Day 8, 17/5/2016, Tuesday, Balranald to Billabourie, Clear
With kisses and hugs we all say our farewells and leave the muster, some will go home and at this time of year some will go north. It’s 130kms to Hay across what we soon learn is called the Hay Plains. It is flatter than the Nullarbor Plain or so we say. There are grass tussocks and closer to Hay, cotton fields and irrigation channels. The roadsides are lined with cotton wool, tufts of errant cotton from trucks. The road needs repair and when we do stop at road works a disembodied voice on the CB declares “This is a stellar effort considering that the rest of the road is rooted!”
We have coffee in the sun at Hay and watch the comings and goings of the town. Not to mention the many trucks laden with huge bales of cotton. Back on the road, VeeWee spots an emu sitting drinking from an irrigation channel.
At Goolgowi we turn north onto the Kidman Way and follow it up to Hillston. The road is wider, better quality and flanked with Murray Pines. There is very little traffic. Forty kilometres north we turn off onto a dirt road. There are several vans camped at the rest area but we follow the road for another 10kms to Billabourie Farm Stay. The family is not home so we choose our spots from several acres of grassy reserve overlooking the Lachlan River. There is no one else here and it is heavenly. It is a warm afternoon, weeping willows dip in the river, water lilies are flowering. All of the usual suspects in the trees, cockatoos, galahs, small parrots, Willy wagtails, tree hoppers and apostle birds. There are no other sounds other than the birds. It is Autumn and small white mushrooms are popping up in the grass and the air smells of paddocks. We cook steaks on the BBQ with what we call caravan chips and eat outside. By the time that we turn in Scorpio is gracing the eastern sky. This is Aussie bush splendour in all its glory and those vans at the highway rest area have missed out on it all.
Towing Kms: 333Kms
2021 Note: Having travelled the Hay Plains again I’d say that they’re best described in the old lingo of “Flatter than a shit carter’s hat”.
For caravanners wanting an easy route from Victoria to Queensland, the Kidman Highway is the best option being a good road with less traffic.
As we neared Hay (and phone reception) we received a phone call from the Dareton Police (near Mildura) telling us that the shooter in the Buronga caravan park who Woody had given a witness statement a year earlier had been convicted.