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Next stop – White Cliffs … a small Opal Mining Town – just East of no-where. Watched Carlton win again (becoming a habit!!), then wandered into the metropolis of White Cliffs … it’s a dry tough town – home to Bill O’Rielly (Cricketer) … the cricket ground doesn’t have a blade of grass …. Nor the golf course for that matter, which we tackled the following morning. Quick beer in the pub, but couldn’t stay as we were the only folk in there who had forgotten to wear their Cowboy Hats!!!!

Next day, did a fantastic opal mine tour with a very funny (and rich?) guy called Graeme, where he famously finds ‘pineapple Opals’ which sell for $100k to rich Americans. Fascinating tour.

Then headed to Tilpa via the sad dying town of Wilcannia.

Tilpa is basically a Pub on the Darling River (or Darling Dribble as it is now known) …. Nothing else at all … but a ripper pub nonetheless. Few beers and a nice dinner – where we had the entire Pub to ourselves. Good spot.

Next – Trilby Station for a few nights …. also on the Darling Dribble – Trilby is a big Sheep Farm with a fantastic camping – we chose to camp alongside the Billabong which actually had quite a bot of water. Slight disaster heading to Trilby as we lost 2 water-tanks in 2 days due to rocks smashing the Van taps. Bit of Gaffer Tape to get us through until we reach civilisation!! Chilled out a bit at Trilby – fire on the first night had Donna a little socially excited – and she paid for it the next day.

Celebrated my first year of retirement,

and went on a couple of drives through the farm – one to a collection of old rusted farm machinery (good for photos inc night shots), and then a long drive through the farm to the fascinating old homestead, which was left as it had been in the 1950’s.

Back to Broken Hill – which amazingly is actually quite a nice town … stayed out of town for a couple of nights at the sculptures which were great ...

looked at the Big Picture – its BIG, visited the memorial to the dead miners which is very well done …

some horrific deaths obviously – ‘asphyxiation’, ‘crushed by cranes’, ‘rock falls’, ‘suffocated in slimes’ etc – horrid. Had a beer at the Palace Hotel (Priscilla) - but the highlight was undoubtedly the Pro Hart Gallery – what an amazingly talented man he was … we didn’t realise how good he was. Bit of a strange character – an introvert, ex-miner, body builder and pistol shooter – and a fantastic artist. Must-see gallery.

Next stop Mutiwintji National Park ....yes - we had never heard of it either ... but it is actually a fantastic spot – very under-rated.

Aboriginal Art - Mautwintji National Park

Its out in the middle of no-where … we stayed a few nights and did a couple of longer walks through the Matuwintji Gorge and rockpool lookouts, and then did a guided tour with a local aboriginal (Smacka) through the Amphitheatre Gorge which was quite fascinating. He told us about the park history, and the Aboriginal initiation rituals and the rock art, the use some of the plants, and his love of the land. Nice fella and a great walk. Not much water on any of our walks, and lots of dead kangaroos and goats. Also saw the endangered Barrier Dragon.

Headed towards Broken Hill … through endless red desert … past many many dried up waterholes, and accompanied by plethora of Kangaroos, a few Emus, a massive Wedge Tailed Eagle, and a flock of Major Mitchells. Tough life for those trying to make a living out here!!!

Headed straight to the Demo Club in Broken Hill to watch Carlton beat Gold Coast on the big screen … life is good!!

Then slowly headed to Silverton at Dusk – terrified of crazy Kangaroos jumping out in front of us. Silverton is a great little town.

50 residents, but peaked at 3000 in the late 1800’s ... mainly tourism now + used for several films including Mad Max. The iconic Silverton Pub is a ripper, Sunset wine at the Mundi Mundi lookout overlooking South Australia desert, Mine tour at Day Dream Mine,

wandered through a few art galleries, and visited the old school (Donna could have stayed there all day looking at the old social studies books, school readers etc), and the Gaol which is now a museum full of more junk than you can poke a stick at!!!. Great spot.

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