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.
29th May 2021
The best day of the trip without a doubt and the reason for taking the whole trip, certainly something I had wanted to do for a very long time.
Set off from Tibooburra at about 8.30am after the kids refuelled their cars.
The dirt road started almost as soon as we turned off the highway to the track to Camerons Corner.
The sign told us that the road was open I would guess that for the first 80km we were able to travel at 80 to 100kph the road condition was pretty good there were some corrugations and gullies that required a much slower speed but generally we made very good progress. The road was a mixture of dust, gravel and rocks., with a few washouts.
We travelled several hundred metres apart because the cars kicked up a tremendous cloud of dust but used the UHF radios to warn of hazards including the occasional on coming vehicle.
The last quarter of the journey was a different matter the road was in much poorer conditions with many corrugated sections and a lot of sections with a moderate depth of dust. This required much slower speeds in fact the last 20km of road had a 60kph speed limit, though that was about as fast as you could go anyway.
We entered Camerons Corner through a gate in the dog fence and a sign which told us we were entering South Australia, Just before the entrance to the Camerons Corner Store/Pub is an area where the plinth marking the exact location where the Queensland, NSW and South Australia borders meet. The pub itself is in Queensland.
It was therefore possible to stand so that one half your body was half an hour away from the other half.
That evening there was the most beautiful sunset which we watched from the plinth.
28th May 2021
Woke up this morning to a heavy fog. We all started packing away fairly early and were on the road by 9am. The fog and clouds slowly burned off as we went north.
After the flat country further south the first part of the road to Tibooburra was relatively hilly and the road surprisingly twisty. The further north we drove the more arid the scenery.
We stopped at Packsaddle for fuel and a meal before continuing north. The road to Tibooburra is now bitumen for its entire distance.
Tibooburra is a very small town with a population of about 134, everything seems to be run from the General Store/Post Office/Service station. We arrived at the service station to check in to the caravan park and tried to book two powered sites for us but were told that three cars is three sites so rather than book powered sites booked three unpowered sites for $20 each.
After setting up our camp I filled up with fuel but the kids decided to wait for the morning.
At least the road is open which bodes well for tomorrow.