28th May 2019–Back Home

Distance: 339km
Fuel: 49L

It was a cold night though I was warm enough in the camper but definitely the weather I went north to get away from.

This morning I woke to a cloudless sunny sky however it was not warm. I had a shower, some coffee and a very quick breakfast before preparing to leave. There was not much to do because I had not got out my chair or table nor put up the TV aerial yesterday evening. While I was getting ready a lady from a neighbouring teardrop camper came over to have a chat, her camper was parked opposite mine, apparently it came with the tent; she lives in it permanently and works during the day. I only have a picture taken from my dashcam.

Teardrop Camper, Orange

Once I set off I did not stop, I travelled through Bathurst and Lithgow, made my way across the Blue Mountains then straight onto the M7, I didn’t leave the expressways until I turned onto the Picton Rd at the Wollongong turn off.

The Picton Turnoff to Wollongong

It was a completely uneventful journey but always nice to see Wollongong as I descended Mount Ousley that’s when you know you are home.

Wollongong from Mount Ousley

Jobs for the next couple of days – lots of clothes need washing, equipment needs cleaning, that should keep me busy.

Statistics

Total Fuel: 482 litres
Total Distance: 4645 km
Total Park Cost: $368
Average Park Fee: $28

The Journey

27th May 2019–Orange

Distance 526km
Fuel: 38L

This morning was an early start, I had a shower  just as the sun was coming up followed by breakfast and coffee. Didn’t hang about and packed the camper up and was ready to leave by about 8am.

Stopped briefly at Girilambone for a bit of a break. The railway line and station has been abandoned, the platform and buildings slowly going back to nature.

GirilamboneGirilamboneGirilamboneGirilambone

The journey started off in bright sunshine but as I headed further south the wind picked up and caused dust storms in places so thick that I could hardly see past the bull bar.

Dust storms near NynganDust storms near Nyngan

The skies got darker and became showers of rain which laid the dust at least and by Dubbo it was raining quite frequently – I won’t say heavily except for very brief flurries.

Bourke to Dubbo

I had originally intended to stop at Wellington for the night but it was still raining when I arrived and the skies looked brighter further south. I ended up driving an extra 100km and checking in at a caravan park in Orange – probably a mistake because it was much colder here than in the Dubbo/Wellington area. As I was parking the camper there was hail, very small hail but nonetheless hail! In better weather the park would be very nice, it is run by the council and the facilities are very good, however it is a bit desolate in this cold. The big advantage is that it is 100km less driving tomorrow.

Rather than get in the camper, as the sun went down, I sat in the car and discovered the car internal light has stopped working – it was OK yesterday. The temperature in the camper was 7’C.

26th May 2019–Back to Bourke

Distance: 25km
Fuel: 30L

I was late getting up however it was still before 6.45am but I was lucky to find a free shower – there are only two, so you need to get there very early or very late.

Had breakfast and lazed about until 9am when I set off for the tourist information office, as usual the girl was very helpful and marked all the points of interest on a town map for me.

The tourist information office is part of the Back O’Bourke complex – anyway I paid my $21 (concession) to see the complex. It is right up there with the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Waltzing Matilda Centre as one of those places you definitely don’t need to visit twice.

Back O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'BourkeBack O'Bourke - Drought in the billabongBack O'BourkeBack O'Bourke

After an hour wandering round the Back O’Bourke I headed for North Bourke to look at the first Lift Bridge in NSW. Now no longer used – it has been bypassed by modern bridges and it took a bit of off-roading to get to it.

North Bourke Lift BridgeNorth Bourke Lift BridgeNorth Bourke Lift BridgeNorth Bourke Lift Bridge.

As you can see it was a ‘pick a plank’ bridge.

Next I tried to find the paddle steamer wreck on the bank of the Darling River, didn’t find it at all but I didn’t really know what I was looking for even though with the river very low it should have been visible. Anyway after wandering up and down the river bank I gave up and drove to Bourke wharf and the ‘historic’ Crossley diesel engine.

Bourke Crossley EngineBourke Crossley EngineBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke WharfBourke Wharf

The wharf is a relic from the days of good water and the paddle steamers plying their trade up and down the Murray Darling river system. Today the area is on level five water restrictions and deep in drought with the Darling River very low and little or no flow.

After this I went to Bourke cemetery to visit the grave of Fred Hollows the eye surgeon – he was actually a Kiwi but loved Bourke and its people.

Bourke Fred Hollow's GraveBourke Fred Hollow's GraveBourke Fred Hollow's GraveBourke Fred Hollow's Grave

Finally I found the Western Herald building the newspaper that author/poet Henry Lawson worked on when the editor at The Bulletin sent him  to Bourke to sober up.

