Its a little late but better late then never. We decided to head out to Hungerford, at short notice, on Boxing Day.
In previous posts we have spent some time there and enjoyed the national parks as well as the cattle stations.
I am not sure what it was, but I have to say I was a little apprehensive as I packed the truck on Christmas day. My friends and family put in an order for Christmas of -10 cases of beer! lol! So by the time I had finished packing I had 700kg on the tray.
We left at our customary 3am, and headed out. On a previous trip I had my earlier model Landcruiser play up as we got bad fuel. So since the purchase of the new one I have been particularly fussy with where I buy fuel from. To bore you- The land cruiser has 2 fuel tanks and now when I travel I keep the main task full with fuel from a trusted source, preferring to use the rear, ( sub), tank as we go. I fuel up at BP along the way.
This was a trip to prove even the best laid plans of mice and men.....
The trip was leisurely through Dubbo and onto Nyngan. I do like to stop at the the park by the river at Nyngan. the bird life there is really good. It has always been a favourite spot for a cuppa, and a spot of birding.
Rain! Welcome sight on the way to Bourke.
After a short break, we pushed on to Bourke. 215km boring road. I reflected that, as I child I remember seeing the trains heading to Bourke, the Abattoir working and what I though were the largest ploughs working the soil beside the road.
Today- nothing. The rail line is in ruins, as too the Abattoir, and I rarely see a tractor working.
We fuelled up in Bourke at the BP, and hit the Dowling track. Passing through Fords Bridge, I recalled how my Pop would talk about having a few beers there after a hard day on Pirrilie Station
It got me wondering just how tough the men and women were. My cousin, Roy Dunk rode his horse the entire length of the Dowling Track, carrying spare shoes etc.
The road was pleasant and not too rough and as rain began to fall, I hoped it would not turn the track into slush.
The ruins at Yantabulla
Further along we stopped at Yantabulla. There are some swamps there and is good birding. Brolga particularly like it.
Sadly, Yantabulla is like a movie set from Mad Max. A ghost town, and there was no water to be seen.
After a short break we were on our way, Past our cousins property "Warroo", and onto Hungerford
Hungerford show ground
The pub was closed for Christmas, so Dave and I had a Ginger beer on its cool verandah. I chose to show Dave the Hungerford Showgrounds and Dunk street. I confess I do like Hungerford and its people. They are just great.
We soon arrived at our destination, and stopped in the Shearers Quarters. All delightful.
First "Disaster"- I had not packed enough food. I had left half of it at home. David with all his motocross, and gym work is like a termite, and without snacks/drinks/bigbreakfast/lunch/dinner/morning tea/afternoon tea and a midnight snack.. he is just not himself.. I thought "mmmmnnn" I will just push on to Thargomindah and buy some groceries the following day"...
A welcome sleep was had by all.
The following day Dave and I drove around to Lake Wyara and Lake Numalla. After driving in Semi Arid conditions, avoiding boggy sections of track, we arrived at Numalla.
Its was extraordinary! A beautiful blue lake, with white sand and bird life in abundance. Australia always delights me. Just when you feel hot and bothered, up pops something you don't quite expect.
After walking some distance and spotting quite a few new bird species, it was time to head back.
The Lake! Brilliant!
A welcome evening meal was had on our return to the shed.
The following day, Dave and Greg headed out to do some fencing using the motorbikes this time for transport. I decided to head over and visit my cousin Frosty for the day, to have a cup of tea and a nag.
It still fascinates me every time I look at the fences, Pop always spoke of repairing and building the dingo ( wild dog fences). Sadly, much of the old fence lines are in ruins as the change from sheep to cattle has occurred.
Old dog fence.
After some more birding, I headed back to the shearing quarters..
Disaster 2.. we were low on fuel, and discovered that the servo was not open between xmas and new year. Neither were the shops. With the Hungerford Hotel closed ( food/fuel etc) we were left with the prospect of being stuck. So, Dave and I made the call the head home. Yep.. after 2 days...
Disaster3.. As we headed back, the cruiser went into limp mode... I quickly switched fuel tanks to the main which still had 1/4 left of city diesel. I could tell straight away that the motor had sucked up dirt and sure enough the warning light came on.
Distaster 3...At 90kph, an emu, which was heading away from the road, decided to turn around and aim straight at us. I was on a particularly sandy section of track and at this speed had no prospect of slowing without risking a rollover. I hit the bird killing it instantly, but bending the bull bar.. and stoning the windscreen (how, I don't know).
We limped into Bourke, and limped back to Sydney.
Cousins shearing shed
Was the trip worth it? 100% yes.. The lakes are a "must see", and I saw two of my favourite birds- Brolga and Rainbow Bee Eater.
1. Must fit additional fuel filters to the V8 land cruiser, and carry spare ones.
2. The genuine Toyota "bull bar" is almost pointless. The bar now has plastic inserts and buffers. Its too weak and the cost or replacing the broken plastic is hundreds of dollars. The bar is a nice city bar, but a 4 post TUFF bar will be the more suitable. I don't do "off road" stuff so approach and departure angle is not important. I do spend a lot of time on roads and cattle stations, and even to nudge cattle out of the way, well the toyota bar offers little protection in fact.
3. Double check when packing! leaving food at home is pretty stupid!
Anyway, its always nice to share time with your son!
Happy new year all!
Bird list:- Australian Magpie, Little Crow, Australian Raven, Pee Wee, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, Little Corella, Dollarbird, Red-rumped Parrot, Eastern Rosella, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Tree Martin, Willy Wagtail, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Little Eagle, Straw-necked Ibis, White Faced Heron, PEACOCK! ( on road between Nyngan and Bourke!), Australian Pelican, Australian White Ibis, Silver-backed Gull, Rainbow Bee Eater, White plumed Honeyeater, Australian Pipit, Orange Chat, Gibber bird, Brolga, Black-tailed Native Hen, Inland Dotterel, Yellow-rumped Hornbill, Black Falcon, Red-winged Parrot, White-Browed Treecreeper, Restless Flycatcher, Diamond Dove,White-winged Chuff, Pied Butcherbird, Yellow throated Honeyeater, White-browed Wood Swallow, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Red Kneed Dotterel, Black-winged Stilt, Yellow Billed Spoonbill, Welcome Swallow, Plover, Spotted Bowerbird, Major Mitchell, Crested Pigeon, Black-faced Woodswallow, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Emu.
For me Highlights- Dollar Bird, Brolga, Rainbow Bee Eater. I note a lack of Wedge-tailed Eagles.