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READER’S RIDE

Posted On 03 May 2024
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This entry is part 13 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#29

SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY IN OUTBACK NSW
WORDS/PHOTOS TIM STANDEN

Ah, summer: serenity of the open road and touching the edge of the NSW outback, without getting in too deep or too hot. TIGGR’s fi rst trip hits the spot!

Pub or no pub, there’s always life in the desert. We all know that the secret to a great arid region tour lies largely in the timing. I reckon late July would be about right to balance the clearing of any big rain (which closes roads out there very quickly) with the appearance of the desert flowers versus the onset of the high summer heat.

Pooncarie – an oasis in the desert. So, what to do when Mungo’s closed for the day? Go to the pub at Pooncarie of course! With good accommodation and friendly staff, make sure you’ve kept your ‘pub-fitness’ up! A word of caution when travelling out and around Mungo/Pooncarie is to take care with your fuel planning – there’s no fuel at either location. I thought I’d keep the load light as well, as there’s a more than fair chance of encountering sand along the way – keep it to the essentials!

The Sturt Highway – remember to wind up your alarm clock. I have nothing good to say about this stretch of boring, windy, hot, truck infested, fly blown tar. It is a means to an end. Nothing more.

Perry Sand Hills – Don’t stand still for too long, that large tree did…

Just outside of Went worth are the amazing Perry Sand Hills. According to the experts, these dunes originated 40,000 years ago after an ice age and now cover over 300 hectares. The sand here is literally almost as fine as talc, and believe me, it gets everywhere! Exploring these dunes in the late afternoon is a surreal experience; the sense of isolation is completed by the hissing of the continually shifting sands on the wind.

Went worth Post Office – get your latest AMM sent to you here… With the confluence of the Murray and Darling rivers, an old goal, wineries,cafes and pubs there’s a lot to see in and about Went worth. In addition to the charms of this great little town, it’s also a good base for a visit to the spectacular Mungo National Park and outlying areas. Mungo will have to wait for next time – the centre had just had a fire the day I planned to visit and was closed!

Now that’s more like it! Not wanting to leave the river without seeing an original lift bridge over an actual river, a quick chat with one of the locals put me on the right track. Outbound from Darlington Point heading west along the Sturt is Carathool – with a proper bridge where you’d expect to find it!

Darlington Point – isn’t there meant to be a river here? First stop was the Riverside Caravan Park along the Murrumbidgee at Darlington Point. This small town has its roots in timber cutting for the railways as well as wool transport. The caravan park is a top spot to pitch your tent, or hire a cabin, right on the river’s edge. Because it’s a few kilometres north off the Sturt Highway, it’s also very peaceful outside the main tourist season.

Remnants of the past can be seen at the entrance to the caravan park which is a relocated part of the original lift bridge built back in 1905.

I probably left it a tad too late as the temps were really starting to get up there in late October. But either way, put the planning in and you’re assured of a trip to remember.

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