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Monday 11th December:
Left the magnificent Wilpena Pound for Broken Hill (500km / 5.5 hours). Beautiful countryside and no traffic. After checking into our motel it was off for a late lunch and then into the info centre to plan our next few days. The temperature is climbing to 40oC over the next few days so will need to plan our exploring to work around the heat.
Tuesday 12th December:
Off Silverton way toady with the first stop at the old Day Dream Silver mine. It is 20km on sealed road then 13km on dirt road. The dirt wasn’t too bad and the mighty Mazda handled it well. The old mine is certainly in the middle of nowhere. Amazing how somebody actually found silver right there.
We did the mine tour and heard all the stories of years gone by (The mine is purely a tourist attraction now).
Following the tour we had the best ever (just like my mum used to make) scones, jam and cream (real whipped cream).
Then off to Silverton and visited the Mundi Mundi lookout (looks out over a vast beautiful nothing) and the Umberumberka Reservoir which is now dry. Back to the pub for a cool Coke and a real old fashioned hot dog (just like I used to have as a kid). We decided to stay at this hotel for 1 night to stargaze as we heard this place to be real good for it.
On the way home we detoured to the Sculptures in the Desert for a look. Did a wander round but had to cut it short due to the heat. It was damn hot.
We made our way back for the sunset. Awesome magical and well worth the visit. Although we did get eaten by little black ants. They attacked everybody there so we weren’t alone.
Wednesday 13th December:
In for a scorcher today so only small activities planned. After a sleep in and a load of washing it was off to the Pro Hart gallery. We spent about half an hour watching various video clips of his life and talking about his art works.
Then we wandered round his gallery (No photos allowed) looking at a very good selection of his works throughout the years. It was extremely interesting and we both topped up on culture.
Ooohhhh and it was air-conditioned, so bonus.
After lunch at the local Demos services club we headed to the Silver City Arts Centre. The attraction here is “The Big Picture” which is a 100m long by 12m high circular canvas painting (the largest canvas painting in the world).
Local artist Peter Anderson took 2 years to paint the canvas. He used 9 tonne of paint and added 300 tonnes of red earth and 10 tonnes of rock to make it feel like you are standing in the outback. Very impressive (no photos allowed unfortunately).
Then back to the room to sit out the hottest part of the day. Just checked the temp on BOM and it is 41.6C at 3:00pm.
Thursday 14th December:
Much cooler this morning (42C down to 28C) so a perfect day for a city tour of Broken Hill. Met our guide Milton at 9:00am and once again we were the only clients, so a very personalised tour.
For three hours Milton drove us round the hill and told us of all the history and goings on. Very entertaining.
After lunch we made our way back to the memorial for the miners up on the waste dumps. Very interesting place with great views over the township.
After our afternoon siesta we made our way back to the lookout for sunset. Beautiful sunset as a fitting send off for our last night in Broken Hill.
Friday 15th December:
Left Broken Hill for Silverton (25km) so a very short drive. Before we left Broken Hill we visited the Palace Hotel where some of the movie Priscilla was filmed. Each year in September, Broken Hill have the “Broken Heel” festival, which is a celebration, of all things Priscilla.
The Palace is also an attraction in its own right with all the murals painted on the walls and ceiling in the pub. Very impressive.
On arrival in Silverton we visited the jail museum. Silverton used to have a population of 5,000 with 10 pubs in its heyday. Now it has a population of 40 people, 5 Donkeys, 2,250 Goats and lots of Roos.
After a very yummy country lunch in the one remaining pub, we borrowed the DVD for Mad Max 2 from the pub and watched it as it was filmed just outside of Silverton. Great to see the local landmarks in the movie.
Just on sunset we made our way back to Mundi Mundi lookout for the sunset and stayed on for a few hours to see all the stars come out. It was truly magnificent to see all the stars out with no light pollution from civilization.
Saturday 16th December:
Did you know that the original BHP was founded in Silverton on July 16th 1885. There were seven founding members who formed the new company BHP. Five of these men became very rich as shareholders of BHP.
Left Silverton for Menindee (150km). A quick stop in Broken Hill as we went through to get Internet to update email and Facebook.
Made it to Menindee in time for lunch at the pub. As it was a scorcher outside we settled in the room for the afternoon and managed a nice siesta.
Once things cooled down a bit in the evening we went exploring some of the lakes. Beautiful lakes and rivers with lots of camping facilities.
Sunday 17th December:
After a bit of a sleep-in (and before the heat of the day) it was off to Kinchega national park to see the old Wool shed (20km away & dirt road). With my dad being a sheep farmer I spent many a day working in the shearing shed. Not as big a shed as this one but nonetheless, it brought back fond memories of days gone by.
On the way back to Menindee we followed the Darling River track to the main road. Dirt road all the way but the mighty Mazda handled it well, corrugations, potholes, washaways and all.
Lunch at the pub and settled in the room under the aircon for the afternoon siesta as it is another scorcher out there today.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy