Tracing our History
Australia - New South Wales
What's on this Page:
Welcome to my road trip through Outback New South Wales from the 1st to the 9th February 2010. Here you will be able to follow and experience something of my journey as I update my Google map below, post photos to it and post to my 'Walk on the Wild Side' Blog. I will also be posting photos to my Flickr account and updating my Facebook status via Twitter. There may even be a video or two. All this, as well as updating the account of my journey on this page. So there will be plenty to experience and follow on this my first somewhat interactive web journey. Visitors will be able to comment and get involved. So visit during the trip for up to the moment news and content, as well as after the journey as this page will remain as a record of my trip.
The Journal of my Road Trip will be updated each evening of the journey - should I have Internet access and electricity of course. Prior to updating the website, I'll be using the journal and diary at right to record my thoughts, comments on photos I take, how much it costs to buy petrol, camping and cabin costs, etc.
The online journal can be found on this page - just have a look below. The journal is broken down into sub-headings for each day.
The photos can be found via the links to my Flickr albums below, as well as a few photos on the Google map that shows my route and various stops along the way.
It is the day before I leave and I am busy packing and getting ready. I have plenty of time to get ready - but it must be completed today. Tomorrow morning I have to be up very early in order to catch the bus to Newcastle and pick up the car. I have everything that I am taking dumped in the lounge room and it is slowly being organised and packed away, ready to load into the car as soon as I get back with it tomorrow.
I have been finding that a bit of gear that I thought I had I no longer have - not that it matters that much as I don't really need it this time round. I will however need to buy some more camping gear before I head off on any future camping trips - sleeping bag, large back pack for pack camping (my current one is aged and damaged), etc. I'm also looking at getting a new tent.
Day 1: Destination - Dubbo (426km)
The day started off fairly early with a bus trip down to Newcastle to pick up the car rental. I caught the bus at Tea Gardens at 6.50am and arrived in Hamilton at about 8.30am. This allowed me to get the car an hour earlier than I had planned and therefore got away an hour sooner throughout the day - worked out well. I got a few sunrise shots on the Myall River as I waited for the bus. It was a great sunrise on the Myall this morning.
So I got the car and returned to Tea Gardens and finally left at about 11am, following the trip back from Newcastle and packing the car. It was good to be on the road, however, a bad headache that I suspected was a migraine was beginning to disturb me greatly. I picked up some headache tablets at Greta and downed them, seemingly just in time. I was beginning to feel quite ill at that stage and didn't think I'd be able to continue - the tablets came in just the nick of time and by Jerry's Plains things had improved a lot. As I write tonight (1 Feb 2010) the headache is still lingering, but nowhere near as bad - hopefully a good sleep will see it off.
There wasn't much opportunity to stop and see much on the road today, so hopefully that will change tomorrow. I did get a few shots of some old church buildings at Jerry's Plains and Gungal, but mostly enjoyed the wonderful scenery from Jerry's Plains on. The country on this leg of the trip looks really green following the recent rains. The Vineyards along the way looked great too - including those of Arrowfield and Rosemount Estate. Should there have been a bit more time I'd have loved to have visited Wyndham Estate - the makers of my favourite Shiraz Bin 666. There were also a couple of very nice looking horse studs along the Golden Highway.
I did get a couple of landscape shots - one just as I was leaving Sandy Hollow and another about 23km prior to Dunedoo. The Dunedoo one was especially good I thought.
The photos from today can be found at:
Tonight I'm staying at the Dubbo City Holiday Park, which is located on the corner of Alfred and Whylandra Sreets. I'm in a cabin tonight and I don't think the experience is worth the $85.00 I paid for the cabin. It will do to sleep in for the night - but it should have been quite a bit cheaper in my opinion. There is a toilet but no shower in the cabin - the showers are in the ammenities block not too far away. It is very warm, but at least there is an air conditioner. I'll try and remember to take some shots of the cabin and the park tomorrow.
