Mildura to Broken Hill
Sunday saw everyone gone before I even got out of bed. As they were all doing some major miles, they headed off well before sunrise. I am just going 300kms up the road so I can afford a sleep in and a leisurely start to the day. I packed the scooter with the new bag (having given the old bag to a friend to take home for me) and it fitted perfectly. The tiedown bungy cord was also a perfect fit and the whole setup was much more stable and balanced.
40kms down the road is Wentworth – where the Murray meets the Darling River. I stopped for a petrol top-up, even though I had only done 40kms. The distance to Broken Hill is 270kms and even though there is supposed to be Roadhouse half way, nobody could tell me if it was open on a Sunday.
I met an emu about 100kms down the road but he was too quick for me to get a photo. I didn't see any other animals at all – not even roadkill. There was very little traffic apart from the hundreds of bikers heading home after the Ulysses AGM. They were all stopped at the Coombah Roadhouse – which was open, but the petrol pump was broken. The poor lady was filling 10 litre jerry cans by hand and topping up tanks. I possibly could have made it without a top up but I didn’t want to risk it so I put a few litres in. The last stretch into Broken Hill was a dream run - excellent road surface and well behaved traffic. Even the weather was co-operating. The 33oC temps of yesterday had been cooled significantly by a storm which had blown through just before my arrival, so not only was I dry, I was comfortable and not sweltering in the desert heat.
I made it into Broken Hill mid afternoon and dropped in at the Information Centre. There are three caravan/camping parks and I chose the one that said "lake view". Bad choice! The lake was way off in the distance, the tent area was on a slope, and after I had pitched my tent, the lady came rushing over to warn me of the “inch-ant” nests. The camp kitchen was bare – not a plate or cup or even a knife or spoon. As I am staying two days in Broken Hill, I may move to one of the other parks for the second night.
I headed into town and used the internet at the local library, then did a quick sprint to the Sculpture Park so that I didn’t miss the sunset. It’s 10kms out into the desert and I was very wary of wildlife wandering onto the road at dusk. It is one of the things all travellers warn of, and indeed I have had my fair share of “hits” and “scares”.
The Sculpture Park was just as I remember it from 15 years ago and the sunset was just as divine. I’m so glad I made the effort to come back this way.