumen road towards Menindie Lakes.
Just outside of town is a Mining operation that provides ongoing “existence” for Pooncarie’s population. The mining operation extracts certain (coloured) minerals that end up as some of the various colour coating in your packet of Smarties or M&M’s.

Education as well:-)

Bill.
Bill


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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 19:35

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 19:35
When travelling we frequently stop at country pubs, the smaller the town the better the pub. The local characters are entertaining in their own right and a great source of information.

We had a guy at Tilpa a few years ago arrange for us to stay on a property, not his. It was one of the best campsites I have ever enjoyed. A little flat area about 5m below the surrounding countryside and about 10m above the river level. Plenty of firewood, shelter from the wind and a fantastic swing out over the river.

On the same trip a mechanical problem out the front of another little town pub ended in a boat ride down the river with a local to check on his yabbie pots, he even supplied the beer.

Those country folk are just way to friendly, Love it

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 20:52

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 20:52
There was some good humour in the bar too.

They had a boar's head mounted on the wall above the bar.
a prominent fixture over the Pig's nose and mouth was a dazzling white face mask with a caption underneath:-

"No Swine Flu Here"
Bill


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Follow Up By: tim_c - Monday, Jun 15, 2009 at 12:08

Monday, Jun 15, 2009 at 12:08
Oh, you should have got a photo of it!
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Reply By: Toadkeeper Jo aka Qlder Jo - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 21:37

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 21:37
Ya gotta love it hey Bill!
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