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Published: June 12th 2013
Nice to see yer back !!
Caroline at the front of the Canoe, that Graham and Wendy let us have a play in.
The day started slowly, I tried to get the camp fire on the go, but I am not really that good at it, my half hearted effort does not get it going, Andy appears and very quickly we have a fire going.
We sit in the morning sunshine, gazing across the sparkling and still lake, watching the cormorants, darters and wading birds of some description do their morning fishing. I tried to look up what the waders were in my bird book, but I cannot seem to find them, it is only a small book though.
Wendy wanders over looking energetic and says she is going for a walk, she also returns the hot water bottle that we leant her last night (it was a really cold night and Andy made a big sacrifice!) Wendy is going for a walk so I asked if she was ok with some company and put on my hiking boots to go with her.
We walked down the dirt road and up to the other camp area, it is quite a long walk, after half hour we turn around and head back.
These pelicans seem to work together to corral the fish then all dive together for their meal.
Later on we are chatting to Graham and Wendy and another camper pulls in who knows them, he tells us that an Emu was run over and left badly injured, a policeman was there and had to do the decent thing, so he shot the Emu.
Apparently there were also some hoons on the campsite last night, setting off fire crackers, generally being a nuisance and did some damage to the public toilets, we only heard the fire crackers being let off from our distant camp site so fortunately we were not disturbed, though Wendy said she heard some vehicles head out fairly late.
The afternoon passed, Graham and Wendy had kept telling us to take their canoe out on the lake, but we just haven't got around to it and the lake was looking a little bit choppy for my liking and the weather had cooled down, besides we were nice and toasty by the camp fire and settled reading our books and drinking tea!
The daylight slipped away and we headed over to Graham and Wendy's for dinner, they had knocked up a great spaghetti bolognese which
we followed up with apple, cinnamon and sultana jaffles topped off with cream. Delicious meal and another great evening in the company of Graham and Wendy.
I am not going into the usual morning routine of how cold it is this morning and blah blah blah. Or maybe I am just bored writing about it, I am getting bored with being out of bed first though, because that means I am always putting the kettle on, I know that some of you avid blog readers, will say it's about time too as Andy always seems to be the one to make me a cup of tea and bring it to me in bed, but I really am not a morning person and I do like to be eased into the day! Still it is clearly my turn.
After a breakfast of porridge it is time to do a bit of sightseeing so we head back into Kinchega National Park, most of the roads are disappointingly still closed so we don't get to see anything different, however what we do get is another good shower at the shearers quarters, so
the drive was worth it.
The day is beautiful and warm, we chat to some other travellers at the shearers quarters, we find that they are staying there, apparently this place was fully booked for the weekend so it does seem very popular. They tell us that it is only $20 per person per night, that includes laundry facilities, camp kitchen and an open fire to relax with in the communal area. It looks good so would recommend giving this a go.
We then head up to "Sunset Strip" which is on the edge of Lake Menindee, we have been told that it is worth a look and there is an artist up there too that might be worth a look in. I believe that it is a little holiday home area for people from Broken Hill, there is an abundance of different types of houses, some directly overlook the lake, it must have good views at sunset, we drove down to the lake edge, there was a significant amount of beach and still plenty of dead trees lined up along the shore, it looked a bit sad really.
struck me here looking down the beach, but the trees seem to be in lines, despite being very dead, I thought that this was all natural, but surely if they are lined up then it would infer that someone (many years ago) actually planted them, I hope the photo that I have added will show this.
Back at camp it was time for lunch and a read, Graham and Wendy were heading off to see another camper as the football was on and they were going to listen to it, so while they were out we managed to summon up the energy to take the canoe out. The plan was to paddle up the shore to the next camp sites, we paddled quite a distance and yet the camp sites were still not in view, we would have been able to paddle right past Graham and Wendy, but after half hour we paddled back to our camp site.
Fortunately another caravan had pulled up the occupants were sat watching us and they took a photograph, so we do have the evidence, when they email it to us at the end of June that is!
So you will have to wait.
For dinner I wrapped a couple of potatoes in silver foil and dropped them into the hot coals of the fire, an hour later they were cooked perfectly and ready for putting the filling in for our evening meal, we have eaten very well in the last few days so an easy and fairly light evening meal was the order of the day.
It was a lovely clear starry night again, but no where near as cold as it has been, this tells me that rain must be on the way. Graham and Wendy reappeared at their camp site, so I popped over to say hello and thank them for the loan of the canoe, they had hoped to see us paddle past, especially as Wendy said they were watching a number of pelicans floating around in a big flock and then all diving at the same time.
Whilst talking Wendy received a telephone call from a family member, the news did not sound good so I bid them both a goodnight and headed back to camp where Andy had just made us both a
Our Camp site
From the water
bedtime drink of hot chocolate (we know how to live it up!) and then we headed indoors to the comfort of bed and read our books.
I was awake at 7am today, despite being quite dark still I knew it was morning because of the temperature of the hot water bottle it was still just warm. It turned out that we did not really need them because it really was a warm night, I had to open up the front window to let some fresh air in.
