After coming back to the very dusty caravan at Potch Gully in White Cliffs we decided to move into the caravan park the next day so I could have water to spare for cleaning. We had booked the bus tour around town in the morning and then it was some serious cleaning when we got back! (We heard later that the dust storm had also reached as far as Broken Hill some 300 kms away, when we briefly met up with Ann and Peter who we recognised from our stay in Tweed. They had gone out leaving a just cleaned van and piles of clean washing on the bed. So at least we were luckier then them.)
The bus tour around White Cliffs was, (although expensive, $50 each) very informative and we were glad we did it. We were told the history of the place and lots of interesting facts. We also explored the underground home of Linz and Cree before driving out to Australia’s first Solar Power Station (no longer in use) and then around the opal mine field. The bus also took us just passed where we had stayed at Potch Gully the night before.
We had hoped to drive from White Cliffs to Tibooburra where we are now but that was not to be as the night before we left White Cliffs it had rained which made that road impassable so we decided to go on to Broken Hill first, known for the company BHP (Broken Hill Propriety)
We stayed at Broken Hill Regional Events Centre and Racecourse, booking in for 8 nights. The first unpowered and the rest powered. Stay 7, pay for 6 @ $30 a night.
We drove out to Menindee Lakes only to find the national park was closed because of the rain I mentioned earlier but we were able to drive out to the main weir seeing water in most of the lakes but not the main one, Menindee itself was dry. Driving back through the loop to the main road we saw the turn off to Copi Hollow which didn’t look much from where we were so we decided to carry on back to Broken Hill. This was a decision we later regretted as we were told by others that we had missed a very special spot, described as “a little oasis” with lots of water and green grass. This is apparently where the Broken Hill Speed Boat racers gather and practice. Oh well, next time!
While in Broken Hill we had booked the car in for a service so that morning with the car at the Toyota dealership, we checked out the Silver City Art Centre with the “Big Picture” and Chocolate factory. The big picture was amazing taking in a nearly 360 degree view of Australian landscapes, painted by the very talented Ando. The gift shop was also interesting with a few things we would have been happy to buy if we weren’t still living in our van.
One day we drove out to Silverton, about 25 kms out of Broken Hill, where the silver mining in the area first began. Broken Hill and it’s mining region is known for being the largest silver mining area in the world.
In its heyday, Silverton used to be home to about 3000 people but now there’s only about 50 living in the small but interesting town. We explored the “Mad Max” museum which did nothing for me but I can see the attraction to the fans of the movies, then lunch at the famous Silverton pub chatting to some locals before driving out to the Mundi Mundi Plains lookout. Next stop the “Old Gaol” museum, we spotted the resident donkeys and lastly a wander around the cemetery which is still in use today.
While in Broken Hill we managed to check out just about all of the tourist places, only missing a few of the small art galleries. We did visit the Pro Art and Absalom galleries among others. We did the Daydream Mine tour, visited the museums and the site of the Picnic Train ambush site. A small part of Broken Hill’s history.
We called into the Royal Flying Doctor’s headquarters at the airport and went through the visitor’s centre learning of the fantastic service provided to the outback communities with only some government funding but mostly by charitable donations. As we left the Flying Doctors we drove out to the Line of Lode Miner’s memorial, a very impressive sight perched up high on top of the mullock heap that dominates the city.
Another day we drove about 10 kms out of town to look at the large sandstone sculptures, a must while in Broken Hill and then did the 2 1/2 km walk up and around the John Simon’s Flora and Fauna Sanctuary before having lunch at the Palace Hotel, where parts of Pricilla, queen of the desert was filmed.
We have really enjoyed Broken Hill with lots to see and do. There is a good vibe about this city that feels like a big country town and the people are all friendly and helpful. It’s a place to be recommended.
As our caravan was parked next to the golf course in Broken Hill, Chris had to have his usual game on the lush looking course but for me the highlight of our stay here was meeting Ray, a local born and bred. He was riding his horse Saracen while leading Mr Bo Jangles around the race track one afternoon and after chatting for a while I suggested that if he needed help exercising these two beautiful horses I was offering! Well he took me up on the offer and the next day I met Ray at his stables and we went off on a wonderful adventure. Ray took me all over the place, up and down rocky terrain, saw the view of the golf course from way up high, jumping over gullies and checking out the historical site where the race day railway station used to be back in the day. We walked, trotted and cantered but not galloped as Ray warned me not to let Mr Bo Jangles have his head as even for a 22 year old, ex quarter horse, there would be no stopping him! I had the best time but this 64 year old is not wearing as well as that 22 year old. I’m now aching in places I’d forgotten I could, but so worth it!
From Broken Hill we have driven out here to Tibooburra, stopping at PackSaddle for fuel on the way. A real “One Horse Town” with only the roadhouse to be seen within at least a 170 km radius. (Diesel was $1.39 a litre)
We booked into the Tibooburra caravan park for 2 nights as we wanted to do the drive out to Cameron’s Corner from here. This is the point where 3 states meet. Qld, South Australia and NSW.
With map in hand we set off to explore the Sturt National Park and then Cameron’s Corner, We left reasonably early and managed to take the wrong turn straight away. About 25 kms out we realised our mistake but it was just as easy to keep going then although we did put nearly another 100 kms on our trip. We wouldn’t have chosen to do this extra loop but are glad that we did. We saw some magnificent scenery, not to mention the Emus, Kangaroos and the snake.
We stopped at places of interest along the way, at the lookout and exploring the old homestead where we saw lots of Sturt Peas in bloom and also the bleached bones of dead kangaroos. We finally made it to Cameron’s Corner where we were able to have lunch at the pub which is actually in Qld. No Covid border control here now which was good for us but there is a 9 hole golf course with 3 holes played in each state. Well, it just had to be done! and in the midday heat of 36 degrees, Chris set out to play while I chatted with the English guy behind the bar. He had married his Aussie bride in June amid the Covid restrictions then came out here on a road trip honeymoon. They had both loved the place and decided to stay.
As Chris finished his game we headed back home to Tibooburra by the shortest route this time, calling into the Family Hotel for a quick drink and to check out the very risqué murals we had been told about. We think we did about 450 kms, mostly on dirt roads and only saw 6 other vehicles all that day. My poor old body, still suffering from the horse riding is feeling a bit worse for wear.
Since we had the car serviced in Broken Hill 10 days ago we have done over 1000kms and nearly half of that on dirt roads. It’s been a really great outback experience and the views out here just go on for ever. So much of nothing, it’s incredible!