8th June 2021
It was not going to be an early start but in the event we packed up for the last time on this trip very quickly. Originally I was going to carry some of Katie’s excess baggage as far as Yass then hand it over to her but she got it all in her car and we decided to make Yass just a lunch stop.
We had a leisurely lunch at Yass before going our separate ways, she to Canberra and me to Wollongong.
Time Taken: 17 days (plus a couple of days in Canberra)
Total Distance: 4473km
Total Fuel: 464L
Fuel Consumption: 10.4 litres per 100km
Average Fuel Price: $1.42/L
Cost of Accommodation: $514 (that was just for me)
It was a really enjoyable trip, travelling with adult kids is a very novel experience as was travelling in convoy. I was very glad that I bought a new jumper and puffer jacket before I left but I did get used to early nights and mornings because of the cold, the temperature plummeted as soon as the sun went down. The camper was very easy to warm up with my new 400watt heater from Amazon. The night skies in the bush never cease to amaze me, there are just so many stars.
The only fly in the ointment was the need to plan ahead and book camp sites at least a day before, this is something I have never had to do before and while it is not a deal breaker it has got me rethinking my travel arrangements.
Covid has certainly changed people’s travel, the number of caravans on the road has noticeably increased and the number of brand new ‘vans in the parks is also an obvious feature as is the lack of backpackers.
Thanks to Katie and Andrew for accompanying me, it was a great trip and one I had been wanting to do for some years. The next serious trip is to once again attempt the Oodnadatta Track – I have tried three times before but each time it rained just before I arrived and the roads were closed. I have to be honest I have never had any ambition to attempt the more serious journeys like the Gibb River Road, or even the Birdsville Track. but I still enjoy camping and travelling no matter where it is.
Where we travelled – for some reason the Cameron’s Corner section is wrong (blame Google) because the corner (G), is, for obvious reasons, right in the corner where the NSW, SA and Queensland borders meet.
7th June 2021
This is where we say farewell to Andrew (and the doggie) who has to return to Sydney for his work, We only have one more day left of our trip too.
It is possible to drive from Dubbo to our respective homes in Wollongong and Canberra but it is a long drive so we decided to drive to Temora and go home from there.
This morning was cold though not as cold as yesterday so we all had a late start, Andrew left by 8.30am but Katie and I didn’t get away until after 9am.
It was an easy drive through undulating country, quite different to the Outback.
Arrived in Temora just after 1pm to an almost empty caravan park. It is one of those council run parks where you pick a site and a council worker/caretaker comes round in the late afternoon to collect the money.
Once we set up we wandered over to the Temora Aviation Museum, I have been several times before but it was Katie’s first visit and I think she really enjoyed it. Most of their planes still fly.
It was cold that evening.
But the sunset was spectacular.
6th June 2021
It was cold this morning, there was ice on everything, even the table has frozen dew on it. My car was covered in flowering gum nuts so later I made a point of parking a bit further over.
First visit today was to Old Dubbo Gaol.
After this we followed a part of the Heritage walk but to be frank it was one of those with a sign showing a beautiful old building which was replaced in the 1950s by a particularly ugly Coles supermarket. Not that interesting to be frank.
Because this was the last day with Andrew able to travel with us we decided that a nice meal was in order so a booking was made at the Commercial Hotel in the centre of Dubbo. It turned out to be a good choice – the meal was excellent and the staff very friendly. It was washed down with a couple of beers.
5th June 2021
Woke to quite a thick fog this morning however it was to be another lazy day, slowly got ready to leave and were on the road about 9.15am. There is only one way – through Nyngan then on to Dubbo.
Andrew had some radio issues which turned out to be the aerial plug had come loose, something he was quickly able to rectify.
We stopped at Nevertire for a short break (I always stop there) but it has gone down hill a bit, the pub is still open but the cafe has closed.
It was good to be back in the Central west of NSW.
Arrived at the caravan park at about 1pm to be given two large adjacent sites where we set up camp.
In the evening to two kids went Stargazing while I looked after the dog.
4th June 2021
We weren’t in any rush to leave but any rush there was was dissipated by a phone call from the Cobar Caravan Park asking if we could delay our arrival until after 2pm because the current site resident had a medical emergency. No problem at all, it was a three and half hour drive anyway, we had to get fuel in Wilcannia and a stop on the way would easily kill time.
In the event we left White Cliffs about 9.30am and set off on the 100km journey to Wilcannia. Katie was worried about her fuel but thought she could make it – she didn’t want to put any more 91 octane fuel in her tank. I could probably have made it to Cobar with a few litres to spare but we have all learned to fill up when you can.
In the event her low fuel light came on about 30km from Wilcannia and she thinks she must have had about a half to one litre left in the tank when she filled up.
On the road to Cobar the cloud cover increased and by about half way we were getting intermittent showers, hardly enough to wet the roads most of the time but interspersed with a few short but heavy downpours.
