A Travellerspoint blog

June 2011, Deniliquin, Broken Hill

After 9 weeks in Deniliquin, we managed to move about a bit, and finally North this time.
Had a farewell dinner in Deni kindly sponsored by Sunrice. Don't look to pleased about life as you can see:

Before we went North, we had a short trip back into Victoria again for the Echuca Steam Rally. This is a pretty big event with a lot of operating big machinery including traction engines and a suprising number of steam lorries which looked pretty scary to operate.
The Thomas train here orginally came from Qld cane fields and was used as the first train on the Abt Tourist Railway in Tasmania until they restored the original engines:

Also plenty of toy trains and pipe smoking bearded chaps waving thier arms and shouting at each other:

Draught horse team demo's loading logs:

Think weve started something here:

Camped beside the Murray River. Evan gaining confidence:

From Echuca, we headed back through Deni, then Hay, then out toward Ivanhoe.
In between Ivanhoe and Hillston is an old station called Willandra which was bought by National Parks in 1972 and the homestead and shearers buldings restored. Very interesting place.
This is the track around the "house paddock":

Shearers Quarters:

Shearing Shed:

From there we headed East to Ivanhoe, then through to Menindee. This was 200km of dirt which started out OK but got rougher toward the end. Took about 4 hours and crossed about 50 grids. Was worth it in the end arriving at Lake Pamamaroo. This is the lake to the North of Lake Menindee and out of the National Park. Lake's are full for the first time in about 10 years:

Menindee as a town doesn't have much going for it, and so far has the most arrogant information centre attendant we have come across. Found out that most of the National Park was closed due to flooding on the river, and the main lake wasn't accesable as the indiginous brothers were scratching around for artefacts.
The woolshed was still open:

The last night at Menindee rain was forcast, but didn't eventuate, until a short shower in the morning so we packed up to get out on the main road before it got slippery.
Headed West from Menindee to Broken Hill. Arrived with a 3 wheeled caravan. Wheel studs all tore out of the hub, so spent a few dollars at the local trailer shop:

Cold weather up on the hill shrunk us a bit:

Met up with the Gallpens who were on their way back from Alice Springs, so while there were a few extra kids about we had a birthday party for Evan and Ella:

The Living Desert Sculptures. Not sure what the "Living Desert" is, but some arty types had dragged these rocks here and chiselled them into various shapes. Each one had a plaque to tell the uncultured what we were looking at:

Silverton was the next day out. About 25km out of Broken Hill. Another collection of broken mining boom buildings. Although these ones have made the most out of tourism. The town had some interesting bits but was very commercial. Lots of art galleries and movie memorabilia:

The filming of Mad Max 2 in the area seems to be the main claim to fame:

Obligatory photo of the Interceptor, although I thought it looked better from the back as most of the front had fallen off:

For Evan and Ellas birthday we went to the local cinema and watched Cars 2, which Evan liked expecially.
As we had a week and a bit before our next job commitment, we headed up to Camerons Corner. After the previous weeks incident we decided to leave the Van in Broken Hill and stay in cabins. This worked out pretty well as we did about 1100km of mostly dirt, and most of it pretty rough in 5 days.
First day was up to Tibooburra, then out to Camerons Corner:

On the way out we came across an old bloke with 2 camels pulling a Suzuki 4WD with the motor removed. Apprently he has been walkabout for years and upgraded from a pushbike towing a canoe.

Not much at the Corner except a Pub, and a breif appearance by a school while we were there:

The Pub is in Queensland, but we went through South Australia to get to it:

Took the jumper off North of the border:


And the locals perched at the bar:

There were signs everywhere not to throw anything for the dog. Didn't stop him trying:

The next morning we headed back to Tibooburra. We were going to do a lap around the "Jump Ups" (hilly country in amongst the flat bits) but could see rain heading towards us so didn't take the chance.
Some vintage transport at Tibooburra:

From Tibooburra we headed South East to White Cliffs. Stopped at a river for morning tea and dug some rocks out of the river bed:

Whit Cliffs is an Opal Mining town. We stayed in PJ's underground B&B which is part of an old mine. Place was like a rabbit warren and we lost our room a few times:

Inside was much more appealing than the roof:

The back part of the mine was still "original":

From White cliffs we went back to Broken Hill for a couple of nights, then headed out to our Station job on the Darling River. OUr last night in Broken Hill there was about 4mm of rain which flooded most of the table drains in the cenre of town, so we drove out in axle deep water in some places. The roads either side of the Darling river were still closed from flooding so we went due east through Wilcannia and onto Cobar.
These two towns were chalk and cheese. Wilcannia had bars on windows and no-one about while Cobar was all immaculate shops and people everywhere.

