The Mighty Murray and the Mining Country

Where did we go this time?

We flew from Sydney to Melbourne. Then Melbourne to Mildura. It’s the biggest city north of Victoria and closest to the NSW border. It’s our entry point to the Murray River.

Melbourne Airport
Departure Lounge, Melbourne (waiting for our flight to Mildura)

I’ve done something similar in the past — flying to Melbourne in order to reach a town north of Melbourne for a wedding. Except the wedding was across the border. So left NSW to go to Victoria to go to NSW. 

The state is that huge. So amusing I suppose that after the first day’s work was done, we played crossing between the two states over the bridges that connect them. 

But this is the farthest perhaps. These places had been in my bucket list for years. Finally reached these places.

The Murray River is breathtaking. Its enormity pales all rivers I’ve been to. Even the memory of the ferry rides at the Rhine and the Danube (though yes, I know, the Danube is longer). Simply that, Australia is a dry continent, but to see this much water and life that thrive around it. Magical.

Mildura has a lot to offer — fresh food, water activities, ferry rides. If it’s your cup of tea. And yes they offer a variety of Tabasco sauce! I cannot describe how delighted I was!

And while you’re there, don’t forget to cross over to the New South Wales side where the two rivers meet: the Murray and Darling Rivers (featured photo). Thankful that my knees are much better now — I would have missed climbing the lookout otherwise.

Take a boat ride either in Mildura or Wentworth, you won’t regret it. I had the privilege to be on the water for work and went deeper into the Murray. The birdlife was incredible. Those moments I wished I had binoculars and a good camera. My crazy hobby photography days lugging a heavy SLR is long over, but still, I wished.

 

The Brewery, Mildura (yey!)

Train station, Mildura

The Holden Museum, Mildura
Mildura town centre

Down the mighty Murray. Damn right, it was cold!

Watching the dusk as we flew to Broken Hill was another breathtaking moment. Windy and cold when we landed. Then had a humungous laugh when we saw the rental car we were given! A massive double cab 4WD ute! Well, if we are at Broken Hill, we have to look the part, I suppose.

Moonless night, perfect for stargazing. We headed up to the Miner’s Memorial Hill. All those evening photos were from the hill. We looked up and just gazed at the constellations. The Milky Way slowly appeared — like a bright dust in the sky. The first time I’ve seen it. Seriously.

Eeyore at Miner’s Memorial Hill

I wished I shared that moment with my kids and my late brother. The other stargazing nutcase. I wished I had a picnic rug so I can just lie down and watch for hours. I swear I need a neck massage!

Cold and hungry, we headed back down to the city centre looking for the Palace Hotel. A bottle of good Shiraz was in order. We wanted some olives but ended up with a grazing plate. Plus steaks. Two famished and tired people polished the food in no time.

Amused at myself that I searched for the Palace Hotel. When I saw the movie decades ago now, I was indignant at the stereotyping of Filipino women. One can’t be angry forever.

The Palace Hotel (well, if you’ve seen Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, you’ll know why you just have to see this place)

We always have an early start in these trips so we do retire early. Surprisingly, I woke up at 5am. Made peppermint tea and with mug in hand, I went out of my room and resumed my stargazing again. I took and placed one of the chairs in the middle of the driveway. Best place to look up to the sky. The motel was still very quiet — I think I was the only one awake. If anyone was awake, they’d probably wonder what a loony I was sitting there in the middle of the driveway, alone, in darkness, at 3 degrees C, looking up.

My phone rang at 5:30am. It was my baby: “rise and shine, mommy!” Ahhh, how wonderful it is to start my day with that. It was 6am in Sydney.

It was time to get ready. We headed out into town at the Silly Goat cafe. Well, what would our luck be? Complete black out. No coffee, no food. 

Town Hall, Broken Hill

Broken Hill kept its history

Drove around town to look for food. In the process of looking for food, saw some truly uniquely Broken Hill moments — it’s like being transported to a wild west movie set. The main street itself had old buildings on each side. And the streets called Iodide, Sulphide, Oxide and Bromide. Representing its rich mining history.

Thankfully an artisan bakery was open. I said three of each, the lady heard four of each. Way too many pastries! Just as well. It was well appreciated by colleagues we met for the first time. At 10:30am, power was back and the thoughtful young area manager offered that we do a coffee run. Back to Silly Goat. 

My travel companion said that we can’t be at Broken Hill without seeing Silverton. Bless him! Madmax fan that I was as a teenager at the movie location itself. How do you cover a very wide place in less than 30 minutes? We did. Two crazies making a run for Silverton for a quick look before catching our flight.

Silverton Hotel, Silverton

Hopefully one day I can revisit these places again. But even if I don’t, at least I’ve been there.

Three days and two nights. I haven’t counted the mileage yet.

The Chair, Miner’s Memorial Hill, Broken Hill

Spotted these horses as we left Silverton

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