With a long weekend beckoning we decided to join some mates camping at Knorrit Flat Riverside Retreat.
After re-packing the van, we got away mid-morning Friday and arrived at the campsite at lunchtime to blue skies and sunshine. After a bite to eat we set about setting up the camper.
The campsite is located on the Nowendoc River at Caffrey’s Flat about 40kms from Wingham NSW. The sites are a great size with their own firepit and are mostly flat and grassy. The road down to the campsite is quite steep, and would be an interesting exit in the wet i imagine. The campsites site up on the bank, and there is an entry point for those wanting to swim or put canoe’s/kayaks etc in the water.
We had a lovely Friday afternoon/evening sitting around the fire talking crap, cooking dinner and just enjoying the peace and quiet. We even managed to make a campfire oven cake (gluten free and all) and it was pretty darn good.
We woke up Saturday to annoying drizzling rain, so after breaky when it looked set in for the day, the boys decided to put up the tarp, which of course ensured that the rain would stop about half an hour later.
Once the rain cleared we went for a wander along the river.
After the morning rain, we even managed a slight sunset.
We cranked up the coals ready for some campfire oven cooking.
We had a lazy Sunday morning before packing up and heading home about lunchtime via Gloucester.
Well the rain eventually stopped late last night and we woke to blue cloudy skies. We hung and draped all out wet gear out whilst we had our first hot cooked breakfast which was a nice change to the ‘interesting’ tasting Gluten Free Coco Pops ripoffs. With breakfast done and the van all packed up, we left Leeroy in the safe hands of the park whilst we went exploring on nearby Yanga National Park.
Yanga National Park – Homestead
Unfortunately due to the wet weather the campgrounds were closed when we stopped yesterday, so we were hopeful the homestead and woolshed would still be open. We were in luck both were open and they are amazing.
The homestead is in such a beautiful location overlooking the Lakes on both sides of the house. The English garden would be so gorgeous when in flower and everything has been preserved brilliantly.
A few pictures from around the grounds of the Homestead:
After we had finished exploring the homestead, we headed down the road to the Woolshed.
The woolshed, what can I say other than I could go on for ages. Its huge, it’s beautiful, it’s nostalgic, it’s so well kept, it still smells like they were shearing there yesterday, I loved it.
After our exploring was done it was back to the caravan park to pick up Leeroy and get on our way. We were headed towards Mildura and stopped along the way at Lake Benanee. I don’t know what makes it the colour it is but it reminded us of glacier fed lakes in Canada.
I also hooked up the GoPro in the car for some road time-lapses (I still haven’t quite got the hang of retrieval and editing of them yet!)
We crossed the border into Victoria, and arrived in Mildura mid afternoon and even though we had been there before we couldn’t remember a thing about it! Sorry about that Mildura!
We grabbed some fuel and took a few shots down by the river before making a decision to get to Wentworth for the night.
As we headed out of Mildura towards Wentworth we checked to see if the roads had re-opened or not .. Apparently not.
Once we arrived in Wentworth we headed for the junction of the two mighty rivers – the Murray and the Darling. Last time we were here was in 2009 and drought was crippling the outback. I’m so keen to do a comparison of the water levels, as the water level at the moment is pretty full.
From the junction we headed to Lock No. 10 and it was here that you could see the serious amount of water moving through the system.
Our stop for the night was just downstream and we arrived as sunset was starting. We found a spot, went for a lovely wander before heading back to set up and light our fire for the night.
We wandered around the museum for quite awhile. It’s not a big museum but it had a lot interesting artifacts, recorded interviews and photos.
They also do three live shearing demonstrations. We had missed the first one, so we headed back to camp to hook Leeroy up and come back in time to catch the next one.
The shearing shed where the demonstration is held is actually an old Murray Downs shearing shed that they dismantled, and transported to Hay for reassembly specifically for the museum – quite amazing really.
We had a quick bite to eat at the cafe attached to the museum, which was obviously also popular with the locals and oh boy did those gluten filled scones look amazing or what!!! Tash is being sympathetic and hasn’t yet indulged in any gluten yumminess, even though I’ve been pointing out the bakeries and cake shops – well someone else might call it scoffing rather than pointing out lol.
After lunch we got hack on the road and headed towards Balranald. We weren’t sure how much of the rain they had received so had a few options as to where we might spend the night if the free camps were closed due to wet roads.
It rained reasonably steady all the way to Balranald so we opted for the warm showers and camp kitchen at the Balranald Caravan Park.
It rained very consistency for the night, so we were thankful to have the camp kitchen to cook in.
We woke to a very nice morning in Weddin Mountains NP and after some breaky we had planned on heading up the mountain to the cave, however things didn’t quite go to plan.
We had a quick breaky whilst being checked out by these cheeky little birds.
As it’s been chilly we’ve been filling the hot water bottle for the bed. Yesterday I had remarked that we really hadn’t checked the truck before heading off – which we normally would do – and I wasn’t sure how much water was in the wipers, so we thought rather than wasting the water in the hot water bottle we would fill the wiper bottle with it. At the same time we did this I noticed the radiator fluid was on the low line, so we filled it as well. All going okay at this point.
