We camped for one night at Brewery Flat Reserve just on the outskirts of Narrandera. This great campground is located in between the Murrumbidgee River and the Main Canal.
The campground is provided by the Narrandera Shire for the traveling public in self contained vehicles. You can stay for free for up to 72 hours. There is a toilet block, multiple rubbish bins around the site, a couple of shelters with BBQ’s and fire pits. The campground is a large flat grassy site with plenty of room for lots of RV’s.
It is the site of the old Oakbank Brewery, a listed historical building. The Brewery had its heyday in the Riverina between the 1890’s and mid-1920’s. The Oakbank Brewery was amongst the most modern in NSW and was run with all the latest equipment from England. Up to 100 men were employed there. During 1921, the brewery had a capacity of 20,000 gallons of stout, bottled and draught beer and could produce 10,000 bottles of beer and 15,000 bottles of cordial daily.
Branches sprang up throughout the Riverina and fifty hotels in the region were controlled by the brewery. In 1924 the brewery was sold to Tooths of Sydney for a reported price of £200,000. The new owners closed down the brewing operation, but the Oakbank Cordial Factory – followed by a number of other operators – continued with the production of cordials at the site until 1986.
Today it is a private residence.
You can find Brewery Flat listed on most camping apps. Well done Narrandera Shire for providing this fabulous facility.
A boat ramp and a pontoon are available at the river although the river was so full during our visit that the water covered the walkway out to the pontoon.
It had been raining for a couple of days but we were still able to find a campsite for our motorhome and our daughter’s caravan that was on lovely thick grass and reasonably dry.
We had three grandchildren with us and I took them for a very long walk to see if we could find koalas as the area is a koala sanctuary. We walked all the way to Lake Talbot and back but only saw lots of birds and one goat…..no koalas.
The children were so excited the next morning when we were packing up to find a koala up as tree not far from where we were camped. That really made our stay a special one. It’s not very often you get to see a wild koala.
We all got a lovely surprise in the morning. Andy & Jenny arrived. We thought we wouldn’t see them again on this trip after they left Broken Hill. They’d meandered from Broken Hill and had been camping for a couple of nights on the Lachlan River at Willanthry. Exactly the spot we’d camped at on our way to Broken Hill. They’d only planned to stay there one night but it was such a lovely spot they stayed for two.
They got such a surprise to find the four of us camped at Frogs Hollow in Lake Cargelligo and we were pleased when they said they would camp for one night there too. So now we were six again!
The huge lake is a fabulous sight to see as your drive into the small country town of Lake Cargelligo. The Main Street is perpendicular to the lake and as you come into town from the north you turn left into the Main Street. You get a glimpse of the lake at the end of the street then the closer you get, more of the lake appears until you reach the end of the road and you get the full vista. The lake is huge.
Lake Cargelligo is a natural lake that Aboriginal people have been living around for thousands of years. The abundance of fish and other wildlife made it an ideal area to live. Thousands of years of Aboriginal habitation of the area is evidenced by the shellfish mddens that have been found on the lakeshore. The middens contain the remains of thousands of shellfish meals.
The lake has an abundance of bird life and is a popular spot for birdwatchers. Boating, fishing and water skiing help contribute to the town’s tourism.
Gold was discovered in the area in 1873 bye a Mrs Charlotte Foster, who was a cook at a burr cutters camp. Her husband and the population of the small village of Cudgellico caught gold fever and the town was inundated with prospectors. A gold mine was commenced in 1877. Water in the underground shafts and the poor veins of gold needed mining in the town however shafts remain under some shops and houses in the town to this day.
The town name was changed officially to Lake Cargelligo in 1917 when the railway arrived in town. The town has a population of approximately 1,500 people.
There are a few lovely old buildings in the Main Street including a couple of banks and the Art Deco Civic Theatre.
Frogs Hollow is a free camp provided by the town along the edge of the lake. It has a couple of toilets, rubbish bins and plenty of flat spots to park up. There is a donation box for those who wish to help the council maintain this great spot. It is a short walk to the Main Street along a paved pathway. The paved pathway goes around the lake all the way to another free camp at Deadman’s Point. During our stay we saw lots of people using the pathway.
The Visitors Centre is at the lake end of the Main Street and has a lovely garden full of gorgeous roses. Many of the gardens around the town also had beautiful roses blooming. Roses love the hot dry climate.
