Odometer: 4848 km
We continue our journey and travel from White Cliffs to Cobar, an old copper mining town. We fill up our car with the most expensive diesel to be found in mainland Australia ($1.78 a litre, 50 cents over the current going price in NSW), before heading on our way.
We follow the Opal Miners Way to Wilcannia. There we find a sign along the road requesting people to avoid stopping there if possible due to the Covid epidemic, the town has a large indigenous population who are vulnerable to the virus.
So we drive on and continue North-East on the Barrier Highway. Distances between settlements remain vast and phone reception is non-existent. Good to see that there are emergency phones placed at 50 km spacing along this highway.
We have a coffee break at a rest stop. This is emergency coffee, made from “coffee bags”, akin to teabags but then with coffee in them. Rest stops in the countryside generally have a drop toilet and a picnic bench. No water. Simple, but all you need. They are also a nice way of chatting with fellow travellers, this time a couple from Newcastle who recommended to us to add the Warumbungles to our itinerary.
Fork tailed kites are regular visitors along the road, looking for fresh roadkill. We haven’t seen a wedge tailed eagle yet, they were quite common on the Nullabor outback roads.
It is a long and rather boring drive, just red dirt, small trees and scrub. Driving gets spiced up by the occasional goat crossing the road and dead kangaroos on the hard shoulder. We make another stop for a picnic lunch before taking a relatively small detour (66 km roundtrip) around 40 km before Cobar, going to the Mount Grenfell Historic Site. There are around 130 bright high quality aboriginal paintings on the rocks around a small water hole. This is one of the most signifiant sites in NSW.
Cobar is a quiet little town with the usual number of nice historic buildings we have come to expect in country NSW. It also has a big open cut mine. We take in an excellent view 150 metres down into the operations from the Fort Bourke Lookout.
Cobar is home to the Big Beer Can, one of those typical Australian country town creations of big things. And, it is the proud owner of the hotel with the longest verandah in Australia! Two big things to cross of our list now…
- Best coffee: Hot Bake bakery (7/10), Gumnut which was recommended by Beanhunter was closed for the long weekend.
- Accomodation: Crossroads motel, clean and all you need, typical 1980’s!
- Tip: Greater Cobar Heritage centre is currently closed for renovation, open again in July 2021, comes highly recommended.