The temperatures today ranged from 28 degrees celsius to 33 degrees celsius near Dubbo.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 427km
Total travelled so far: 427km
Total Necessary Expenses: $85.00
Day 2: Destination - Wagga Wagga (594km)
I headed off this morning from Dubbo (and I forgot to take photos of the cabin) at about 7am or thereabouts. It was a beautiful morning - perhaps a little on the cool side. I fueled up at a service station in Dubbo before hitting the road proper - which would have been about 7.20am I think.
From Dubbo I drove to Peak Hill on the way to Parkes. Peak Hill is a small town that looks quite old and has something of a delapidated look about it. Prior to reaching Parkes I visited the radio dish, a short distance before Parkes. This is the dish that featured in the film 'The Dish.' Upon departure from 'The Dish' I hit a feral cat, with no damage done to the car. There was a sign warning of kangaroos and I had only just looked at the sign and thought I'd better be careful (having hit several kangaroos in the past) when there was this bang. The cat came off second best.
One of the features of the drive today was how dry and barren the country looked, which was quite a contrast with the day before. There were a lot of dry farm dams and many nearing that condition. The drought still has a hold in this region.
From Parkes I headed to Condobolin, passing quite a number of graincorp silos used during the transportation of wheat from this area. I took a photo of one of the graincorp facilities at a small town called Yarrabandai.
In Condobolin itself, I took a shot of the Lachlan River from the bridge that crossed it. I believe there may be a weir not far from the bridge, which is probably why there appears to be so much water in the river. There was a sign which indicated that drivers should stop for horses if they are on the bridge - yeah, definitely in the outback now. Things go at a slower pace out here, which got me to thinking a little about how much we take for granted in the city and more built up areas. There was very little mobile phone coverage, uncertain water supplies, very little in the way of lawns, etc. Life is a lot different out here than further east.
I'm not sure whether it is the locals they don't trust in Condobolin, or the visitors. At the Rest Area on the way out of town, even the picnic table was chained to the shelter. It was quite a large table, so some effort would be required to flog it.
From Condobolin I headed for Forbes along the Lachlin River Way, which is quite different country from that between Parkes and Condobolin. Apart from the river, the region is quite wooded. There were some interesting landscapes along the road and I took a couple of photos of one of these.
Forbes seems to be a a pleasant enough town and there is a bit of water about Forbes - including Lake Forbes (I think there is such a place). I took some shots of Gum Swamp and the bird hide that is there. At times the hide would provide a good place to capture pictures of the bird life that would get about the swamp. There weren't too many birds around during my visit.
From Forbes it was off to West Wyalong, which seems to be spread over quite an area. On the journey to West Wyalong I saw my first emu for the trip. I thought I may have seen some before this point. In one of the parks there was an old airforce plane. I got several photos of it. With time passing by quickly, it was necessary to hurry along to Wagga Wagga. Along the way I grabbed a quick bite in Temora, the size of which (the town that is) surprised me.
At Wagga Wagga I was surprised at just how large the place is. I expected it to be a large town, but the shopping centre is enormous. There are so many shops here. There are also a large number of beautiful church buildings not far from where I am staying - so I am hoping to get some shots of these tomorrow morning as I leave. It is a large, but seemingly very pleasant place. Having booked in to the caravan park, I was able to have a welcome shower and then head off to meet my friend Suzie, her partner John and her three children - Hannah, Phoebe and Jude.
I met up with Suzie and the family at the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens - there are quite a few pictures of the gardens in today's photos. It was great to catch up with Suzie and share a lot of news about what was happening and going on in our lives and those of others we knew. I really enjoyed the time and it soon passed too quickly. It must be done again some time and hopefully not after another 15 or 20 years - much sooner. We do however keep in touch via Facebook, so that will have to do for the meantime.
