Saturday, March 3, 2012

The travelling has commenced!

Houseboat moored Mildura

Well I just thought that maybe I should do just a little of this as I have just somehow managed to delete the last hour of Gills life and typing!! (Bugga)

We left Melbourne finally on Friday the 2nd March a couple of days late but we held back to let the weather settle - yeah sure! Still gave a chance whilst we were there to catch up with plenty of people renew old friendships etc. Some help from Sandra and now we hopefully know how to do it going forward and the map for stage three is now up, well at least the start of stage three is.

Day 1 stage 3 we decided to drive as far as Mildura, some 600+ kilometers dumb really just a little far with having been off of the road for so long - seemed at least to me that we were never going to get there.

Well, I have “partially” got over the fact that Peter somehow lost my typing from last night so here goes again! Hmmmm me lost it not too sure about that I think that it was obviously computer error!!

As we woke to heavy rain on Thursday morning we decided this wasn’t really how we wanted to start our trip so decided to stay another night with Sandra and Richard.  This also gave us an opportunity for a further appointment we had and to catch up with our friends, Jocelyn and Greg, who are heading off on a similar trip in April and we plan to meet somewhere up north.

Fortunately it was fine on Friday morning in Melbourne so after the children had gone to school we spent half an hour with Sandra commencing our stage three map and loading this on to the blog.  We will finish the stage through to Perth once we are more certain of our route.  We left Frankston around 10 am to commence the 600 plus km trip to Mildura which is in the far north west of Victoria.  During the trip Peter made the statement that this was too far to travel in a day – seems we have got out of the habit during the last three months of long distance driving.  By the time we arrived in Mildura it was raining and around 5 pm so the thought of staying in the tent overnight wasn’t appealing.  We booked into a motel – Sandors Motor Lodge.

The rain continued all night and we woke to light rain.  As we have holidayed in Mildura in the past we didn’t plan to sightsee.  We made a visit to the wharf area to see the paddle steamers and houseboats – we have plans to hire a houseboat and holiday with friends on the Murray River at some stage and this certainly looks appealing.  Some of the boats are really large and of course Peter has his eye on one of those!  The farmers market was also on in the recreation area by the river but there weren’t too many customers due to the rain.

We left town, and as we crossed the river we crossed into NSW and commenced the 300 km trip to Broken Hill.  There are only two towns on the trip both on the Darling River which also had a number of houseboats.  We soon found we were back in the outback – red sand and scrub but it was surprising to see it so wet.  There has been a lot of rain and there were areas where the water was pooling.  I am sure that this is much different to how many people see the outback.  The only sign of residents were the occasional station signs with a sandy drive leading into the distance.

We stopped for lunch at a rest area with lots of trees and views towards a lake – it had the added facility of toilets which is always great to see and we are hounded by flies.  We are back in Australia! (Hounded the little beggars ate more than us)

We arrived in Broken Hill around 2.30 pm and it was raining consistently.  Again the lure of the tent was missing so we paid a visit to the Information Centre and booked into the Outback Villas.  These are well appointed two bedroom units with full cooking facilities and excellent value at $95 per night.

Although it was still raining we decided we could visit some of the sights of Broken Hill.  First stop was Bells Milk Bar and Museum.  This is a retro milk bar with museum and gift shop.  It was certainly like landing back in the 1950’s (even though our memories are distant!) with a quirky original interior.  Milk shakes, spiders, waffles and sundaes were on the menu and of course we had to sample.

Next stop was the Line of Lode hilltop lookout.  Broken Hill is a mining town and high on the mining waste on the edge of the township is built a memorial to those who have lost their lives in the mines from the 1880’s to the present time.  There is also a gift shop and restaurant.  The road leading up to the memorial passes a historical mine which originally held tours but is now closed. 

Although it was still raining we decided to head out of town to visit the Living Desert Sculpture Park which is apparently at its best at sunset.  We didn’t see the sunset but we were able to wander around the twelve sandstone sculptures which were carved by a variety of international artists during a symposium in 1993 and are now known worldwide.  The setting on a hill top in the outback is pretty impressive.  The collection is a celebration of the powerful connection between art and the environment.

We paid a short visit to the White Rocks area which commemorates a shooting by two Turks at a train carrying locals who had been to a picnic on 1st January 1915.  A number of lives were lost in the shooting and they were the only casualties of World Work I on Australian soil.

We feel that we have certainly now re-commenced our trip – the evening was spent typing up the blog and downloading and naming the photos albeit that I had to repeat the typing on Sunday morning!  (Peter) Hey wait a minute I had to spend over three hours putting all of the pictures on the web

Houseboats moored Mildura
Paddle steamer passing houseboat Mildura
Paddlesteamer passing Houseboat on the Murray
This houseboat looks right for size
Watch out for the kangaroos enroute to Broken Hill
Miles and miles of this terrain enroute to Broken Hill
Rest area for lunch break - and yep that is the original Patrol
it's all repaired running better than ever and using tons less diesel!!
Wonderful outback facilities with lake in the distance
Watch out for cows and sheep enroute to Broken Hill
The flooded outback
 Welcome to Broken Hill
 Mining in Broken Hill
The mines dominate the landscape at Broken Hill
 Bells Milk Bar
 Line of Lode hilltop lookout Broken Hill
Historic mine Broken Hill
 Mine waste and rock with Broken Hill in the background
Working mine Broken Hill
 Broken Hill landscape
Broken Hill township
 Mine waste with Broken Hill in background
Flowers in memory - Broken Hill
 Broken Hill Sculpture history
History of artists at the Living Desert

A different garden feature!


  1. Ha Ha, I can see that one of you will have to travel in the back seat in the cone of silence - sounds like the kids and "are we there yet?".
    You could have taken ALL the rain with you - we have had enough for the present.
    Glad the Black Beast is behaving (not you Peter, the car)for you.

  2. Cone of silence you want to try being happy when you are advised when you get to Broken Hill that the the road to Peterborough is closed and that you are going to have to return via Mildura to get there!, a 750k diversion. Happy mmmmmmm let me think?