A much more interesting Day!
We left Wagga Wagga at about 9:40am having walked to town for breakfast and unsuccessfully searched for some tinting to stick on my helmet visor to help with the glare of heading west late afternoon.
Almost as soon as leaving Wagga the country looked different. East of Wagga the country still looks quite green, west of Wagga the drought was evident.
Not much to eat here
Very little grass cover and what there was, crisped beige by the sun with the red soil exposed. In some places the sheep were hard to see as they were the same colour as the ground.
We got to Narrandera at about 11:00am for coffee. If Narrandera has a horse it certainly wasn’t evident when we were in town so we didn’t stay long. The loos lack something in sophistication too.
Not one for the newspaper
Out of Narrandera we headed to Hay and we’re surprised to see extensive, as in kilometers long, fields of cotton. The area of cotton has grown by 50% over the last year now covering 72,000 hectares. The motivation is water and money. Margins on cotton are higher than rice given a higher international price and water uses about 9-10 mega liters per hectare versus 13-14 mega liters per hectare. Although there are said to be lots of small family cotton farmers a lot of it looked very corporate. The capital investment to level the fields and provide infrastructure for water distribution would be enormous.
A few sheets and towels in this lot
Getting closer to Hay the country became flatter with little vegetation and huge skies with sheets of dappled clouds and vapor trails of those taking a more direct route to Perth than us.
A big dry country
We stopped in Hay for lunch which was actually pretty good and then headed for Balranald. Very flat country. There were two large trucks about 3-4kms ahead of us most of the way. We didn’t catch them but could see them most of the time as there was nothing in the way. We did pass a lunatic on a push bike headed in the opposite direction with a fly net over his head. We hooted and waved enthusiastically while thinking how pleased we were to have 500cc’s pushing us along. Only other thing of note was the road kill. A dead and often very smelly roo almost every 600m. A very good incentive to keep off the road after about 4:30pm in the afternoon.
The only other wildlife we saw were nervous Emu’s who wouldn’t hang around for a photo.
finally the ‘only in Australia’ moment was the school bus stop. Middle of nowhere but still a bus route for any local kids.
School…… anyone? ….. anyone there?
We checked in to the Balranald Club Motel at the end of Day 2.