After postponing our six-month lap in June last year, due to the Western Australian border being closed, we were excited to be heading off in January this year.
Obviously, all our plans and bookings had been either cancelled or changed, but that didn’t matter as we had decided to head clockwise for this trip.
Another thing that was different on this tour was the planning – the late call to go meant we didn’t plan very much, though we had a basic idea of where we wanted to visit.
The advantage of no fixed plan is, if you feel so inclined, you can stay in a place longer or visa-versa and move on to the next town.
However, we did book the Easter school holidays, where we’ll be staying in Exmouth and a few days in Lucky Bay in Western Australia, near Esperance.
As NSW is relatively close, we decided to skip most of it and make a bee line to the southwest coast of Victoria.
However, on our way through we did stop at a few interesting places.
One such place was a farm stay on the outskirts of Dubbo called Billy’o Bush Retreat. It had only recently reopened after being closed over summer due to the heat – so basically, we had the place to ourselves, even though for one of the days we were there it hit 37C.
Without giving too much away, the photo of the pool that we all enjoyed may be seen in an upcoming reality TV show. While in Dubbo, we also visited the zoo.
It was good for the kids to see the different animals, though due to the extreme heat, unfortunately neither the kids nor the animals were keen to move around very much.
Thankfully you can drive through the zoo – which we opted to do, as the car air conditioning made it more bearable.
Ever since copper was discovered there in 1870, Cobar has been known as ‘Copper City’. Today you can marvel at vast open-cut mines and learn about the area’s history at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre.
Take a dip in the Great Cobar Open Cut, an old quarry and popular swim spot with locals. Or enjoy the free camp at Cobar reserve, which adjoins a freshwater lake and has magnificent sun sets.
While there wasn’t much activity in the city itself, there were a few places of interest nearby. One in particular was the Living Desert, which is an array of sculptures from different artists.
Each sculpture has a unique meaning and, depending on the time of day and position, the sun highlights various parts of the sculpture.
Situated on the outskirts of Broken Hill, the remote town of Silverton has a population of 34 and a wealth of history. Once bigger than Broken Hill, Silverton was a thriving mining town – hard to believe given the buildings that remain standing.
One of the buildings was the schoolhouse, and is now full of historical artifacts and photos of the area dating back to when the town was first established – it’s worth a visit.
The old gaol is also filled with bits and pieces of the past, which we hope gave our daughters some appreciation of how hard life was back in the day.
Some people may also remember this place as the location for one of Australia’s epic film productions – Mad Max 2.
Murray Darling Junction
Before heading off, one of our concerns was the road condition, particularly with the floods around Forbes. Thankfully we managed to get through most of NSW with limited stops for roadworks.
We were also lucky enough to basically follow the Murray River south, which offered spectacular sights. The amount of water around was incredible – even areas you’d think would never have water, had water.
Our Mildura lunch stop definitely put the amount of water into perspective, with the access road to the Murray and Darling River Junction completely submerged.
At the time we were there, the river had dropped about a 1m from its peak.
Next month, I’ll cover the southwest coast of Victoria and the South Australian coastline.