Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Best of Balranald

Once the containers were loaded in Adelaide, we jumped on a flight to Mildura, which is the closest city to Balranald.
Flying into Mildura reminded us of flying over Saskatchewan.  Once we started driving the 2 hour trip to Balranald, the terrain changed so it looked more like the highways in Botswana but without the donkeys on the road.  Just the occasional dead kangaroo, or others ready to bounce.

We are staying in a cabin at the Balranald Caravan Park.  The park is busy, and I keep wondering, "why are people here?"  Apparently it is because Balranald is well positioned for travelers going between Sydney and Adelaide, and so is used as a stopping off point.
This is our little cabin - fortunately it has air conditioning

It's a little challenging finding a way to let Roger sleep when he's been on night shift because the bedroom door has to be kept open to let the air conditioning flow to the bedroom.  Options of where to go are pretty limited, so I spend a bunch of time out on the porch reading.
There are several cabins throughout the park, and a wide variety of trailers and tents that travellers use.
I really should become a bird watcher, as there are many that call the park their home.  The kookaburras and gallahs wake me up at 6 a.m. every morning and again make a racket just before the sun goes down.  Several other varieties are often difficult to see but make their presence known with loud chirps and squawks.  I love gallahs - they are highly excitable pink breasted cockatoos --- their name is also Aussie slang for idiot.
The Murrumbidgee River used to be used as a major transportation system
I have yet to see or hear the famous barking frogs, but clearly they are part of the area's tourism.  Frog statues depicting various businesses such as these two logger frogs are seen throughout the town.

Murrumbidgee River with the caravan park in the background

Swinging bridge over the Murrumbidgee River

Burned out trunk of a gum tree
The town is just a 10 minute walk from the park and has the essentials, albeit at exorbitant prices. 

Roger and I have noticed that when we walk into a shop, we are given the once over.  In a town where people are greeted by name, newcomers definitely stick out.  A few have said, "Where ya headin'?" and are surprised when we say we are here because Roger is working on a project nearby. Most are very friendly, and the town's newsletter has a message from the mayor saying how important the project Roger is working on will be for the town.
There is an excellent butcher shop and bakery with a small IGA grocery store
Most people drive the 2 hours to shop in Mildura where the selection and prices are much better.  We will do that as well when Roger has a day off.

Roger will be working long hours, and I will have long hours on my own, so I've contacted the local library and school to see if they would take me on as a volunteer.  Like in North America, police clearances are required and with me only being here for a couple of months, I'm afraid it might not be worth the time and hassle for them.  I think I'll be reading a lot of books!

A true Aussie fairy tale
We are looking forward to going to Adelaide this weekend to see the Rolling Stones in concert.  We were originally booked to see them in April, but the concert was postponed after Mick Jagger's girlfriend committed suicide.  We will definitely be stopping in Mildura and doing a big grocery shop, including a BBQ so we can cook some snags and chops at the cabin.

But first, a bit of rock 'n roll.

"Don't worry about the world ending today.  It's already tomorrow in Australia."
Charles Schulz

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