Day 23 – Broken Hill to White Cliffs
White Cliffs, Australia
Today’s Challenge – To count the dips in the road to Silverton.
Having agreed on our itinerary for the next few days, we rise late this morning as we only have a four and a half hour drive to White Cliffs.
With time up our sleeves we decide to head in the opposite direction to Silverton some 70 km out of Broken Hill. Silverton now almost a ghost town was famous as its name suggests for Silver Mining and more recently as the backdrop for the movies, Mad Max II and Precilla Queen of the Desert. The road to Silverton although sealed is notorious for flood-ways and thus today’s challenge is to count the signed dips in the road. Deb counts 32 and Rod counts 28. How do we know who is correct?
Deb spots a camel just outside of town, the first on our trip, as we roll into town at 9.00 am. It seems we are a little early as everything is closed, however we do find an interesting museum to visit which is located in the old jail. We mossie on around until 10.00 then head to the Mad Max II exhibit which has most of the old props, vehicles and dune buggies used in the movie. It was well worth the $7.00 entry fee. We then visit an old tin shed that has a coin carver producing some very interesting pieces of jewelery. He is quite a character and we chat to him for a good half hour. He fills us in on all sorts of interesting trivia about the movies and commercials made in the area and it seems there have been quite a few.
Before heading back to Broken Hill we have a beer at the Silverton Hotel and as we are leaving town Deb spots a store called 32 Dips, I guess she has won the challenge.
Back in the Silver City we head to the Miners Memorial above town then hit the road again. As we approach Wilcania we decide to try and find somewhere for lunch. Well no surprises here, everything is boarded up except for the local servo. As we approach it to refuel we spot two police offices breaking up a big fight between the locals. We decide to keep going and refuel at White Cliffs some 79 km away.
The road to White Cliffs is exceptionally good and Rod has pre booked a room in the infamous White Cliffs Underground Motel. As we wind our way around this tiny moon scaped town we encounter serious road works on the bumpy track leading to our motel. We later find out that this is the first time in seven years that they have been able to get a grader into town and all the residents are extremely excited. As we are shown our room Deb becomes very claustrophobic so Rod suggests we head back to the General Store to grab a bite to eat. We both have a hamburger and it is surprisingly good.
We then spot a rusty piece of corrugated iron with an arrow pointing to Mad Jocks Place. We have been told that there is only two things to see in White Cliffs; The Solar Farm and Mad Jock. As we approach his underground cave he yells out “come on in”. Jock is as mad as they come and admits to it. He has been in White Cliffs for 30 years, has found no Opals (so he said) and has thousands of stories to tell. He shows us through his simplistic house which extends into his mine and keeps us amused with his crazy tales for the next hour.
We head back to the Pub for a cold beer then back to our Motel where we relax in a carved out bar area watching television (The Voice) and wait for dinner. Rod updates his Blog and explains that he is receiving the best Internet throughput to date. We sit down to a set three course dinner of soup, corned beef and some sort of pudding and chat to some fellow travelers who are also staying the night. There is a total of six of us as we swap stories about our holidays.
We retire to our room around 10.00 and when we switch of the light Deb cannot see her hand in front of her face. In spite of feeling somewhat spooky we have the best sleep we have had on the trip.