We woke to a fine and clear, although crisp, morning and it was clear that today was going to be a driving day. We got ourselves and Bertha ready for travel and got off to an earlier start than recent days.
First stop was town where we needed to post an important letter and collect some more supplies from IGA – they had a new delivery this morning so we were able to tick nearly everything off our shopping list, finally.
Then it was back onto the Mitchell Highway heading South. Again there was plenty of wildlife and we again enjoyed participating in the roadkill slalom.
There were plenty of live emus and kangaroos by the roadside, but many more dead animals and birds on and along the road. We also noticed a few dead pigs and goats. The volume of roadkill is horrendous and is the reason we have a bull-bar on Bertha and why we never drive at dawn or dusk.
It was interesting that there were so many emus around – many appeared to be quite content feeding by the roadside whereas others were very skittish and we never knew whether they were going to run out onto the road in front of us or not. Makes driving a bit more of a challenge.
We also saw some sheep, and several small herds of feral goats, but they at least seem to have some road sense and knew to get off the road if traffic was approaching.
About 115 kilometres from Cunnamulla we crossed over the border into NSW and almost immediately pulled off the road in Barringun opposite the Tattersalls Hotel for a quick cup of coffee in Bertha, and to put on some warmer clothes. Bertha’s thermometer only showed 15 degrees and the wind made it seem even colder.
From Barringun we continued through the small town of Enngonia which is big enough to have a primary school, a memorial hall, a pub and a police station but not much else.
It was then another 125 kilometres or so to Bourke. Driving today has been largely uneventful, other than our slalom challenges. We did come across some roadworks and some line marking which slowed us down a little, but otherwise there were no other dramas.
Coming into Bourke we noticed some new developments.
There is plenty of water in the Darling River, and even in the Polygonom Swamp Billabong, which we had never seen before.
However we decided to leave most of our sightseeing to another day and make securing our accommodation at Kidman’s Camp our priority. This is a very popular camping ground/caravan park but they don’t take phone bookings and there isn’t much of a Plan B in Bourke if you can’t secure a site.
Fortunately we arrived at a good time and despite a queue of caravans waiting to book in, there were plenty of sites left and we had our choice of several sites. We actually chose to park next to a Jayco Conquest motorhome which is similar in many ways to Bertha.
After having lunch in Bertha we put our coats on and had a good walk around the camp ground. There have been some noticeable changes since we were last here. For starters, there is a new Reception area with a small shop which sells a few snacks, hot food, drinks, bread, papers and real coffee – it’s so new that the plastering hasn’t been finished yet. This is a great improvement as the old reception was tiny and cramped.
Other areas of the place have been tidied up and the pool area is looking much more ‘resortish’. There is some paving underway near reception. The camp Kitchen is quite impressive and there is a new bank of nice looking new timber clad cabins, complete with rocking chairs on their verandahs. There are also a variety of older cabin style accommodation, including some converted shipping containers.
Three times each week Kidman’s Camp hosts ‘Poetry on a Plate’ which is a campfire dinner with entertainment. Proceeds go to the Fred Hollows Foundation. . It’s not on tonight but we have been to one of these dinners before and it was great fun, and warm around the fire.
We then went for a walk down to the river which have never done in any of our previous visits here. Just as we arrived at the river the Jandra paddle boat arrived, and blew its whistle at us then continued up the river. The Jandra departs from a small jetty at Kidman’s Camp then travels up and down the river giving visitors a great river view of the local area.
Back at Bertha we needed a hot cup of coffee to warm us up after the cold outside, then settled in for the rest of the evening.
Kidman’s is great. We were fairly regular visitors, from 2002 – its early days. Unfortunately, off limits since we’ve had dog. But the last couple of trips up that way, have found the Mitchell CP in town to be fine – not the space and ambience of KC, but quite adequate. And secure!