Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lake Dunn 11/06/2010 to 21/06/2010

 When we were at Dartmoor (Vic) back in March we met Pat and Mick who said they were going to Lake Dunn. This wonderful camping spot is not on any maps or in the " Bible". Pat said that it had a nice amenities block  with hot showers and the lake usually had water in it. She expected wiht all the rain that they had had up north that there would be plenty of water in it. It sounded such a nice place that we decided it was worth a look and it fitted in wiht our plans for wandering around that area.

 When we were at Barcaldine we started to meet people who had been there and they advised us that it was very nice and that the road was sealed all the way . The maps showed an unsealed road. We aslo heard stories about Tennis courts etc and that power was available for $5 a night. Fresh water was also avaiable at various places and that the cabins afforded great views over the lake for sundowners.

 We set off from the weir at Barcaldine and then stopped off intown to stock up on groceries as we planned to stay a while. On our way we stopped at Aramac for a quick look around before heading out.
 It was a nice drive there and we passed through some interesting counttryside.

 When we arrived we were pleasantly susurprised to find ther were quite a few other people there but there was still room for us on a powered spot. We had a lovely outlook over the back wetland area which was often busy wiht  different bird and there was always ducks and grebes around.

 The first night we were there we were treated to a magnificent sunset which kept on changing in colour and formation as the clouds moved. We went up onto the deck of a nearby cabin and had a perfect view.

 I had started to go for morning walks so one day I went off to find the famous tennis courts which I was told were down the road a bit and the turnoff was at the crossed tennis raquets. I found it easily enough and had a peasant walk to the "desert recreation club". Where I found the tennis courts, bar facilities, cricket pitch and bbq facilites all just waiting to be used by the locals who come out aminly during the summer months to fish etc.

 Crossed raquets

 The Desert Recreation Clubhouse

 While we were at  Lake Dunn we took the opportunity on a day that wasn't so nice weatherwise to go to Muttaburra. We weren't very impressed with the town finding it very dusty and untidy and rundown , particulalry when compared with Aramac which was green and tidy. However we did find the dinosor.
Lynn and Mutt

 On our return from our daytrip we were surprised to find a couple from the weir were set up across the road from us. The next day Dave and Jan also from the weir arrived and parked in the same area. this led to a great time . Les was a keen fisherman and had his boat but didn't use it instead he spent a lot of time over at the back billabong getting yabbies. There were some others from Vic who had a boat and brought back lots of shrimp  which they shared wiht us so everyone had lots to eat but they were fiddly to peel. one of Les''s yabbies

Jan and Elaine peeling shrimp

 As we were allowed fires and there was lots of wood easily  collected. We all cooked meals in camp ovens . Morning teas for a few days were really special as we had damper, scones and fruit cake all cooked in camp ovens.

My scones before they were cut up.

 The men found that filling the water tanks on the rigs was best done as a joint effort so they would connect up enough hose to reach all the rigs and then one by one fill them up.

Towards the end of the week another coule from Vic arrived and Len also had a boat. After going out several times with his wife he offered to take Dave out. Dave is in a wheelchair as he is a paraplegic from a chopper accident. It sure doesn't slow him down too much.Much to  Jan ( his wife ) amazment he accepted the offer and wiht a little effort he got into the boat. Fotunately it was a punt with a flat bottom which was run up onto the sand and was quite stable for him to get into.

Dave and Len about to head out

Tank filling

We really enjoyed our time at Lake Dunn and were very sad when it came Monday and we were all leaving. We were all going in different directions.
 Sunset over our billabong at the back of the lake.

"Caravans on stilts"

Looking across the billabong to the rigs with the lake in the background.


 Last sunset

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dubbo Zoo May18 2010

 The Zoo at Dubbo had been a destination must since early this year when I was talking to some friends about wanting to go. However I was advised that it was too hot in January and the animals  would be seeking shade which would make it difficult to see them. So as we were making plans to head north from Adelaide a visit to Dubbo Zoo went to the top of the "must see " list.

 We decided that based on the information we had gleaned from the literature available  to drive our vehicle around rather than taking bikes or other forms of transport available. Once we were there we found that several exhibits were often grouped together so it was easy to park and walk to several different exhibits before moving on.

 Wild dogs sleeping in the sun

 The Zoo had a very large group of  Giraffes which were obviously doing very well as there was several youngsters in the herd. These giraffes were much lighter in colour than the giraffes that were out on the savannah exhibit mixed with other animals.

