Sydney Trip June 2011
On the second day of our return visit we stopped briefly at Balranald for lunch. We visited the tourist information centre, then drove down to the picnic area on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. During and after lunch I did a little birding and captured a nice shot of the White-faced Heron shown below.
After leaving Rankins Springs we continued on our journey west heading for home. Driving over the Hay Plains can lonely and there are long stretches of straight road. Most people probably find this section boring, but we are always fascinated by the subtle changes of vegetation as one travels into the drier parts of far south-west New South Wales.
I also enjoy trying to identify the bird species seen along this stretch. While the vegetation may be sparse in places, the bird life is surprisingly varied. Half way between Rankins Springs and Hay we stopped for a mid-morning cuppa and snack. In the twenty minutes we stopped I managed quite a long list of birds.
Our next stop was on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River in Balranald (see photo above). We usually carry a picnic lunch with us whenever we travel as we never know exactly where we will be when we stop. It saves finding a place to buy food, too. We also have hot water with us for a cuppa as well.
The river flood plains near Balranald are covered by huge River Red Gums, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, which make a beautiful backdrop for a picnic lunch.
On the second day of our 2008 Road Trip to Sydney we travelled from Hay to Narrandera before stopping for fuel and morning tea. We found a lovely spot in a park near an oval (see photos above and below). It was a much more pleasant day than the day before; the cooler change had come through overnight.
We had a lovely cup of tea with a few home made biscuits we’d brought with us. We quite often also take a thermos with for picnics.
Again, we were disturbed by the excessive use of water. In the middle of the day the evaporation rate is enormous, yet the large sprinklers were pounding out volumes of water on to the nearby oval, as shown in the photo below. Narrandera, like Hay, draws its water from the Murrumbidgee River, a tributary of the Murray River. In South Australia we have been unable to use sprinklers in gardens for several years, and many sporting ovals are dry and dying grass.
I find the lack of restrictions to be environmental vandalism. The lower lakes in South Australia are almost dead, yet here water is being used as if we are not in the biggest drought on record.
On the second day of our 2008 Road Trip to Sydney we left Hay early in the morning because we had a long drive of over 700km to our son’s home in Sydney. Having three drivers – our daughter came with us on this trip – helped ease the burden on driving. Normally we would not attempt such a long distance in one day; we like to stop frequently and look at places.
Before we left Hay in western New South Wales, we went to take a few photos of the Murrumbidgee River which flows through the town. This river is one of the many tributaries of the Murray River which flows through our home town of Murray Bridge.
We were rather disturbed by the liberal use of water in the local gardens. On our walk the previous evening we saw numerous expansive lawns being watered by sprinkler. In South Australia we haven’t been allowed to use sprinklers for several years. I believe that ALL people drawing water from the Murray-Darling river basin should be on the same level of water use. It is not only morally wrong to have different rules for different states – I believe it is environmental vandalism. The lower lakes in South Australia are dying – perhaps are already past the point of being saved, yet here people continue to waste huge volumes of water so that their gardens can look beautiful.
On the first day of our 2008 Road Trip to Sydney we stopped for the night at a caravan park in Hay, a large rural town in mid western New South Wales. As soon as we had arrived we booked into the cabin shown in the photo above. Because it was a few days before Christmas we made the precaution of booking ahead.
The day had been very hot and we were pleased that the car air conditioning made travelling very pleasant. The cabin, however, had heated up during the day and was very hot. The tiny air conditioner really struggled to bring the temperature down. Still, we were very pleased with the facilities and size of the cabin.
After dinner we went for a stroll along the banks of the nearby Murrumbidgee River. I made the mistake of not taking my camera nor my binoculars. The birding was very good and I added several new species to my trip list. You can read about the birds I saw here.