WARRUMBUNGLE NP TO MUTAWINTJI NP VIA BOURKE, LOUTH AND WHITE CLIFFS|
For the previous part of this trip, click here.
Monday 18 September 2006
The next morning we head off for Coonamble. This is a nice easy drive along mostly good dirt roads. We need to buy a few things from the supermarket so we stop at the IGA. While inside, a woman comes up to us and says "is that your Prado outside, there is air pissing out of a tyre". I rush out and find that air is certainly pouring out of the tyre through a hole made by a bit of wire as thick as a coat hanger. Quickly we finish the shopping and drive to the tyre dealer a few blocks down the road (again, advised to us by the same woman).
The tyre is quickly repaired and we are off across towards the Nyngan/Bourke Road. We are going via Quambone (where the tyre repairer has told us they all have two heads) and the Macquarie Marshes. We could not have a beer at the Quambone Hotel as it was shut (despite it being well after 10 am) so we continue. We stop for lunch at a bird viewing platform in the Macquarie Marshes. The whole of the area is so dry, even the Macquarie River did not have a drop in it.
|The Byrock Hotel||Camels on our diversion|
We arrive at Byrock and have a beer at the pub. We intended to cut across to the Cobar/Bourke road just north of the town and the locals indicate it is possible. Again we are underway soon and take the road we have chosen. Well, not a road, a track is more like it. At first it goes across a property that has thousands of camels. This is the first real life we have seen since shortly after leaving Warrumbungle NP. After a while the track peters out near a dam. I cannot find any obvious track to continue on so we head back, thinking we have made a wrong turn. No, it was right but as time is running out, we cannot really afford to go back and spend time looking for it. We back track to the highway and then head to Bourke.
We leave Bourke after refuelling (petrol and an ice cream!) and head south towards Cobar. Our next stop is Gundabooka NP. This is only 50 km south and less than 30 minutes later sees us in the park. We head for the only camping area at Dry Tank. Note that I think that the distances shown on the sign at the entry are wrong and you need to travel further than indicated to reach the Dry Tank turn-off.
We arrive after sunset and find a nice little camping area, with one other person there. However, the camp site has a very smelly toilet and it is far too close to the camp sites. We set up camp and have a nice dinner.
Tuesday 19 September 2006
The next morning we get up early as the other camper has told us that there is a great view of the Gundabooka Ranges from the top of a hill about 1.5 km away. It is an easy walk and the views are great.
After brekkie we head off to another picnic area from where we can walk to the Gundabooka Ranges. This track is only partly completed but again, it was an interesting (but hot) walk.
We are now off to Louth. This small town is on the Darling River and has had its annual picnic race meeting about a month before. We have a beer at the pub (of course) and continue to Tilpa. From here we cut across through the Paroo/Darling NP towards White Cliffs. Since leaving the Warrumbungles there has been a fair bit of green. Even though the wildflowers are in bloom and there is a lot of green to be seen, the whole way it has been really dry.
There is no water in dams or creeks at all and the Darling River has water but is certainly not flowing. The area from Tilpa to White Cliffs is particularly dry, as bad as I have seen anywhere. We have now not seen any sheep for two days and no kangaroos except a couple in Gundabooka.
|The Louth Hotel||A wrecked car on the way to White Cliffs|
We arrive at White Cliffs and I take Kelly to show her the sites of town. That is, the holes in the ground. We go to a photographer's underground gallery and enjoy his excellent (but over-priced) photos.
We set up camp at the nice little town caravan park and have dinner. We walk to the pub and have a very interesting night. There are some very strange people in White Cliffs that is for sure.
Wednesday 20 September 2006
We head off from White Cliffs and go out of town to the north-west. The plan is to head to Mutawintji National Park. I was last here in 1981 on a trip with about 20 work mates from National Parks and Wildlife Service.
|One of the mines at White Cliffs||Kelly in charge of the barbecue at White Cliffs|
We arrive about mid-morning and do a bit of sightseeing and a short walk before having lunch. We do a great walk at Homestead Gorge. This is actually a number of walks, which we combined into one larger walk. The first section is nice and easy along a dry creek bed, with some Aboriginal and early European explorer markings in spots. We then head up high onto rocks overlooking the creeks. Excellent views as well as some old dams and natural rock pools which have a fair bit of water in them. This track then comes back to join the first one and we continue along the creek bed.
|A couple of shots of me on the walks in Mutawintji NP|
Further up the gully there are more pools of water. At the end, we back track a bit and then take the off-shoot to a longer walk that heads up over another section of the ranges. This has even more spectacular views and lots of bird and animal life. It is a hot walk, luckily we have taken sufficient water. The return is back down a series of dry creek beds that are very poorly signposted.
We get back to the car and it is time to find a camping spot in the camping area. It is a large and well laid out camping ground but there are many people here as well as indications that others in mobile homes have already grabbed spots. After a couple of circuits we find a nice spot. There are very good toilets and hot solar heated showers so we make sure we are nice and clean before cooking dinner.
Once again the stars here are very nice, although the overhanging trees mean that we can only see a small section of the sky.
For the next part of this trip, click here.