Day 10 – 17th April

Our night spot was very quiet, no cars went by at all, we were up at 5.45am and it was freezing. I grabbed my jacket, beanie and gloves as I knew up at the sculptures it would be colder and I was right.

We have notice down here people are a bit slow in getting moving in the mornings; other travellers have said the same. Well the sun is the same, it takes forever to rise, didn’t rise today until 7am, we were waiting in the cold for an hour. Only a so so sunrise, but we were the only ones mad enough to be there at that time.

Sculpture Symposium at Sunset

At Yunta we took a little detour to some ruins I had found on the internet about 33km up a dirt rd. They are called Waukaringa Ruins, they were very fascinating, we think one was the old pub; all that is left is the stone work. You can wonder around inside and walked around what would have been the cellars. We spent a couple of hours taking photos from every angle, only calling it quits when we couldn’t handle any more flies or the heat.

Waukaringa Ruins

When we dropped the key into the info centre I asked if we have brought fruit in the fruit fly free zone of BH can we take it into SA, no. So we had to eat as much fruit and vegies as we could, which fortunately wasn’t much, Chris did have 3 apples and 2 tomatoes but he wouldn’t eat the other 6 tomatoes we had to throw out. At Yunta we were talking to some other motorhome people who were also saying how crazy it is. They were told at a check point coming in from Vic, that they did have a sign at BH saying you can’t bring fruit and vegies into SA but the BH people took it down cause they want to sell them to travellers, we think it’s just a scam to get us to buy fruit and veg in their part of the world. We were checked in SA, he came into the van, crazy thing is the check point is over 200kms into SA.

Waukaringa Ruins 2 Waukaringa Ruins 3

We have stopped at Peterborough for the night.

You see some crazy things on the road, we have seen a bottle tree, with bottles stuck all over it. Days later and many km’s later we saw a tree with tin foil all over it, another decorated with tinsel, we saw some huge dice in the middle of nowhere but the weirdest so far was today. We passed what looked like a garage sale but in the middle of nowhere, no houses around, no driveways or towns and they even had a bathtub painted orange and red.

Day 9 – 16th April

Gee nature is not doing her part, the sunrise was terrible, there was heavy cloud right on the horizon. It was getting later and later and we were wondering where the sun was when it finally appeared above the clouds but there was no colour as it was too far up.

We arrived in at the Hill just before lunch; we went for a walk down the main street of BH. It is said in the tourist info that BH is like a living museum. You can see why with so many old buildings, there is a lot of history in the place. As you walk around there are the signs that show pictures and some historic information about that particular spot.

We called into the Silver City Mint and Art Centre; it was much bigger inside that in looked at the front. The reason Chris was drawn to the place was it had a sigh out the front about a chocolate factory, which was only a very small part of the place. It had lots of art work from the local artist; some were good some were not. There was also a display of floral work from apparently the best floral painter in Australia. There was also animals, like possums, emus, kangaroos, lizards, frogs etc all made out of a sheet of tin that looked like they have been cut out with an oxy welder or small gas cutter, there was also one that had a farm house, emu and windmill in it, I like this one the best. This place is also the home of “The Big Picture” the world’s largest acrylic painting on canvas, 12m x 100m. You had to pay to get in to see that so we didn’t see it. There was more than enough other art to satisfy the arty people. It is well worth dropping in for a look.

All the streets in BH hill are mining type of names. The gutters are very big; it seems when it rains it really rains.

Sculpture Symposium

We called into the info centre to get a key for the Sculptures, we got the last one, we think they hand out 15. We checked with them that there was room to turn the van around at the top, which there was but they were wondering about parking, so we have come up here early to make sure we get a park, of which there is plenty of. We have seen cars come and go so we aren’t really sure how many will be here for the sunset, they also do bus tours up here for sunset. It’s all very interesting but a bit too in depth with the meanings they are trying to display for me. I like some better than others.

Horse head The-Bride Through the Eye Under the Jaguar Sun

Boy every tourist in BH was up at the sculptures for the sunset, they had heard it was a good place to have a picnic and watch the sun set. Not only the people that drove but there were also many who had walked up. There were people everywhere and it was impossible to get shots without people in them. And forget trying to get the sun behind a sculpture everyone was on the other side of the watching the sun go down. But it was still an amazing experience and one that was a pleasure to share with other travellers. We had lovely chats with many of them.
Sunset at Sculptures

Where are we camped? Umm don’t know, well I sort of do, somewhere between the sculpture turn off and BH more towards the sculptures. It’s not a designated camp area; it’s just well off the road in the desert somewhere. We did spy a spot on our way this arvo and we tried to find it in the pitch black. I was holding the big spot light out the window as we were driving along trying to find it. We ended up stopping nearly opposite the sculpture turn off in an area the bike riders use but we will be gone well before anyone else turns up. It is quite cold outside and as mentioned pitch black.