Stopped at the roadhouse for coffee and arrived at Cobar Caravan Park at almost exactly 2pm, I think this is the most overpriced caravan park in NSW however were given two adjacent sites which was great – tonnes of room for us but right opposite a truck yard. Once again as we checked in people were being turned away as the park was completely booked out with no sites or cabins available.
After setting up Katie and I went sightseeing and shopping by now the weather had fined up and the sun was peeping through. Just to be on the safe side I booked a site at Temora for Monday night.
3rd June 2021
Today will be a leisurely drive, less than 300km to White Cliffs.
We packed up and set off about 9am, Andrew wanted to get coffee and Katie to try to get some gas cylinders for her stove, so I just drove to the start of the Barrier Highway and waited by the side of the road for them to appear. It wasn’t long before Andrew pulled up behind me and a little while later Katie came over the radio telling us she was on her way.
The UHF radios in each car have been great for keeping each other informed on what is happening on the road and even general chat.
There is only one road so it is difficult to get lost, the scenery was wonderful and apart from being briefly stuck behind a motorhome travelling at 70kph it was a good journey.
We turned off the highway onto White Cliffs Road just before entering Wilcannia for the 100km drive to White Cliffs. It is a small opal mining town so it wasn’t hard to find the only caravan park in town.
After setting up there was just time for a drink before we set off for a tour of an Opal Mine. Personally I have no interest in gems, precious stones etc, like coal they are all just rocks to me but the tour itself was very interesting and the miner talked about stones he had found worth up to $500,000 each. Fossicking among the spoil is allowed, I found a bit of valueless Gypsum but that was enough for me.
The tour took a couple of hours so it was nearly sunset by the time we returned to our camp for dinner.
2nd June 2021
About 5am I was awoken by a loud bang from a thunderstorm nearby, within minutes it was raining.
It was still raining when, a few hours later we set off for our planned trip to Menindee Lake. The road was flooded in places as we drove the 100 or so kilometres to Menindee.
Our first stop was the Tourist Information Office where the lady in charge told us there was absolutely nothing to see because all the roads were closed except for a sealed road to Copi Hollow and perhaps a short section of dirt to the lookout over Lake Menindee.
We went for short walk to the local pub to stretch our legs (and the dogs).
In nice weather the Copi Hollow would have been a pleasant place with both boating and swimming
On the other side of the highway was the lookout over Lake Menindee and the open weir shown in most TV coverage.
The Lake was full, such a change from the reports of fish kills just 12 months ago.
We returned to the caravan park early afternoon where we had a late lunch and spent most of the afternoon chatting and planning our trip for the next few days. We also discovered that all the roads from Tibooburra had been closed, we were so lucky with our trip to Camerons Corner.
Late afternoon the kids went to Mundi Mundi to view the sunset while I watched the dog.
31st May 2021
With the next stop less than two hours drive way there was no rush to get going this morning and we didn’t leave until nearly 10am after having breakfast at the roadhouse.
Easy drive, in fact as we neared Broken Hill we remembered that the town is on Central Australian Time and we were arriving far too early so we stopped at a clearing by the road for half an hour purely to kill time.
Andrew and Katie peeled off to get fuel while I waited on the main road eventually they called on the radio to find out where I was as they had arrived at the caravan park. Anyway we eventually met up and checked in – we had two sites for three nights, while we were there more people arrived and were turned away as the place was booked out.
Once set up, the kids went shopping while I stayed behind and looked after the dog. We made tentative plans for the next few days and where we would visit.
30th May 2021
Spent a part of the morning letting the air out of the tyres for a more comfortable ride – should have done it in Tibooburra but the first two thirds of the road were fine it was only the last bit where the corrugations were really bad.
We set off in convoy at about 8.30am and made good progress the rough sections of the road were much better handled with the lowered tyre pressure though I would hesitate to say “good”.
We arrived at Tibooburra at about 10am. We pumped up our tyres to normal pressures because we were back n bitumen and filled up with fuel. We rang the caravan parks in Broken Hill but they were fully booked for tonight so decided to press on and checkout free camps spots on the way.
It was sealed road again, a section of the road was an emergency airstrip so it was quite odd driving down this massive strip of bitumen in the middle of nowhere.
The rest of the road was more familiar.
Arrived at Packsaddle Roadhouse just in time for lunch, They had a sign “Unpowered camps sites – Free”, with a supplementary sign offering showers for $5, so that was it, here we would stay for the night only about 170 km from Broken Hill where we were booked for the following three nights.
The camp area was just dirt but there was plenty of it so we set up a nice camp, and spent the afternoon chatting once it was dark we wondered over to the Roadhouse for a meal and a couple of beers.
The sky was absolutely amazing, with no light pollution the sky was a mass of stars after a golden sunset (watched from the veranda of the pub). The Packsaddle Roadhouse was great, friendly staff, good service, well worth supporting.
The purpose of our trip had been realised now it was just a question of what we would see next.