Thursday, July 7, 2011

It pays to use the GPS as a back up!

We had stayed in Dubbo last night - Peter suggested that we stay a second night but as neither of us were interested in going to the Western Plains Zoo (we had heard it was excellent, but a zoo is a zoo and we have been to plenty over the years) or the Old Dubbo Gaol (again been to similar and could give this a miss) so we agreed to head on to Bourke. This was a drive of around 370 kms and was to take us to "the real outback" as the sign into Bourke says. We decided that during this trip we were going to top up the tank regularly to avoid running out. It was really interesting to hear Peter say that he wasn't filling up after stopping at a truck stop because there was a very active bird sitting on the bowzer and trying to get in the car door as he opened it. Amazing how a small thing like a bird can have him reacting!
As we drove through one of the few outback towns, Narromine, we were stopped by a road closure with the police and other vehicles parked up. We were soon to see why. A very large power generator or transformer was being transported from Brisbane via Gooniwindi and was heading to South Australia. We knew we would see road trains, but to see something as big as this, with two trucks in the front behind each other towing it, connected to the trailer with it's own driver, and a further two trucks connected at the rear to help push it along. We then had to follow this contingent before it was directed to pull on to the opposite side of the road to allow us and other traffic to pass. I am sure our little grandsons would have loved to have seen this as the "boy" in our car certainly did.
We continued on and stopped at Nyngan, another outback town and enjoyed wandering the streets absorbing the atmosphere. A further fuel stop gave us the first stop at a real outback general store, and yes a heritage protected building - apparently the old general Post Office, heavens knows why they have not at least put windows back in it!
The road was very straight and quite boring to travel. We arrived into Bourke around 4 pm and Peter decided that it was too early in the day to stop so we decided to head on a further one hundred kms or so to the Queensland border - heading to Barringun. We were not using the GPS as the roads are very straight, but that was our failing today. We had followed another caravan for some 140 kms and they turned off into the camping ground and we headed out of town. We drove for just over 100 kms and arrived in an Aboriginal town called Brewarrina and it was then that I realised we were on the wrong road. There had been no towns between Bourke and Brewarrina and the sign posts say B85 (etc) did not tell me we were wrong. We had gone east rather than north and there was no alternative but to turn around and drive back. So we are now back in Bourke, and believe it staying at the same caravan park as the van we had followed for so long today, but we had driven an additional 200 kms to get there!
We hopefully will not make that mistake again and my map reading skills will have been honed.
So it has been a long day of driving and we have had our first experience of the outback and red dirt. We have seen plenty of kangaroos, emus and ostriches and fortunately haven't "connected" with any of them which is more than I can say for the caravan we were following which ran over a ostrich this afternoon.


  1. The Gill positioning system needs resetting but also the nab an put us in places we weren't at times

  2. It was so nice to chat today! I re-read your last entry to refresh my memory - sorry I was a bit vague, I read it last night late after our dinner out.....Hope you enjoy Longreach, will enjoy hearing about it! Also can now see your "where we stayed" section. We can't believe where you are already in outback Qld - after seeing you only a few days ago!
    Julia x

  3. I didn't know Peter was afraid of birdies :(