2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 25th, 2013, 11:34 pm

Arriving late at Dalhousie Springs camping area we set up our camp then grabbed our torches & walked down to see what we have driven thousands of kilometres for, the springs . We decided then that the best time to enjoy the spring was to get up early in the morning & watch the sunrise from in the spring as it was still fairly warm in the air this time of night here.
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Swimming here watching the sunrise was not the only thing that was great about being here this time of day also this was when all the birds come for a drink & a wash & then there's the melody of all their singing to enjoy.
After soaking up the minerals from the springs long enough that we started to go all wrinkly we then went & had breakfast before going on a walk that took us around the spring. The rest of the day was spent exploring around camp or just relaxing when the day got hot . There's not much natural shade in the camp area but some sites have shelters made from shade cloth , for my camper I have been using for the last couple of years a thermal insulation that has been glued & sewn onto canvas & doubles as protection for the campers roof. It's amazing how good it keeps the camper cool on hot days.
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The next day was much the same but we went for a swim in the late afternoon after Peta wanted me to do the same walk I did by myself yesterday out to a lookout & see other springs that were in the area while I was bird watching.
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TLC60S
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Posts: 1059
Joined: June 17th, 2012, 8:36 pm
Location: Londonderry, NSW

Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 26th, 2013, 3:32 pm

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It was our third night here & we haven't started the car with the frig running in the back so I had my solar panel keeping the cruiser's deep cycle battery charged but had to run the genie today for the camper's deep cycle battery cause I don't have a proper gauge telling me my daily power usage & remaining volts . {something that's on my list of mods for the camper} I have to have power to run my Sleep Apnea Machine at night so the people way down the end of the camping area don't get woken by my snoring .
That night we had a massive wind storm hit the camping area & with little protection from the elements it had a lot of people up putting in extra pegs to stop their tents blowing away. Anyone who was using the twist style poles like on all the awnings you put on the side of roof racks , had collapsed . We were using a well know brand for our campers awning & they all collapsed as well. Before going back to bed we had to look for all our gear that had blown away using a torch. We didn't get much sleep that night from the whole camper shaking in the wind.
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TLC60S
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Posts: 1059
Joined: June 17th, 2012, 8:36 pm
Location: Londonderry, NSW

Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 26th, 2013, 4:58 pm

Next morning was Wednesday & Peta wanted to ride the steam train on the Pichi Richi Railway so we had to be in Port Augusta by Friday cause it only runs on Saturdays as they run a diesel train on Sundays. Checking the maps with plans of seeing Mount Dare we were going to head north to Kulgera.
On the way our first stop was at 3O' Clock Creek camping area to check out some interesting trees after stopping at the tip to lighten our load.
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The road to Mount Dare was pretty average like the roads leading into Dalhousie but with airing down the tyres on the cruiser & the camper it wasn't too bad though still dusty.
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Those of you that think the roads are all long straight boring lines in the dust will be surprised when you come across this road sign on your way to Mount Dare.
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Travelling further on our navigator was telling us of a well up ahead & with a name like Christmas Well we thought it might be interesting to stop & have a look . When we tried to walk near the windmill there , there was a young Wedge-tailed Eagle in a nest calling out that was situated between the blades of the windmill with only the broken blades stopping them from turning . After leaving the eagle in peace we then drove to Mount Dare for a pie & a milkshake.
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TLC60S
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Joined: June 17th, 2012, 8:36 pm
Location: Londonderry, NSW

Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 27th, 2013, 4:32 pm

Leaving Mount Dare we headed across the SA/NT border stopping at Akapertatyeke to check out what was the remains of an old homestead before continuing on to Charlotte Waters where stopped for lunch beside a dry creek bed lined with some large magnificent trees waiting for the next time the creek flows for a drink.
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After lunch at Charlotte Waters we turned left at New Crown before heading into Finke stopping to sit in the park to rest having a cold drink with some local kids coming over to show us their tricks on their pushbikes .
We then had a look at where they hold the Finke Desert race before making our way to Kulgera stopping in a wide dry creek bed to take some photos then again just before the highway & the start of tar roads again.
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 27th, 2013, 5:25 pm

Also on the way into Kulgera we came across a lady in a Troopy that was towing a man in another Troopy . He kept braking hard & snapping the rope they were using . When we pulled over to see if they were OK the lady looked as though she was ready to drive off & leave the guy . The man's Troopy had a suspected faulty alternator & the night before knowing this he played this CDs all night . They had been towing all day. I gave the guy some pointer on being towed & said he should use the towing points on his bulbar not the factory shipping tie down points he had been tying the rope to.
Arriving at the Kulgera Roadhouse we informed them they were on their way then set up camp for the night before walking back over to the roadhouse for a plate of fish & chips with salad.
Next day we aired up all our tyres on the cruiser & camper, topped the tanks with fuel & headed to our next destination of Lake Hart. On the way we had to cross back over the border into South Australia where you have to declare your fruit & vegies . We pulled into the rest area at the border & I said to Peta we wont throw them in the bin instead we looked for someone who was travelling into Northern Territory & could do with some extra vegies . We asked a couple form WA travelling with some small children if they would like them & they said yes as any thing helps as they were on a 12 month holiday travelling around Australia.
Our next stop was Cadney Roadhouse for lunch then onto Coober Pedy for more fuel Then onto Lake Hart where I enjoy camping down one of the tracks closer to the lake away from the highway but we missed seeing the sunset.
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TLC60S
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Posts: 1059
Joined: June 17th, 2012, 8:36 pm
Location: Londonderry, NSW

Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 28th, 2013, 11:21 am

When we found a nice spot to camp beside a clump of trees offering shade & wind protection , as some other campers had already taken our usual spot we camp in, the last people who were there before us dumped what looked like their porta loo in the bushes instead of taking it to a disposal dump point . These porta loo's I see are going to get a lot of good campsites closed by irresponsible people using them as they have to be taken to the dump point cause the paper not being burnt like when you dig a hole & burn the paper. Digging a hole & burying the porta loo waste is not the answer as animals will come along & dig it up or wind & rain uncover it , also in drier areas it takes a lot longer for the waste to break down. After setting up camp we had the job of cleaning the mess up as we didn't want the next people come in thinking we left the mess .
More photos of Lake Hart .
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TLC60S
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Joined: June 17th, 2012, 8:36 pm
Location: Londonderry, NSW

Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 28th, 2013, 11:45 pm

Next morning after exploring the lakes edge we drove to Port Augusta & booked into the caravan park then drove to the visitors information centre to book our Pichi Richi train ride . The Pichi Richi Railway is the last remaining operating section of the original Ghan Railway running between Port Augusta & Quorn passing through the Pichi Richi Pass on the Finders Ranges . We then went & did the shopping to top up our supplies & then drove back to the caravan park were Peta caught up on the clothes washing & allowed me to go & do some fishing off the old bridge . Not catching any fish I walked back to tell Peta "it looks like take-away tonight for tea.
Next morning was the start of our third week of our holidays . We started it off going Port Augusta railway station to catch a steam train that took us through the Pichi Richi Pass up to Quorn were on the way an historic truck club followed in their restored truck meeting us at Quorn .
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Arriving in Quorn we got some photos of the train that brought us up then went & had a look at the historical trucks . You have time to explore Quorn while the train prepares for the journey back down the mountain so we went over to the pub & had lunch .
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After lunch we walked around town before heading back to catch our train . When we got to the station our carriages were connected to a diesel train . When we asked about what happened to the steam train they said it has been used for a wedding train. We thought it was a bit deceitful of them not telling us earlier as we paid for a steam train.
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 29th, 2013, 12:44 am

Next morning we packed up & drove out to the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. There's a café , a gift & garden shop & some great walks through gardens of different arid landscapes.
After doing some of the walks around the gardens it was time to make our way to our next campsite at Warren Gorge which is situated 22kms north west of Quorn. We followed the road that ran along the Pichi Richi railway line to Quorn before tuning out to the gorge. We found a nice spot to camp then went for a walk exploring the gorge. I then went bird watching while Peta relaxed reading her book.
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On sunset we went to see if we could spot the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, they come down out of their rock shelters up in the hills.
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That night we were hit with another big wind storm & the gorge didn't offer any protection. When we set up camp earlier that day it was near a large dead tree & laying in bed awake after being woken by the camper shaking it got me worried about the tree. I woke Peta to tell her I think we should move our camper because of the dead tree . I got Peta to drive the car forward as I picked up the campers floor carrying it .
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 29th, 2013, 9:37 am

Next morning we woke after not getting much sleep from the camper shaking in the wind & it was time to move on ,back to our home state of new South Whales . The day had looked overcast & it was still windy but a lot calmer than the night before. We packed up & headed for our last border crossing on the trip heading to Broken Hill where we stopped for fuel & supplies. On the way the day was getting warmer but it still looked overcast . When we where in Broken Hill we found out that it wasn't overcast from rain clouds but it was a giant dust cloud that had been whipped up from the strong winds. After leaving Broken Hill we headed to Menindee to camp for a few days on the shores of Lake Pamamaroo off the Main Weir Road which has free campsites . The main camping area of Burke & Wills has toilets & water & situated near the junction of the Darling River & the Lake but we opted for camping on the lakes edge.
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 29th, 2013, 10:37 am

The next morning I woke feeling like I spent the whole night on the grog , I couldn't eat anything & didn't want to do nothing except go back to bed . Peta she sat at the lakes edge happily reading her book . In the afternoon I got up & wandered outside to watch the sunset before telling Peta I still don't feel well & I don't think I will tea. Peta wasn't happy with me but I still not any better so I went to bed early that night .
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Next day I woke feeling a lot better & hungry so I asked Peta what would she like for breakfast , so I cooked corn fritters on the BBQ which is easily made from mixing a pancake mix that you just add water to then mix in a can of creamed corn & fry on the BBQ.
That day we had some exploring to catch up on as the last time Peta was out here was in 2002 on our Year Of The Outback trip. We first drove up to the main weir to have a look around before heading out to Kinchega National Park to see if the rangers had done anymore since last year after floods had damaged the parks infrastructure . Although the Cawndilla Lake & camping area was still closed you can now do the whole river drive which has a few interesting places to check out as you follow the Darling River around the park. On the way a must see is the Kinchega Woolshed which I think is one of the best historical woolsheds visit with a lot of the machinery still in side were it was used. As you walk around in the woolshed there are signs that tell the story of working in the woolshed so you can get a mental picture of how life was like on a outback sheep station in the early days.
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 29th, 2013, 11:07 am

That afternoon we drove along the river near our campsite collecting firewood for a camp oven roast that night . After getting back to camp & lighting the fire it was was still warm so I walked up the the swimming area near the boat ramp to have a dip but it water was freezing so I didn't stay in long . After talking to people about a little lost blind & deaf dog that the owners let wander off it was time for cheese & biscuits with a bottle of wine to watch the sun set on another beautiful lake in the outback.
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After having our roast dinner I checked my yabbie traps out to see if I had caught anything besides of little fish which was the only thing I was catching .
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 30th, 2013, 2:15 am

