While as road stretches endlessly in Outback N.S.W., it’s easy to stare into never-never land. The kilometres stretch on endlessly, or at least seem to. And while the miles may seem uninteresting, boring even, when you look beyond the bitumen, there are a lot of surprising things along the way.
From Orange to Dubbo, following Banjo Paterson Way, are the Animals on Bikes sculptures.
Monkeys on unicycles. A pirate caterpillar on a push bike. Everything from elephants to rabbits. It was hilarious and a fun surprise to find on what would otherwise be a boring country drive.
From Dubbo to Nyngan, wild emu grazed alongside what seem to be wild goats. The unfenced road had them all roaming freely.
We could only hope they kept their distance from the road trains (semi trailers) that were hauling ass along these stretches of road.
We assumed the goats belonged to one of the various stations (large properties) in the area. But no. There are actually 2 million feral goats in Australia and we saw what seemed to be about a million of that number on our travels. It was the one thing that really surprised me. You expect kangaroos, not goats!
While it would seem that goats would be a pest, we learned that they actually support the farmer’s income quite substantially. I read one article that said that in the Broken Hill area in the far west of N.S.W., one farmer’s annual income was made up of over 30% from goat sales. WOW!
And the interesting things continued…
As the road followed the railway, I originally thought oranges had been thrown from a train, or overflowed possibly from a train haul?
As the road followed the railway, I originally thought oranges had been thrown from a train, or overflowed possibly from a train haul? That is, until I realised they were wild mushrooms growing along the rail line. They were big bulbous things, no doubt a result of the massive amount of rain in the area of late.
In Trangie, we saw hundreds of bales of cotton sitting, waiting for distribution.
Seemed like the tractor moving them couldn’t do it fast enough and I wondered what the rain may have down to the bales within? This small town is known for the Agricultural Research Centre and a huge contributor in conservation technology farming. I’m sure crop rotation is part of that, which would explain the cotton (we assumed it was cotton and not wool as it was not baled as I know wool to be and it looked too white to be wool).
As we drew closer to Cobar, rows and rows of cultivated fields went on for as far as the eye could see.
I wondered how long it would take to plough such a paddock? You could not see where they started or ended. Did they have the huge tractor combines that were air-conditioned and have top of the line stereos built in?
I saw beautifully old, historical pastoral houses nestled into the country side. Some were restored beautifully and still in use.
Others sat derelict and either run down or ruined altogether. I was saddened by that loss of New Australian History.
Taking this road trip from Sydney to Broken Hill and back, we knew there would be a lot of unending miles. Stretches and stretches of highway.
It didn’t help that we had no way to listen to our iTunes, podcasts or audiobooks. In fact, we had to rely on (dare I say it) local radio. Ah, yes, life in the Mighty Rattler.We listened to hours of Abba, Queen, Cold Chisel, mixed in with a little Slim Dusty and other iconic Australian country music. It kept us in the moment, that’s for sure.
And isn’t that what taking a road trip is all about? Being in the moment. Taking in everything you can. Smashing your expectations!