Port Augusta, Painted Desert, Dalhousie, Innamincka etc. Aug – Sept 2012

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 16:50

Member - Min (NSW)

Account of Trip – Port Augusta, Painted Desert, Dalhousie, Innamincka etc.
August – September 2012

On this trip we were going to Port Augusta for a conference before heading off into the wild blue yonder, so stayed in motels until leaving PA. We often use motels for the first couple of days on a trip to clear territory we know well. Then the real holiday starts.

As usual I have included dates for each stop for future planning info.

Wed 15 Aug – Narrandera
Left home at 1.30pm after golf and Probus. Had a good run in fine weather. The country was particularly lovely around Gundagai, with the Murrumbidgee flowing strongly. Arrived in Narrandera around 5.00pm and stayed at The Club Motel in Bolton Street opposite the club. Our friends were already there. We had a convivial dinner together across the road and settled down for a reasonably early night.

Thurs 16 Aug – Renmark
Left N. at 8.40 with cool and cloudy weather. Stopped for a while in Hay then on to Balranald where we had excellent soup at the bakery before continuing to Renmark. The sky was remarkable all day with cumulus clouds combining on and off with nimbis. We had occasional showers and when it wasn’t raining on us we could see showers in all directions. That is the beauty of travelling in ‘big sky’ country. The Sturt Hwy across the Hay Plain was not in good condition because of the flooding in March, I assume.

The Ventura Motel in Renmark was a bit shabby but quite suitable for us with the trailer. A big storm with wind and rain hit town and continued on and off during the night. We had a good dinner at the Renmark Club (must try it for lunch to enjoy the view) and headed back for an early night. Our friends stayed at the Country Club just out of town and said it was quite good and had a decent dining room.

Fri 17 Aug – Port Augusta
A similar day to yesterday, with clouds and showers, and quite cold. The trip, via Morgan, Burra, Peterborough, Orroroo and Wilmington was an easy drive with little traffic. It is largely saltbush and mallee country with sheep grazing. We stopped in Burra to look around, although we’ve been there several times before, and bought some saltbush lamb to cook in the Cobb, and had coffee. It was 9 degrees with a cold wind.

While having coffee we met and interesting man who was thawing out from his motor bike journey. He was an ecologist who spent his time encouraging young people, mostly indigenous youth, to learn about the bush and he teaches them how to hunt feral animals, protect property from them, and become proficient enough to earn a living doing so. He said the turn around with some kids is amazing. He also teaches them about good eating habits, getting them away from Coca-Cola, KFC, and other rubbish and eating kangaroo, bush foods and veges and fruit etc. Of course, there are many who choose not to engage but he gains great satisfaction from those who do.

We were behind a huge load (looked like mining machinery scoops) with pilots through the Mt Bryan wind farm area but called them up politely to let them know we would like to pass when appropriate. They were very pleasant and we were eventually able to pass. They asked us where we were going and wished us safe journey. They were headed for Mackay – they may reach there after we are home.

The country today has been magnificent.

Sat 18 & Sun 19 August – Port August Conference
The Acacia Ridge Motel in Port Augusta (full cooked breakfast included) proved to be a very good choice to stay for the duration of the Friends of Botanic Gardens Conference, hosted by the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens – my favourite botanic garden after our own Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra.

Mon & Tues 20 & 21 August – Coober Pedy
Shopped for fresh food and left PA before 10 a.m. Made a decision at Pimba to continue to CP. I had been tempted to go to Roxby in the hope of seeing carpets of Sturt Desert Pea and then on to Andamooka. The country is wonderful with red earth, sometimes undulating country, sometimes flat and with low scrub and various types of Acacia. I couldn’t decide whether the very large Lake Hart was salt or water but it certainly looked like water.

Stopped for lunch at Glendambo and arrived at CP to join the small queue at the Stuart Range cv park (excellent facilities esp. camp kitchen, showers 20 cents, pizza restaurant).

Over the next two days we pottered around the town, looked at emails at the visitor centre (free and fast), and drove out to the dog fence and Breakaways on a loop via the dog fence. It was lovely to see them again without other people around and I took lots of photos of them as well as the plants which were looking quite desiccated in the hot wind.

With such a clear sky John couldn’t resist setting up the telescope and we had plenty of viewers to appreciate the opportunity to see Saturn etc. Unfortunately we didn’t bring the moon or sun filters because it was just too much gear to carry.