Today's photos can be found at:
Tonight I'm staying at Wagga Wagga Beach Caravan Park, 2 Johnston Stree, Wagga Wagga. I went for a cabin instead of the tent site - too tired to muck about with the tent (and perhaps I'm getting too soft). There weren't too many cabins left, so I got a two bedroom one for $73.00, with an ensuite. This cabin is far superior to the one I had at Dubbo and it was cheaper also. I remembered to get some photos of this one.
The next morning, after staying at the Wagga Wagga Beach Caravan Park, I was told of some wind damage in the park. There had been strong winds during the night and tree branches had come down. One very large branch went crashing through the roof of one cabin into the bedroom and crashed the bed. Thankfully the occupant decided to go for a walk - which apparently was quite unusual. They had to find alternative quarters for her during the night. Another large branch narrowly missed a car.
The temperatures today ranged from 28 degrees celsius to 35 degrees celsius at Wagga Wagga.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 594km
Total travelled so far: 1021km
Total Necessary Expenses for trip so far: $199.55
Day 3: Destination - Mildura (650km)
First stop today was just around the corner from the Wagga Wagga Beach Caravan Park in Church Street. Here I took some photos of three churches located quite close to each other - St. Michael's Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Church of St. John the Evangelist (Anglican) and St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. I then refueled before moving on with my journey at about 7.30am.
The first stop for the day was in Narrandera for some unhealthy breakfast and to try and replensih the coke supplies - however, the coke section was unstocked in the Coles supermarket so I had to move on. That was disappointing as I was down to just one can left. Could I get by (lol)?
From Narrandera I headed for Griffith. As the temperatures rose, so did the amount of dust about the place. Fairly early in the day I was managing to dodge localised dust storms - which I thought there might be after seeing a lot of raised dust throughout yesterday. Throughout today I saw a lot of these dust storms and also a number of 'dust devils (small tornado like things made up of dust).'
In and around Griffith there was a lot of land under cultivation for all manner of crops, but especially citrus and grapes. It is a real 'food bowl' region, from here all the way to Mildura. Griffith is quite a large centre, with a large number of shops.
Having left Griffith I headed for Goolgowi, which is quite a small town. The region around Goolgowi and towards Hay is quite arid and barren - very dry and hot. Before reaching Hay I visited a spot on the Murrumbidgee River known as Sturt's Marked Tree, where Charles Sturt is said to left an engraving on a tree. I couldn't find the engraving there, but I did get a few shots of the Murrumbidgee River.
From Hay it was a long drive through arid country, broken up by quite a few sightings of groups of Emus. I also tried to photograph a large Goanna on the side of the road, but by the time I stopped the car and went back to where it was it was hidden away somewhere - I did however find a multitude of flies. The birdlife is plentiful in this region and throughout the areas I drove through today - with large flocks of Galahs and Sulphur Crested Cockatoos a regular sight.
As a side note - I did get a good stock of coke from the IGA in Hay, so my disappointment was short lived.
On the outskirts of Euston (on the Murray River), I came across the almost dry Lake Benanee. It is hard to imagine just how this lake would look when full - I wandered down into the dry lake bed and took some photos near a depth marker that has seen water in a long time. There is some water way out in the middle of the lake - but not a lot. There were some photos of a full lake on the notice board in the picnic area. Apparently some water is beginning to filter into the lakes following recent rain, with the nearby 'Dry Lake' seemingly full - very ironic.
The area from Euston to Mildura was again a veritable food bowl, with similar crops to those at Griffith. However, there are some very hard times along this stretch with how fields of citrus trees dead and grape vines ripped out and piled up. Cheap oranges from overseas and the grape glut, coupled with the drought, is obviously having a huge effect here. It was quite sad to see how things contrasted here now, with how things were some 5 years ago when I was in this area last. It is looking quite terrible from Euston to Mildura, though there is still a lot of food being produced.
