THE MIDDLE ROAD..via Olive Downs back to Tibooburra

It was a cold night at Fort Grey, so that meant l was up early to see what the sunrise would produce, have coffee and pack up. About 3km north of the camp ground, Middle Road heads east and runs along the top of lake Pinaroo. I’ve only done this road twice in 8 years because in the past it’s been shut due to water on the road. Now l’m not sure why its called Middle road, but it isnt a bad alternative if you’ve got time to explore out here. We got advice from NPWS at Tibooburra to say the road was in good nick although it is corrigated and has bad dust sections. Stopping at the top of the lake, it was really evident just how dry it was !!!!The road winds it’s way around the lake and due to the dune system out here the road soon drops down to near lake altitude- this is where the water flows in, so the road is often shut in these areas. There are several stops along the way that include a huge dam called Ligman Tank, Bottom Bore, and the Bottom Bore historical Bronco yards. Middle road soon connects with the Toona Gate road and we had several choices, so with a right hand turn we headed towards Olive Downs. The landscape out here is very barren, but so interesting - rise and falls are covered with gibber rock, salt bush and tree lined dry creek beds.
Olive Downs !!!…wow, the early settlers who traversered their way out here to start a new life were tough buggers. The now abandon station can be viewed from the locked gates but you can wander around the shearers quarters, kitchen house and old pieces of gear nearby. We did some campers nearby in the NPWS Olive Downs campground, not my cuppa tea though camping here. The roads out here are pretty well marked on most good GPS systems and the turns are sign posted too. We headed further towards Tibooburra, but a few km past the Down’s station the call was given to check out the Olive Downs Jump up lookout. In one word- wow. Who would f thought that out here in this semi arid area you could come across a lookout like this !!!…. It was an amazing overview of the surrounding landscape.

Unfortunatly the wind was howling and the wind chill factor was bloody freezing. Back on the car and on the road again and It wasnt long before we found ourselfs hitting the end of the Jump up loop road and connecting with the Silver City highway. A right turn and a 20km drive back into the metrotropolis of Tibooburra had us battling with traffic ( 2 cars heading the other way ) and a little roadworks.

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