It rained all afternoon and much of the evening when we stayed in Cobar. The radio suggested there had only been 11 mls of rain but it seemed much more. On Friday morning we packed up a wet camp and headed westward toward Broken Hill. There was a light drizzle and misting rain at the start of the journey and while the rain petered out the overcast conditions remained.
Our first break was at Emmdale about 160 kms west of Cobar. Here we topped up with diesel (insurance that we could make the entire trip) and had morning coffee. We encountered two couples driving Nissan Patrols towing Hump Vans and they told us they were hoping to get as far as Dubbo that day en-route to their homes at Newcastle. We continued to drive west through Wilcannia and took a lunch stop at a rest area at Dolo Hill and then pushed on to Broken Hill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_Hill,_New_South_Wales) arriving around 2:00pm SA time which has been adopted as a standard by the city of Broken Hill.
After being in Broken Hill last year we decided to try another Caravan Park as that we stayed at last year seemed to us to be run down and in need of a lot of TLC. I thought I had secured a booking at the Broken Hill Tourist Park as I had rung on the Thursday and ostensibly made the booking over the phone. However, when we arrived at the park no booking could be found and the attitude taken by the people behind the counter was that we hadn’t booked at all.
After a lot of toing and froing we were eventually granted a site for the three night we wanted to stay here – I was ready to say fine and drive away because the attitude really lacked any pretence of good customer service at all. Apparently when you ring this park and they can’t answer the phone may be picked up by another park they own in (of all places) Geelong; this seemingly is what happened to me and the woman at the other end has failed to advise Broken Hill or has booked me a site at Geelong – I will be checking my credit card to ensure I am not charged for this.
We were eventually located on a site and quickly formed the opinion that, like the park we stayed at last year, this park is also somewhat run down and in need of a lot of TLC – but we will be gone on Monday. We found the TV reception to be non-existent and it was very frustrating as we could neither watch the Broncos match or watch the Better Homes and Garden program that Margaret likes. In frustration today after retrying to tune the set, I lowered the TV aerial to the roof (in travelling mode) and found we then had a perfect picture and could receive all available channels. We haven’t been turning the TV on as there is little of any interest to watch – but Friday night football!
This morning it is quite cool – 12 degrees according to the local ABC. We drove out to Silverton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverton,_New_South_Wales) to capture images that we took last year then lost when the computer hard drive failed. I’ve come prepared this time with new larger capacity camera cards (to leave the images on) and a continuous back up of my computer to a separate hard drive.
Silverton is about 20 kilometres from Broken Hill and along the road there are reputedly 39 dips – I didn’t count them to verify this fact but the Visitor Information Centre at Silverton has named itself “Beyond the 39 Dips” so it must be right.
We both took lots of photos of the place so will have these to add to the collection when we arrive home. There are a lot of old buildings at Silverton and a lot of modernised buildings as well; it is a most interesting place to visit.
After returning from Silverton we visited the Sculpture gallery in the Living Desert Sanctuary (http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/outback-nsw/broken-hill-area/broken-hill/attractions/the-living-desert-sanctuary). These sculptures were commissioned in 1993 under the principal sponsorship of the Broken Hill City Council and have been one of the city attractions since. Many people visit the gallery at sunset and we did this last year, as the setting sun bathes the sculptures in a different light to that during the brighter hours of the day. No matter what time one visits the images are quite outstanding.
Sunday morning has arrived and after a cool night the weather has warmed considerably; we’ve shed the jeans and jumpers we started out in and are back to shorts and polo shirts – it has turned into a lovely day. This morning we revisited some of the sites we saw last time and also drove up along the Line of Lode (http://www.brokenhillaustralia.com.au/explore-and-discover/mining-attractions/line-of-lode/) (http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/outback-nsw/broken-hill-area/broken-hill/attractions/line-of-lode) to the Miners Memorial and the Broken Earth Cafe. The Cafe appears to be closed at the moment although there was still a lot of stock in the gift shop when we peered through the glass doors.
The Visitors Centre in town was our next port of call and we enjoyed a coffee. From the Visitors Centre we took a walk through the CBD area as much for exercise as anything else as the only businesses that appeared to be operating were the coffee shops and the local newsagency.
Of course the Centro shopping centre was all go with Woolworths and Big W and the associated smaller shops all open. We filled the car at the service station at the shopping complex preparatory to our departure in the morning for Port Augusta.