That night I heard a noise over in the bushes that sounded like an animal in distress from being attacked by something so I grabbed my torch to go & see if it was the little deaf & blind dog that had gone missing , I walked around for about an hour but the only thing I saw was a dingo & a Tawny Frogmouth sitting in a tree that I walked right up to where I stood there for a few minutes before it flew away.
That night after midnight we were woken by another strong wind storm . I got up to check our campsite out & to make sure nothing was going to blow away when I noticed we were in a good place to ride the storm out as we were protected by the trees along the lake.
Next morning we packed up & drove into Menindee to fuel up where we got driveway service , something you don't get anymore in Sydney. We then took the Menindee to Ivanhoe Road which is a good dirt road & it's a change from driving the Barrier HWY .
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From Ivanhoe we turned south on the tar to Hay then left at Mossgiel back on the a dirt dry whether road towards Hillston. On the way we came across a few snakes sun baking on the road.
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We then turned north at the new park sign to Willandra National Park . On arrival we paid our camp fees & decided to set up in the group camping area up near the Homestead instead down in the individual campsites.
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That night we did a drive around the park looking for nocturnal birds as the Plains Wanderer was meant to be here as stated in the Park notes. We wound up driving around the parks boundary using the navigator so we didn't get lost as we weren't on any marked tracks
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On our drive I came across my 343rd bird species photographing the Owlet Nightjar . It's not the best shot so I will still have to find another so I can get a better shot.
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 30th, 2013, 10:27 am

Next day after a feed of bacon ,eggs & hash browns we went exploring the beautiful restored Willandra Homestead that has a courtyard in the middle with a rose garden. Willandra was once a very successful sheep station breeding some high quality show rams & ewes. You can walk through most of the homestead that still has some furniture & pictures from the early days of Willandra as a working sheep station. One of the things I did was pulled a chair up to the table in the study room & read a newspaper from the 1950's , "did you know they want to have boys & girls in the one school now !" & it sounded like there was some cheap furniture for sale but it wasn't in dollars & cents.
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There is accommodation available , you can book one of the bedrooms in the Homestead or for $50 a night some people booked one of the cottages which has power & hot showers. The camping areas have flushing toilets & there are cold showers near the homestead as well. The verandah of the homestead is a lovely spot to sit & watch the sun set or you can walk down to Willandra Creek , which has been dammed by a weir so it has created a lake at the homestead , to the old bench & watch the pelicans & ducks swim around & the other birds come for a drink in the late afternoon sun.
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After lunch we went & drove up & looked at the weir that had created the wetland for the homestead & then walked up to check out the remains of the old bridge for the original track into Willandra Homestead. There is a excellent walking track that follows in the shade of trees lining the creek from the homestead linking the camping areas to the weir & old bridge then back around to the old shearing shed or you drive up to most with only a short walk.
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 30th, 2013, 10:56 am

We then drove out to explore around & in the old woolshed & the shearers quarters before driving back to explore more around the homestead prescient where I found that the Plains Wanderer was last scene here in 1993 after a large spotlight search by national parks only found three.
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That night we slept to the sound of a Tawny Frogmouth calling from a tree just out side of our camper.
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TLC60S
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Re: 2013 Birdsville races, 4 weeks & 4 states!

Unread post by TLC60S » October 31st, 2013, 12:14 am

Next morning while packing up Peta & myself didn't want to leave here as it's such a peaceful place to camp with everything you need but I had to be back for work on Monday . We headed to Hillston before turning on to the Lachlan Valley Way to Lake Cargelligo where we stopped for fuel . I then drove to the boat ramp to show Peta the lake the town was named after & told her how a local was telling me how the lake had dried up in the drought then the town was hit by a massive big storm that filled the lake & flooded the area in just a matter of hours . We then drove just outside of town to stop at a smaller lake where the Lake Cargelligo Mens Shed had erected a bird hide at a popular spot for summer migrating birds . So I grabbed my camera to go bird watching while Peta came & had a look before happily going back to the car to read her book . She also said she cant get in trouble from scaring the birds away if she sitting in the car.
After checking what was on the lake I started to check the surrounding area when I spotted something white moving on the ground thinking it was a butterfly . With a lot of patience I finally photographed the White-winged Fairy-wren as it was the white of it's wing that I first noticed. That now brings my total number of species of birds that I have photographed to 344 , still along way to go but I'm getting there.
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