 "Big Daddy"

 Whitw rhino

Savannah  display

 African Elephant

 Sumatran Tiger

 This mother duck and her brood were spotted at the tiger exhibit and she was in a real tizz as 2 of her ducklings had found their way down to the moat on the other side of the fence and were being harrassed by some adult ducks and she was trying to get to them.  Eventually she just flew down to rescue them but that left all the ducklings up on top.  They however also found the gap in the fence that their siblings had found and all were reunited in the moat.

Pig nosed turtle also seen in the moat

 Great Horned Rhino- note single horn

 Black Gibbons


 The exhibits in this Zoo were set up in some of the cleverest ways we have seen. Although they seemed to be just across the paddock ,there were electified fences and moats surrounding them.  These couldn't be seen when looking across at them but only became noticable when you got up close.Unfortunately some were not on show as they were being updated and I have heard people complaining about still having to pay the full price when so many were offlimits. We weren't worried about it as the displays will only get better and the very small kiosk at the entrance is being upgraded to a full education centre and larger parking area etc.

 Mongolian horse

 These horses are doing very well at Dubbo to the extent that we have sent quite a few back to Mongolia to be part of a breeding program to reestablish them .

Mongolian Horse

 Guarnavo not alpaca

Superb Blue wren

Diamond Firetail

 Not a donkey but a Persian Oravango

 We had a lovely day at the Zoo but were very tired when we got home. Lynn really found all the walking very tiring. We would certainly recommend others to go .  The entry fee entitles you to 2 days of admission so it is probably best to go for a shorter time over 2 days.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Yanga National Park May 10 -12 2010

A map of the holding of Yanga

 Our campspot at sunset

  While we were at Merbein we had a discussion with a couple from NSW as to where was a nice place to go to near Balranald. They told us of a place called Yanga National Park and provided us with a brochure  which contained a map and other useful information.
 So we decided to give it a go and set off across the Murray and after a lunch stop at Euston arrived at Balranald early afternoon. We then continued on for 2 klms to the clearly marked turnoff to the Park and after travelling down the bitumen found another sign that said we must continue on a bit further to the Mamanga campground. Here there was a clear division  for caravans and motorhomes to continue on and Campers to turn to the left.
All camping spots were on the Murrumbidgee River bank. There was plenty  flat ground and lots of wood and beautiful new amentites.  The only thing was to camp away from the trees as they were inclined to drop limbs. We naturally don't camp under trees for that reason and also because we need the sun for our solar panels.

 The same view in daylight

 We set up camp and due to the abundance of firewood Lynn also set up our fire instead of the firebucket.

 When we arrived at the Park the rangers were very quick to tell us of the guided tour of the Yanga homestead which was conducted by them every morning at 1000hrs. We decided to have a lay day the next day and just cacth up on some grocery shopping, but the following day we set aside to do the tour of the homestead in the morning and tour around the Woolshed which was just down  road in fact we could see it from the campground, in the afternoon.

Yanga Homestead

 When we arrived at the homestead we found that there was a tour group of Aboriignals there too, there were 2 female rangers that conducted the tour and it is the only way you can see inside the homestead as it is not accessible at any other time. There were also some local aboriginal people working wiht the rangers to tell visitors of the aboriginal history as many of them worked on the station for many years.  They were also knowledgable about changes in the topography. 

The station was built on a rise above Lake Yanga which has been dry for about 10years. But in it's hayday supported a thriving aquatic sports  industry.
 This beautiful old homestead was built between 1862 and 1872. The walls that can be seen in the above photo are adzed drop slabs set between vertical posts. The slabs were made of Cypress pine and as can be seen are in very good condition.  These Cypress pines have been used in the construction of the main homestead and all the verandah roofs and rafters.
 It is the interior that has been updated over the years with some changes due to change in ownership and others due to boom times. The station itself was purchased by the Parks people in 2005 and the stationwas left intact so that the office looks likeit is still in use wiht all the ledgers etc still there.
 Stationhands Kitchen

 Prizewinning Merino Ram

  Back or Front of Homestead but with outlook over the lake.

 After spending several hours admiring this wonderful homestead which incidentally was only visited on occassions by it's owners from England  we returned to the van for fortification before going to the Wooldshed. The homestead is 6 klms from town but the Woolshed is only about 4 klms.

Side view of the old wool  shed

   The woolshed was strategically built on the banks of the Murrumbidgee  so that the wool could be collected by the paddlesteamers when they use to ply the river.

 The shearer's stands. In it's hayday use to have 40 shearers working here.

 These pens were the holding pens for the 30,000 sheep that were shorn on the property.

 Story board  erected by parks people telling of the river traffic

 Story board no2

Old wool press

The river view at the Woolshed. It is very similar to our campsite view.