Dubbo to Cobar

We left the Dubbo campsite at 08:45 and headed for a local Japanese Gardens within the botanic gardens area. There was water but unfortunately the water was full of absolutely enormous Koi Carp – that’s the Japanese for you – so dragonfly activity was very limited. Koi are devastating to dragonfly populations; we’ve witnessed it in France

We had much more success finding a bottle shop that must have been at least the size of our entire Waitrose store at home. We refilled the beer cupboard with an irresistible offer of 16 Balter XPAs for A$59 – that’s the equivalent of four free tins.

Road MirageThe route was more or less dead straight, often running beside a railway line. At one point I had to do a double take as I saw a car driving along the track. It seemed to be using its tyred wheels as propulsion against the rails but had bogeys keeping in on track. Very curious, if only there had been time for a photo. The heat was frequently causing a mirage to appear on the road surface, out of which opposing vehicles appeared. This was reminiscent of Namibia where we’d seen a very similar effect.

Bogan River, NynganWe stopped at a well appointed rest area beside the Bogan River in Nyngan. This was sheep shearing central, with museums to the art form. We’d driven past a “welcome to Bogan-shire” sign, or words to that effect. When we had hire a car in our 2017 visit to Francine’s brother, sis-in-law looked at our car, a GM, and called it a Boganmobile. It was a new term to us but clearly not entirely complementary. We’ll come back to this in a while.

The rest area beside the river looked dull at first until Francine disturbed a very attractive damselfly in the vegetation at the margins: it was the diminutive but delightful Ischnura aurora (Aurora Bluetail). I was very surprised when it was joined by an equally gaudy Xanthagrion erythroneurum (Red & Blue Damselfly). Very happy camper.

Burke Copper MineAfter another 120kms of almost dead straight road we entered Cobar after taking a detour to the Fort Burke viewpoint over the vast copper mine. One could write a complete diatribe on impossibly extensive open-cast mining raping Australia. Much of it is for coal, largely exported to China at what I bleieve is an astonishing two tons per second. I’ll leave it to your imagination. It’s quite inconceivable, really.

Cobar CampsiteThe Cobar campsite is very quiet with great, well spaced pitches, and orderly. We seem to have lucked out; we have what appears to be the only picnic table on site beneath a shade tree. I loved it.

The campsite was home to a good sized flock of Galahs, beautifully marked parrots in bright pink and grey. I asked a local lady why silly people were called Galahs in Australia when the birds were so attractive. She sniggered.

I went for broke. I asked why no hopers in Australia were referred to as Bogans. “Bogans are dickheads”, she said, sniggering again. She didn’t really answer the why, though.

I slid out the external gas grill again and we tucked in to rump steak with a leaf, tomato and avocado salad. This is sounding painfully healthy but at 37°C, what else do you want to cook? At least the humidity is low.

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Posted in 2024-01 Australia