A Trip To The Corner Store – Outback Australia

In 2010 rain hampered our efforts to get to Cameron Corner and we had to change plans and head south due to many road closures. So this is Take 2 for our Corner Country Trip!

Monday, 4 July 2016 – Sunday, 17 July 2016

CORNER COUNTRY HERE WE COME!!

Where we stayed:  Nyngan Van & Leisure Park

Let our holiday begin!!

Our destination today:  Nyngan.  After a few hours in the car we stopped at Merriwa for morning tea and a play in the park.  Lunch saw us at Dunedoo before continuing on towards Nyngan. 

Normally when we are heading to Nyngan we travel via Dubbo and Trangie.  This trip we decided to detour slightly to a road we hadn’t travelled before.  We veered right just after Dunedoo onto the Castlereagh Highway which took us through Mendooran, Gilgandra, Collie and onto Warren before hitting the Mitchell Highway again at Nevertire.  It was only a short 60km and we arrived in Nyngan.

Last time we were in Nyngan we stayed at the Riverside Caravan Park.  We had decided this time we were going to have a look at the free camp first.  The free camp is right in the middle of town on the highway and when we were turning around we saw another van park – Nygnan Van & Leisure Park.  This was tucked off the highway a little so we decided to book in here for the night for a small fee of $20.

The kids jumped straight on their bikes to burn off a some energy when we arrived.

OFF TO WHITE CLIFFS!

Where we stayed:  White Cliffs Opal Pioneer Tourist Park

Today we had around 450 kms to travel to get to White Cliffs where we will stay for a couple of days.  Our first stop was Cobar as we needed a new Cobar sign travel pic!  Each time we have been through Cobar on a holiday we have had either a different car or different camper/van.  It was raining so we let daddy get out and get the pic while we smiled from the car!!

The one thing we noticed from past trips out this way is how green the countryside is at the moment!  It is just beautiful!!

It was a miserable and cold day today – good day for the car.  We stopped at a rest area for lunch and made some toasted sandwiches in the van before arriving in White Cliffs to sunshine!

We booked into the Caravan Park and the owner gave us a map of the town and mentioned while we were here we had to go and do the tour of the underground house – apparently we won’t be disappointed!

 

Three different trips and towing/driving something different each time… we’re happy now 😉

So green…

Welcome to White Cliffs!

Van Park

EXPLORING WHITE CLIFFS!

Where we stayed:  White Cliffs Opal Pioneer Tourist Park

Today we had a day of exploring White Cliffs!  It is a great little town with quite a bit to see. First we popped into the Corner Store to have a look, then the Information Centre before jumping back in the car and following the self guided map around town that we picked up yesterday.

We had a look at Bill O’Reilly Oval, the Solar Power Station, the Underground Motel.  White Cliffs is renowned for underground houses – these are a sight to see, well you actually don’t see much and I guess that is the amazing part… You see the front door and then a mountain of dirt above and around it.  We went into a few souvenir “houses” and had a chat to some of the friendly locals about anything and everything.

We drove around the opal fields and saw a few working operations.  We even tried to find some of our own opals without much luck!

As the caravan park owner had told us the underground house tour was a must, we went for a sticky beak!  It was AMAZING!  The kids wanted to live there…  We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside as it was her actual house she lived in but I did get a couple of the roof vents outside (see below).  It was like a maze of tunnels, very pleasant temperature and just something you have to see!  So if you venture to White Cliffs make sure you go and see it – it’s just on the hill behind the caravan park, two viewings a day when we were there!

Bill O’Reilly Oval

Solar Power Station

Checking out the Underground Motel

Opal Mine in action.

Sky-lite from underground house

skylite

TO TIBOOBURRA via PACKSADDLE & MILPARINKA

Where we stayed:  Aboriginal Lands Council Reserve

Today we said goodbye to White Cliffs and set in the direction of Tibooburra.

We hit dirt road today for the first time on this trip – pretty good road too!

Packsaddle Roadhouse was on our list of places to see so we stopped off there for lunch. Packsaddle is on the Silver City Highway located halfway between Broken Hill and Tibooburra. Inside they have a lot of old shearing memorabilia on display and a beautiful big open fire that kept us warm. 

After lunch we continued onto Milparinka.

Between Packsaddle and Milparinka is the “Tool Tree”…. just that, a hills hoist with tools hanging off it!  Kids thought it was great (see pic below).

Milparinka is an old gold mining town and is a ghost town as such these days.  The small local community has restored some of the old buildings; the courthouse, the police station, the gaol cells and the Milparinka Hotel still operates.

We arrived in Tibooburra in the late afternoon and found a great camping spot – the Local Aboriginal Lands Council Reserve.  The caravan park in town was almost full but this spot, only 1 km from town, had only us and two others camped here!  We were able to have a campfire and there was great showers/toilet facilities.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here and would highly recommend it – especially if you like a bit of space to yourselves!

The dirt begins!!

Packsaddle turnoff!

OPEN!!

Packsaddle Roadhouse

Inside Packsaddle Roadhouse

Inside Packsaddle Roadhouse

Tool Tree

Milparinka

Milparinka Pub

Welcome to Tibooburra!

Campground

Campground

Campground

Campground

TIBOOBURRA TIME!

Where we stayed:  Aboriginal Lands Council Reserve

Today we ventured out and about area the Tibooburra Region.

We stopped in at the National Parks Office to get some information and pay for a day pass to enter the Sturt National Park.  We picked up a self guided tour map and set off.

There are quite a few walking trails in the Park.  We visited the Outdoor Pastoral Museum which gives an insight into how the early European settlers worked on the land (the boys were in heaven!!) and Mt Wood Homestead Complex and saw lots of emus!!

We came back to our campsite for lunch and then jumped on our bikes to explore the main street.  We started at Pioneer Park which displays a full size replica of Sturt’s Boat.

A little history lesson for the kids….(because they don’t teach this at school anymore!!)

Charles Sturt expedition in 1844 – 1845.
They took a whale boat by wagon as far North West to Lake Pinaroo (Fort Grey) in search for the inland sea.
The full size replica of the whale boat is 27″ long.
On return from the desert to Adelaide the boat was abandoned at Depot Glen.

We then went further down the main street and had a look at the local pubs and had a quick drink and packet of chips – be rude if we didn’t 😉 On the way back to our campsite the kids had a play at the local park.

Sturt’s Boat

WE MADE IT TO THE CORNER STORE!!!!

Where we stayed:  Free camp at Merty Merty (middle of no-where!)

We left Tibooburra and were finally on the way to Cameron Corner!!

The road was pretty good to Cameron Corner – no complaints…better than we expected.

We arrived around lunchtime and parked the car and van and headed over to the Corner Post and of course had a few pics!  We were excited to finally be here after rain hampered our attempt in 2010!

We had lunch at the Corner Store and the original plan was to stay here the night and continue onto Innamincka the next day.  We had finished lunch and it was only just after 1pm so we decided to head for Innamincka.  We buckled up and set off… over and over and over desert sand dunes we went!  The road in parts was fairly corrugated.. at one point we were doing about 5 k/hr for about 15 kms as it was so rough.  This obviously slowed us up and nightfall was getting closer.  We arrived at Merty Merty (middle of no-where on the Strzelecki Track) and WikiCamps had shown us a free camp.  We decided that we should call it a day as we didn’t know what the road ahead was like and didn’t want to be travelling in the dark.  Turns out it was a great decision.  Best campsite, absolute quiet, no facilities, one other camper just in sight, gorgeous sunset, camp fire, kids running up and down desert sand dunes, nibbles, beer and wine – PERFECTION!

Clay pan

Cameron Corner

Cameron Corner

The Corner Store!

Corner Post

Corner Post

Dingo fence

All standing in different states!! QLD – NSW – SA

We finally got here…

OPEN!!!

Merty Merty – free camping

Climbing desert sand dunes…

Middle of no-where – perfection!

Making mud pies

GOING FURTHER WEST!

Where we stayed:  Innamincka, Main Campground

We left beautiful Merty Merty behind and had Innamincka in our sights.  We followed the Strzelecki Track to Innamincka and the road was much better than what we experienced yesterday.

From what we had read, Innamincka had campgrounds dotted all along the river so we thought it would be the perfect spot to spend a couple of days relaxing and fishing.  In the weeks leading up to our trip, the outback had seen a huge amount of rain fall and due to this all the campsite along the river in Innamincka, except for the main one, were in flood and closed.  This made a very busy main campground.  We managed to find a spot right on the banks of the Cooper Creek but decided to continue on the next day to find a spot a little less crowded where we could relax for a couple of days.

While in Innamincka we continued the kid’s history lesson and visited Burke’s Grave and later followed this up with a visit to the Dig Tree.

Monument commemorates the site where Robert O`Hara Burke`s body was found by John McKinlay following the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition. The site was also the temporary grave for the body until 1862 when Burke`s remains were taken to Melbourne. McKinlay blazed a Coolibah tree at the site in 1861 when the body was found.

The tragic death of explorers Burke and Wills on the banks of the Cooper Creek near present day Innamincka is the region`s most famous incident. In 1861 the South Australian government offered 2000 pounds to the first explorer to reach the top end of the continent. The Victorians at that time were brashly rich and with much pomp and ceremony Robert O`Hara Burke left Melbourne with his team of 20 men to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria. Unfortunately, Burke was not a bushman, had absolutely no tracking or surveying experience and was extremely hot tempered.

