Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tibooburra and Noccundra

We rolled into Tibooburra, checked in at the local service station cum supermarket and booked into the only van park in this very old mining settlement. It is a popular place for small prospectors to come in the winter months with their gold detectors but there are some permanent prospectors who live here all year. This very small town has the reputation of being the hottest place in New South Wales but is beautifully comfortable in wintertime.
The very effective town sign with silhouettes of early settlers.

We quite like these small outback parks because as long as your dog is well behaved, they don't mind if he is off-leash - which certainly makes for a happy dog. Charley has proved to be a wonderful 'ice-breaker', as everyone, it seems, loves Border Collies and stops for a pat and then stays for a long chat.

Peter went off one day with Charley and his metal detector whilst I stayed at the van with a book and my knitting. Unfortunately when he returned - no gold nuggets yet. There's not a lot of attractions in Tibooburra, but we were told that pizza night at the local pub was the place to go on Sunday evening. While waiting for our order, we overhead a young family at the next table speaking in a foreign language. Peter guessed Sweden, and was proved right later when I started chatting with them. This Swedish couple were here in Australia for a year. He was a doctor working for the NSW Air Ambulance out of Sydney and Orange. This is similar to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, but for more urban areas nearer the coast. They had some leave so had come to see the 'outback' - and you can't get more outback than Tibooburra. No television reception (only with a satellite dish).

Cameron Corner with the Dog Fence
Next day we drove to Cameron Corner - the very remote spot where the corners of Queensland and New South Wales meet the border of South Australia. It is about a 300 kilometre round trip, and the road through the Sturt National Park not only has plenty of kangaroos and emus but has some wonderful scenery and from the top of the escarpment it was just breathtaking. On reaching the Corner, who did we meet but the Swedish family once again.

At Cameron Corner you can see the Dingo Fence or Dog Fence which is a pest-exclusion fence that was built during the 1880s and finished in 1885, to keep dingoes out of the relatively fertile south-east part of the continent (where they had largely been exterminated) and protect the sheep flocks of southern Queensland. It is one of the longest structures in the world and is the world's longest fence - around three thousand, five hundred miles long!

Back at Tibooburra a walk around the town showed us some interesting spots - even a small very rustic drive-in cinema (not in use) and a replica of the whaleboat which explorer Charles Sturt in 1844 brought up from Adelaide with his expedition believing he would find an inland sea. He finally gave up and abandoned the boat here in Tibooburra.

Also on display is a massive very ancient fossilised tree trunk found and excavated locally.

Moving on and checking road conditions, the next stop on our trip was an overnight free-camp on the banks of the Wilson River at Noccundra.

There is no town as such just a pub with a few motel units, fuel bowsers and alongside public showers and toilets. These latter facilities are used by the free-campers who like to stay by the river about half a kilometre away. Campers have to be self-reliant - there is no power or drinking water and you're definitely out of mobile phone range. No television either!

However you have a riverside spot with birdsong, peaceful and beautiful - and at night a campfire to sit around with stars above that are just brilliant.

Travelling on next day to Quilpie on our way to Charleville.

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