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.
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.
26 to 27th May 2021
Distance: 19 km
Discovering that my son was able to join us on this trip meant a hasty rearrangement of our plans. He would arrive on the afternoon of the 27th May (Thursday) after driving the 1300km from Sydney in two days (rather him that me).
Apart from some shopping for the next few days until we return to Broken Hill and some very nice food at a local cafe my daughter and I did nothing, saving the sightseeing for our return from Tibooburra. I don’t think I have ever done this while travelling and it was a pleasant change just to sit around and read or drink tea and beer while watching the activities of fellow campers.
Andrew arrived about 3pm on an unpowered site right next to us which was convenient. We spent a very pleasant evening together.
25th May 2021
Had some news this morning that my son will join us in Broken Hill on Thursday so there is going to be some rescheduling.
Today was always going to be a long one, it is a fair distance to Broken Hill, if we had not already booked a site there we would probably stayed somewhere nearer and made it a two day journey. On the plus side Broken Hill is on Central Australian Time so half an hour behind the rest of NSW.
We set off about 8.45am under very grey skies heading west toward Mildura and Wentworth.
This soon turned to steady rain.
Stopped at Buronga for petrol for Katie’s car which turned out to be very fortunately later. Her car does less than 400km on a tankful especially in windy weather and well loaded.
The highway bypassed Mildura and kept us in NSW before we turned on to the Silver City Highway toward Broken Hill. On previous trips up this road I have seen thousands of feral goats and many emus but today saw none, not an animal in sight except the odd crow eating carrion!
We had planned to get petrol and have lunch at Coombah roadhouse as it is the only fuel on this 265 km stretch of road but when we arrived it was completely shut up with locks on the fuel pumps despite the sign saying “Open 7 Days”.
After a quick calculation we thought that Katie had just enough fuel to get to Broken Hill but it would be close (there was 10 litres in the back of my car for such emergencies). In the event the fuel warning light came on just outside Broken Hill so she stopped at the first service station to fill up.
Once at the caravan park we checked in and booked an extra couple of nights to wait for my son, unfortunately we cannot stay on our current site but will have to move in the morning but such is life.
After the 15’ warmth of last night tonight was predicted to be 6’.