I had a quick drive around Mildura and along the Murray River - I am thinking of ducking back across the border into Victoria tomorrow morning for some shots along the river. It is a very nice location here. I'm staying on the NSW side of the border on the Murray River at the Buronga Riverside Caravan Park in a cabin. This is the best of the three cabins so far - not that yesterday's was bad. It is another two bedroom cabin with an ensuite. Quite a nice set up. The caravan park is also very good as a whole, situated right on the river with some excellent facilities. This would be a good place to be based if exploring the surrounding area - Mungo National Park, etc.
The photos of today's travels can be found at:
There is a bit of rain about the place tonight - none here at the moment and I haven't actually seen any on the trip at all. The radar has a lot of it toward Adelaide and also north-east of here. There seems to be more rain developing to the north tomorrow. The bureau does say that the likelihood of flooding rains has diminished and that there shouldn't be a lot of rain now. So it does appear as though the hoped for side journey to Menindee and the lakes system could well be on tomorrow - after arriving at Broken Hill. So I'm quite looking forward to that part of the trip, which was one of the highlights for me.
The temperatures today ranged from 32 degrees celsius to 35 degrees celsius for most of the afternoon.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 650km
Total travelled so far: 1671km
Total Necessary Expenses for trip so far: $347.37
Day 4: Destination - Broken Hill (About 527km - including return trip to Menindee of 218km)
Though I travelled some 527km today, it was still a fairly easy day. I left the Mildura region at about 7.30am and arrived in Broken Hill at about 11am local (central) time. The side trip to Menindee from Broken Hill (and return) took only about 2 1/2 hours to complete. There is not a real lot to report on today's journey, with the trip from Mildura to Broken Hill being largely an uninterrupted journey through an arid landscape. There were no towns after leaving Wentworth and arriving in Broken Hill.
I did see a number of different birds and animals today, including kangaroos, wallabies, frilled necked lizards, shingle back lizards, wedge-tailed eagles, various cockatoos, emus, galahs, etc. So that all helped to break up the journey somewhat - which isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the drive, because I just love travelling through the country enjoying the landscapes I come across. The added patches of heavy rain also added to the sites of the day, with various creeks flowing for possibly the first time in a long time. Being in the outback during a very wet day was an unusual experience.
The side trip to Menindee was a worthwhile trip, seeing more of the country than I would have if I didn't do it. The rain however did make it impossible for me to even view the Menindee Lakes which was the only down side of the day's travels. During the day I did get to see the Murray and Darling Rivers, so that was a good thing in itself. On this journey I have now seen the Murrumbidgee, the Lachlan, the Murray and now the Darling River as well, so I have had views of a lot of the major inland rivers - as well as a lot of other creeks and rivers (the majority of which were flowing for a change).
The weather I anticipated during the planning of this trip has indeed caused the closure of all dirt roads within the north-west of the state, so I was pleased I had already changed my plans for that scenario. Even the road to Menindee has been cut several times in a number of places in the last few days. So there has been a lot of welcome wet weather out this way, which will please the locals.
During my stay in Broken Hill I have travelled around various parts of the town and have to say that Broken Hill has all of the 'outback' charm you would expect of a town on the edge of the wild frontier. It really does look like it is on the edge of the wilderness and resembles a pioneering type town in some places. It is a large place that has kept its wild appearance, with many run down shacks and poorly maintained gardens/lawns. It reminds me of Eucla in South Australia in that respect.
Tonight I am in the Lake View Caravan Park on the edge of town and the caravan park fits into the overall image of the town too. The cabin is quite OK and $65.00 is a reasonable price I suppose.
I am thinking of some changes to the itinerary after Cobar and will possibly cut Bourke out as an overnight stop and head straight for Lightning Ridge. I'm also thinking of cutting Tamworth out as an overnight stop too, and will probably stay at my mother's for a night instead. I'll see how things pan out tomorrow.
