Alarm set for 7, but after being awake since 6, I’m up just after 6:30. It’s a really fresh morning in the van as we’ve got no power for either the electric or diesel heater. No one wants to get out from under the blankets. Eventually we all get going. Justine packs food just in case we can’t cross. I get the car ready. Just before we leave we talk to the park supervisor to see what options we have for power. She says we can use the generator during the day and without much conviction, says she will let us know if she can allocate a powered site if someone else leaves.
We give Liam a couple of presents to open before we leave – the two highest things on his birthday list – one of them is a magic 8 ball, the other an AC/DC album (love his taste in music)
With that we head off. I’ve worked out this should be able to be done as a loop, with only the last 20 or 30km needing to be back tracked on. So we drive north on the Silver City Highway, which turns to dirt about 200mts north of the town. After about 15kms, we turn of onto the Jump up Loop Road. It’s a really good road, but there seems to be a lack of Jump ups. Amazing barren landscape however and a great drive. After 30 odd kms, Justine spots 3 or 4 roos off the right of the car, a 100 or so metres away. They’re obviously spooked by us and are hopping as fast as their legs will carry them. The way the road turns, they end up crossing the road only 20 or 30 mtrs in front of us, so we have full view of them in full flight for a minute or two. While we’ve seen plenty of roos on our trips, seeing these hopping full tilt in a pack is amazing. Eventually their path and ours go separate ways so hopefully they stopped hopping. Check out the video below (full screen is best)
We’re nearly at the end of the Jump up Loop road, when we really get to proper jump up. Its to a ridge that has been in front of us for the last 20 km or so. We stop at the lookout back into the plain we’ve just driven over.
From here we hit 20kms of Middle Road, marked as 4WD only, but it ends up being pretty good. We then turn onto Toona Gate Road, a road that heads to the Queensland border. After 15km, we turn back onto another section of Middle road. This ends up being a bit rougher, narrower and all round more 4wd territory. There ends up being two sections where the road is so flooded, we need to go cross country to get around it.
Eventually we hit the Cameron Corner road, for the last 30km run to the corner. Over a hill then then we see the Dingo Fence and the gate into South Australia. Justine gets out and we just hope it’s not locked … it’s not.
From here we drive around the corner and as there is only one other car there currently, make our way to the corner post. The kids seem genuinely more interested that I would have thought. We spend 20mins or so looking at the post and the dingo fence. We take the required photos of the kids sitting in 3 states. Liam was born at 11.50am on the 13th, so he is keen to be in the 3 states right on the dot – we have timed it well, so he is very happy.
I must admit with all the people out here (of which I acknowledge I’m one), I was afraid that the remoteness or something might be lost. I thought I might turn up and the car park would be full of 4×4’s but no. The one other car at the post and maybe half a dozen at the store it feels like it should. I was a bit concern I may get here and think, why the hell have I just driven 100’s of KM to get to a post in the ground, but I don’t. As mentioned it not specifically the destination, it was about the journey. While the journey has been great, the destination doesn’t disappoint either.
Over to the border crossing, and the cops are there with the gates locked. He check our declaration forms and our drivers licenses and also ask us if we’ve been to the Cross Road Hotel. Nice guy and I guess it’s a pretty cruisey job.
A great lunch at the corner store, and we can’t help but get a few souvenirs.
Liam to his credit is taking today in good spirits, he doesn’t like long days of driving, but he seem to be enjoying the idea of being in this remote spot on his birthday. As he was born at 11:50am, we go back at 12:20pm to stand on the SA side of the line so he can celebrate a second time (SA is half an hour behind NSW).
We’ve driven about 180km to get here, but that was via the longer route, it is about 130odd km via the Cameron Corner Road back to Tibooburra. The roads are mostly good, and in most case you can sit on anywhere between 80 and 100 fine.
Back to the park mid-afternoon, and as we’re at the end of the park, I ask the older couple next to us if they would mind us running the gennie, I can see they’re not keen, so I say let me run it and if it really bothers you we can see what other options there are. As it is, I put the gennie as far way as I can between some old machinery behind the van. It’s pretty quiet so they calm down and we end up chatting for a while. After about an hour, we should have enough to run overnight. I use the opportunity to start up the Diesel heater as it’s a cold night.
We give Liam the rest of his birthday presents, then Dinner at the 2nd Pub it town, the Family Hotel. I have to say the meals here seem a bit better. Finally back to the Van, Birthday Cake with Candles and we let the kids watch a movie.
Tomorrow off to White Cliffs.