Mildura to Moama

… or you could call it Mildura to Echuca. Moama is in NSW on the north side of the Mighty Murray, whilst Echuca is in Victoria on the south side, the river being the state boundary.

PXL_20240203_090918631-01We’re happy to be leaving Mildura. It may well be a pleasant town but, after due consideration, the Apex Riverbeach Holiday Park is the poorest campsite we’ve ever stayed on in any continent. The pitches are miniscule, a meagre 50m2 at best and many of those have a huge tree trunk obstructing a serious amount of the minimal pitch. There is another pitch jammed up against these two vans. The norm on a basic campsite in France is 100m2. The  “amenities” [read “facilities” or “sanitaires”] are in desperate need of overhaul and decoration, with paint peeling and tap heads falling off. Our so-called “primitive campsite” at Broken Hill was luxury that eclipsed this without question. Australian caravans are large, heavy affairs and watching one attempting to manoeuvre into a space too small was quite entertaining.This place is to be avoided.

Our journey today was about 400kms. On the first 300kms to Kerang [isn’t that a radio station?] we sailed down a tree-lined road passing nothing but humongous wheat fields.The fields seemed about the size of Bedfordshire. The harvest was already in and nothing remained but stubble. Francine wondered what the hell do they do with all that straw. Basket, anyone? This was the most tedious road that we’ve driven in our 2000kms thus far. At least it was a 100 jiggle road, though, and it raced by.

One of Britain’s biggest historical cock-ups must’ve been sending the convicts down to Australia, a mineral rich land the size of North America. The smart move would have been to leave the convicts in Britain to continue stealing their loaves of mediocre bread and come down to Australia ourselves.

We’ve had a much more recent disastrous cock-up, too, of course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReturning to a more sensible nation, we made a first stop along the road at Lake Tyrrell, a shallow salt-encrusted lake. There’s a visitor parking area a short distance off the main road. Francine started wandering off for 1.6kms, across a photogenic board walk, to have a closer look. It was about 40°C. I followed. We’ve seen very saline water go pink in southern France and here was no exception. Then we tackled the 1.6kms back to the shade of Busby II.

Diplacodes bipunctata, nr KerangFor a second brief break, we stopped at a roadside stream that looked like great habitat as we neared Kerang. It was, indeed, good habitat and we spotted five species of odonata in a short stretch of water. It was, in truth, a bit hot for any lengthy odonata hunting, though, and we hit the road again after about 10 minutes.This one is a Wandering Percher (Diplacodes bipunctata). Still, I’d given it a go.

Approaching Kerang, the mercury topped out at a gonad grilling 42°C. Many Brits start moaning about a heat wave at 24°C or 25°C. Jeez, get real, people. Honestly, you get the climate you deserve, i.e. a crappy one.

We rolled in to our campsite to a very friendly welcome [licked to death by a small dog] with the mercury at about 40°C. We’d booked and paid or one night before leaving home, though we wanted two nights. Francine coughed up for the extra night. We requested a pitch with some shade, under the many gum trees. With the sun racing along, we did have to follow the shade, though.

Technically there is Wi-fi. Sadly the Wi-fi has no Internet access. Bloody brilliant! This will be the fourth and fifth nights that we are unconnected. Two nights at Starview we knew would be off-grid. Mildura was off-grid due to last year’s floods, the damage from which had still not been fixed, and now we were essentially suffering from the same flood damage. Our hosts explained, apologetically, that Telstra was not good out here, so they’d switched to Starlink, courtesy of Elon friggin’ Musk and his night-sky-polluting chains of satellites which, apparently, don’t actually work here. Private enterprise has absolutely no business ruining the majesty of the heavens, it’s quite outrageous, especially if they don’t effin’ work. ‘Nuf said.

Time for several cold beers.

Posted in 2024-01 Australia