The temperatures today ranged from 22 degrees celsius to 26 degrees.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 527km
Total travelled so far: 2198km
Total Necessary Expenses for trip so far: $445.87
Day 5: Destination - Cobar (About 456km)
My flirtation with time zones continued today. Yesterday I went from eastern to central to eastern and back to central time throughout the day. Today I have travelled from the central time zone back into the eastern. Each time you cross the time zone it is a half hour time alteration - back and forward. No more time alterations for the rest of this trip now. When I eventually crossed back into the eastern time zone, I think it was about 9am. I had planned to take this into account with my waking time - but then decided I didn't need to bother with that. I got up when I felt like it in the end. Seemed good to me.
So I was off, heading back across the state from Broken Hill for Wilcannia and Cobar. These were really the only two towns I came to in today's journey. So there isn't a lot to report from today, which is reflected in the small number of photos I took. The only real event of note was the fact that there has been plenty of rain out this way over the last few days, which has resulted in renewed flooding around the region. I witnessed some of it near both Wilcannia and Cobar. In fact the Darling River is expected to break its banks with minor flooding at Wilcannia some time in the next week. It is already quite swollen and the additional rains from the current weather and the rains associated with Cyclone Olga to the north in Queensland, along with the flood load that was already heading in the direction of Wilcannia from Bourke, should result in quite a lot of water making its way down the system and eventually into the Murray. This is certainly what the rivers needed and have needed for years.
It was very cool today, especially for summer. The temperature was still in the teens at lunch time west of Wilcannia. There was quite a bit of rain and some strong winds. Talking of winds, I must update the Wagga Wagga blurb above.
I'm in a smallish cabin in the Cobar Caravan Park for tonight, which was $70.00. It will be comfortable enough, but I do think it is too much for the location and condition of the cabin. I have been in far better cabins this trip for less or about the same. I've rambled about this in my Blog posted listed below, along with some comments on rest areas.
The temperatures today ranged from 18 degrees celsius to 24 degrees.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 453km
Total travelled so far: 2651km
Total Necessary Expenses for trip so far: $605.29
Not a great deal to report again today and even fewer photos. There simply wasn't much to see (or photograph) on the roads between Cobar and Lightning Ridge. Consequently there really isn't much to write.
I left Cobar at 7.30am, having had a very good night's sleep and being well rested. When I arrived in Bourke I was pleased that I had changed my mind about today's destination. There isn't a great deal in Bourke and there is nothing much more in the next town (Brewarrina) either. Getting to Walgett, my opinion on this area across the central north of New South Wales didn't improve. The country is fine and I was happy with the drive through it, but the townships are not that attractive or inviting. Walgett actually doesn't have a caravan park, though there is a motel or two.
I obviously changed my mind as to my destination for the day, which I did after arriving in Walgett - it wasn't hard to make that decision. I decided it would be best to move on to Lightning Ridge and stop there for the night. Having arrived in Lightning Ridge, I thought I might stay an extra night and have a look around this opal mining community - I do afterall have a day up my sleeve so to speak. I also missed out on seeing the Menindee Lakes, so I needed to compensate that with something else - so Lightening Ridge it will be.
I arrived in Lightning Ridge at about 12.30pm. This 'frontier' town near the border with Queensland, is a delightful little place for someone with an adventurous spirit. It is a town that still appears to be in that 'mining boom' stage, with numerous shops and outlets devoted to opals. One of the first things I saw in Lightning Ridge was a couple trying to find opals in a dig next to the visitor's centre on the edge of town. There are a lot of keen miners in and about Lightning Ridge.
Having settled on and in the Bluey Motel (there are a lot of accommodation choices in Lightning Ridge), being impressed with my room (with ensuite and small kitchen area) and the price ($59.00), I quickly decided that another night here would be in order. A visit to the visitor's centre soon had me looking over the local map and attractions - there is plenty to see and do here, which is what I will do tomorrow.
The temperatures today ranged from 21 degrees celsius to 26 degrees.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 466km
Total travelled so far: 3117km
Total Necessary Expenses for trip so far: $664.29
Today was a much more relaxed day, so I didn't get out and about until about 8.00am, with breakfast at the local cafe and reading the paper. I then decided on what I was going to do for the day and soon found myself unable to book a local tour as they didn't answer the phone. Nevermind, it was self drive touring around the region then. No great drama for me in doing that.
