BACK OF BOURKE AND ONTO MOREE
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Monday July 2 2012
JOURNEYS: Cobar to Bourke to Brewarrina 300kms
Brewarrina to Walgett to Moree 382 kms
WEATHER: Cold 2-3degrees morning; 17-20 degrees afternoon and sunny.
Sheila had set the alarm for 3.30am to watch the final of the Europe Soccer Cup between Spain and Italy this morning. We have camped overnight in a free rest stop at the junction of the Barrier Highway and the Kidman Way at Cobar along with some road trains and caravans. The televised match finished at 7am and we grabbed another 2 hours sleep before getting back onto the road.
Travelling north to Bourke we passed huge cattle and sheep stations on the long straight Kidman Way; the land was flat lightly vegetated and we saw plenty of wild goats, wedge tail eagles and a number of water birds taking advantage of the billabongs formed by the recent rains.
Bourke is a historic outback town that once was a thriving port on the Darling River with a poulation today of just over 2000 people.
In 1880 the North Bourke Bridge allowed access across the river and Bourke became a trading hub with paddle boats plying the river, camel teams led by Afghans transporting goods andlater a railway reached the town. Today things are quieter but the town remains a hub and admin center
When Henry Lawson was sent to Bourke in the late 1880's he was overawed by the area of the vast outback and wrote stories and poetry about the Australian outback which begins "back of Bourke" a phrase well known to Australians that acknowledges Bourke as the last settlement before the huge outback deserts.
It was a lovely sunny day and we enjoyed exploring the well kept town; we spent a while on the old bridge admiring the muddy Darling River and the pelicans and corellas flocking there.
Back on the road we head sharp east to Brewarrina, along Kamilaroi Highway to our intended over night camp. this highway is not in good condition- pot holes, disintegrating shoulders and bumpy.
Our free camp, "Four mile Campground" listed in Camps 5, is just outside of Brewarrina and as always with free camps we are never sure if they will be safe and attractive until we arrrive.
We were happy - this campground ticked all the boxes- inhabited by other campers, showers and toilets provided and by the Barwon River. It took a while to find a flat piece of ground but that done we settled in for the night after making contact with some of the other campers, mostly staying overnight as well.
We investigated the area and the sign by the river told us that this was an early aboriginal fishing trap, where the fish were herded into a small area and then caught.There were a lot of birds at the river and in the lovely old river red gums. Sunset created pink clouds and cooler temperatures.
It was a very cold night and most people lit a campfire but we were without wood so we retired early in the silent and very dark night.Perfect!
It was freezing early morning and the windscreen was well iced up and we were not in the path of the sun so we were a little late starting out.
Still on the rugged Kamilaroi Highway we stopped a while in Walgett before taking the Gwydir highway to Moree. We were in cotton producing land and cotton plants were growing roadside.
This NSW area, close to the Queensland border supports sheep, wheat, agriculture as well as cotton and we noticed some huge citrus orchards- there is an abundance of underground water apparently.
The Gwydir Highway is worse than the other road, after heavy rain earlier in the year and it took some concentration to avoid some rather deep potholes!
We reached Moree late afternoon and after inspecting the free roadside rest stops we decided to go to the Gwydir Carapark which had wonderful therapeutic artesian pools to soak in and all for $26 per night without power. The powered area of the park was totally full with extra vans parked in driveways etc. We were happy with our lovely green grass, away from the crowd- the benefits of solar panels! The thermal pools were a special treat on this cold morning.
Moree has a population of 8000 people and we were pleasantly surprised to find an attractive town, not living up to its old reputation as a rough place. There were some inviting coffee shops, art deco buildings and wide clean streets. We loved the photographic portrait exhibition at the gallery and admired perhaps the last photo of the iconic Margaret Olley.
The tiny town of Gravesend, not far from Moree - why was it named Gravesend? We did not stop to find out!
My Review Of The Place I Stayed