Day 6 – 13th April

Well last night was quiet, the reunion people left early evening. We were up early again for a sunrise, this is getting to be a bad habit, one I must break, after all I don’t do mornings, I have a reputation to up hold. We went back to the hotel but the troopy was still there so we did what we could. The lightening was excellent. We had hooked up the van the night before so we had an early departure from Silverton.

We headed into BH, looked around for water to fill the tanks, they keep their water under lock and key. We eventually found a park that had a tap but no handle; luckily we had the universal tap that our good friends had bought us, so we managed to get some. We then went up to the Line of Lode which is a miner’s memorial. Which was closed until 10am, which is 10.30 our time, there is a seat that was made especially for the giant miner, so we had fun sitting up in that swinging your legs made you feel like a little kid. I sat up there while Chris put the camera on a tripod on a timer, then he would run like mad jump onto some bricks that were there to help you get onto the seat and then jump onto the seat and sit next to me just in time for the camera to take the shot.

Little Kids

After we finished playing little kids we had a look around the outside before deciding we would go check out the Sculptures at the Living desert which is approx 10km out of BH. You can get a key from the Info centre to drive up to the sculptures otherwise it’s a 40min walk, also this gives you access when the main area is closed so you can get sunset and sunrises shots. Entry into the Living Desert is $10 so we thought we may as well get the key in a few days and camp out that way for the night, there are plenty of places to pull over and we saw a motor home doing just that.

Miners Memorial

We went back to the Line of Lode which still wasn’t open so we had morning tea before going in. We were the first ones in and headed straight to the memorial through the gift shop, we didn’t realise until we came out that they want you to pay for that as well $2.50 each. The memorial lists all the miners who have died since around 1885 up until present, not many present of course. It listed the year they died, name and what they died from.

Line of Lode #2 Line of Lode

BH would not be on the list of CMCA RV friendly towns. We then headed to Menindee which is 110km from BH. The road is on the verge of desert, again we saw some emus. We took what appears to be the main road into the free camping areas along the Darling River about 8kms out of Menindee, 12km of dirt road that had a few sections of severe corrugations that had the teeth chattering on their own.

We are camped on the Burke and Wills camp ground up on a bank overlooking the Darling River, very nice and finally some decent size gum trees. We have just checked the area out today.

Burke-and-Wills-2

We chatted to some local people from BH or the Hill as the locals call it. Found out that they are going to put a wind farm on the Mundi Mundi plains at Silverton, 500 windmills.Lake Pamamaroo is totally dry; apparently it had water in it 5 months ago. It is a big lake but is very shallow. Lake Wetherill has water in it and is the main storage for water for the Hill. You can take a sunset boat ride which we may do one day; the lake has lots of gnarly dead looking trees that would make great sunrise and sunset pics. Lake Pamamaroo also has the gnarly trees so we are going to get some sunset pics there tonight. Lake Menindee has been dried up for well over 15 years. There is another dirt road into Menindee that is 25kms but the road sounds much better. We will take a run into Menindee tomorrow and check the place out and see if it’s a better route out with the van.

Lake-Pamamaroo-Sunset

Day 4 – 11th April

Our night spot was quieter than we thought it would be, might be the main rd into Broken Hill but it’s a quiet road.

The first 100km into BH is so flat and only little bushes for vegetation. We saw a Wedge Tail eagle twice, both times very close to the road eating road kill. One flew off only a meter above the ground. Also saw some more emus. Now the full on driving is done the cameras will come out and be handy to grab. The last 20km into BH was hillier. As you come into town you pass Junction Mine. Also old miner’s cottages line the street as you enter the main area very tiny and all very close together.

The town itself it build right next to a mine, as you drive down the main street and look up side streets you look up them to see these great mounds of dirt quite strange. The rest of the shops are in the other direction.

We called into the info centre which was very busy and didn’t have a lot. Found out what we wanted to know and left. We got gas, not too badly priced here 68.9 cents. We then found the local Woolworths and got our fruit and veggies as you are not allowed to bring them into the area as it is a fruit fly zone. BH and areas are on South Australia’s time 30min behind us.

