Beyond the Great Dividing Range
While we are planning on a new trip to outback NSW I thought that I would share some of the images taken on our last trip. Our last trip in the middle of summer in January, 2012 and we ventured from home to Hay the first day. Not a lot of photo opportunities as the Hay Plains are a bit boring to drive along as there was not much to see.
The next day we drove to Turlee Sheep Station where we would be staying for the next four nights. With a few days of temperatures around 40 degrees, the air-conditioned cabin was a great place to be in the middle of the night.
The reason that we chose to stay at this location was because it was a short drive down the road from Mungo National Park.
Mungo National Park has a lot of historical significance as it was the location for the oldest human remains in Australia which were dated as being 42,000 years old. Outside of Africa these are the oldest modern human remains discovered.
The highlight to me of Mungo National Park was the Great Wall of China
The road from Turlee to Mungo was not without its hazards. We always had to be on the lookout for emus and kangaroos as there were plenty of them around. Our way was often blocked by a ram that we nicknamed Nigel. No matter what time of day or which direction we were driving from we would come across Nigel standing in the middle of the road!
When we drove up to Nigel he would just turn around and run along the middle of the road for a few hundred metres in the same direction that we were heading.
Mungo National Park is a great place to visit and not just because I am a photographer. The tour guides were excellent and explained so much of the history of the location. It was easy to see why it has so much historical significance to the Aborigines.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the classic windmill scene while at Mungo
While staying at Turlee Station we took a day trip to Mildura and shredded a tyre along the way. We discovered that tyres do not last long when the wall is pierced by sharp stones! We were lucky to find a tyre shop open and were able to buy a new tyre for the Navara.
We made a slight detour on the way back to Turlee by visiting Perry Sandhills. The sandhills are slowly moving and covering the huge gum trees in the area. Much to the amusement of my wife Danni, I did try my hand at sliding down the sand dune on a piece of cardboard and failed miserably!
On the way back from Perry Sandhills we spotted another iconic Australian scene, the rusted old car on the side of the road.
The lovely hosts of Turlee, Nathen and Sophie Wakefield, invited us to spend some time photographing them while they worked with their sheep. Being a working sheep station in an isolated area, the whole family gets involved including the children.
Their young daughter took it upon herself to rescue any lambs that had been separated from their mother. She showed no fear walking through a herd of sheep that were nearly as tall as she was!
Next town on the itinerary was Menindee and Kinchega National Park. The stunning lakes of Menindee are often empty due to the droughts that we have experienced in NSW, however when we visited them they were overflowing to the extent that they were being pumped out into the river system. This was the first time in over 10 years that the lakes had been full. I am not sure what it is but myself and other photographers seem to have a fascination for dead trees and there are plenty of them located in the Menindee Lakes.
The serenity at the lake was amazing and was only shattered when Danni decided that she wished to catch up with her friends on the mobile phone (unfortunately, there was full mobile service out there)
We stayed at a lovely Red Earth Motel at Broken Hill and used it as a base for trips to one of the most interesting and quirky little towns that you could visit, Silverton. The hotel at Silverton has been used for many movies including Mission Impossible II, Razorback and Madmax.
Silverton is full of history and people with character. It is a haven for artists due to the beautiful and unusual subjects available to them.
We will definitely be returning to Silverton the next trip and will use it as a base a for a few days while we explore the area. The next town that we were visiting was White Cliffs which is famous for its opals and underground houses. We had planned to spend one day there and travel further north but the roads were closed due to flooding so we spent two days days in White Cliffs. The first night was at the White Cliffs Hotel which had some of the portable rooms used to accommodate the Olympic competitors at the 2000 Olympics available for use motel rooms. We witnessed the most amazing sunset while at Whitecliffs.
You can’t visit White Cliffs without staying at the Underground Motel as it is quite an experience to sleep in what is basically a hole in the ground. They have a plenty of rooms, a dining area, a pool and bar.
There were some wonderful sights and photo opportunities around the area and you can even try your hand at noodling for opals while you are there but make sure that you have a fossicking licence. We did find it interesting that the local council felt it necessary to have a big sign advising that you need a permit to bury someone in the cemetery. I would not have thought that there were too many people running around burying bodies without a permit. For fans of the Twlight series you will be pleased to know that I have found where the Cullens are staying for their holidays.
Some of the signs are confusing though, you have the huge welcome sign and then you have one like this which clearly indicates that they do not like tourists.
After 9 days of driving and enjoying the sights it was time to make our way back home. We decided to visit the home of Elvis at Parkes for a night to break the trip up as it was quite a long drive from White Cliffs. The trip home was via Cobar which is famous for its mining history.
All in all we travelled 3,800 kms in 10 days and can’t wait to do it again!!