Because of the long weekend (no oncology appointment on Monday), Doortje and I were able to head off on Thursday morning to spend five nights at Tooleybuc. Even the locals said no-one spends five nights in Tooleybuc! From our point of view, Tooleybuc, 45km down river from Swan Hill on the NSW side of the Murray River, had everything - a vacancy at the motel at short notice on a long weekend, a sporting club/resort, a quiet country pub, and roads leading in four directions as well as on both sides of the Murray.
We decided to do the tourist thing in Swan Hill on Friday before the weekend rush. No further comment required about this photo.
At the pioneer village, it was natural that the bikes and I would get together.
I was impressed by the travelling school, as well as the old timber one-room school.
We both knew that all the grandkids, who recently built a wurlie in the park near our house at Karingal, would be interested in this traditional structure on display.
In the afternoon, we did a one-hour tour up-river on the PS Pyap, a paddle-steamer built originally as a barge to cart wool bales and other freight.
On Saturday, we did a round trip through Balranald and Robinvale. We spent time at the National Park at Yanga on the Murrumbidgee River. We saw the huge shearing shed, set up with twelve shearing stands and provision for twelve more (cf Muloorina which had six stands for 16,000 sheep). The shearers' quarters was a huge pise-type building with at least twelve bedroom windows that I could see.
In the afternoon, I was determined to find the junction of the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers, somewhere near Boundary Bend. We traversed a few tracks like this on the southern side of the Murray and Doortje wondered if I would like to have a GPS. "Turn left at the next intersection".
Eventually, we were successful! If there's no photo, it didn't happen - so here's proof! The Murray is flowing from right to left in the foreground, and the Murrumbidgee is flowing in at 10 o'clock. According to a signpost it's near a place called Passage Camp, which we were unable to find! Charles Sturt described the junction in his "Expeditions into the Interior of Southern Australia" in 1829.
On the way home, the track took us through an orchard - the oranges looked too good to resist but they weren't ripe.
On Sunday, we visited Lake Boga; then I was confused enough to think we were going to Barmah and the famous red gum Barmah Forest. We ended up having lunch in NSW at Barham! The river crossing at Barham is shown above. We'll save Barmah, east of Echuca, for another time. From Barham, we tracked along the river as much as possible back to Swan Hill, including along the "island" between the Little Murray River and the Murray proper.
A couple of times we used the Speewa punt, east of Tooleybuc, to cross back to the north side of the river. The punt is shown here coming to get us.
Between Tooleybuc and Koraleigh to the south is this "ring tree". Aboriginal people bound two branches so that they would grow together and form a ring to be used as a boundary marker for their land. This one certainly looks like it was made before white settlement. Amazing that we hadn't heard of this practice before the trip to Tooleybuc.
On Monday we forebore to travel far from Tooleybuc. We visited the Andrew Peace winery and bought a selection of shiraz wines. We checked out Goodnight, out of curiosity at the name (no more than a handful of irrigation properties north of Tooleybuc), and circumnavigated the lake near the town. We spent the afternoon sitting in the sun. Bliss!
Staying at Tooleybuc was a fortuitous choice. Swan Hill was booked out because of their race weekend. Tooleybuc was tiny - no hoons or other noise. We ate meals twice at the sporting club and twice at the pub, both within walking distance. We had the walking tracks around the river to ourselves (on a long weekend!).
I've got a soft spot for the Murray River, and we've now seen quite a bit more of it.