Unfortunately it was too windy to go for another paddle, there were whitecaps out on the lake but we did enjoy being six around the little fire again.
The next day we all packed up and headed off in our various directions. We set off towards home and it was only a 2 hour drive and we were driving in our own driveway. We’d enjoyed this short meander very much. Where to next?
I spent the next day cleaning the motorhome, doing minor repairs and getting it ready for it’s next adventure.
We packed up camp at the Old Reservoir in Cobar after a leisurely start to the day. I used up some old squishy bananas and made some banana bread and it cooked whilst we had breakfast. The delicious smell of baking filled the motorhome. Don’t you just love that smell?
Do you cook in your RV? I’ve met a lot of people on our travels who never cook inside their RV. I cook inside all the time. In fact, I cook pretty much the same in the motorhome as I do at home. One of my favourite vegetables is cabbage, sautéed in a pan with a little butter and black pepper. I often cook this and our motorhome doesn’t smell like cabbage! Well, maybe it does while the cabbage is cooking but not afterwards. I use the oven and griller all the time for various dishes. I do love those one pot meals where you throw all the ingredients in a pot then bung it in the oven to cook. I have a Weber casserole dish that is perfect for those meals.
I’ve made muffins, cakes, banana bread, cooked garlic bread and even baked roast dinners. The other useful cooking appliance is my small slow cooker. This is brilliant for cooking if you have a long driving day planned. Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and it cooks slowly all day as you drive along. I plug it into our inverter and I sit the slow cooker in my folding laundry basket on the floor. I made an elastic band that hooks over each handle of the slow cooker to keep the lid from bouncing off as we go along the road. One of our favourite dishes to cook this way is a seafood chowder. Yum. It smells so good. When you pull up it’s ready to eat. Perfect with a crunchy loaf of bread.
Anyway, this morning I made banana bread and it was cooling in the oven as we drove along.
It was a cloudy overcast morning as we drove along the Kidman Way heading south. The recent rains have changed the landscape so much. There was long grass and lots of green grass along the roadside. I was looking for bands of goats to try and get some photos however the goats had all decided it’s a good day to rest under a tree as we saw very few on this road. The day before we’d seen hundreds between Wilcannia and Cobar.
Stopped for morning tea at Mt Hope. Mt Hope is just a dot on the map. There’s a pub, a community hall and a couple of houses. That’s it. This tiny place is where my dad and his four brothers lived as children until the family moved to Griffith so the boys could go to high school. What a place to grow up!
The. Community Hall is a free camp for RV travellers and there is plenty of flat area to park. An old amenities block with toilets and hot showers is out the back. They are old but they are clean. There are a couple of power point on the side of the hall and can be used by travellers needing power for a donation. There is a donation box next to the power points. Well done Mt Hope for encouraging travellers to stay.
Just out of Mt Hope we took the turnoff to Euabalong. This is a good tar road through dense mallee scrub. We saw lots of wildflowers in many colours. White, pink, bright yellow, lilac and a bright blue. Of course there was also the purple of Patersons Curse. It’s a weed found all over Australia.
As we got closer to Euabalong we came across cleared land with wheat crops. The crops looked thick and healthy. We also came across mobs of fat cattle looking sleek and glossy. The rains have been fantastic for this area.
Sadly the mallee is home to the endangered Mallee Fowl and the poor Mallee Fowl is fighting a desperate battle for survival due to loss of habitat from land clearing for cropping and feral predators such as pigs and foxes. Mallee Fowl mate for life and lay their eggs on nests they build on the ground. The birds use compost to regulate the temperature of the nest so it remains a constant temperature for the eggs. Having their nests on the ground makes them open to pillaging by feral predators. Some 80% of all chicks that do manage to hatch die within a short time.
We came to a train line and the tiny village of Euabalong West is built next to the train line. Huge grain storage sheds are also alongside the line. This train line is the main line across the country that the Indian Pacific uses to cross from Sydney to Perth. Many freight trains also thunder past the tiny village.
We came across a tractor going along the road. We joked that the farmer was going to town in his John Deere!
Only 5kms further on is the village of Euabalong situated right on the Lachlan River. It is a very tidy little village. The river is very full and as we left the town a large billabong on our left was also full of water. We passed through the village and headed out on the Lake Cargelligo Road and again we saw many wheat crops and healthy, sleek, fat cattle.