Wed 22 August – Painted Desert
At last the Painted Desert beckoned so after more shopping we set off along the Kempe Road to Oodnadatta. The road was very good varying between very mild corrugations and stony surface but care needs to be taken at floodways. The land coming out of CP is flat with no vegetation but with gypsum shining in the sun. We turned off at Mount Barry (much more vegetation here) towards Arckaringa but decided not to camp there so continued to the Painted Hills where some thoughtful people had made a track, with arrows made of rocks, through the hills. What a wonderful experience it was to walk that track! The hills are similar to the Breakaways but even more beautiful and being ‘up close and personal’ with them was all I could have wished for.

Continuing on we found a good campsite at Goorikianna Creek at around 3 p.m. and sat under a tree taking shelter from the hot, dry wind. Gathering clouds in what had been a perfectly clear sky caused some concern but the wind died and we were able to cook dinner and relax. Some thunder and lightning made its presence felt and a few drops of rain fell. Later there was a brief storm but everything dried up quickly and the track out to the road was unaffected. The stars were wonderful in the small hours of the morning.

Thurs-Sun 23-26 Aug – Dalhousie Springs
The dirt roads so far have all been good with virtually no potholes or corrugations. Things changed after leaving Oodnadatta. I drove to Dalhousie and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The road from Pedirka ruins is constantly corrugated, although they are small, and it is very stony. This trip we are carrying a second spare wheel for the Prado (a heavy 17 inch monster) which has to be strapped on the top of the trailer and removed each time we make camp but after blowing a tyre north of Birdsville last year we felt quite vulnerable until we could buy a new one in Windorah.

There was a surprise about 3 km from our destination when I had to brake quickly to avoid deep water. Fortunately I was able to back up and found another crossing although it had a steep entry/exit. Just as we were about to test the water someone came from the other direction in a little left-hand drive Jeep. He came across and kindly waited for us to cross. Piece of cake – but I got John to take it through!

We found a good site even though the camp ground was filling fast. Most people were heading for the Birdsville Races via the Simpson Desert. I can happily live without the races experience but would dearly love to cross the SD – in another life perhaps. After a visit to the Ranger we decided to buy an annual Desert Parks Pass. It would have cost $60 for three nights here so at $125 it is good value especially as we hope to return to these regions within the year. We can stay up to 21 days in one place. I wish! We found out at Innamincka that the Pass had gone up to $150 on 1 September.

Our days were filled with soaking in the 35 degree springs, a walk around the spring area which was interesting from the botanic variety and views, looking through the telescope at the magnificent sky, chatting to people, and tolerating the very loud rap some young men opposite us played for the first day and night but toned down considerably after some older people joined them.

John had felt a bit light-headed before going to the spring one day and after resting felt better but on leaving the spring he collapsed and fortunately there were some men standing by who helped him back onto the seat where he could lie down until completely recovered. Thereafter he only stayed in the spring for a short time.

One of the people we met was Kurt, an elderly German man on his 14th visit to Australia. On this occasion he was alone and driving a 4WD Britz which he was taking across the SD to the races for the second time. On the morning of his, and our, departure the vehicle would not start. He was in a panic but to his great relief we got him going by jump starting from his auxiliary battery. I don’t think he understood how it all worked because he had been very careful not to use any lights, etc. but I noticed that his back door had been open most of the time and I understand that that light would have been draining the main battery.

Mon 27 Aug – Algebuckina Waterhole
An interesting day.
Soon after leaving DS we stopped for some time to explore the ruins of Dalhousie Homestead which are quite picturesque. The homestead would have been a substantial operation at its height. There were a number of buildings made from limestone, yards and a mound spring. There were three date palms which lent an exotic charm to the scene but they have spread far and wide and an eradication program is underway. The ones at the homestead will be spared for historic reasons.

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While still on the Pedirka road I noticed a tinny rattle and John was aghast when he looked in the near-side mirror and saw the kitchen hanging out of its housing and dragging along the road. Dreading the worst but with nothing I could do to help I set off for a good kilometre along the road to recover our belongings. All but a small plate (and the missing piece from the other) was recovered. The collection included mugs, dinner plates, cereal bowls, ‘glasses’, cooking spoons – all plastic – a saucepan with lid, washing up brush, detergent, numerous pieces of rubbery material that is supposed to stop things sliding (!), the two pieces of each burner from the gas stove, the rack that sits on top of the burners, the griller pan and rack, and the water pump in two pieces. All are in working order.

