Cameron Corner – There and Back (Part 1)
As soon as we arrived back from our last trip to the outback regions of NSW my wife, Danni and I couldn’t wait to plan another trip to explore more locations. After looking at a map of NSW and googling various locations of interest we decided upon a route that was a big loop around the NSW outback.
We had planned to leave bright and early on the Sunday morning and drive straight to Lightning Ridge but we are both impatient and as soon as the car was packed on the Saturday night we headed off. We made it to Dubbo and caught a few hours sleep before continuing on to Lightning Ridge. For those that haven’t been to Lightning Ridge it is an opal mining town and is dotted with mounds of opal dirt. There are self guided tours that you can take by following the colour coded car doors.
Some of the locals seem very protective of their opal mines.
A popular place in Lightning Ridge is the hot artesian baths which are a constant 41.5 C and is a very relaxing way to end the day.
There are quite a few odd looking “dwellings” around the town including houses made out of glass bottles, sheets of iron around caravans and a church that was built for the movie “The Goddess of 1967”.
In the background of the church photo you can see all the mounds of opal dirt. We hadn’t seen enough mounds of opal dirt at this stage so we decided to pay a visit to the Club in the Scrub and the Hilton Hotel at Grawin. These are both very interesting places to visit and you are bound to see a few unusual locals around the area. Make sure that you pack your golf clubs as the Club in the Scrub has it’s very own golf course!
After spending a pleasant two nights at the Opal Cottage we packed the car up again and headed west towards Wanaaring where we had booked a nights accommodation in the pub at the bargain price of $65!. I must admit that you get what you pay for but the bed was comfortable and the shower was awesome (hot and powerful).
Only the way we passed through a lot of wide open spaces and some scary towns. You don’t feel very safe when you towns with every window and door barred.
We had planned to drive directly from Bourke to Wanaaring but a road train had become stuck on the dirt road and the road was blocked to traffic. A quick look at the map and we found that if we headed north through Fords Bridge and further towards the Qld border that we could cut across and then drive back down to Wanaaring. Fords Bridge is basically a pub on the side of the road but we stopped and had a few beers and lots of laughs with a few locals. We don’t know how it happened but the quick visit turned into a longer one and we ended up playing a TV quiz type game on the front verandah of the pub.
Despite having a great time at the pub we had to head off again before it got too late as it is not safe to drive on the outback roads at dusk due to the wild pigs, emus and kangaroos that often cross the road without warning. We nearly did get hit by a black pig that was was wide as it was tall and it came barrelling out from the scrub on the side and we narrowly avoiding colliding with it.
We drove for hours on the detour and didn’t see any other cars or people. There was a scary moment for Danni (she said something like Oh Shit) when the car slid off the wet road and into a boggy patch and stopped. It wasn’t a problem as I put the Navara into low range and drove it back onto the dry surface without any trouble at all.
If you look at this photo of the typical road you will understand how just a small amount of rain can turn it into a problem.
People of the outback seem to be having a competition to see who can have the most unusual mail boxes and this one was one of the most unusual ones that we come across.
Wanaaring is not a very big town and we didn’t stray far away from the pub while we were there. We were lucky to score the honeymoon suite out near the clothes line.
We woke to a foggy morning and did a quick tour of the town, from memory I think that only 3 families live in the town and they were all related! We had some time to kill as we needed fuel and the general store wasn’t yet open so we headed down to the Paroo River to cook some breakfast.
The fog still hadn’t lifted by the time that breakfast was finished but the general store was now open and we could fuel up for the drive to Tibooburra which is known as the most remote town in NSW.
Look out for the next instalment of Cameron Corner – There and Back, which will include Tibooburra and Cameron Corner.