Monday, October 15, 2012

Tue 16 Oct - Mutawintji National Park NSW

Today, it is time to say goodbye to Broken Hill as we are going bush, to Mutawintji National Park some 130 km and 1.5 hours northeast of Broken Hill.

So, after breakfast, we packed what little we had to pack up and left Broken Hill Tourist Park. After filling up the tank with diesel and cleaning the windows from ex-insects and other remnants from animal life, we set off north on the Silver City Highway.

The highway is narrow, but surfaced, and has its regular dips for water runoffs which after a while becomes quite tiring to drive through. We passed a cement truck after a while, wondering where the heck this guy was going as there is really nothing out here.

After some 50 km, there is a turnoff right towards the park on gravel road and there we go through rock and red sand. Emus standing on the road on a regular basis, goats (of course), but in one single spot, somebody had killed off the Australian coat of arms, a dead kangaroo next to a dead emu. Disgrace.
We played Ennio Morricone's Western soundtrack and then ZZ Top's greatest hits as that what the environment looked like.

Finally, we arrive at the Mutawintji National Park Visitor Centre, which is nothing other than a shelter and a few boards, but with 3 NPWS guys sitting in the shade. One of them asked whether we had seen a cement truck on the way!! It all came together then. Next to the NPWS guys, there were 2 holes in the ground which clearly were waiting to have cement poured into them. Aha!

Well, we found the Homestead Creek Camping Ground (Homestead as there used to be one here before it was handed back to aborigines) and we choose bay number 49. 70 or so bays here, and only a handful of campers and campervans. Very different to Broken Hill Tourist Park with all its overweight and elderly dwellers and all their gear. Only the truly committed (or crazy) would come all this way.

Lunch and a break later, we decided to do an easy afternoon walk, to Mutawintji Gorge, listed as 6 km and 3 hours long.

We had to drive some 15 minutes to get to the start of the walk, and then in the middle of nowhere, the "road" stopped and you could park your vehicle. Nobody in sight, just... goats.

The Mutawintji Gorge Walk was very easy, and really nice, going through rangeland country to one of the park's most picturesque gorges.
All very Wild West and you expect Clint Eastwood on a horse coming out of nowhere at any time. Hot day, so we drank lots and lots of water, but we did the walk in little over 2 hours without pushing it at all.

Back to the campground for another rest, the heat takes its toll a bit, forecast for Broken Hill today was 33 degrees and windy. Here, it feels like more.

Pyttipanna for dinner (Swedish leftover dish) using the very nice and unexpected gas cooking facilities out here in the "nothingness". In fact, the camping ground facilities are superb. The showers provided both hot and cold and you mix and set it just like home (solar heated) and proper flushing toilets.

A fantastic sunset followed...

Di came up with a good idea of using a mosquito net and an open front window with the net anchored both at the top and at the bottom, so we tried that to get some cool air into the van for the night. Initially, while it seemed to keep the mossies and the flies away, it didn't seem to make much difference in cooling down the space... until a change came through closer to midnight. Then the temperature dropped quite dramatically and we had to use the doona cover again. But by then, the inside space was very cool and nice.

Good night.


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