- Cobar (A) to Emmdale (B)
I set off from the caravan park at Cobar at first light and soon realised that I wasn’t quite sure of the road to take. A couple were walking their dog near the gate and I asked if we were on the Barrier Highway and, pointing, asked if Wilcannia lay in that direction. The elderly canine-stroller smiled. “Yes,” he nodded. “But it’s a mighty long way down the road, mate.” I smiled my thanks, knowing just how far it was. Two days of cycling away.
I was heading steadily westward now, cruising along the Barrier Highway, and I started the day with a very long shadow stretching out ahead of me, which shrank steadily inwards as the day progressed. Quite fun to watch, that shrinking shadow. The road was fairly busy when I started and the road trains made their presence known in no uncertain manner. The terrain was fairly easy going, though, being fairly level or with just gradual ups and downs.
- A roadtrain – they take up a BIG part of the road!
The vegetation continues to grow sparser, with some areas particularly dry. The wildlife was correspondingly scarcer. We saw several groups of wild emus and just a few kangaroos, although we saw many more of their dead relatives on the roadway. We also saw two dingoes. Alive and howling.
There is very little of note along this part of the Highway, no town or shop for 160 kilometres until we reached Emmdale. Let me spell that out. One hundred and sixty kilometres of nothing. And Emmdale itself is almost nothing. This was our first taste of an Australian roadhouse, and it was a bit of a shock. A small shop and restaurant, petrol and diesel pumps, toilets. That’s it. We hadn’t expected much, but after 160 kilometres we expected some form of settlement. Just a house or two, perhaps?
We rented the only powered caravan site in Emmdale, which occupied one corner of the forecourt adjacent to the petrol pumps and just an easy stone’s throw from the edge of the Highway. Out in the blazing sun, with not a tree in sight.
We spent a relaxing afternoon reading and catching up on our notes. A pleasant enough interlude for weary me, but somewhat trying for Jane, who had spent the whole morning reading and hanging out, waiting for me to arrive, and was now bursting with energy. But the wonders of Emmdale were all she had to entertain her. A steady stream of road trains pulled in and out of the forecourt. And those that didn’t pull in went straight on past. What excitement.
Our first real experience of accommodation in the Outback.