Day 6 – Cobar to White Cliffs

“Why did the lizard cross the road?” “Because it wanted to get to the other side, but didn’t account for the 4.5 tonne of Toyota and Jayco awesomeness screaming down the road like a bat out of hell”

We left Cobar punctually at 9am, as planned, however decided to change our route from Wilcannia to White Cliff, affording us the opportunity over the next few days to explore further north around Tibooburra along with Camerons Corner – where Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales all meet, as well as being a place where we can see the Wild Dog Fence (longest structure in the world – single fence of over 5000km in length).

Unfortunately, you will be sad to hear that we left Bogan Shire on this leg of the journey, but similar to Caroline’s previous entry, we encountered roads that were flat and straight. Red earth dominated the scenery as far as the eye could see, interrupted by our first sightings of wild goats, emus and the occasional flat lizard. Before spotting the fauna, I decided to try something new to entertain the girls offering a reward*; 10 cents for any kangaroos they spotted and 20 cents for any emus – thinking that emus would be less frequently observed as it we didn’t see them that often splattered along the roadside. *Insert disclaimer now, the reward was only offered if said animal was verified by either Caroline or myself. Despite seeing a significant number of emus along the Barrier highway, I didn’t have to part with a cent! Phew! It could have been expensive!img_1430

Continuing along the Barrier Highway, surprisingly still in New South Wales, it was pleasing to see elements of “Bogan Shire” continue through the Darling River Shire. The effort that someone had put into pre-Christmas decorations, dotting random trees over a 5 km stretch with ornaments including saucepans, coffee cups, televisions, circular saw blades and eskies. Five trees in total – put a huge smile on my face. Reflecting on these marvelous ‘sculptures’. I think Darling River Shire must have a fantastic marketing department – they have some creative ways of attracting the locals. It is definitely a must see if you are in the area – up there with the Big Banana, Big Merino and the Big Ant – which we should see in a couple of days in Broken Hill.

We stopped at Wilcannia for lunch, a beautiful little town with sandstone buildings and stopped for lunch at a playground nestled next to the Darling River. After a few sandwiches, we tried to tire out the girls on the play equipment. Upon getting back in the car, success, both girls were out for the count! Leaving Wilcannia we headed down Opal Miners Way on route to White Cliffs, a small Opal mining town with a population of approximately 100 people. Similar flat, straight roads as we had previously experienced, with slight changes of local fauna. Rather than sighting emus and goats along this stretch we were greeted by a large rustic sign painted on rusted aluminum sheeting “Warning Black Cows”.

For the next 100kms Caroline and I had our eyes open, scanning the horizon for these treacherous black cows. After crossing what seemed to be a dozen cattle grids, I finally saw some black dots on the horizon. Initially I adjusted my gaze, thinking the black dots were similar to the mirages we had seen earlier in the day – then asked Caroline to confirm what I had seen. Yes. Black Cows! Meandering along a highway, with a 110km speed limit. Time to slow down. We allowed half of the herd to cross the road and slowly accelerated past the stragglers, continuing along our way towards White Cliffs.

dsc_0779

The last fifteen minutes along Opal Miners Way were pretty uneventful. We arrived in White Cliffs, filled up the fuel tank – a mere $1.74 per litre, and parked the van in the caravan park – a site that was TOTALLY different to our last stops. Dry, red earth – no grass! We left the van to explore the town.

First stop was some of the opal mines in the area. We talked to one of the mine owners about how opals were formed, the difference in colours between opals and asked about the famous Pineapple opal – the only place in the world where these Pineapple opals have been found! After leaving the opal mine we headed to the local pub for a refreshment. The bar lady whom served us had recently moved from Broken Hill to White Cliffs with her son for work and was very helpful in helping us understand the quality of the roads for our trip tomorrow to Tibooburra. Before leaving the pub we met her son, who was one of 13 children attending the local school – where the children attended composite classes, ranging in age from kindergarten to year 12!

For dinner tonight we headed to the underground motel, a motel that due to its underground nature reports maintaining a constant temperature between 22 to 23 degrees all year round. Generous portions and a very interesting building. With the cost of everything so far in White Cliffs, I dread to think what a nights’ accommodation would cost!!

Almost time to retire for another night – a short 250kms tomorrow to Tibooburra. Despite the short distance, I fear it will be a long drive. It’s still a major road but it is unsealed – hopefully there will be signal up there, else it may be a few days until we post again. Stay posted!!

6 responses to “Day 6 – Cobar to White Cliffs

  1. It really sounds like you are all having an amazing adventure. What an incredible country we live in with so much variety in landscape. Hope the drive went well and the rain didn’t eventuate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Again this brings back such memories for us as theses places are ones we visited when we did our stint in the Royal Flying Doctor Service in September / October 1972.
    Wilcannia we visited three times a week and Dad saw 90 patients a day. We flew into emergencies at night having the locals man the strip with kerosene lamps and driving down the strip to keep the Roo’ s off while we landed. Wilcannia was where we flew a young man back to BH with a neck injury later to evacuate him to Adelaide, he made a full recovery after we used a newspaper collar. We also attended a car accident where I did my first x-Ray’s with the Matron and Dad did an amazing suturing job on his face. After stabilising him we flew him out early next morning having to sleep at the hospital not sleeping in the bed that I had ” laid someone out “earlier that day, we let the pilot use that one!
    Tibooburra we did clinics where we saw a famous portrait on the bar room floor. We also visited White Cloffs for clinics and also looked at opals. We have a patient who who lived in White Cliffs in an underground home until they were getting too old to live in such a remote area. They are Hungarian and mined opals, we see her next week for a pacemaker check.
    So happy that you are seeing all these amazing places, such memories for us only we were flying in a small plane.
    What an experience, it’s an amazing country.
    LOL to you all
    MUm xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Blimey – it really doesn’t take long to be in the real outback. The caravan looks so exposed, do hope the wind didn’t get up.
    In such a small place how varied was the menu in your underground restaurant? Don’t expect it lived up to Dad and Nicki’s dinner at The Chelsea Garden Ivy last night…..
    Take care and enjoy today’s adventures.

    Like

    • It’s raining now a little and we hope the rain holds off as too much rain and unsealed roads aren’t a good combination. Thunder is forecast for tomorrow afternoon witg temps close to 40 – we should be there early afternoon (~5hrs we reckon). The menu was small but varied, although portions HUGE! Lach needed a lie down after as he was so full.
      Bet nicki’s and dad meal was fantastic – think we will deserve a special meal when we get back 🙂
      Xxx girls played with their ballet sticker books today – they loved them

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s