Camped about 80km North of Cobar. Met a local cocky who was chasing sheep rustlers. As we were camped on the road they were using he asked us to keep and eye out:

The map to date. Still going around in circles:

So as of last week (6th July) we are at Trilby Station for about 4 weeks helping run the tourist accomodation. Simone is cleaning the cottages and shearers quarters, while I empty bins and collect firewood. Has been enjoyable so far.
We had 12mm of rain on the last 2 days which meant the road in was impassable, so there are a few people staying an extra day or two.

Posted by enookway 03:10 Comments (1)

April May 2011 - Deniliquin

Still in Deniliquin.
We were going to leave last Friday, but the place seems to agree with us and the money in agriculture is a bit too good to run away from.

Deni has about 8000 people, so similar in size to Portland. Main industries are Rice milling and selling stuff to Rice farmers. Place has been a bit dead during the drought having so much reliance on water, but there is some optimism about now after the recent rains.
Not frightnened to water things up here. Rice obviously needs a drink, and involves drowning acres of it in about a foot of water over the summer months.

View from the top of the Hull Bins at work. Flat country. Mulwala channel in front which starts from the Murray up at Yarrawonga.

Lineup of trucks delivering rice. Harvest is nearly over so the queues are a bit shorter now.

Anyway, Deni has a Harvey Norman, which has more huge televisions than the kids have seen for a while. That entertained them while we sat on the lounge suites. After 8 months of caravan seats and camp chairs, they were pretty comfortable:

Had the rowdy Holts visit us the weekend before easter. Kids were pretty excited to see some familiar faces.

Flat. This is out towards Hay. Not far from here is apparently the flattest bit of the earth, or some similar local claim to fame. Seems anything more than a few metres in elevation is called Mount something, or something Hill.

Beths tooth collection - old and new

Easter we went to Condobolin, which is 450km North, and in the middle of nowhere. Drove there in one day (took all day) which is the biggest day weve done so far.
Most people asked whay the hell we were giong there for, mainly (well only) to see the Condo 750 Rally. A two day Safari type navigation rally thats been running since the mid 80's.

Saw a few of these:

And lots of these:

And being easter, there were rabbits about. And the NSW ones drink the local beer:

Came back through Lake Carlelligo. Forgot it was Anzac day until we nearly drove through the middle of the parade.

Happy Girls:

Stroppy Boy:

Downstream of Deni on the Edward River is Stevens Weir. And there lives a frog:

In amongst the leaves:
Quite a nice picnic area.

Did a few renovations in the caravan. Will be a bit more careful where we do it next time as all the grey nomad tradesmen flock around and offer advice and want to help:

Ella the story teller:

Had a fleeting visit back into Victoria. Went to Echuca for a day. Seems to be the main place to go shopping from here. Only 80km away.
Bought some warmer cloths.
Weather has turned a bit cold the last few weeks. Down to 3 or 4 most mornings and around 16 during the day. One day was -1. Then Last Saturday it was 23!

A picture of our camp. Real estate bargain, worst house in the best street:

Some of the local wildlife. Apart from possums and mice:

Speaking of mice, the mouse plague has settled down a bit. We only see half 3 or 4 a night in the awning instead of 10 or 20. One night we had 3 traps going flat out and cought about 15 mice in an hour or so.

Last weekends expedition was to Lawsons Siphon which is where the Mulwala channel crosses the Edward river by going under it. Interesting bit of engineering built either side of the war. Involves two pipes 3m in diameter that drop about 20m down then surface again 700m away. Channel is down at the moment so it wasn't flowing.

Down on the beach we tracked some Kangaroos and worked out how far they can jump.

So thats the extent of our excitement. Finish up here on the 10th June and head toward Broken Hill, then turn hard right toward Bourke.
We have 4 weeks work lined up on a station on the Darling River. Might need bigger boots and hats for this job.

Posted by enookway 02:54 Comments (1)

March April 2011 - Mallacoota to Deniliquin

Well, where are we?
After a couple of pleasant days in Mallacoota we continued west through Cann River. Had some very warm weather so we improvised a sprinkler:

Next day the weather turned cold and wet. Turned toward the coast to Marlo and had a look at the other end of the Snowy River:

Then into Orbost.
Did a day trip up to Raymond Falls. Headed up a road that looked reasonable on the map, but turned into 30km of 4WD track. Passengers lost thier sense of humour but we made it eventually. Then the walk into the falls was a bit of a hike, and the falls werent that spectacular:

Amazing how dry this corner of the country is. Almost instantly dried out as soon as we got back into Victoria.

From Orbost we landed in Lakes Entrance on the March long weekend. People everywhere so accomodation was a bit sparse even though there are 27 caravan parks in the town. The Rec reserve backed onto a lake:

Some of the locals had it worked out: Canoe, Esky, drift about:

Al Fresco dining:

Next Stop was Bruthen, only because it had a Brewery (Bullant). Bit of a dissapointment as it was basically a yuppie cafe with a brewery tacked on the side. Only had one brew of their own, the other 4 on tap were imports from other Victorian Microbrweries.

