So we literally spent ALL of Easter weekend sitting in the car, half needed a hip transplant after this trip I tell you. Totally worth it though, mostly just so John could say he’s driven some 3000km in one long weekend.
Started the trip first thing on Good Friday morning and drove south something or other towards Canberra (along with the rest of the population of the city) and on to the ski resorts (Jindabyne and Thredbo) via Kosciuszko National Park to Shepparton in Victoria. No snow yet so it was a pretty uneventful drive, you do have to stop the car on the way into Kosciuszko just to get a sticker to say you’re just driving through (it’s a 2 hour pass essentially and it’s free) or you can pay c. $16 for the day to drive around the park or camp there overnight. The scenery on this section of the trip was pretty spectacular in all fairness. The absolute best part of this section of the trip was driving through Kosciuszko with the windows wide open and the amazing smell of pine trees coming in the window. We only got lost once on Friday so that’s pretty great too. Not the worst view to come out of a detour though:
Nice views along the way
We ended up overnighting in Shepparton, VIC to break up the stay a little. Stayed at the Best Western – we actually had a huge room (gotta love those accessible rooms!) and the owner was the nicest chap ever! The people are so nice in the countryside in Australia, always up for a chat and really helpful.
So onwords and upwards (haha up the country quite literally) and all day Saturday in the car driving to Broken Hill (probably took about 8 hours driving time). We didn’t stop too many times on this section of the trip; just wanted to get to Broken Hill to be honest. P.S. Get your petrol in Mildura or you’re well screwed! You do not want to get stranded in the place they make all those scary murder movies!!
The gist of the entire trip!
Did a bit of time-travelling and landed in Broken Hill half an hour early (different time zone so 30 minutes earlier than the rest of New South Wales). We checked in to the ‘Royal Exchange Hotel’ on Argent Street. Felt like we were in an episode of Casper the Friendly Ghost checking in here – don’t think there was anybody else staying there and the lady at reception was definitely just waiting for us to check in so she could disappear. The foyer is pretty small but the staircase looks pretty grand (if not a little creaky) and it’s a bit dusty too…probably was great back in the boom mining times. We settled in pretty quickly and popped out for dinner at ‘The Astra’ just up the road from our hotel. Pretty good food to be honest.
Up bright and early on Sunday morning and we took a drive to Silverton just outside Broken Hill. Silverton has been in many films and there’s actually a ‘Mad Max’ museum here with a replica of a car from the film sitting just outside the pub. It’s a really tiny spot but well worth a visit for some great photo opportunities. We actually drove a little further into the Outback from here and the vista is just unbelievable – you’re literally looking at nothing as far as the horizon – just flat red land.
Silverton Hotel with the Mad Max replica
Mad Max Museum
Max Max Museum and me!
On the drive back into Broken Hill we decided to stop and take a tour of the family run ‘Day Dream Mine‘. It’s probably a 20 minute drive off the main road down an actual red dirt track and you do have to open and close a couple of gates on your trip. We paid for a tour ($30) which included a trip around the surface of the mine and a c. 20 minute trip underground – hard hat with headlight and harness included! This mine was actually mined back in the 1880’s and again in c. 1980 for a few years by one man and some friends. We were told that he had worked there in the past and was sure there was more mining to be done so he spent his weekends pottering away.
We had some scones and tea after our underground expedition back in the Tea Rooms (basically like your Grandmother’s kitchen back in old time Ireland!). They have some pictures in there looking out at a dust storm from a few years ago, pretty cool.
En route to the Silverton Mine
Now, more food. I had read about this place called ‘Bell’s Milk Bar‘ which is infamous for malted milkshakes and syrups for milkshakes. It’s on Patton Street, a little drive outside the main hub of Broken Hill. It was truly amazing; very 1950’s and you would absolutely expect to meet the Fonz in there! We had some lovely Coconut and Vanilla milkshakes with apple pies, awesome! You can also buy the syrups and cordials here to do it all at home. There’s also a funky little museum at the back of the bar which is worth a walk through while you’re waiting for your drinks.
We left Broken Hill for Cobar in the late afternoon, it’s nearly a 5 hour drive so we wanted to drive before it got dark; there are way too many kangaroos and goats on this road so it’s really only advisable to drive in daylight hours. We just had some pizza and stayed in some motel for our overnight trip in the not-so-happening Cobar.
Easter Sunday and we had set off at the crack of dawn again in the direction of Orange (true story). We drove through Dubbo but didn’t stop as that’s probably another trip all on it’s own. We seriously stopped in a place called ‘Nevertire’ – no joke! (Coffee break!) We thought it might be nice to stop in Orange as we had heard great things but I think you would probably need a weekend in Orange on it’s own to see the vineyards and just chill. Instead, we continued a few kilometres out of Orange and ventured to Millthorpe.
Hands down THE cutest village on the planet. We parked up and spent a little while rambling around this little village. It’s literally untouched with some beautiful architecture and restaurants, antique shops and a really cute old-time sweet shop called ‘Galvanised’. We were only famished and ended up in an Irish run bar/restaurant called ‘Gerry’s at the Commercial’ run by Gerry from Galway. Of course.
Cannot wait to go back to Millthorpe and just spend a weekend there chilling. The scenery is just like Ireland (only some bit warmer) so it’s very homely! I don’t actually have any pictures of the village as yet but here’s an idea of the scenery in the area.
Then back to Sydney via the Blue Mountains. We must have stopped the car about 10,000 times just to see kangaroos in the wild. I don’t think the novelty will ever end!! Great weekend away!
Area around Millthorpe