It started with high stress. The fridge in our new van wasn’t cooling, at all, which didn’t bode well for a journey into outback territory. The day before had been a scorching 42C with searing wind and bushfires flaring across much of NSW and QLD. So, we decided to take precautions, an additional portable fridge, on the chance our van fridge wouldn’t come good.
Still, anticipation was high and we were all excited as we left home. It was to be the longest day on the road, travelling roughly 600kms. With three grown people in the back seat hubby and I were ever conscious to keep our passengers comfortable. After all, a good tour operator knows that some things are essential when on the road, good healthy snacks, lots of water for hydration and plenty of rest and pit stops. Oh, and not forgetting some memorable moments along the way!
Fortunately, less than half way there, our fridge kicked into action, hooray, and we were able to restock it with our supplies. Woo-hoo, I knew it would be okay.
Silo art is becoming more and more prominent in Australian country towns and this one was no exception. Located in Nullawil on the Calder Highway north-east of Birchip, it’s the first in the Bulcke Shire to join the Silo Trail, Australia’s largest outdoor gallery. This silo is painted by artist Sam Bates and depicts a Kelpie dog and a farmer.
About 50kms later we came across one of the newest ones in the Mallee, located in Sea Lake. Painted by Brisbane based artists Drapl and the Zookeeper, the silo depicts a beautiful landscape of a young girl swinging from a Mallee Eucalyptus tree gazing out over Lake Tyrrell and a big open sky which gradually fades from dusk to night. A Wedge Tail Eagle soars above the girl and emus run off into the night.
The colours were so vibrant and to me it epitomised the peace and vast outback we were heading into.
“Travel is the healthiest addiction”
About an hour from Sea Lake we discovered, in casual conversation, that our son had forgotten his pillow, a towel and his sleeping bag! Aagh! Not having a sleeping bag could prove to be pretty chilly out there in the potential cold nights of the desert. Short of letting him freeze, we agreed a trip into Target Mildura would be a good idea.
Like any normal road trip, things happen and stuff is forgotten however I guess that’s life! Dealing with moments and minor things that we can sort out. Short of these tiny mishaps, and initally wanting to throttle him when I found out, it was a fabulous first day on the road.
“Adventure is allowing the unexpected to happen to you.” Richard Aldington
From Mildura it was about thirty minutes to Wentworth across the NSW border, passing some action along the way in the form of gigantic harvesting equipment in action.
Our home for the first night was Willow Glen Caravan park, located on the junction of the Darling and Murray Rivers.
An oasis at Wentworth
We were welcomed warmly by the owner Tony and escorted to a site by the river. It was a balmy night and after setting up, the boys were invited to make use of the canoes at the park for a kayak up the river.
It was the perfect way to end the day. Happy teenagers, a content sister excited to sleep in a swag for the first time, wine for us riverside and a delicious dinner under a golden sunset. Oh, and lots of ducks for company.
Had it been Tuesday instead of Friday, Tony would have serenaded us in the camp kitchen, as he does every Tuesday night. And if I’d bought my guitar I could have joined him.
“Sunset is the opening music of the night.”
We slept soundly that night and the following morning we enjoyed a peaceful walk to the junction of the two rivers. There, surrounded by the sounds of kookaburras above us, we climbed to the top of the viewing tower to marvel at the vista of Australia’s mightiest rivers meeting.
Nearby, within the park, was the most creative sculptured garden I’ve ever seen. Look closely at the photo below and you’ll see how the manicured gardens are an extension of the actual streetscape behind it.
From Wentworth we set off for Mungo and that’s when the adventure, and the magic, really began.
Stay with me as I take you deep into the heart of ancient and awe inspiring Mungo National Park in my next post.
Wherever you are, keep enjoying the journey.
In light and love.
Seek adventures that open your mind