Odometer: 2583 km
We have spent three nights in Narrandera and the town did grow on us. We enjoyed sitting on the balcony having lunch or dinner, drinking wine and watching the world go by. Not only the big rigs, but we also had front row seats to the local car wash. After observing the large number of daily users we decided to join the ritual. We now have a nice clean car, for the moment!
Narrandera is next to the Murrumbidgee river and the Murrumbidgee NP. This is a koala reserve, but to be honest, I already have problems spotting koalas in a zoo, let alone in a tree in a reserve. We did do the 4WD forest drive along the spine of the park, which is a lovely drive along wetlands and takes 1-2 hours. The gums alongside the road seemed to float in a haze of purple flowers, very pretty. For future reference, are some great camping spots along the river here!
We also had a look at the Narrandera Water Tower Art works, which are pretty amazing for such a small town (thanks for the hint Liz!). All in all it was a very relaxing three days.
We packed up the car again, gave a cuddle to Max, the best hotel dog we have met to date, and headed further west into the Riverena area. Continuing on the Sturt Highway, we are driving through the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, also known as MIA.
The roads grow emptier, a car in the rearview mirror will slowly become larger until it overtakes you, and then it is quiet again. The canola makes way for citrus and vines, and then cotton and lucerne.
Towns are more spread out, now easily 50 to 100 km apart. The population numbers of the towns are dwindling to the 2 to 3 thousands. Mobile phone reception is dropping down to 3G, then 2G, and then nothing, with an occasional bar showing up for a minute or so.
As we drive along there are large flocks of galahs and sulphur crested cockatoos foraging along the roadside. Each flock rises up en-masse as we drive past. And yes, we had our first bird brain fatality.
- Best coffee: Red Door in Narrandera
- Accomodation: The Star Lodge, a fun experience for a night if you don’t mind chenille bed spreads, crocheted doilies and shared bathroom facilities.
- Tip: there are some great campsites along the river in this area, and it is not too far from Wagga Wagga or Griffith if you would like to stay in a larger town.