After he sacked his original second-in- command he appointed William John Wills to the position. Their race to be the first to reach the top of Australia was fraught with incident but amazingly three of them actually made it to the top and returned to their supply depot at Cooper Creek. They were Burke, Wills and King. The tragedy is that they were over a month overdue and the supply team had retreated south only nine hours before their arrival. The supply team had left supplies buried beneath a tree which bore the markings “Dig 3ft NW” and various other markings.

The tree is now called the Dig Tree and is protected by the Queensland Pastoral Commission. Burke and Wills died of a combination of starvation and poisoning from eating berries after the supplies ran out and they couldn`t make their way south. Only King survived – he had the sense to befriend the aborigines and when Burke and Wills died they cared for him until he was rescued in 1861.

Of course we stopped in at the Innamincka pub for a drink and packet of chips!  Gotta support the local community while out and about 😉

On the road to Innacmincka

Getting closer…

With so much rain, only one campground open

Camping on the banks of the Cooper Creek

Camping on the banks of the Cooper Creek

Camping on the banks of the Cooper Creek

Innamincka Hotel

Innamincka Trading Post

Burke’s Grave

Off to the Dig Tree

Dig Tree

Dig Tree

ACROSS ANOTHER BORDER INTO QLD!

Where we stayed:  Explorers Caravan Park

With a new plan in action, we were off to Thargomindah for an overnight stop and explore.

Thargomindah is a beautiful little town.  The caravan park had a huge unpowered section with only one other camper there so we set up camp and were told to use as much wood as we like… obviously they had been doing some clearly around!

The next day we only had a short skip of 200kms across to Cunnamulla so before leaving we jumped on our bikes to explore the township. We started off along the Bulloo River to the Weir, and the Cobb & Co Crossing and then onto the Hydro Power Plant Display on the outskirts of town.

After some lunch we hopped in the car and tracked east to Cunnamulla.

Caravan Park

Campsite

CUNNAMULLA 

Where we stayed:  Free camp at Hotel Cunnamulla

We arrived in Cunnamulla late afternoon and found the free camp in WikiCamps and set up for the night.  The free camp is behind the Cunnamulla Hotel.  It’s very deceiving from the road, with only a narrow road that leads into quite an open space.  It’s big enough to fit around 7 campers.  The Hotel allows the use of their amenities.  We were going to have a meal at the pub but the night we were there they were closed so we found dinner elsewhere.  We had a walk around town and found The Cunnamulla Fella!!

Free camping behind Cunnamulla Hotel

Free camping behind Cunnamulla Hotel

BEAUTIFUL BOLLON!

Where we stayed:  Free camp at Bollon, QLD

The plan today was to head to St George and stay at a caravan park that was on the river so we could do some fishing.  WikiCamps had a free camp listed at a place called Bollon, which was on the way so we thought we would have a look.  We were totally surprised when we got there.  The camping ground is right on Wallam Creek, had around 1km stretch of park to set up on, access to toilets/showers on the main road!  It was too good to continue on so we found a spot and set up camp.  Comments on WikiCamps said that it gets very busy here mid afternoon.  It did, there were probably around 50 campers here with us but there was plenty of room so that wasn’t a problem.  It was quite cold while we were here so a campfire through the day and night was a must to keep us warm and the kids had fun toasting marshmallows.  We caught a decent amount of yabbies and one day popped up to the shop to get some hot chips to go with them for lunch!  If this place was closer, we’d go back all the time!

Free camping on the river at Bollon

Our catch

It’s cold here….

Toasting marshmallows

WE FOUND ANOTHER POST!

Where we stayed:  Free camp at Mungindi

Today we started the journey towards home!  We stopped at Mungindi and free camped on the river for the night.  Peaceful spot – except for the very friendly geese that gave us a lovely welcome 😉

Mungindi was home to another post too!  We had found the Corner Post at Cameron Corner and now at Mungindi found the One Ton Post.

The One  Post is where surveyor, JB Cameron, marked the end of the arduous three year task of surveying the straight section of the Queensland/New South Wales border, from Cameron Corner to the Barwon River.

Following the completion of the survey from Barrigun to Cameron Corner, JB Cameron then set out to survey the 199.5 miles east from Barrigun to the Barwon River. The One Ton Post was placed on the west bank of the Barwon River near Mungindi to mark the end of the survey of the twenty-ninth parallel (degree of latitude) in October 1881. 

One Ton Post

Landlords!

Free camping by the river

LAST STOP – CHAFFEY DAM

Where we stayed:  Chaffey Dam

Our last stop for the night was peaceful Chaffey Dam! Nibbles, a bit of fishing and a campfire ended our time away!

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