Thursday, April 9, 2009

Broken Hill & White Cliffs

Broken Hill & White Cliffs - 5th – 9th April

Murray River National Park
Murray River National Park Victoria Australia
From Murray River NP

The Murray River is one of Australia’s greatest rivers passing through 3 states before hitting the sea. We spent the night bush camping on the side of the river, thoroughly enjoying the peace and quite as we overlooked the river. It is a shame that we couldn’t spend longer here and only got to enjoy the one night. Definitely somewhere we would love to explore some more.

Next morning we set off early for Broken Hill in NSW for the one night before heading to White Cliffs. White Cliffs is an opal mining town that is a little hard to describe. It is basically built in an opal field, it has one shop that services everything and one pub. To the North of the town is what is called ‘the claims’ these are basically pieces of land that belong to someone, this person has one day the intention of mining this piece of land for opals. The whole set up was like something from the 1900’s with people digging holes in search of the hidden loot. If they didn’t get lucky then they leave a great big shaft in the ground and move on. There were 1000’s of these disused shafts with a pile of discarded earth and rocks next to them (called mullocks). It must be what pioneering times would have been like. We had fun getting lost in this sea of mullocks.

White Cliffs, NSW
White Cliffs New South Wales Australia
From Broken Hill & White Cliffs

On our way to White Cliffs from Broken Hill (290kms) we saw the magnificent Wedge Tailed Eagle. It is a truly massive bird and amazed us with its wingspan and with the slow gracefulness that it took off with. The road was straight and apart from the Eagles, pretty uneventful. That was until we hit White Cliffs Info centre and got out of the car to a hissing noise coming from the back of the car. On inspection we discovered our 2nd puncture of the trip, this was in addition to the chip in the windscreen we also picked up on this journey – we were beginning to wonder if it was worth coming out here!! Angrily and in a sea of flies, Carl changed the tyre and we moved on gingerly now knowing that another puncture out here could be a real problem.

Puncture Number 2
White Cliffs New South Wales Australia
From Broken Hill & White Cliffs

White Cliffs explored and needing accommodation here for the night we decided that after the day we’d had, the campsite was not that appealing. A night in the White Cliffs Underground Motel was an interesting prospect. There are a lot of houses built into the ground in WC. This is to escape the ridiculously hot temps of the summer, where it can get to 50C! The Underground Motel was we guessed natural progression from underground houses. We booked ourselves in and inquisitively entered the hallways of what was basically a very large rabbit burrow! The whole place was cut out of the rocks and the ambient temperature inside was always 22C regardless of what was going on outside. On our particular day this was warmer than outside – it was unseasonably cold here for the time of year – There was a nasty southerly breeze. We enjoyed our evening in the underground bar, but sleeping was unnaturally quite for us after sleeping outside for so long, it took some time to get use to it.

Underground Hotel, White Cliffs
Underground Hotel White Cliffs New South Wales Australia
From Broken Hill & White Cliffs

We headed back to Broken Hill for the next couple of nights to sort out the tyre and do some washing. We went out to Silverton where a lot of Australian movies have been shot (Mad Max 2, Pricilla Queen of the Desert). It is a typical looking outback town with a few old stone buildings scattered around and a pub.

Mundi Mundi Lookout
Mundi Mundi Lookout Silverton New South Wales Australia
From Broken Hill & White Cliffs

We headed out to Mundi Mundi lookout which we had read about and as we came over the hill we had a truly amazing view. The land was so flat and you could see forever into the horizon. The say you can see the curvature of the earth here. We had a spot of lunch here while taking in the expanse of the land then headed back to Broken Hill where we potted around and looked at the mines.

Silverton, NSW
Silverton New South Wales Australia
From Broken Hill & White Cliffs

Murray River NP

Broken Hill & White Cliffs

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