Bairnsdale. Mum and Beth took the train back to Portland for a visit of freinds and rellies for a couple of weeks while Dad and the twins headed North to meet them again in Wagga:

Up Hill again for the afternoon toward Omeo. Stopped in Cassilis which is between Swifts creek and Omeo. Old gold mine workings in this area.

Camped at the local rec reserve. Good amount of grass here. Evan had a bit of trouble riding through it:


The cemetry was next door and most graves were from arond the turn of last century. One row of 4 graves were all women in thier late twenties. Plenty of blokes dying well before 40 as well. Hard life in the mines.

Omeo lockup. This was used up until 1981:


From Omeo we headed out for a loop of Benambra. High plains to the North East of Omeo.
Came across an old cocky who asked if I'd been through here before. Said the road was very steep and rough, so it was a pretty slow descent:

Headed out the Omeo "Highway" toward Mitta Mitta. Very windy road following the mountains. This was the third night without phone service so we headed up a hill (1400m) and still had none:

Campground at Lightning Creek:

Twins seemed to be getting along:

Once out of the Hills we crossed our previous track back in October at Tallangatta and camped in the same spot:

Crossed the Murray at Jinjellic and stopped in Holbrook, which is famous for the "Big Submarine", which is just a normal submarine in a park about 300km from the sea.
Holbrook was an Austrian submarine captain who snuck through the Dardanells and knocked off a few German ships during the Gallippoli campaign. The submarine museum has a few bits of the inside of the sub. Kids were fascinated with this bit:

Arrived in Wagga to look for some work. Was offered some Engineering work for 3 months but decided it was a bit long term to be this far south. Not much else about. Finding work in a big place (60,000) seemed to be a lot harder than small towns.

So we waited for Mum and Beth to arrive on the train:

Mum and Beth had a good couple of weeks. Cought up with Grandad and Nan in Geelong, stayed with the Holts, went to Jess' 21st, and caught up with a few of Beths other friends.
Beth was Jorga's show and tell at Bolwarra school, and Beth had a visit to her old school in South Portland.

19th of March marked 6 months on the road.

Camped out along the Murrumbidgee for the weekend. River flooded in December and did quite a bit of damage.

Decided we didn't think much of Wagga so headed to Leeton to look for work. If nothing there we were going to try Griffith next.
Arrived in Leeton in time for the first "Art Deco" festival. Few thing on around town:

Doorknocked for an afternoon and found a job at Sunrice for 6 weeks. Their Deniliquin Mill has been shut down for 3 years due to the drought and was fired back up in January. The rice harvest is in full swing and all thier maintenance staff are new to the industry, so I will be fixing stuff and having to think for a while.
The rice harvest has only been around 200,000 tonnes for the last few years, normally 1.3 million tonnes. This year they are expecting 800,000 tonnes so a big step up.
So just as we were finally heading North, we get sent south again.

On the way to Deniliquin we stopped at the Altina wildlife park:

Flat country out here. Bit of a change from the hilly country we've been in for 6 months:

Kids got into the Easter spirit:

Mud map to date. Think we have the SE corner of the country covered now. At this rate we should get around the rest of the place by 2015.

Posted by enookway 17:01 Comments (2)

Week 16 to 23 - Moruya to Mallacoota

Week 16 to 23 - Moruya to Mallacoota

Our time at Moruya has some to an end. Spent 3 months there in the end and pretty much left once the house lease had expired.

Had some pretty warm and humid weather while we were there which apparently is normal for this area. Spent a few afternoons in the sea:

Between Moruya and Batemans Bay ios an old Gold mining town called Mogo. Spent a day here in pretend mine tunnels:

And dressin gup in the era:
Notably absent from this photo is child #3 who cracked the sads and didn't want to play.

The owners had a young bloke which looked remarkably like one we had:

Next major event was the Moruya show:

Local blokes attempting barrel raving in very loose sand. Qute amusing:

Another spot we found for swimming and afternnoon BBQing callled Congo Point:

Couple of the locals:

Inland were some equally beaut spots. This is the Deua River:

And some of the locals, big goannas. Saw about 5 in one day:

Local playground in town had a flying fox which we usually had to queue up for. Helmets were from the ride down, although probably not a bad idea:

Two days before we left, Beth was taken to Hostpital with a bit of breathing difficulty. Found out she has Asthma. Made the most of her hostpital stay:

So we left Moruya on the 25th Febraury and headed south. First stop was south of Narooma and a hisptical town called Tilba (actually central Tilba which is down the road from Tilba Tilba). Evan having a bit of a mood:

And a pleasant view:

