Day 22 – Wilpena to Broken Hill
Broken Hill, Australia
Today’s Challenge – To discover whats inside of a pound
We rise early this morning as we have booked a charter flight to view the Flinders Ranges. It’s cold and cloudy as we drive down to the Rawnsley Park airstrip and board a Cessna 402. The pilot tells us that after we reach altitude we can unfasten our seat belts and are free to walk around. Yeah Right!
We do a quick circuit over the station then fly across the jagged edges of the pound towards Wilpena. Rod notes that the Wilpena Resort is not actually in the pound and is on the opposite side to that of Rawnsley Park Station. The pilot tells us that no settlement is allowed in the pound and no traffic is allowed to traverse it. The closest you can get to it is in a plane or on a walking track to Saint Marys Peak which just happens to be hidden by cloud as we fly past it.
As the plane takes on a bearing over the top of the pound we hit some turbulence and drop 20 feet. Deb has a panic attack but soon composes herself as the plane smooths out. The pilot is full of information and flys us past the best vantage points and its not long before we touch down back at the airstrip. Today’s challenge is complete. (So whats inside a pound? Not a lot, It was covered in light scrub and flat as a pancake).
Its now 8.45 am as we jump into our car ready for the next leg of our journey. We turn left just before hitting Quorn, onto the R M Williams Highway now heading to Clare, but before we get there Rod spots a sign that says “Large Gum Tree 500m Ahead”. Hang on didn’t we see one of those on our way over. Yes we did and it happened to be in Orroroo as we pull into this township for the second time. Looks like we are traveling the same highway from here to Broken Hill.
We stop at Peterborough and visit the Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre, a Museum with a difference! It has a heritage listed Roundhouse with 23 bays, a 3 gauge turntable (only one left in the world) and parts of the original workshops display a wide range of historic rolling stock, the highlight being the 1923 1st Class Lounge car from the Transcontinental. Its a chilly 6 degrees as we search for some sun to warm us during the guided tour.
On the road again we stop at the Yunta Pub for lunch It displays a sign that says “where the hell is Yunta”, but guess what, it’s closed on Mondays so we purchase some take away from the roadhouse next door and crack open two Crownies. The next town is Cockburn on the NSW Border and the trip metre hits 9000km.
As we pull into Broken Hill to search for some accommodation we see nothing but ‘No Vacancy Signs’. Rod remebers that this is a mining town and kicks himself for not booking ahead, luckily he spots a motel called the Charles Rasp Motor Inn (Charles Rasp was the founder of the town) and we secure a room for the night. We head to the Silver City Mint and Art Centre to view the ‘The Big Picture’ with 100,000 saltbush, 20,000 trees, 20,000 small stones, 1000 large stones, 3000 clouds, 1500 hills and 12 sculptures. Its the World’s Largest Acrylic Painting on Canvas by a single artist and it was very impressive. Deb buys some jewelry for the girls (we are in Silver City you know) and Rod buys 2 bull ants (what the ?) We then head to Bells Milk Bar on the other side of town, this place was really cool and well worth a visit. On our way back to the Motel we stock up on some grog as we are heading to the middle of nowhere tomorrow.
Rod puts our bug splattered, dusty car through a car wash (just so it can get bug splattered and dusty again) then we head to the Pub next door, called The Old Royal. Rod has the biggest Tbone Steak we have ever seen.