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Gunning for Broken Hill.

Road Trip Day 3: 25th May 2007

Today is the day that we would be arriving in Broken Hill. No more distractions. Well, almost. First Rose and I did a quick walk around the Burra town centre, visiting the Gas Light Coffee and Second hand bookshop (where Rose added to her book collection).

Next we stopped in at the Burra Visitor Information Centre. The man behind the counter told us it would take five and a half hours to drive to the town of Broken Hill. A final stop in the local IGA supermarket to buy camera batteries and other supplies then we were on our way. 11:20am.

The drive to Broken Hill, along the Barrier Highway, is long. After about an hour and using about half of our remaining half a tank of petrol I decided we probably needed to fill the tank. Thus our first stop was at Oodla Wirra, BP Service Station.

Just up the road, coming the other way, is the Quarentine Station where everyone intending to drive any further into South Australia are relieved of any fruit or vegetables they may be carrying.

It's hard to describe the landscape on this trip. It changes from hilly areas to vast open space. Much of the time the road is straight and goes on forever. There are plenty of trees dotted around - particularly around homesteads but the trees never get dense enough to be called 'forest'.

During the drive, before we stopped for lunch, we passed the Channel Seven, Sunrise Weather Bus which was pulled over at the side of the road at Yutla (I think). Probably getting supplies before continuing in the same direction as us. I think they were on their way to Broken Hill too.

Towns along this stretch of road are small. The larger ones have a Post Office, pub and service station. The smaller ones may have just a pub or road house. Most have just a few houses. You could almost walk through some and still miss them.

At 2pm we stopped for lunch at the Manna Hill rest area. Manna Hill has a Pub and a Police Station. For quite some time the road had been running parallel to a railway line and string of power poles. Manna Hill also has a historic railway station.

We stopped just in time to snap a goods train passing through then wondered why it stopped so that the end of the train was level with the railway platform. Five to ten minutes later the Indian/Pacific Passenger train came through on route to Broken Hill and beyond. I would have snapped a picture of this train too only I was busy taking other pictures and didn't see it coming until it was too late. (It came up behind the other train which is why I didn't see it).

Whilst we were lunching the Sunrise Weather bus caught up and passed us by. This is why I think they were headed to Broken Hill. We never caught up to them again and there aren't any sealed road turn offs between Manna Hill and Broken Hill.

3pm and we set off again after having a bit of a photo session around the rest stop. My shoulders and neck were starting to ache a little by the time we crossed the border into New South Wales at the unfortunately named town of 'Cockburn' (though I'm sure it is pronounced 'co-burn' just like the suburb of Perth, Western Australia, that has the same name).

From there the landscape definitely changed from large open space to more rocky and hillier terrain. Eventually we passed a sign that said 'Welcome to Broken Hill' but it was another ten minutes or so before we actually entered the town. 4:30pm

All up we made the trip in five hours from Burra. Four if you exclude the hour lunch break. For the most part I stuck to the maximum speed limit so I don't know how we managed to knock over an hour and a half off the the time given to us by the Burra Information centre?

In Broken Hill we are staying at The Lodge Outback Motel, which is a beautiful old Victorian Stone building that was constructed in the early 1900's and is one of the largest houses in the town. Unfortunately our room isn't in the house its self, rather it's one of a series of purpose built units adjacent to the main house. However it's still a fairly nice room that we're in.

We will be staying in Broken Hill for the next two to three days. Tonight we're planning our itinerary.

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