Mutawintji to Sturt NP We travelled to the Mt Woods camp site today which confines us to the eastern part of Sturt NP. Along the way we stopped at Packsaddle pub for what we all voted the best steak sandwich in years. Another stop at Milparinka, an old gold mining town with restored stone courthouse, police station, jail and house etc. Another pub there. Also looked at Tibuburra and saw the thousands of big boulders round the town, some the size of cars or small trucks. These are the northern people who , in the creation story, were turned to stone. Whole trip was on rough road with bands of bitumen giving some relief.  The drive knocked the van around, broke rivets in the door [used gaffa tape to close it up] and broke the plastic fitting on the water tank again. At Sturt NP The camp site was bleak with drought as the whole country had been on the drive up. The trees looked stressed and there was no water anywhere. Campsite has good loos and a great cabana with electric BBQs. We were the only campers and so we took over the cabana for our evening BBQ and socialising.  We had to move our van as we parked too close to an ant nest and felt they would invade the van. It was hot, 33C, and the night was hot too. Must have been a terrible trial for the Aborigines to have to try and survive in times like these. I agree with Mark that their numbers would have been cut severely by droughts. Next morning we set up our portable shower in the large disabled loo. New concrete floor and plenty of room was ideal. Shower simply washed down the floor. A severe dust storm blew up about 10am and we retreated into our respective vans and waited it out till about lunch time. We spent the afternoon driving into Tibuburra then drove the 70km self guided tour through the eastern part of the park back to camp. The green flats along Walker Creek ? with 100s of kangaroo and wallaby grazing there surprised us. It was formerly a sheep station but has reverted nicely to native grasses and saltbush with lush tree and shrub vegetation along the creek runs extensively thru most of the park. We saw old settler outstation and yards, windmill and some great vantage points from which we could survey the plains. We are leaving the west part of the park for another visit. Ann and Rod are leaving for home tomorrow and although we thought of staying on, the camp is too bleak. The ranger lives in a neat homestead about half a km away and visible from the camp. Some sort of school group is there at the moment. Shearers quarters are not far away across the creek and  can be used by visitors. Sturt NP to Broken Hill We left with Ann and Rob and drove through dust storms all morning down past Packsaddle. Unknown to us, these storms were across all of Central and South Australia. We are sorry we didn’t divert to look at Sturt’s base camp at Depot Glen west of Milparinka, but the billabong would have been dry and the dust storm would have made getting round difficult. It’s waiting for our next visit.  We arrived at Broken Hill and stayed at the Lake View caravan park, although the lake, and the view, were long gone.
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NSW Desert Parks
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