The problem is that with the warmer temperature it generally means that the cloud is over head and cloud could mean rain.
I ventured outside to put the kettle on, and looked across the lake, it did not look healthy a big black cloud was rolling in from the North West, I said to Andy that we probably needed to get packed up fairly quickly as we wanted to get out before it rained, we are still on a dirt road and once it gets wet, it gets sticky.
We skipped breakfast and made haste packing
The Indian Canoe
the Canoe is not indian, its Fibreglass, but its in the style of a traditional Native American Indian's Canoe
up, Graham and Wendy came over to say their goodbye's, unfortunately the phone call Wendy had last night was not good news and they have had to return home and thus postponing their trip to Cape York. We wished them both well and to travel safe, they were hoping to take the dirt road to Ivanhoe and clear it before the rain came (fingers crossed). It felt really sad this morning saying goodbye, we have had such a good time camping just down the lake from them and today we go our separate ways.
With Graham and Wendy gone, we are once again on our own and finished packing, the thunder started to rumble in the distance, we hooked up Gypsy to Jack, did a light check and jumped in the truck, just as the first rain started to fall.
4 wheel drive engaged we head off from our campsite back down the dirt road which by now with heavy rainfall is already changing consistency, but in no time at all we are back on the bitumen and according to the weather radar we are heading out of the rain as we drive toward
My Favourite Rig
Graham and Wendy's International D1100
Broken Hill. That said, there is a hideous weather front coming in across from South Australia.
There was a blinding flash in front of us and such a rumble of thunder you could feel the vibration coming up from the road, this storm came in right over head, but fortunately we drove out of it the closer we got to Broken Hill.
Broken Hill, finally we made it, that elusive little place on the aviation map that you see when you fly overhead, when we fly in from England via Singapore, the aeroplane usually gets to Broken Hill then turns left toward Sydney. We both always wondered what it was like and now we know.
A thriving community which had been in decline but seems to be holding steady with a population of 18 - 20,000 inhabitants at it's peak in the 1930's it was around 33,000 inhabitants. I think I was surprised to see such a bustling and thriving community, mining is still the main industry here so it should not really be a surprise to see car dealerships, Woolworths, MacDonald's etc.
This non descript place and
Wendy and Graham
Just before they leave us.
we are not being rude, is really hugely famous, why, well its the birth place of the largest mining company in the World, (BHP Billiton) the Billiton bit came much later but the BHP bit, stands for Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd, I don't know if we should say affectionately known as, as we do not want to spark controversy but their nickname is "The Big Australian"
We were told how it all started, and we don't know if this is true but back in 18?? a boundary rider working on a large station, 60 K's from Broken Hill, came this way on his horse and found a "piece" of ore, the sample was sent to the assay office in London for testing and was found to have large deposits of Silver, he started BHP up on the strength of this, now its one of the biggest companies in the world.
First we found a caravan park to drop Gypsy, we are staying at the Broken Hill Tourist Park, rumour has it this is the best one in town, however I am not in a position to confirm or deny that rumour except to say that it
Picture's from the cab
seems nice, nice people and very tidy.
When we checked in we were told that tonight is movie night and on Thursday's there is a pancake breakfast. That sounds good to me, but I won't be using the swimming pool, way too cold for that!
We had some lunch, then popped over to the tourist information office as we wanted to check out the key things to see in Broken Hill. We spoke to a lovely guy who was very eager to tell us about Broken Hill. He showed us the map and then it was back to camp to get the laundry on the go, I was pleased to see this park has front loading washing machines that take 9kg of washing. Washing machines are not really what I would usually get excited about, but seriously front loaders always seem to do a better wash than the top loaders and you can put the fabric conditioner in and forget about it until the washing is done. It was all straight in the tumble dryer after than and job done!
It was rather funny though because while I was chatting to a couple
of other ladies in the laundry, there were many comings and goings from other campers, I did not see a single man wander in!
But the chores don't stop there, we head off to do the grocery shop and stock up on fresh supplies, in the meantime the weather front has now come across and is dumping some rain on Broken Hill, the chap in the tourist information are told that they are expecting around 30 - 40 mils.
Back at camp we make a hasty retreat into Gypsy so that we can stay dry, the shopping is all put away in its various locations and Andy tries to have a nana nap, but that proves fairly unsuccessful.
I have a lovely long steaming hot shower, what bliss, just making the most of the luxury while we have it.
Finding out that the Movie is The Queen, er with Meryl Streep, I think the girl behind the reception desk got that wrong, I am sure it was with Helen Mirren, unless she is more confused and it is a Meryl Streep film where she portrayed Margaret Thatcher. Nonetheless we have seen both so decide to grab a pizza for our evening meal (well, it is cheap Tuesday) and spend the evening writing up the blog and listening to the radio before retiring with a hot water bottle only to find that it is a warm evening and the hot water bottle is way too hot, I open the skylight fairly wide.
I try to read my book, but I am too tired.
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