After filling the fridge we headed out to Silverton home of Mad Max 2 and a number of other movies and TV adds. We are staying at Penrose Park the only place you can stay, it’s on 65 acres of mostly dust and trees bit like a decent size road side stop. There are 4 toilet blocks and 1 shower block, you can spread out and choose where you want to camp. We are too far away from the amenities so will use our own at $9 each it’s a bit steep for what you get but we have little choice, we are booked in for 2 nights. It was established in 1937 as a recreation area for the region miners and their families.

We have had a drive around Silverton, very strange town, things are very spread apart. The buildings are mostly made of stone with a lot of history; several of them have been turned into art galleries. We called into the Peter Brown Gallery, the one with the V Dub beetle cars, all painted up with emus. His limited prints were very unique but expensive at $195 framed. We didn’t realise at first they charge you a gold coin to enter, we had a quick look and left while she was serving someone, else. The next gallery we went to go in had a big milk urn at the front door saying the same thing. We thought this was a bit much, shops don’t charge you to enter so they can sell you something. So we didn’t go in and didn’t bother with any more art galleries.

Silverton Gallery

We stopped at the Silverton Hotel with a replica of the Mad Max 2 car out the front, as Chris said it’s an old bomb. The hotel was interesting with lots of photos of cast of movie crews and actors also of any actor that has ever visited the place. Of course lots of pics of Mad Max 2 and Mel Gibson.

Silverton Emu Bug

Emu-Bug

About 5.30pm our time we went back into Silverton, the clouds were looking good for a great sunset. First we dropped in at a coin carver place where the guy carved out the back of coins only leaving the emblems, takes about 3 to 4 hours work really nice but very expensive at $175. We then took some pics of the Methodist church that was originally a Presbyterian church but the Methodist had a greater following and when the Methodist church blew down in a storm the Presbyterian Church sold them theirs. It was a really nice building. We then went back to the beetle gallery place and took some shots there, all this before the sun set, when the sun did set the sky was pretty good. The lighting on the buildings was great giving much better light than earlier in the day.

Church at Silverton

Day 3 – 10th April

We had a good night sleep and it was very quiet. Brewarrina is an Aboriginal town so to be honest we did have a few concerns about staying there but we did check the town out and it is a nice little town clean and tidy, they should be proud of their town. The local Aboriginal police man came and had a chat and was very friendly. I guess it doesn’t mean it would be good every time.

Brewarrina-Rest-Area-3

We were on the road by 7am. We stopped at Bourke for water and hopefully gas as they do sell it. We stopped at the only servo we could find and I ran in and asked them only to be told the Caltex doesn’t open on the weekends.

We got some rain on the way to Cobar, it is a much bigger town and we were able to get both fuels. We have seen heaps of emus on the drive, I also saw a Major Mitchell Cockatoo, and we saw a field of cockatoos and have seen heaps of goats, especially on the road from Cobar to Broken Hill. I thought they were feral at first but then there were so many and they look to be in good nick. Other travel folk think they are feral.

We had planned to stop near Wilcannia but all the rest stops were too close to the road and very open. The best one we saw was about 57kms East of Wilcannia. We kept checking out rest stops as we headed to Broken Hill and have stopped at one about 120kms out, along with a lot of other travellers. We did the walk around and had a chat to many of them.

The road from Cobar to Broken Hill is very straight, very few trees and vegetation. It doesn’t look like they use the land for anything apart from the goats and a few sheep.

Prelude:

We had planned a trip this April/May 09 up to Far North Qld but alas the FNQ wet season had other ideas,with most of the areas we were heading to flooded. Poor Karumba is likely to be isolated for at least 8 weeks.

Bedourie and Birdsville are also flooded due to the floods up north moving south. As the saying goes all clouds have a Silver lining, not sure about all but this one does. Flood waters from Birdsville are moving down into the rivers that fill Lake Eyre. Note sure when this event is likely to happen again so we are taking advantage of the situation and going to head South to Lake Eyre.

Lake-Eyre

Salt

Our trip south will also take us through, Bourke, which I might add is currently in flood and a disaster area. (early Feb) Bourke is on the Darling River, which flows into the Menindee Lakes and then into the Murray River, another Silver lining. Then from Bourke to Broken Hill, Silverton, Menindee Lakes, through to SA and onto Lake Eyre. After Lake Eyre up the Oodnadatta Track, up to Oodnadatta, across to Cooper Pedy. We decided to reverse this, went to Cooper Pedy first, and then up to Oodnadatta etc, then back down the Murray River region with a tour along the Murray River. It is sure to be a fun filled trip.

Apex-Beach-5

Chris has been flat out doing renovations in the van, putting in the back area of the van a cupboard/bench area that will house a washing machine, Waeco Freezer as well as other bits and pieces. Getting it all ready for our big trip of 5 ½ weeks.