Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 68. The Inland Adventure.

On the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

From the journal:
June 28th.
We are camping on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales. Just 15 K from the town of Hay and only one more day`s drive from Anne in Mildura. We have been driving southwest for five days.

First, over the mountains: (we had a plugged fuel filter that got fixed in Glen Innis) then we took the New England hwy. through 3000 foot high rolling hills. It was - 6 C. overnight, so we wore our fleece outfits to bed in the van. Heather spent the evening in the bathhouse immersed deep in a warm tub with only her nose out in the freezing air.

Soon we left the mountains behind and entered forest covered hills. We camped overnight in a rest area in the midst of a Eucalyptus forest.
As we drove south we found vast gently rolling farmlands -lots of cattle and sheep. The roads were very straight and very narrow. 80k. for hours on end gets a little mind numbing. Edith clung tenaciously to the roof racks.

Today we woke beside a river to the sound of a kookaburra morning chorus, saw white cockatoos and Galas and later kangaroos and emus in the desert before the town of Hay.

This is a beautiful site tonight ( a drovers camp). We are all alone, have a fire to warm us ( this is winter in Australia), the river gurgles alongside and our only worry are the overhanging branches of the enormous gum trees that could drop on us in the night. Let it be a calm, if chilly night!

As this is really a boating story, I `ll simply say that we picked Anne up in Mildura, left Edith sitting alone on the grass in the backyard (very sad), and drove west and then north to Alice Springs in the ‘Red Center’ of Australia.
With Anne to spell me off with the driving it was like being back at sea keeping watches as we crept for days across the immense landscape, except that we got to ‘anchor’ every night at a campground, roadhouse, or in the bush.
We visited some spectacular places; King`s Canyon, Ularu, and the Olgas. With recent rains, the desert was in bloom. Eventually however, Anne had to be back at school, so we rescued Edith, and Anne dropped us off with our camping gear a long way upstream from Mildura. I have written of our journey back down the river in the article which follows next.

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