Bourke Western HeraldBourke Western Herald

Finally I drove around Bourke looking at some of the interesting buildings, visiting the supermarket and filling up with fuel ready for tomorrow’s departure.

BourkeBourkeBourkeBourke

The horse and carriage came round the caravan park in the late afternoon offering a tour of Bourke I would have gone but it was fully booked by the time it got to my site!

Not a bad day, the weather on this whole trip has been perfect, warm and sunny most days, not a drop of rain but tomorrow I am venturing into central NSW where it will be colder, probably not wet but cold at night. I should be home on Tuesday.

25th May 2019–Bourke

Distance: 262km

BTW yesterday I maligned the town of Cunnamulla by saying it was shut, in fact it was a Queensland public holiday so it had every right to be (though that is no excuse for shutting the tourist information office).

Definitely no need to rush today, only travelling 260km down the road to Bourke so everything was very leisurely and I didn’t leave the caravan park until nearly 10am (kicking out time).

Back in NSW

Nothing very exciting to report on the drive south except crossing back into NSW and stopping briefly in the tiny town of Enngonia for a short break. My only complaint about these back roads is that they are very short on rest stops.EnngoniaEnngonia

Found a nice caravan park close to town and was given a very wide grassy site so decided, because the weather forecast is good and it is the weekend, to set up my gazebo and stay for two nights. Didn’t go anywhere after setting up, read my book and had a thoroughly lazy day. Will get fuel and look around Bourke tomorrow but today is a rest day.

Bourke

17th May 2019–Miles, Qld

Distance: 365km
Fuel: 40L

Good sleep, only down to 15C in the camper during the night so the summer doona was fine. As usual up about 6.30am and straight into the shower before having breakfast.

Reasonable drive to Miles stopped a couple times as before the stretch my legs and use the composting loo much like yesterday.

Arrive in Miles just before 1pm not that pleased with the caravan park I thought it was a bit pricey even though it has brand new unisex toilets/showers. It is crammed between the highway and a railway track so noise might be an issue.

 Miles

After setting up went across the road to the Miles Historical Museum. It is one of those community museums full of nic nacs  and junk, always quite interesting though some rooms were a bit like visiting my grandmother.

Miles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles Historical MuseumMiles

16th May 2019–Moree

Distance: 419Km
Fuel: 44L

It was quite a cold night, temperature in the camper got down to 8C but I was warm under my winter doona. Up early at 6.30am for a hot shower which warmed me up no end. Didn’t leave the camp site until nearly 9am after packing up very leisurely.

Still heading north toward Queensland, travelled via Coonabarabran and Narrabri, stopped a few times on the way including one stop at Pluto. This is the outer limit of the scale model of the solar system using the dome at Siding Springs observatory as the sun.

190516 005 On the way to Moree190516 004 On the way to Moree

Arrived at Moree just after 2pm, found a caravan park and checked in. Had a drive through site, naturally drove through with the kitchen facing the sun so had to turn the camper around! but once I was satisfied unhitched and set up the camper (takes about 5 minutes  because there is nothing on TV so I didn’t want to set up the Tv aerial).

Drove to a Puma service station and filled up with fuel and, after returning to the camp, parked the car and went for a walk into the town. I have been to Moree before.

190516 020 Moree190516 029 Moree190516 031 Moree190516 035 Moree190516 036 Moree190516 038 Moree190516 041 Moree190516 044 Moree190516 049 Moree190516 017 Moree

It still has one of the old playground Rockets but it is unfortunately sealed shut however next to it is a much larger, more modern and presumably safer version.

190516 018 Moree

Returned to the caravan park just as it got dark, had a bite to eat and a couple of beers. Nice day.

15 May 2019 North to Mudgee

Distance: 347.5km
Fuel: 32L

The journey I hate. Decided to head north toward Sydney and then west through the Blue Mountains. Set off at about 8.30 and immediately was stalled in the Wollongong workers rush but it was OK once I hit Picton Road and headed north on the Hume Highway. Then the Sydney traffic, as always, was hell followed by the inevitable road works in the Blue Mountains, such a relief to reach Lithgow and know that you are back to sane traffic conditions.

From then on it was easy, I only stopped once just to stretch my legs before reaching Mudgee just after 1pm. Found the Caravan Park and checked in – reasonable price at $25  for a powered site.

Mudgee

After setting up I had a cup of tea, drove to get fuel before returning  and going for a walk into the town. It is a pretty town.

MudgeeMudgeeMudgee190515 014 Mudgee190515 018 MudgeeMudgeeMudgeeMudgeeMudgeeMudgeeMudgeeMudgee

There is even a decent looking club within a few minutes walk of the caravan park though I didn’t go, ended up watching ‘The Weekly’’ and reading my book.