Throughout the morning I did the Red Car Door Tour, the Yellow Car Door Tour and the Blue Car Door Tour. I didn't do the Green Car Door Tour because the road is a dry weather road only. The Car Door Tours are unique to Lightning Ridge, in that each stop on each tour is marked by a car door painted the colour of the tour, with the respective stop number on it. They are fairly short drives on the edge of Lightning Ridge, taking the driver through the various opal fields being mined/that have been mined, as well as other attractions in and around the town. I also visit the occasional attraction not on the actual Car Door Tour if it was nearby.
Some of the other attractions and sites I visited included the hot artesian baths, the Bottle House, the Chamber of the Black Hand and the Opal Cave. The Bottle House is a building made out of bottles and houses a museum. The Chamber of the Black Hand is an opal mine that also houses a large number of sculptures underground, having been carved out of the sandstone that lies above the opal bearing deposits below. The Opal Cave houses a display of items for sale and a waterfall at the entrance made with opals. There are plenty of pictures in today's album to have a look at (though none of the Opal Cave).
Following lunch I decided to make a quick trip to Queensland and to the small town of Hebel. This town is about 60 km from Lightning Ridge and 5km over the Queensland border. It is a very small town, but delightful - it has a pub and a general store that is also the caravan park. Accommodation at Hebel is very inexpensive and I'll be staying there at future trips to the area. It is a great little town.
The trip to Hebel was also marked by the arrival of some hard-hitting thunderstorms that brought a lot of rain to localised areas. Lightning Ridge received a large amount of rain in a very short time and as I returned to town there were rivers of water coming down streets and large bodies of water all over the place. There would have been some flash flooding of a serious nature in Lightning Ridge had it kept up. Thankfully it quickly passed by - though there is expected to be some serious rain throughout this region tomorrow, with localised areas of flooding.
The temperatures today ranged from 26 degrees celsius to 30 degrees.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 166km
Total travelled so far: 3283km
Total Necessary Expenses for trip so far: $767.89
Today's journey was quite a long one from Lightning Ridge to Tea Gardens via Tamworth, Gloucester and Tinonee (near Taree). It involved driving 780km, with nine hours actual driving time. I think Google maps estimated just over 12 hours for the trip - I was please it didn't take that long. I left Lightning Ridge at 5.40am and missed hitting two kangaroos before I got to the turn off near Walgett. Thankfully they were the only two issues I faced driving today. I think I hit about 4 birds, a feral cat and a frilled-neck lizard (and countless insects) during the entire 8 day trip - not that I actually intended to hit any of them.
It was a rather uneventful day, with photos only taken at Gin's Leap (see below). I did get to visit family in Tamworth, Gloucester and Tinonee, so that was a good wayto end the trip.
I now have to clean the car before I return it to Budget (rental). That will be quite a job - inside is pretty clean, outside is quite a mess.
The temperatures today ranged from 26 degrees celsius to 31 degrees.
Distance travelled today on the Road Trip: 780km
Total travelled: 4063km
Total Necessary Expenses for trip so far: $814.29
I will be updating my 'Kevin's Walk on the Wild Side' Blog as I travel on my road trip. I will be placing links to each individual post relating to the trip here:
The Google map below has a number of features that you can access. Already my road trip itinerary (overall itinerary) is clearly marked out on the map and you will be able to follow me around the state. As I reach each destination, I will be seeking to update the map with photos, comments about various places and landmarks, etc. There may even be the odd video to view (and these will be available on my YouTube page also).
Feel free to look around the map and interact with it. If you aren't experienced with Google maps - have a look anyway. I've only just learnt myself.
My albums at Flickr relating to this trip can be found at:
If you would like to pass on your thoughts and comments regarding this road trip, please use the ShoutMix comment box below:
UPDATED: 10 April 2011
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