Mt Dromadary sits behind Tilba and has a walking track up it for hiking types. So I gave it a go. 800m up in about 5km. The day was a bit ordinary so the view wasn't much:

I only saw one leach so didn't think much of it, until I tipped about half a dozen out of each sock once I was back at the base:

Bit further south is a wildlife sanctuary called Potoroo Palace. Bit underwhelming but the kids hand fed some kangaroos:

And got to have a close look at this bloke:

Camp on the side of the road outside Eden:

Very picturesque town:

Called in to see Marg and Kevin Clunie (formerly of Portland - Cempac). Had a play with their dog:

Out on a point is Boyds Tower built by a local in the mid 1800's. Stone imported from Sydney as you do:

And then to the nearby whaling station. Eden has an interesting whaling history with the local whalers working closely with killer whales:

Eden (and most places on the NSW south coast) were very quiet, but everything changed when we got back into Victoria and Mallacoota. Council caravan park has 650 sites and 2/3rds would still be taken now. Bit of a culture shock backing the van into a row of 30 or 40 other campers.

Beautiful spot though.

Some of the locals:

Local airport was a tracking station during the second world war. A museum in one of the radio bunkers has opened in the last year:

We managed to find another bunker out in the bush:

Further on we had a picnic at Shipwreck creek:

And then back toward Mallacoota for a swim in the sea:

So the plan for the next week oor two is to contune further west then north into NSW.

The snail trail since November:

Posted by enookway 01:07 Comments (5)

Week 12 to 15 - Moruya

Not a huge amount to report from the last few weeks.
Still working, or was up until Christmas, then had the last week and half off. Back to work on Tuesday 4th even thought theres no new years public holiday here on Monday.

Moruya Heads, about 6 k's East on the south side of the river, near the sea:

Weve been as far south as Bega. Stopped off at Narooma on the way home. Very picturesque coastal town:

Santa came a bit early with a pool during one of the warm weeks:
Weather has been a bit all over the place. Weve had a week or two of high 20's and humid, then it will be cool and drizzling every day for a week. New years day was 41, the day after didn't make 20.
When it rains it does not stuff about. Torrential rain and wind that blows in every door and window crack and floods the driveway, then its all over in 10 minutes.

This is the quarry site for the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons, looking West down the Moruya river towards town.

Christmas Day. Quiet day at home. Kids did really well and enjoyed a heap of new stuff to cover the floor with:

Evan got a new bike as his old one was getting a bit small:



Boxing day was much of the same. Watched a bit of Wallace and Grommit:

Went to the local speedway. Got the Bluey out for the first time since Cooma and was looking for the beanie:
These are a dirt kart class, which appear to be held flat for 8 laps. Not surere how they hold together. There were a few other interesting classes like vintage midgets and rods. Seemed to be anything goes as long as it was within the rules of the day. So there was supercharged VW's and ford v8's up against holden grey motors. The front runners spent most of there time backing off to lap the back markers.

Anyway. A few day trips into the inland as anywhere near the sea has been bedlam this last week. Old Gold mine at Mount Coman behind Bodalla. Battery Stamper was used up until the 1930's. Historical group built a roof over it. Lots of other stuff lying about like tram tracks etc:

The road in and out was very scenic. On the lower areas and river flats are lots of small farms growing anything from vegetables to horses:

Moruya river from the opposite bank from where I wanted to be. Map showed a ford in the river, but I reckon I might have got more than my socks wet:

Went up to Pebbly beach which is North of Batemans Bay in amongst a National Park. Couldn't even get a car park so we retreated back through the hills to Nelligen for a picnic:

Broulee, just up the coast, have a sand sculpting competition new years eve. So we went for a look and ended up entering.

Built a big pile of sand which turned into a Turtle, which we later found out was a fairly common theme. I think we ended up about 73rd in the junior turtle division.

New years day we dusted off the spurs and went to the local Rodeo. Big crowd and lots of big hats:

Saw some inspiration on the way out of how we can get a washing machine and a dryer into the caravan:

Otherwise we are all well. We all had a cold the week before Christmas after the kids spent 20 minutes at the day care centre where they will be going one day a week. Beth will be doing vacation care while the twins go to daycare for a bit of socialising.

Feet are getting a bit itchy. I think we'll be well ready to move on once our committments here are over. Probably have just settled into the place when we leave.
Don't think we'll be settling here long term. Work is restricted to the service industry mainly (chefs and nursing jobs everywhere). The place I am at is the biggest employer on the South coast outside the service industry. They have about 50 staff.
House prices here are reasonably high, about 50 to 100K dearer than Portland for the same thing due to rich Canberrans buying holiday houses. Wages are also pretty low and there are no opportunities in construction or shiftwork type industries.
Locals seem to like it though.

Posted by enookway 01:46 Comments (0)

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