In the meantime John had applied himself to getting the kitchen back into the housing, which is at the front and extends the full width of the hard-floor camper. He was able to get it back in and held it in place with a ratchet strap, then came looking for me. The locking pin had come out and the ensuing movement had snapped the tongue from the lock allowing the door to open. Fortunately no one came along the road in either direction to witness our embarrassment during the whole fiasco.

We reached Algebuckina Waterhole and found a lovely site. Then John set about disturbing the peace with various banging and bending tools to get the kitchen ball races back in their slots. I can almost see his brain working as he looks at a problem, makes little gestures while staring intently at it, and then sets to work with a plan of action. And so it was on this occasion. He made an excellent job of getting the whole lot working again and doing some panel beating where it hit the road and no one would be any the wiser except for the bright lime green strap holding it in.

Our AussieSwag camper is twelve years old now and has had a very hard live indeed. It is a ‘Classic’ model intended for sealed roads but it was in no time at all that we realised that staying on the blacktop was not for us and it has travelled the Gibb River and Kalumbaru Roads in poor conditions, the Oodnadatta Track twice, the Strzelecki, once in good conditions and on this trip in poor condition, The Great Central Road, The Savannah Way, including Laurella Springs, the Birdsville Track, etc. On our first trip to WA we travelled 20,000 km and have reliably calculated that the trailer has travelled in excess of 100,000 so it is not surprising that we now experience a very slight, occasional dust problem as one of the seals is no longer perfect, the zipper on the main door doesn’t run so smoothly, and the water tank tap is leaking (the original tank was replaced with a cowling around it). But we are still on the road and loving it. Much work to be done when we get home, not only to repair the kitchen but to plan better storage for some essentials to make life easier without increasing our load. In fact, I’m sure we can reduce our load.

Tues 28 Aug – Coward Springs
Another interesting day.

Before heading down the Track we took photos of Algebuckina bridge which looked very pretty with plenty of water beneath it glistening in the morning sun.

It became very windy with sand blowing furiously across the road. John was driving and I thought he was going to sleep as we headed to the edge of the road but at that instant he said ‘We’ve got a flat’. No we didn’t have a flat, in fact we didn’t even have a tyre on the offending trailer wheel, which by now had frilly edges, i.e. we were running on the rim. We continued to the top of the hill before tackling the wheel so that traffic could see us. The spare is mounted under the trailer and at first John didn’t think he could get it out because sand was blowing in his face but after much manoeuvring he managed it. At least he didn’t have to put the other one back. It’s still 70km north of William Creek, safely off the road.

After half a packet of Wet Ones we felt sort of clean enough to beg for a late lunch at William Creek pub. It was the best, crispiest, toasted ham and cheese sandwich I’ve ever had.

The lady at Coward Springs found us a sheltered nook amongst the casuarinas out of the wind. John availed himself of the spa while I went for a cold shower and much needed hair wash. I couldn’t be bothered lighting the rocket and waiting twenty minutes. It was a pleasant and uneventful evening, thank goodness, and the wind dropped.

Wed 29 Aug – Lyndhurst
The Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is a large site located 6km south of Coward Springs. The landscape around them is covered in salt and barren but on climbing the boardwalk and steps there is a luxurious little microclimate around the pools including fish in the water. These are just some of the springs around the edge of the Great Artesian Basin and are the reason why the overland telegraph line and later the old Ghan railway followed the route it did.

We spent the night in Lyndhurst and being very lazy had lunch and dinner in the pub. At dinner we met an elderly (probably our age!) farmer from western Qld who was on his annual holiday. He told us of some of his travels which always seem to be in western Qld, SA and the Centre region of NT and laughing at his experiences of sleeping in a swag and having unexpected rain in the middle of the night. We also learnt something of grazing and cropping of which we are fairly ignorant despite being keen watchers of Landline.

Thur 30 Aug-Sat 1 Sep – Copely (Leigh Creek)
Lyndhurst could not supply a new wheel and tyre for the trailer so we decamped to Copely where we were successful. The caravan park there is low key with excellent amenities and we were not too close to anyone. We spent three restful days there catching up on washing, shopping, and visiting Aroona Dam and Beltana.

