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  • Day10

    Melbourne to St George 20/5/ to 29/5

    May 29, 2018 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    MELB TO ST GEORGE 20/5/18
    Well here we are again on the road, currently in St George after Happy Hour with Pizza supplied by the caravan park.
    Nothing much to report other than we stopped at a cairn marking the geographic centre of NSW on the way to Nyngan and then to one of the largest Solar Farms in Australia which was closed because we happened to be there on a Friday, the only day of the week that it’s closed.
    We went to a place called Grawin Opal Fields which is about 40Km West of Lightning Ridge on a very dusty and rough dirt road and stayed out the back at the Glengarry Hilton. I was lucky enough to play 9 holes at the Glengarry golf club with a bunch of locals. The first tee is off the back of a truck and the third is out of a boat. Tee up and preferred lies are compulsory everywhere and there is an esky on the third and seventh tee which comes back past the third. Nine holes cost 5 bucks, a can cost $2.50 and they even have a Mower and a Slasher that fits on the back of a Tractor. (see photos)

    Well we’ve been on the road for 8 days and have made it over the QLD border. The weather so far has been great with days in the low 20 degrees and nights not too freezing. We travelled up via Wagga Wagga where we visited an old friend then continued on to Griffith, passing through Narranadera and Leeton. This was mostly a citrus growing area with quite a few vineyards around as well. Griffith is a nice country city with huge wide main street shopping strip and the layout was designed by Walter Burley-Griffin so the centre has a series of circular streets and there is a low range as a backdrop to the township. The strong Italian heritage in the area is evident in the many pizza shops. We drove up to the range to take in the view and walk to see the many natural caves and caverns among the huge rocks and boulders where an Italian hermit made his home in the early 1900s.
    Our next stop was Hillston on the Lachlan River passing through cotton and grain growing areas. There were lots of grain silos and rail lines in the mostly flat countryside which was very dry looking. All the crops had been harvested. We continued along the Lachlan Valley through the town of Lake Cargelligo situated on the edge of the lake and drove on to Condobolin where we camped in a van park by the Lachlan River. The roads up this way are littered with dead roos so it’s a bit like a slalon course sometimes. There are lots of emus in paddocks and in the scrub.
    Setting off for Nyngan we drove via the Bogan Way (yes, we were in Bogan Shire) through more flat farmland with some enormous paddocks which were bare after crops (probably cotton) had been harvested. Some huge semi’s carrying enormous rolls of harvested cotton often pass us as we travel and the sides of the roads up this way are littered with balls of cotton which have blown from them. We decided to take a detour about 50km before Nyngan and go to see the cairn marking the geographic centre of NSW. The 70 km detour turned out to be a very rough and dusty dirt road but we got the photo to prove we got there! Some of Frank’s dust prevention work on the van worked, some not so good!!! It seems to be impossible to prevent dust getting in through fridge vents and then into cupboards and inside the van. Overall though, it was better than the last trip on the dirt. We stopped at the Nyngan Riverside caravan park where they had a mini-zoo with some tame camels, donkeys, alpacas, goats and roos. As Frank mentioned, he was cheesed off when we drove out to see the solar farm only to find the gates locked. We headed off to our next stop at Brewarrina which is situated on the Barwon River. While there we went on a tour from the Aboriginal heritage centre where our guide took us to view the 30,000 year old fish traps in the river. Large stones placed in the river in C shapes trap fish which swim upstream and are easily caught then placed in square shaped traps where they can be kept alive until needed.
    Our next destination was Grawin near Lightning Ridge in the heart of the opal mining area. We had heard about a pub called the Glengarry Hilton which sounded interesting so headed in along more dirt roads (only about 11km this time). We parked at the back of the “Hilton” among the mullock heaps and met some of the locals (some colourful characters) in the pub which is really not much more than a crude corrugated iron structure but with plenty of character. It had a flat screen TV on the wall and after it had been turned on in the evening the screen soon stopped working so the barman went over, picked up a billiard que and began whacking the bottom edge of it (really laying into it) as the dust rained down from the back, and after about a dozen blows it miraculously started working again! You don’t see that every day. Frank enjoyed his golf the next morning and we headed off at lunch time to our next stop at Hebel on the QLD border. Nothing to say about Hebel where there is a general store and a pub except that the bore water in the taps is very smelly!!
    We are now in St George, arriving at lunch time at a lovely little caravan park which is really popular as it’s full up. The owners put on a good happy hour and supply fresh home made pizza and we met some great fellow campers.
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