Saturday, November 5, 2016


                                                          (flooded Murrumbidgee at Hay)

The other week we did the big road trip to Adelaide and back. We gave it two days each way and that's just comfortable without being a strain if you keep the driving pretty steady. There are three main road routes to Adelaide. I've done them all over the years and each is very worthwhile.

You can head west to Broken Hill and from the Far West of New South Wales slip down through South Australia. Or you can take the Mid-Western Highway kicking south-west from Bathurst to West Wyalong, Hay then across the great Hay Plains through Balranald to Mildura, across the top of Victoria following the Murray to Renmark before heading down. Or, and this was our plan this time, you head south down the Hume, and take the Sturt Highway through Wagga and Narrandera and onto Hay that way.

While flooding rivers had been all in the news for weeks, I'd heard from loose enquiry that the main roads were open and foolishly hadn't checked on-line. So the Detour Sign near Yass came as a bit of a surprise - the Murrumbidgee was over the Sturt Highway around Narrandera, and traffic to Hay was sent off along Burley Griffin Way to Griffith. It was a trip that became all about the rivers. Everything is about the rivers.

On the Burley Griffin Way, you ease down through the south west slopes, plush with fence high wheat and crops, and patch-worked with great swathes, squares, and rectangles of blazing yellow canola.

Stopping to take photos - here, there, where - simply didn't happen as the bigness set in, and it all became all about the bigness, with no way of showing and telling. Through Harden (Mille is from Harden) ....

                                                          (the Harden proper dog look)

... on to Temora, a big prosperous substantial looking town, then Barellan, a quaint time-stood-still little place lop-sided along the railway, where a giant tennis racquet proudly sporting the name Yvonne Goolagong (she was actually born in Griffith - and where we nearly are) prods the hot blue sky.

We're some tens of Kilometres north of the Murrumbidgee and its floods, heading all but directly across to Griffith, the road straight and flat, from road to far horizon on either side flat expanses, and the crops now citrus and grapes. Grapes, and more grapes. In fact you could slightly exaggerate and say grapes all the way to the Barossa. 

We've arrived deep in the Riverina, the MIA (Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area as we were taught it way back then) and finally Griffith, and if you've never been, it's a surprise, round-abouts and all. Yes, designed by Walter Burley Griffin. The orange harvest is in full swing, the improbably wide main street dressed with the campest sculptures ever, made from hundreds of fat juicy oranges, the plane trees bursting with spring, the mood smart relaxed, the food Italian and the coffee good. 

to be continued, soon as .....


Anonymous said...

You will become a grey nomad before you realise it.

What was the road-kill count like? Drove to Canberra and back last weekend and do not recall ever before seeing so many dead kangaroos, wallabies, the odd fox and wombat and even some crows along the way. I wonder if the time of year and the recent wet have anything to do with that.

wanderer said...

Lots of roos. I guess they are breeding up. It's green forever out there.

Grey (if only) nomadism very much on the agenda.