Aroona Dam turnoff is only a few kilometres south of Leigh Creek and is a lovely drive with lots of wildflowers in interesting, rocky country before reaching the dam, a very peaceful place, perfect for a picnic. I took lots of photos of flowers and gum trees. One tree at the dam was spectacular. It was shiny – shiny reddish-olive bark, shiny branches, and shiny green leaves.

Beltana is a longer drive and it is worthwhile to take the ‘rough road’ i.e. the first turnoff to Beltana from Leigh Creek rather than the roadhouse, as it is another beautiful drive with good views to the Flinders. The people who run the caravan park lent us a book about Beltana which made what we saw there more interesting, even explaining the story behind the death of a mother and her four children by fire, which we saw on a gravestone at the cemetery. Visiting these old sites certainly brings to life the privations that people suffered living in such remote locations especially those living hovels rather than those who were housed in substantial dwellings. The homes of the poor were often constructed of bags daubed with mud. Over time they became very dry and fragile. The home of the mother and four children who perished was such a house. Apparently the mother was boiling drums of water for the weekly washing, well away from the house, when a willy-willy sprang up and sparks from the fire blew towards the house. Three of the children were outside with her and she shouted at them to run away while she went inside to get the baby but they must have been afraid and confused because they followed her inside where the tinderbox structure collapsed on them.

We headed for Leigh Creek to do the shopping for the next leg of the journey but being Saturday afternoon in South Australia the very substantial general store was closed. Oh, the dangers of being relaxed and on holidays in another state! It looked as if we may be having some very strange meals. We had plenty of food but not the ingredients I like to have to make interesting and varied meals.

Sun 2 Sept – Montecollina Bore
Finally we were ready to be on the road again and set off up the Strzelecki Track and for the first 150km we could see the beautiful North Flinders Ranges to our right. It was not to be the dream run of just over a year ago. The farmer we had met in Lyndhurst complained of corrugations and generally poor conditions which puzzled us as he was much travelled in these areas. I wouldn’t say the condition was horrendous by any means, but had deteriorated considerably over the year especially from Moomba on. There were many tyres wrecked along that section from what we saw and from comments at the Trading Post. Also there was a great deal of mining activity and mine vehicles all over the place.

We camped at Montecollina Bore which we had not even called in to last year. It was quite a surprise. The landscape is of eroded dunes and is overrun with rabbits. When we drove past the bore an elderly man was furiously digging the black mud from where the water was pouring in and forming a circle with it. He told me he was building a spa which would be lovely in the evening when the water cleared. I never did check it out but I noticed a bright light shining over it, no doubt from his campsite nearby.

I enjoyed Montecollina and had plenty of time to wander around and watch the raptors trying to catch rabbits. The Fathers Day dinner was not very special – mental note: must do better next time.

There was full mobile phone reception at Moomba but none at Innamincka, in fact you are lucky to even find one of the two public telephones operating there.

Mon 3-Thurs 6 Sept – Cullyamurra Waterhole
A substantial lunch at the pub meant the evening meal could be simple. The Trading Post had packs of fresh stirfry veges and cole slaw with tubs of dressing as well as tomatoes – 50 cents each, a bargain compared to $10-12 per kg elsewhere – and fruit also at 50 cents per piece. It was all very fresh and kept well.

The Cullyamurra camp ground stretches for a considerable distance and all the sites are not wonderful but after a thorough search we found the perfect one: large, with easy access to the water, a superb Coolabah in front, a peaceful view of the Creek and its birdlife and no one nearby.

On the second day, due to feeling very low with a cold and cough, I did nothing but sit in a chair and watch and photograph a pair of Little Corellas at the hole in a nearby gum tree above the Creek. (Interestingly, the next day, after the big wind I noticed that their behaviour was different. I wonder whether one of the pair got blown away and disorientated and another one had taken its place.) There were plenty of other distractions from our perfect camp site as the birdlife is prolific and the Cooper Creek is very wide at this point. It is referred to as the ‘choke’.

At 2.00 a.m. the next morning a fearful wind sprang up, buffeting the camper to such an extent that I was worried about the Coolabah causing serious damage. After a check that everything was secure and making reinforcements John went back to bed but I got dressed, took note of where valuables were in case a quick retreat to the car was necessary. There was little sleep that night. Somehow we managed to boil water for coffee in the morning as the wind continued to rage. It became hot and depressing indoors so we decided to go to town to phone Michele with our forward plans and check road conditions and the weather forecast. The wind was predicted to continue throughout the day with decreasing intensity by the next day but soon after returning to camp the wind gradually lessened and we could sit outside sheltered by the camper and even had showers beside the car before settling down for an enjoyable dinner outside followed by stargazing while listening to the pelicans splashing in the Creek. We slept well.

