Westward bound – Windellama to Cobar

I sometimes marvel at how things turn out for us. We completed our tour of Victoria, having managed to see the East Gippsland and Victorian mountain areas before they were devastated by the recent fires, and we now have memories of those beautiful areas that we will treasure even more knowing that it will be many years before nature restores that beauty.

Below are photos of Mallacoota before the fires.

We arrived back in Windellama to find our new 50000L rainwater tanks, that we installed back in October, still bone dry and the bushfires a mere couple of kilometres away. Our amazing neighbour gave us 2000 litres of water out of his own tanks (thanks Keith and Heather), and there was a scary day when a fire broke out at the start of the “No Through Road” that our road runs off, having us enacting our fire plan and getting ready to leave, if we could.

The fire was quickly put out by the local RFS, and a week later our tanks got half filled when rain poured down on the east inland coast, helping to put the rest of the fires out and getting our poor, undernourished Nerrimunga Creek, at the back of the property, flowing again.

Then I saw a post in the local Facebook group from a guy who was looking for a place to rent for himself and his family in Windellama, not an easy thing to find in this small bush farming community. With our plans to set off travelling again for about 8 or 9 months, I thought “why not?”. So we have tenants in Windellama looking after the property for us, and helping each other out!

We had Emilie and her girlfriend Helen with us on the last night before we left. They took advantage of the flowing creek and went kayaking, probably managing to get about a kilometre upstream.

On Sunday we set off for our first stop, Bathurst, to see my brother Peter, sister in law Louise and family. We thought, what better way to take in the best of Bathurst than to walk, and then drive, the famous Mount Panorama racing circuit. The walk took a bit less than an hour, half of it going uphill, and was well worth it for the photos of Bathurst views and the racing iconography.

Next day we went further west to visit my sister Jennifer in Dubbo. Another walk was agreed around the Macquarie River which was looking pretty healthy for a change. The drought is not yet over, but more rain is on the forecast and things are looking a lot greener.

We skipped the Western Plains Zoo, which we’ve been to before, in favour of getting further west towards Broken Hill while the weather forecast is still favourable with temperatures in the 20s.  We had a quick stop in Nyngan at the Big Bogan,

and now we’ve stopped for the night in Cobar where the main industry is mining, although the Endeavor lead and zinc mine has just closed down in December. The local museum was worth the visit, although the historical walk suggested by the visitor centre lady probably wasn’t worth the loss of shoe rubber. The Great Western Hotel has a 100m long verandah claimed to be the longest in NSW.

Tomorrow we’ll be up early to get to Broken Hill to see the edge of the desert.

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