We arrived in Lake Cargelligo in the early afternoon and went directly to the service station to top up our fuel. I keep a log of all the fuel and the kilometres traveled. We’d had a great run only using 14L/100km. That’s pretty good for a 5 tonne vehicle.
We drove through town and the huge lake spreads out before you at the end of the Main Street. The Visitors Centre is on the last corner and has a gorgeous display of roses out the front.
We continued around the lake to the free camp at Frogs Hollow. What a lovely spot it is along the edge of the lake. There were quite a few vans and one motorhome there already. Robert was parked up a little way along the bank and there was room for us to pull in behind. We did have to get our chocks out to level up but what a great spot. Nice green grass and it’s very pleasant sitting out under the awning. Occasionally fish jump out of the water with a big splash. They’re probably carp!
Late in the afternoon Catie and I went for a long paddle in our kayaks. The lake is really huge. It is very calming being out on the water and we both love it. We saw Pelicans, a Cormorant, fish jumping and a bird of prey that we don’t know the name of. We arrived back in time for sunset drinks and nibbles. Love this RV lifestyle!
It was time to say farewell to Broken Hill. We had really enjoyed our short stay in the Silver City. Our camp at the Racecourse was a lovely one on nice green grass with power and water. The water was good quality for drinking. The showers at the Racecourse were some of the cleanest we’ve ever come across and the water pressure was incredible. Kevin, the caretaker, was super friendly and looks after the place well.
Catie & Robert left to get fuel before they headed off with a rough plan to get to Lake Cargelligo to camp by the lake. We left not long after with full water tanks and an empty cassette. We stopped at a couple of places to get some photos and we briefly stopped to put some air in one tyre then left Broken Hill heading east on the Barrier Highway.
The Barrier Highway runs 1,014km from Nyngan in NSW to Adelaide in south Australia. For most of its length it is a long, straight, lonely drive. Half an hour east from Broken Hill we entered the Eastern Time Zone and had to put Richard’s watch and our clock forward half an hour. The Apple devices change time automatically. The motorhome is still on Winter time!
It’s really desert country between Broken Hill and Wilcannia. We saw mobs of feral goats and once we saw a group of huge Wedge-tailed eagles feasting on some road kill. Such huge majestic birds. As it was Sunday there wasn’t even a lot of traffic apart from the occasional road trains and ‘B’Triples.
Out there are miles and miles of flat, red sandy desert with scrubby grasses and saltbush. There are hardly any trees. Usually if there are trees you can be sure there will be a creek bed however all the ones we crossed were dry. The road is long and straight out there and in the far distance we could see a line of low hills. There was not much sign of human habitation out there apart from the long line of power poles that track along the roadside into the distance. Occasionally we passed an entrance to a property with a mailbox and property name but we didn’t see many buildings along that road.
By midday we’d arrived in the tiny outback town of Wilcannia where we stopped to get fuel. It was $1.79L, the most expensive fuel on this trip so far.
We pulled up for a brief lunch break at MacCullochs Rest Area, the same spot we’d camped at on our way to Menindee.
As we got closer to Cobar there were a lots more trees and grasses. The rainfall must be a lot higher along that stretch. The soil is still that red sand though. We did see a lot of goats many with young kids. The young kids are very cute. There was still not a lot of traffic on the road and at times it seemed like we were the only ones traveling.
We finally arrived in Cobar where we fueled up, got a replacement gas bottle then headed out of town. On the way we passed the recently opened Miner’s Memorial and stopped for a look. What a great job they’ve done on this park. It’s worth a stop if you are passing through Cobar.
We headed out of town and set up camp at the Old Resevoir with water views. There was only one other camper. There is a lot less water in the reservoir than there was when we were last there in June 2021 but it is a lovely spot for an overnight or short stay camp. There are no amenities just lots of flat area to camp. The road in is a short length of gravel road but don’t be put off by that. It is worth it. The other option for a free camp in Cobar is right underneath the Cobar sign at Cornish Rest Area. There are toilets at the rest area however it has never appealed to us as it sits right at the intersection of two busy roads. We like it much better out at the Old Reservoir.
It was Halloween night and we laughed when we received messages from our children with pictures of our grandchildren going trick or treating. What fun Halloween is! They all looked like they were having a great time. We miss them all so much when we are off meandering. It’s the biggest drawback to RVing.