Today was Dig Tree day as we didn’t make it last year due to having to leave because of rain. There is an $11 fee per vehicle to enter the site whether for ten minutes or ten days. Perhaps there should be a sign explaining this clearly. It is not a National Park. It is a large site with plenty of room for camping beside the Coopers Creek but no facilities except toilets in the day area. I do not think this is an unreasonable fee, but some do.

I don’t know why I wanted to see the Dig Tree. Perhaps to try to understand why Burke and Wills died. Why did they dig up the cache then rebury it? Why was a man like Burke chosen to lead the expedition? He may have been brave but was also focussed on self aggrandisement and was totally lacking in leadership qualities and he failed to recognise the superior survival skills of the Aboriginal people who tried to help them. It was a ridiculous enterprise from the beginning. I guess I have to read the book again.

The Ranger at the Dig Tree, Bomber Johnson, is a very interesting man to have a chat with. He has lived in the region most of his life and knows it intimately – the land, the people and the properties. (Photo taken with his permission)

Today has continued calm and warm with a light breeze every now and then.

Fri 7 Sept – Olive Downs (Sturt NP)
Bomber recommended the road through Orientes as the best route to Warri Gate so we set off against the advice of the Innamincka Trading Post. It turned out to be a beautiful drive with jump-up country clothed in green. The road was windy so fairly slow but that didn’t worry us. After the workmen at the turnoff we did not see another person or vehicle or any sign of habitation until reaching Tibooburra apart from the buildings at Orientes which I knew to be deserted. There were many dry creek crossings along the way and I think it would be a very different road after some rain.

Our campsite at Olive Downs was level and sheltered. There is a modern long-drop toilet, free gas bbqs and cooking tops under shelter, some tables and benches, rubbish bins and plenty of untreated water. Everything was very clean and we had it all to ourselves.

After a long day’s drive we forced ourselves to go for a walk up to the lookout which afforded a good view of the surrounding country. It was supposed to be a loop but seemed too long so we retraced our steps.

Sat 8-Mon 10 Sept - Tibooburra
We opted to stay at The Granites cv park. The facilities are clean but basic and the shower cubicles are small with only one of three having a seat and it is a rude shock being so close to other people but we really needed to do the washing, etc.

Sunday night gets quite rowdy as workers come in then and have a big booze-up before starting work on Monday. The people in the camper next to us couldn’t take it and although they had intended to stay for two nights, packed up in the morning and moved on.

I have a theory that when human beings are in groups of more than two or at any time they use a mobile phone they feel the need to raise their voices rather than lower them which means that anyone within earshot has the dubious pleasure of hearing all their idle, irrelevant chatter. The problem is multiplied manyfold if they are talking to grandchildren. It’s really hard to take after being in the bush.

The Family Hotel has the famous painted walls by John Perceval, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker and others. They do not appear to be appreciated by the present owners as no effort has been made to highlight them. I must admit that only a couple are to my taste. Perceval loved the area and the town so much that he bought the pub. We had an excellent cup of coffee there and dinner at the other pub that night was also excellent.

There are three loop drives for which brochures are available from National Parks which is open even when not manned. We did the Gorges which included a visit to an outdoor pastoral museum which was very interesting. It had a working whim which, according to the sign “... Drawn by horses or camels the whim was a very efficient method of raising water from up to 300 ft deep. The troughing and tank are typical of that manufactured locally using available materials.” The and the shearing shed and shearers’ quarters are open for viewing and appear to be available for hire as there were eight or ten rooms each with two modern double bunks and the dining room and kitchen are fully equipped. The homestead has been renovated and is private property but there is a track all around it. The rest of the drive included a gorge and more lovely scenery.

We also did the Jumpup Loop which took us back to Olive Downs via a wonderful drive of remarkable scenery and excellent views showing the wonderful colours of the decaying jumpups. We enjoyed it so much we went back the same way instead of on the Silver City Highway. On both drives the wildlife was prolific. Perhaps when Middle Road in Sturt NP is completely open again we will return and do that loop drive which includes Cameron Corner.

