Monday, 3 December 2012

Out west

17-18 November 2012

The Nindigully Pub is a beauty.  It’s your classic outback pub – except for its paint colour. It’s pink!

You can camp for free out the front of it beside the Moonie River and we’d highly recommend others to leave SEQ early in the morning to make this your first night’s camp.

We had an early lunch here but the boys were not particularly excited about the flies. I could see where one of the RBS horses won a recent cutting or campdraft (sorry Dad, can’t remember which event). 

We’d hear Dirranbandi mentioned a lot on ABC weather reports but I can’t say I’d rush to visit it again.  Hebel (on the border of QLD and NSW) had a small pub with lots of character.  It was dirt roads all the way to Goodooga and dirt again to the Culgoa National Park (via QLD again).  The Culgoa Floodplains National Park is in QLD and it joins the Culgoa National Park in NSW. Beside the national parks are the biggest wheat paddocks we’ve ever seen – with their fence line shimmering in the haze on the far horizon.

As we made our way down the dirt road for our evening camp we saw plenty of emus and kangaroos running (and jumping) around.

We camped among some small native pine trees and congratulated ourselves on being the only ones there (given it took us an over hour from Goodooga which is already in the middle of nowhere!).  Merely five minutes after we settled on our campsite another vehicle arrived shortly followed by another.

The next morning we took a short walk to the Culgoa river which was dry. It had the best steep sided banks for the kids to run up and down. We saw an Aboriginal scar tree and two tall tree trunks which are the last remains of the original pioneer’s homestead. We saw photos of the pioneering family with their five children, the littlest younger than Otto, and I just can’t imagine how they a) travelled there to begin with or b) lived there on their own.  It felt like we were pushing our boundaries being ‘in the middle of nowhere’ on only our second night into the trip.

We travelled into Brewarrina and felt like the mostly sealed roads were a real gift!  We didn’t see the fish traps in Brewarrina last year so were keen to make sure we didn’t miss them again – even though we were going to miss a guided tour of them because it was the weekend.

Well we had just found a spot high on the banks of the river overlooking the ancient fish traps which are World Heritage listed when a local Aboriginal man came along. Cecil told us all about the fish traps, and his mother’s people and his father’s people. He’s from Weilmoringle which we’d travelled through earlier in the morning.  Fortunately he also told us that the weir we could see was the designated end of the beautiful Barwon river (not the one that flows through Geelong!) and the beginning of the Darling river. 

The fish traps are some of the oldest man-made structures in the world and estimated to be 40,000 year old!  And has anyone ever heard of them? We were really honoured to see them, and felt really lucky to have bumped into Cecil who could tell us about them.

So here our journey really felt like it was beginning at the very start of the Darling River! 

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