The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

15 November, 2016

Wilcannia, White Cliffs to Broken Hill

View from Wilcannia Caravan Park down Darling River to town bridge

Continued travelling on the Barrier Highway and endured quite a strong head wind - not good fuel economy!  Stayed at Wilcannia Camp Ground which great right by the Darling River and with recent rains the River was quite high.  In the 1980s Wilcannia was Australia's third-largest inland port town. From 1859, the river was plied by paddle steamers, which travelled as far up as Bourke. In the past we have only fuelled up in Wilcannia and got out quick however now they are trying to encourage travellers to stop and experience the history of the town including the architecturally impressive buildings made of local sandstone.  There is a great coffee shop called Miss Barretts which is worth a visit and we also had an enjoyable Chinese meal at the Golf Club. The Caravan Park is clean and tidy and looked after well by new onsite Caretakers.

Wilcania Caravan Park on the banks of the Darling, which was flooding into the camp area.

Watched the super moon come up over the trees from the camp ground.

The Darling River - highest we have ever seen

Great Coffee Shop @ Wilcannia - well worth calling in

Drove out to White Cliffs which is a pioneering town born through the discovery of opal in the 1890s and whilst the days of great prosperity have passed, there are quite a few people who still live there. There are approx  135 dugout homes in White Cliffs - with summer temperatures soaring to more than 50 degrees Celsius, underground homes experience a constant 23 degrees Celsius.  We picked up a Heritage Map and drove around the town, which did not take long!  Stopped at the Underground Motel which has been in operation for more than 20 years and took a look at their Historical Museum which is worth a visit.  Wanted to see some opals however many of the larger tourist centres had closed for the season, Found Aussie Southern Cross Opals was open and we were entertained by Richard in his dugout.  His presentation included a video and his passion for the area was evident in his stories.  Sighted a few opals - one of which he let us hold to view the colours however when he told us the value, we put it back in the box quick - it was worth over $30,000!!!  Back in Wilcannia we joined Jim (whom we met in Cobar) and shared a Chinese meal at the Golf Club which was delicious, then retired back to the Park to sit and watch the rising of a Super Moon.   We persevered even though the mozzies were very aggressive that night, and saw a magnificent moon.

General Store in White Cliffs

White Cliffs from the look out

Sunning on the main street - we had to drive around as he was not going to move!

On our drive around town tour

History and Culture Centre in White Cliffs Underground Motel

From Wilcannia we travelled to Broken Hill where we stayed at the Racecourse, which is a great spot with green lawn!!  Were able to stay for 2 nights as they were setting up for a Rock Concert on the weekend and the camping area would be closed so they could set up.  Did a bit of shopping however did not buy too much as we were going into SA and had to go through Quarantine checks. Had a day in town with first stop the Visitors Centre where we got a town map which helped us on the Heritage walk.  We found this walk really interesting with so many buildings still standing strong - some being built in 1800s.  Also visited the Art Gallery however they were in between exhibits so not a lot of paintings to look at.  As we have visited Broken Hill before we have seen many of the highlights, so was happy to move on after a couple of days.  Also said goodbye to Jim as he was going in a different direction to us.

On our walking Town Tour of Broken Hill - The Palace Hotel in background

Trades Hall, Broken Hill

Second night viewing of Super Moon

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