Tue 11-Wed 12 – Mutawintji NP
Back on the Silver City Hwy we called in at Milparinka, another gold mining town, now virtually a ghost town. The signs pointing to it have all the services crossed out. However, there is a good visitor centre where the lady was most welcoming, and interpretive signs at points of interest along the main street.

There is an elaborate stone cairn almost on the corner of the hwy but it does not have any inscription to indicate what it is for. I know Sturt’s cairn is in the area but imagined that it would be at Depot Glen, 13km past Milparinka. A closer look at the town and Depot Glen will be a good reason to return to the region.

The road is about half and half dirt and bitumen and Packsaddle is a good roadhouse to visit along the way.

We turned off to Mutawintj and found the campground in a lovely setting but the sites are tiny and in groups of two or three with no dividing shrubbery within the group. I guess they are fine for friends or family but not for strangers. We took three sites for ourselves as there was plenty of room. A big bonus at Mutawintji is the lovely hot showers provided by solar panels. People were considerate and there was enough hot water for all.

The stars were clear and bright and John set up the telescope. He was able to see a couple of points of interest before someone turned on a very bright light nearby which made it pointless to continue. Trees obscured the sky in other directions. The lights available for campers in recent times are amazingly bright, our own LED strip included. We use it dimmed unless cooking or cleaning up. In any case it was pleasant just sitting with our coffee and staring at the heavens with our backs to the light.

We went on the Homestead Creek Gorge walk setting off latish in the morning. It is a lovely, easy walk ending at a waterhole. It is always frustrating when you would like to be able to see a little further than where the track ends but we are past the stage of scrambling up rocky gorge walls, especially so far from help. As it was, on the way back I became very giddy and felt sick, no doubt from dehydration despite drinking plenty of water (something that had been a problem for both of us for the last couple of weeks) and the last couple of hundred metres was quite a struggle. Fortunately we had bought some Staminade back in Copely when John was not well. We only use it very sparingly, preferring to rely on water and fruit as our source of fluid.

Unfortunately we did not get into the Historic Site. The tours are conducted by three commercial operators and mostly bring people from Broken Hill for a day tour. I need to get this sorted out as we have been wanting to do this for many years. Two years ago (2010) we tried to do a trip from BH but the roads were closed. The effects of the unusual rain of that are still evident throughout the region. Another reason to return.

Overnight a wind had sprung up and the sky became clouded so at 6.30 we decided it was time to get out in case it rained enough to close the road or to make driving hazardous and messy. We had planned to leave in a leisurely fashion but it was far from it. It started raining very gently before we left but it didn’t continue for long. We headed for White Cliffs via a fairly slow, mostly one lane dirt road with large numbers of emus, roos, and stock to dodge. Despite having our four eyes glued to the road and bush verges we were able to appreciate the lovely country. The road improved dramatically when we passed into the Central Darling Shire. Breakfast was coffee and raisin toast at the White Cliffs General Store. Once fed and watered and on the blacktop progress was swift although the 2010 damage to the roads by heavy rain could still be seen.

At Wilcannia we stopped for fruit from the IGA and salad rolls for lunch but a feeling of distinct discomfort, particularly at the take-away where we waited for a long time, caused us to leave without being served and stop at the Emmadale roadhouse instead. I am aware of the discussion about Wilcannia but always reserved my judgement as we had not felt like this before but will not plan to stop there in future. It was an unsettling and saddening experience. The town has many wonderful old sandstone buildings worthy of closer inspection.

Thurs 13 Sep – Cobar
Cobar was a welcome stopover at a new quiet motel opposite the golf/bowling club which was handy for dinner although I won’t be looking for another Chinese meal for a long time.

Fri 14 Sep – Forbes
It was a good run today although we chose some back roads, all sealed but not all in perfect condition. We had another pleasant stay in Forbes.

Sat 15 Sep – Home
Determined not to make a rush for home we stopped in Young for coffee and to investigate the town before moving on to Murrumburrah for a relaxed lunch. At Wombat, not far from Young there was a huge gathering of bikies and we passed hundreds more between there and home.

Apart from times of drought I love this drive to Canberra. The country looks wonderful and although the road is windy and fairly narrow the views are beautiful. The contrast between fields of canola and the deep green of other lush crops is amazing. We are very lucky to live here.

Our country is so beautiful and the Outback is best of all.

Now for planning the next trip.

John 'n' Min
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