We then went to get some water out of the fridge and everything was slimy! One of the meats had leaked, so out came everything until we found the culprit re-bagged it and cleaned the fridge. As Tash was putting the fridge racks back in a soft drink fell through the gaps to the ground and exploded. Luckily it didn’t go over everything but it was something else to clean up.
Still trying to head off for our morning walk, we were closing the camper when Tash decided to fill one of the water bottles, thinking she had turned the main pump off earlier she turned the sink tap on to clear it of water to pack away but had forgotten she had actually turned it on and yep water everywhere. So we cleaned that up too!
Thankfully whilst all of this was happening we had this to listen too.
Ben Hall Cave
With all of the hiccups sorted, we were finally on our way to the cave. As we started the climb we realised in all the commotion I still had my steel cap boots on not my hikers – I wasn’t going back so up the hill we went!
The walk was about 800m up and moderate as the sign had described so not too bad at all. The cave wasn’t exactly what we expected – for one you can’t go in which was a bummer and it was actually quite high up.
According to the info signs it was one of a few hideouts that Ben Halls and his Merrimen of bushrangers used to evade capture and store their stolen wares.
The views from the cave were pretty special. Even from up here you cant escape the canola!
After walking back down we hitched up and headed out of the park. Too busy talking I missed the turn and we ended up on another track out which was a bit of fun and I remembered almost at the end to pop the GoPro on and do a little time-lapse.
We were now heading towards West Wyalong, and there was quite a lot of water laying along the road and on the fields. We crossed a creek and you could see the water running on both sides of the road and i had to pull up and get a couple of photos.
It was quite unbelievable the amount of water and just how green the countryside looked.
We stopped in West Wyalong at the Library/Information Centre to pick up a few maps and get some local information, particularly the weather as there was a storm front coming and all the locals were warning us of the rain to come – the information centre was no different. We spent a bit of time here looking at the weather forecasts, and maps trying to work out what was going to be possible and what was probably not going to be possible. We then decided to head to Hay which would give us a few options depending on how the weather turned (or not).
We headed out of West Wyalong, and had a quick roadside lunch in the very quiet country town of Weethalle.
From Weethalle we went through Rankin Springs, and i could not drive past the round grain silo. The scalloped concrete silo was built in 1964 and holds 19100 tonnes. I’ve not seen too many of these and i just love them.
Given that we were a little under prepared for this trip, we really hadn’t researched “things to do”, so as we are driving out of Rankin Springs Tash is checking out the Lonely Planet for things to do in Hay. The LP advised that Hay stood out because of its flat treeless plains at the junction of the Sturt and Cobb Hwy. We had a pretty good chuckle at that and possibly for the first time in our travels we wondered if LP was, well wrong, because we were driving through pretty thick scrub bushland. After all this time we really should have known better! Not long after we emerged from the scrub/bushland to wide open treeless plains that looked like went on until they dropped off the edge of the earth.
After driving for about 45 mins watching some of the best “G_d” ray displays I’ve seen, we finally found a safe spot to pull over and take a photo. Unfortunately we had missed the best part of the light. A fellow explorer (our mate Gav) best described the dirt out here – slippery as all f$%k and sticks likes sh*t, add to that nearly 1.5tonne behind us, i wasn’t risking pulling off or over on the dodgy edges for anything!
Once we pulled over you almost couldn’t tell looking in either direction which way was which.
Murrumbidgee River at Sandy Point Reserve
Once we arrived in Hay we headed to our next free camp, this time along the first of our three rivers – the mighty Murrumbidgee River at Sandy Point Reserve. We arrived just in time for sunset.
It was another cool night so being able to sit next to the fire was just lovely. We love our Snow Peak fire pit. Its portable can be used with wood or coals, and keeps the fire nicely contained and up off the ground so it doesn’t leave any scars on the ground when we leave.
With my work meetings finished for the day, i had all my gear with me and I was keen to bag a sunset. I had been thinking i would head to Nudgee Beach, however, after a recommendation from a colleague to head to Brighton Park i decided to follow their recommendation and headed there instead.
Brighton is the northern most suburb of Brisbane, about 20km to the north of the CBD and is situated on Bramble Bay and the North Pine River.
I headed up the highway and past a roadside fire that was starting to create a fair bit of a headache for the firefighters. I was hopeful that it might help with some colour in the sky.
I pulled up at the park and was stoked to see this lone tree sitting among the mangroves with a quickly incoming tide. The park sits alongside the Hornibrook Bridge which made a different backdrop to the lone tree. The two bridges connect the City of Brisbane with Redcliffe City.
Unfortunately, the clouds that had been looking very good before i went in for my afternoon, had all but disappeared – super sad face.
The sun was slowly start to set to my left, and the smoke was drifting across the western horizon putting a little bit of colour in the sky.
It was quite windy which made for difficult long exposures, which is how you get the lovely smooth water look.
The cloudless sky to the west was a nice shade of yellow and you could see the smoke plume from the fire i had seen along the highway making its way across the western horizon being fanned by a reasonable wind. I spotted a few helicopters flying around the fire zone.
As the sun set i headed up to the old part of the bridge for a couple of shots before heading back to the city.
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