Jul 14, 2014


We decided on an early leave time to head north along the Silver City Highway from Broken Hill towards Tibooburra to squeeze in as much as possible the next two days. Having spent time out here before we had an idea what to see, but honestly wanted to explore a little more. Our first stint would be a 75km drive to the packsaddle roadhouse. As you travel north the Barrier and Coko Ranges sit firmly on your left. These ancient formations were pushed up millions of years ago and are the last ranges west before the Flinders. You can see old mines in the face of the rock walls and where the tailings have been pushed out over time. A major highway, its funny to note that the surface out here changes from tar, to some pretty sandy patches then onto a typical red desert type road. Not sure how many times the surface changed before we hit the Packsaddle stop. I love the Packsaddle Roadhouse - great atmosphere, friendly staff, camping and a shower out the back ( last time we were here the showers were $2 pp, but we normally throw them $5 as they are so refreshing ), and hamburgers to die for. This time we would just stop for some junk food, stretch the lags and a quick hello. All types of fuel is available here as its a major stop on the way north. Pretty much from here north the landscape settles down to flatfish plains with an odd jump up here and there. I missed out last time when we passed through, but l remembered a high spot around 5km north of the roadhouse on the right where there was a UHF repeater station, might be a good spot to gain a better overall view of the area. We definatly weren't disappointed, 360 views which went on forever, dust trails here and there where there were other travellers or workers- well worth it. One thing we did spot from up here were some huge lakes to the north, and hopefully trackside. I run a Hema navigator GPS in the cruiser and when I bought up some more detailed maps- we soon found the lakes. Waypoint was marked and the course was set the the lakes. 

It took around 3 hours to get to packsaddle, because of the road conditions, and honestly out here you don't need to rush. Need to keep a few things in mind like; tyre wear, other traffic, staying animals and its great just to slow down to soak up the outback. It was approx 50km until we hit found several tracks to the lake. I say lake because we didn't see any track to the eastern lake just the western one. According to the Hema, the eastern lake, Lake Cobham is a salt water lake, yet on the western side- Green lake seems to be a freashy. All i can say is WOW…. there were emus down beside the lake, swans cruising in the water and plenty of camping. Our plan was to camp further north at Milperinka- but not now. Water views for us tonite !!

The sunset over the lake was nothing short of special. Galas screeching and a brilliant red glow was in order as we sat beside the fire. We only had about 120km to go to reach Tibooburra before we had to turn east to the coast, so after yesterdays early 6am start, we had a leisurely pack up and spent a little more time enjoying this oasis. Road conditions for the next 40km were pretty average with big soft sandy patches- but because we weren't in a hurry like others there were no dramas. We did pass a several trucks out here, and one thing you need to remember is that they don't move off the road- only because if they get stuck- they are stuffed, just as easy to slow down and pull right over. Another hour had passed and we soon found the turn west to Milperinka. This is a harsh area- but somehow the old timers found gold out here as the explorers were pushing north to reach new areas as they headed to the gulf and the mysterious inland sea. 

Milperinka is full of history. Here you can walk the street and and even climb through some of the old stone buildings. There are fenced off areas with information boards highlighting what was built there over 120 years ago. Volunteers have done an awesome job in restoring several old buildings and they are pack full of memorabilia from the days gone by. We always make sure we buy something here as the money all goes to help keep this place open. They have done a bloody great job in this hostile place.

Seeing we were ahead of time we decided to head 20km further west to explore Depot Glen and Pooles monument. Its hard to comprehend that back in 1845 early explorer Charles Sturt passed through here and set up camp. They camped at Depot Glen for about 6 months while waiting for a drought to break. Unfortunately, according to records it never happened and several men died. One of those men- James Poole who was 2ic died of scurvy and was buried beside a Grevillea tree that had his initials carved in. After we sighted this we cross the nearby dry creek bed and followed a private station road to the base of a large hill. After a pretty hefty climb we soon found the large stone cairn ( like a pile of rocks ) that was built by Sturt’s men. The return walk was around an hour and even though we can say been there done that, to marvel at this massive stone structure and witness some amazing views- probably wont do it again. 

Back on the road, through Milperinka we headed north again for our last section before Tibooburra. Its only about an hours drive, but you soon notice the amount of large boulders that come into view- looks a bit like the moon !!. The Aboriginal meaning for Tibboburra is 'heaps of rocks' and this is really evident when you get into town. I don't mind this remote town, there are other camps around town, but we always stay at the local caravan park. The routine is to book and pay at the local roadhouse, friendly people and its the place to stock up on food and fuel. The caravan park is located 2 mins drive away and has a backdrop of large boulders that make for a sareal setting at dusk. Its within walking distance to town for a feed at the pub ( have a choice of two ) or a look in at the National Parks office which has been set up as a museum for the area and where you can pick up some local information. 

We normally spend a couple of days here- just to unwind and to do the 100km Gorge loop ( yep there are gorges nearby !! ) and to explore the pastoral museum and Mount Woods station-- but one night will do with another pub feed, then tomorrow we head east through the Stony desert towards Wanaaaring, Bourke then home in about 3 days….

No comments: