We left Lake Boga and its very noisy caravan park with a change in plans due to the weather in NSW. Mungo NP was closed until the roads dried out so I decided to take Greg & I across to Lake Crosbie in the Murray-Sunset NP in the NW of Victoria.
This is a lovely part of Victoria which is accessible by 2WD provided you stay within the Pioneer Drive around the lakes. There are some great 4WD tracks to the north but they have deep sand sections and I recommend you only do these in a group of vehicles for safety.
But firstly, we traveled to Sea Lake just south of Lake Tyrell. For some strange reason this had become a very special place for Chinese tourists prior to COVID. The town is very small with one pub, two cafes & a small supermarket. Imagine their surprise when they were inundated by coachloads of tourists coming to visit Lake Tyrell 10 klm to the north every day.
Lake Tyrell is the largest salt lake in Victoria and is a sight worth visiting. When I first came here some 8 years ago, I witnessed my first tornado in the making which hit Strathmerton later that afternoon. There is a large salt producer (Cheetham Salt) that harvests nearly 200,000 tonnes of salt from this lake annually mainly for stock licks. We didn’t stop long, just enough for the obligatory photo from the viewing platform before continuing on to Patchewollock.
The very small town of Patchewollock claim to fame is its magnificent silo painting. I have included a photo for you to see this magnificent structure. It has become something of a feature in these small towns in all states where artists paint these fantastic murals on a huge scale. To learn more, look up Silo Trials in Australia. You will be surprised how many there are and how well done they are.
From there we headed north to Walpeup and Underbool then turned north off the highway just short of Linga up to the Murray-Sunset NP. The countryside around here is very dry even though most of the eastern seaboard of Australia is deluged by a significant rain event. They have had only 4 points of rain out here since November – that is less than 1mm! The clouds come over threatening rain but there was nothing to be had and the land is parched.
Lake Crosbie campground is a lovely spot to camp. Parks provide two drop toilets (one can cater for wheelchairs) plus a tap which provides non-potable water. The local Noisy Miner birds hang out around the tap hoping that someone will come and turn the tap on so they can get a drink. It is extremely peaceful here sitting under my awning gazing out at the pink salt lake with only the birdsong for company. There are other campers but they are far enough away not to hear them. I have setup a watering hole for the Noisy Miners next to our camp by digging a small hole and placing a steel bowl in the ground big enough for them to drink and bathe. The water I change twice a day as they are a bit dusty which turns the water to mud. It took them less than 5 minutes to find this new water source and a group of ten or so birds drink here now.
The ring neck parrots are a lot more cautious but I did hear them very early this morning as I was watching the dawn from upper story.
This area has an interesting history as the salt was harvested up until 1979. It is hard to imagine the hardships faced by the pioneers working out here in the summertime when the daytime temperatures average 40+ degC everyday and your water has to be delivered from Underbool some 25klm away. In one of the lakes (there are three main ones) you can see where cord roads of trees were built out into the lakes to support the equipment used for harvesting the salt. It would have been a barren existence full of hardship back in the 1800s & early 1900s. They even built a camp out here for POWs (Prisoners of War) to help with the harvest in the Second World War.
Winter is coming as most nights are clear and it is chilly enough to light a fire for warmth. Greg has made the decision to leave his van here but do a dash back to Wodonga to pickup his generator and fuel to supplement his solar due to his ongoing power issues. It will be a long day for him as it is roughly a 1000klm round trip in a day. He left at 6am and I expect him back around 6pm tonight. The plan is to stay here one more day so we can replenish Greg’s power before moving on. We will need to get to the bottom of this and will consult with an auto electrician on our way through Mildura.
So, Tuesday hopefully we can book into Mungo NP and stay there for seven days but cannot book just yet due to there being no service out here. If we cannot get in there, we will find another suitable place and first on my list would be Gluepot just north of Waikerie in South Australia which is a Bird Australia property. Although it is not the best time of year to visit to see a lot of birds which is in Spring it will be a nice place to revisit. Springtime is when birds are in all their glory with their new/dusted off breeding plumage so we still may do Gluepot on the way back in late September. We will see.
Until next time…………………………………..