Day 2. Sunday 30 July.
First stop was The Australian National Glass Gallery which was as spectacular as we remembered it from a visit many years, in the era of Gloria. It is small but the items are exquisite. Interesting to note this time, which we perhaps missed during that earlier visit, that glass can be so very opaque and have rich deep colours, almost pottery or wood like. Even more interesting was that when we asked at a local servo which street the gallery was in, the attendant looked puzzled….don’t know, never heard of it…we don’t have a glass gallery here…”I’ll google it”… Lo and behold! He definitely needs to get out more!
The café at the adjoining Art Gallery was closed, so into town to search for a refreshment. It looked a bit dire for a while but we eventually found an Italian-style café buzzing and the coffee – and vegetable roll – were very good indeed.
Back to the carpark, to discover that it had been taken over by old model car enthusiasts. That was fine, except that one had parked over the exit, we presume to stop people coming in without paying. He soon hurried over to clear the way, but did not otherwise acknowledge us. At 6 years old, surely the Pajero qualifies as vintage? Its owners certainly do!
On the road to Hay. Overnight again on the Murrumbidgee, this time about 3 km out of town on a very bush campsite, all our own. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing trying to get the perfect orientation and level for the van, but eventually made it. The evening was beautiful – not too cool, and the campfire provided enough warmth. Potatoes in the coals and a Porterhouse steak on the BBQ.
Day 3. Monday 31 July.
Last day of July and T’s Disabled permit runs out (but she certainly still qualifies).
A slow start, enjoying the sunshine and peace. T took a walk along the river searching for birdlife, while D lazed in bed identifying them by their calls (so he said). Magpies, Magpie Larks, Kookaburras, Noisy Miners, some sort of Bellbird, Cockatoos, Ducks, Parrots, and to top it off, a Butcherbird.
Visited the Shear Outback in Hay, noting that it had very little in the way of the end product, which surprised us. T has started her road project, knitting in a fine Aussie merino which has been spun and plied in Italy, then shipped back.
But notwithstanding, a very good history of shearers in Australia, with a somber note that they may well be overtaken by either robots or ‘chemical shearing’ being developed by the CSIRO.
The treeless plain was still a delight; , saltbush, huge sky the roadside littered with cotton remnants, irrigation systems, canals, and only one paddock of sheep!
A relatively short drive to Balranald (130 km) to camp beside – you guessed it – the Murrumbidgee. We’re in Yanga NP, at a campsite for caravans and motorhomes called Mamanga. And we’re the only ones here – perhaps we somehow missed a closed sign?