Our Big Trip 2023 - Scone to Kimba, SA

Thursday, May 25, 2023 at 16:36

Member - Matwil

I have decided to again run a blog while we are away on our next big adventure. This trip is one that we have planned to do each of the last 4 years, but with covid and weather has been put off each year until now. The aim is to once again head over to WA, but this time via the Nullarbor and then onto the goldfields. From there the intention is to head across to Alice Springs on the Great Central Road before it is sealed and then up into a wilderness park some 200klms up the Tanami Track. We then intend to work our way down to Adelaide along dirt tracks and then across to Bendigo for the Annual wool show in Ballarat in mid July. Something Louise has always wanted to do.

We started the trip from Scone on 19 May and headed off for our first night on the road at Gilgandra. There we stayed at a pub stay behind the Royal Hotel.
After a few beers we decided to eat at the pub as it was bloody cold outside. We went into the dining room, ordered a meal and then looked for somewhere to sit. The tables were all taken. We went to go back to the bar and a local came up and suggested we joined them as they had two seats available at their table. We did. After going through all the pleasantries, we were chatting away and I happened to ask what they did in Gilgandra. One was a Paramedic and had been one for the past 41 years. Wow what a length of service. During our conversation it came up that I had been a member of the VRA (Volunteer Rescue Association) in Moruya in the late seventies/ early eighties. He mentioned that he had been a member of the VRA back then in Gilgandra. Suddenly we were long lost mates discussing our past experiences, especially with “Father” Ray Tyson and Bill Fahey of the Police Rescue Squad. It truly was a special evening. Fancy meeting a stranger in a country town and within minutes find that you have a common bond like that. Something I will never forget.

Next morning, we headed off with the next stop Cobar for lunch before an afternoon drive to Emmdale Roadhouse on the Barrier Highway. We have traversed this road many times in our travels so it is part of the trip that just passes us by. Emmdale is an old fuel stop with $10 camping out the back. The truckie’s stop there for a feed so the food is always good. I can strongly recommend their bacon and egg roll in the Morning yum. Camping for the night was $10.00. When we arrived we had to find out the Swans score as we missed getting score updates for the whole final quarter. When I walked in to ask the score the fellow looked up from his phone and said that the Swans were 3 behind with 30 secs to go. Oh bugger… then “wait a minute full time and the Swans have won by 3”. Relief… a win at last.

Next morning we headed off, refuelling at Broken Hill and then pressing on. We drove down the main street to see if there had been any changes since last time, but it all looked the same. Seven years back we spent a week in BH getting a vehicle fixed so there was not much new to see. WE stopped at a free camp at Olary some 120klms out of BH. There is a small pub there opposite a free camp which we have stayed at before, the last time being this time last year.
Then the pub had just reopened after being closed for several years. The lady who took it over was trying to make a go of it, despite a town population of 5, so we wanted to drop in this year and see how she was going. I can report that it is progressing well with just enough travellers stopping to make it viable. It is a great free camp if you don’t mind the occasional freight train going through during the night. Next morning we headed down through Peterborough and then onto Port Augusta. We spent a month touring around this area last year so this time were only passing through. WE planned to camp at a free camp on the top of the escarpment at a place called Horricks Pass.
where we camped up at the AFL footy club. Self-contained vans can stay for $8.00 a night. Bit cheaper than the $40 plus in town. Next morning (Monday)we headed off to Kimba, the halfway point across Australia.

WE are here for two nights. It is a lot warmer than back home but still cold first thing in the morning. Council has built a large free camp here which has to be the best free camp in Australia bar none. Donations are welcome and we will be giving them a donation as the town can be proud of the facilities here. There is space for most probably up to a hundred vans so room for everyone.
Nearby there is a bush walk which we did today. It is almost 7 klms through remnant bush land. Very interesting as it went up to a lookout that allows you to view across the area. Would love to come back here and do the walk again during spring. The wildflower display would be magnificent. There are steel sculptures along the track and at the lookout is a greater than life size sculpture of Edward John Eyre and an aboriginal tracker who first came though this area in the early to mid 1800’s although the area had been visited by aboriginal tribes from the Gawler Ranges when they went down to the coast in winter periods.

The Town of Kimba wasn’t settled until the turn of the century. It is largely agricultural with big grain silos giving testament t what the area produces.

The weather now looks bad tomorrow, so we will review our plans in the morning but head off toward Ceduna.

Wanting to explore our vast wide land
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