Day 9 : Wednesday 21st December : Peterborough to Louth via Darling River Road
The trip was very much one of four clear sections and now we were into the fourth and final part; our route home.
From Peterborough we headed for the New South Wales border before going on into the outback town of Broken Hill.
The town is as far west as you can travel from Sydney before leaving the state. It is known as a mining town and was where the worlds largest mining company, BHP Billiton started; the “BH” in their name actually stands for Broken Hill. Coffee and lunch were well received before heading on. There is much to see in this small town and so it is another place on the ever increasing list of “must return to” locations.
Our destination for the night was Louth on the banks of the Darling River. The bonus of this was another section of unsealed road. At Wilcania we refueled and took a left turn out in to the wilderness again.
A relatively short 223km brought us into Louth. Shindys Inn offered an ideal camping spot for the night within a small grass covered field to the side of the main building. I mention this primarily as grass had not been easy to come by at many of our previous stops, but here it was plentiful and soft, perfect for camping. A couple of beers also went down well in the bar before retiring for the night.
Distance covered; 703 km.
Day 10 : Thursday 22nd December : Louth to Mudgee
From Louth we drove to Bourke and breakfast. This small outback town is known for it’s historic architecture and it was certainly a lovely place to take a walk and explore a couple of the gift shops.
Our intention was to have a slightly easier day of driving, but as we still had a considerable distance to travel it was important to press on.
Again the scenery had changed and we were driving through fields and lanes not dissimilar to those in the UK, but for the variety of trees which lined the road.
We past through Dubbo with a short stop so that Maria could buy herself a proper Aussie outback hat from an outfitters that Phil knew near the end of the high street, and on to our overnight stop at a campsite in Mudgee.
As this was to be our last night under canvas a couple of bottles were opened to celebrate. After so many nights away setting up had become routine and so we were soon resting with out feet up enjoying some good food and great wine.
Distance covered; 595 km.
Day 11 : Friday 23rd December : Mudgee to Sydney
More treats and traditions were to be fulfilled along the route home today.
Packed and ready to go, I just needed to sort out the driver!
First stop was Logan Wines. A nice bottle of white, cheese and biscuits made for a wonderful breakfast. We also tried a couple of their reds with both Phil and I buying some to take with us. It was interesting to taste two wines made from the same grape but different locations, Mudgee and Orange; the taste being very different.
Not normally one for spending so much on wine, they were exceptional, even to me, so that coupled with the incredible location and the very interesting back story to the name “Ridge of Tears“, saw me part with some cash! Just need that special occasion to open them.
From Logan’s we took a short detour to Windamere Dam. A good opportunity to stretch our legs before pushing on.
It seems that when ever we head out towards Lithgow for a day on the tracks our meeting point is McDonalds. It therefore seemed appropriate that we call in on our way back to grab a coffee.
As you drive out of Lithgow up into the Blue Mountains you pass through a point which would have been the highest of our trip. While I can’t recall the exact elevation I know when I check previously it is higher than the majority of the mountains in the UK, with the exception of those in Scotland.
Our second traditional stop in this area is for apple pie and ice cream in Bilpin; it would have been awful to have missed out. This area of the Blue Mountains is known for its apple production. Not only are pies in abundance there is also a well known cider producer located here.
And so finally at about 5pm we arrived back where we started; Cafe Geo, Lane Cove North.
Distance covered; 270 km.
After over 6500km the trip was done. Our destination, Uluru, had been reach and so many amazing places visited, both on the way and way back. We had traveled sealed roads and unsealed ones. Motorways and country lanes. Seen kangaroos, camels, dingos, emus and more. Viewed salt lakes and pink lakes. Driven through mountains and deserts. We had even taken our cars below sea level while in the middle of this great continent of Australia.
It was a whistle stop tour which provided magnificent views on every stretch of road we traveled, as well as a long list of places to revisit and dwell in a little longer.
And memories – so many wonderful memories.
We started at Cafe Geo and so it seemed only appropriate to finish there, 6673 km and 11 days later.
Now to choose the next destination and plan a whole new adventure.
TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED; 6673 km / 4146 miles