Fresh, but at least it’s not raining. Oddly it still seems to take us nearly and hour and a half to get up, feed, and packed ready to go. The track out is pretty easy in the end, and we drive back to town to visit the Brewarrina Fish Traps at the Aboriginal Cultural Museum. I’d read about these while researching the trip. Considered the oldest man-made structures in the world.
After a bit of a false start, we find the place, pay the entrance fee and start the 9:30 tour. There are about 15 or so of us, and as it turns out the Subaru families are with us. The guide Bradley, is really good. The right balance of information, history, humour and when needed reminding that the indigenous have not been treated well. At one point I did think the place looked a little tattered, then Bradley said the place was built 20 or 30 years ago, and closed for around 10 years and only reopened about 3 or 4 years ago. It’s not till nearly 12 that we are done and on the road, so we’re running a bit behind schedule.
We continue the 100km or so to Bourke. Oddly enough, I found not a lot to do in Bourke. There was an Outback experience at the visitors centre, some static exhibition, probably not dissimilar to the one at Port Augusta, but it seems it closed during Covid and it still has not reopened. They are running the visitors centre from a demountable. The other was a paddle steamer, but for the life of me I can’t find if it’s running, some say the water has been too low, there is no official word I can tell. As we drive over the Darling, it looks full, but we’re committed now to moving on.
Over to the IGA to stock up on some supplies for the next 3-4 days. Some things are pretty exey (as expected), others about the same price as in Sydney.
We take the Wanaaring turn off, fortunately the signs say the road is open. I think the first 20 or 30Kms are tar before we hit the dirt. As it turns out it seems they’ve extended the bitumen, quite a bit. So much, that we drive by the unmarked site on the Warrego River that I thought would be our camp for the night. After about 70 or 80 km we hit dirt, not long after I ask Justine to look for the camp site on the map to eventually to find it’s now 40kms behind us. Oh well
We decide to push on to Wanaaring, I guess any Ks we do today, we won’t need to do tomorrow.
We pass some cars coming the other way. Some with vans or camper trailers and most of them are absolutely covered in mud, given the rain we’ve had it’s a bit concerning.
The road is really patchy. Some great, other part really soft sand, not quite bulldust, but just about. Then some really bad corrugations, Oddly not much mud so far. Along the way we leap frog a group of three cars that are traveling in convoy. The road is in a fair bit worse condition than I expected. It if would not had been for the extra tar, this would have been a really long day
We look for a few road side camp options, but nothing is really suitable so we push on and eventually arrive in Wanaaring on the Pardoo River, We stop at the general store and I pull up to get some fuel. Justine opens the van to find the fridge door has opened and the bulk of the fridge contents is on the floor now. Great.
While the store runs a campground behind the store, it seems to be full of a bunch of motorbike riders, so we ask about camping options down by the river. We’re told that, if the spot is free there is a good location down by the bridge. We arrive to see that our convoy friends have just taken the spot. On the east side of the river we can see a track go down, it’s steep, but what the hell. We drive down and along some mud flats to a spot by the river. I’d like to say it was pretty, but it wasn’t, but we’re here now. It’s still probably better than the store campground so we setup, and get a fire going. A great fire and we see some of the best stars we’ve seen all trip.
Only trouble is the mud, while initially it seemed dry and hard baked, it now seems softer and it building up on our shoes. As we walk around the fire I’m an inch taller than when I started.