Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Outback NSW - Cameron Corner

Both of us have wanted to go to Cameron Corner for some time now and for whatever the reason it’s just never happened, that all changed these last school holidays. With limited time available due to work and other activities, it was to be now or once again the trip would be postponed.

Weeks of planning, car preparation and organising had finally come to together and it was on the Friday of the Oct long weekend that we set off for our first stop – Mudgee. It was here that we collected Aj after a night of heavy rain and storms. Heading west we soon found clearer skies as we passed through Dubbo and Narromine before stopping for lunch at Nyngan. After filling our stomachs and letting the kids burn off excess energy we pressed on to Cobar for a nights accommodation in the caravan park. As the sun set we had time to take in a few of the local tourist spots which included a visit to the historical mining equipment which is part of Cobar’s Copper history.

An early start to the day ensured that we made good progress to our days travel, but nothing can prepare you for the relentless long stretches of road that lie between Cobar and Broken Hill. To break our journey we selectively stopped and various geocaches which excited the kids as they took charge of finding the treasure. Little has changed since our last visit to Wilcannia and this time was no exception, so we easily passed through town and onto the nearby rest area where we stopped for lunch. Here we chatted with a couple of truckies who continually drive the Brisbane to Perth run. It’s not something I could regularly do!

Back on the road we were constantly amazed at the wildlife which roams the open highway. Kangaroos, Goats and Emus were never far from the front of the bull bar. Arriving in Broken Hill it was surprising to hear that accommodation was limited so we jumped at the first spot offered to us. We booked in and set-up camp in what turned out to be a nice caravan park. As the footy grandfinal was on we kicked back and enjoyed the late afternoon with drinks and nibbles’.

A day of sightseeing around Broken Hill filled our next day. We took in the views from the Mullock Hill, which included some fun on the huge bench seat. We then headed out to the Royal Flying Doctor Service where the kids got to appreciate the size and remoteness of our beautiful country. After our tour of the base we headed out to the old mining town of Silverton, here we toured an old school. This was a fantastic view into our schooling past and something we all enjoyed. We looked around the old buildings and some of the Mad Max memorabilia which is on show. Back in Broken Hill we visited the Living Dessert Sculptures just on sunset.

A new day and a big step in our adventure through the outback, today we would be heading to Cameron Corner. We left Broken Hill by 9am with full tanks of fuel and water, lots of food and then a bit more of everything – just in case. In some ways the remote outback was a little daunting but a challenge that we met head on. Driving towards Tibooburra you quickly got to appreciate the semi arid environment we were entering. The roads were often dirt which created plumes of dust. Oncoming vehicles were visible well before they reached us due to the dust. We stopped at the roadhouse of Packsaddle where we enjoyed an ice-cream and a look over their SES shed before moving onto Milparinka for a late lunch. Back on the road we eventually made it to Tibooburra where we refuelled before heading west to the corner. The 140km of dirt out to the corner seemed relentless but eventually we crested a sand dune where the dog fence and corner store were visible. To our surprise the corner was bustling meca of cars and people. A variety bash had stopped over for a night, they consumed the whole campground forcing all the one-off holiday makers into bush camping. After setting up we sat back and enjoyed happy hour under a setting sun and then a star filled sky.

Our second day at the corner was pure relaxation, we spent the morning playing a few holes of golf on the new tri-state course before spending the afternoon trying to keep cool as the day had become rather warm. Late in the afternoon we shared a beer at the store before taking some memorable photos of the area.

As the day dawned we were up early as we had a big day ahead of us. Packing up we said goodbye to the corner and hello to a day of dirt roads. The 140km back to Tibooburra seemed to take forever but eventually we pulled up at the “School of the air” where a welcoming teacher showed us around the school. The kids were amazed at the fact only 9 children attend the school.

Back on the road, we headed south to Milparinka where visited the Sturt Cairn, this was an interesting piece of history and well worth the stop. Once again we had lunch in the deserted township of Milparinka. Pressing southwards we took an old bush track across to White Cliffs, this part of the journey emphasised the remoteness of the area we were in. For the 170km cross-country trip we only seen one car on the road.

Arriving in White Cliffs we were once again faced with a barrage of variety bash cars, two groups had occupied the entire town, forcing locals to open the showground simply so they could camp in town. We grabbed a spot at the caravan park where we spent the afternoon relaxing and reminiscing of our holiday to-date. A sour moment just on dark when Ethan ran into a steel post had us hoping there wasn’t serious injury sustained, however the resilience of kids shone through and he was soon back on his feet with the only damage being to Mum and Dad’s nerves.

Waking up, the early morning heat had us packing up rather quickly. A visit to White Cliffs wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Jock’s Place. This character of the outback lives in an underground home/mine, he opens his doors to tourists to witness the underground lifestyle, it was here that we seen opal in its rawest form. Heading further south we passed through the town of Wilcannia, this marked a milestone in our big outback trip, from here to home would be travelling on previously travelled roads. It didn’t deter us from enjoying the sights along the outback highways and by late afternoon we’d arrived at Cobar. Once setup, we had time for a few more geocaches before settling in for a relaxing night.

Unofficially this was our last day of holidays. The further east we travelled, the greener the countryside become, more traffic on the roads and sense of disappointment that our holiday was coming to an end consumed us. By mid-afternoon we’d arrived in Mudgee where we bid farewell to Aj before having one last night in the van park.

Our 9 day outback adventure seen us
• Go to 3 states
• Do 3400km of driving
• Visit towns of Cobar, Broken Hill, Cameron Corner, Tibooburra and White Cliffs