Friday, October 9, 2009

Long Weekend in Gundabooka - part 1

1205 photos, 1915km, 10 new birds and 4 fantastic days! As my faithful readers will have noticed, there has been a little break in the steady stream of postings on my blog, however I can assure you that the hold up has been in the very best interests of all of you. I decided to take full advantage of the long weekend - even contributing myself by throwing into the pot a precious extra day off - to allow for an action packed excursion to the dry, sunny and very red outback surrounding Bourke in the north-western end of New South Wales - in particular Gundabooka National Park.

Getting out there was first challenge, little G had landed early Friday morning, but showed incredible determination and had voted for a 4pm departure from Sydney. We have tried that before, with less than medium luck - Getting out of Sydney a Friday afternoon heading into a long weekend via Parramatta road was not first choice! Instead we decided to head north before turning west, it gave nearly 100km extra, but at least we were moving :-) A good push the first night took us to Denman, where we found excellent accommodation at the Royal Hotel - top picture.

Covering a few thousand kilometers of Australian roads during a long weekend is an absolutely fantastic experience. Everything is changing - the sky grows higher and more blue, the dirt goes red and in the end the tarmac runs out!

We had a very relaxed drive out to Gundabooka, probably because we felt we had good time due to a jetlag caused pre-7am-start from Denman. We ended up making something like 7 stops over the remaining 700 km, visiting a fair, shopping apples, water, newspapers and petrol and just for the cause of changing driver, the Golden Hwy surely has a lot to offer.

Arriving in Gundabooka national park there could be no doubt that our companions had arrived - the Mazda was there, but more "in your face" they had erected their own Taj Mahal! An enormous dome tent rivaling the mulga trees in height and a footprint so large that you would have to compensate for the earth curvature when aligning the tent walls!

A quick little afternoon walk around the campsite gave high hopes for the rest of the weekend. Mulga is a very different habitat to anything you find around Sydney and hence it would be very likely that we would encounter some equally foreign flora and fauna.

As the sun disappeared, we dug into a serve of camping food, gathering energy for a bit of early night spotlighting and more importantly refueling or topping up the energy stores knowing that we would be up for a big one next day.

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