Next Stop, Anywhere

The Murrumbidgee, Darlington Point. At a low ebb.

We’re on a road to nowhere

Come on inside

Taking that ride to nowhere

We’ll take that ride

Thanks David Byrne and Talking Heads

We have travelled enough to know that planning – a route, a timetable, whatever is a good place to start a journey. To do otherwise is to set the trip up for trouble. Spending an hour on arrival tramping the streets of Malmo, Sweden looking for our hotel because we had omitted to write down the name and address is an example of a troubled outcome. But this trip was different. We want to be laissez-faire. To blow with the tumbleweeds. To stop where it seems like a nice place to stop. Having time on your hands and your home on wheels makes it easier I guess.

We did put something on paper. To be in Western Australia by March. To be in the northern gulf by July and home by September. In between was to be what it was. Australians call it doing the Lap. A trip around the country.

So after Sydney it was Canberra and bad news. Our favourite Canberra B and B (my cousin Barb and husband Robin’s house) sold a few days back. We really enjoy Canberra as a city . With great accommodation. Where else can we go that provides a generosity of spirit, top Australian cabernets and shirazs, a cordon-bleu meal (Robin – “a good bottle of red went into that”), warm conversations and a soft bed. We had one more lovely night before forging west.

One was a batsman. One was a bowler. But which one was the better cricketer?

Before Canberra we had stopped at Bowral. Home of the Don and the Don Bradman Museum, the town has served in the past as the rural retreat of Sydney’s gentry and is the largest town in NSW’s southern highlands. Anyone who is anyone has a country home here. And more spectacular even than the museum was the most perfect cricket oval one could imagine. The groundsmen were working on the wicket when we arrived after obviously having hand-manicured the bowling green like outfield and washed the white picket fence. The museum itself is a treasure trove of signed bats, balls and other cricket paraphernalia. Shane Warne’s one million dollar baggy green cap is destined for here after being donated and sold at auction for the bush fire charities. Old matches play on the televisions around the walls. Bradman retired with a test batting average of 99.94. The next best is 63.43 and of the hundreds of test batsmen only 5 others have averages over 60. Enough said.

There are some country towns that seem to be iconic in Australia. I’ve always considered Wagga Wagga to be one. It is the home of Aussie cricket legends Mark Taylor and Geoff Lawson. WW looked all of the country town it is. Wide set streets, dusty, dry and flat. Dry flat wickets too I imagine – good for making a name for oneself at the top of the order before leaving for Sydney and test stardom no doubt. We passed on through and pulled into the campground at Darlington Point. A small, attractive service town and our first sight of the Murrumbidgee River. The Murrumbidgee is Australia’s second largest river winding 1485 kms from the Snowy Mountains to its confluence with the Murray River. Darlington Point is in the Riverina District of western NSW, population about 1,000. And an Italian restaurant. Is there an Aussie town without an Italian Restaurant? We had passed through areas of fruit orchards then the major wildlife park attraction before arriving. We camped almost alone alongside the river. The sounds of cattle lowing kept us awake at night but there is nothing better than setting up camp under Red River Gums and native birdlife. Dawn broke on a beautiful warm day and we pressed on towards Victoria.

8 thoughts on “Next Stop, Anywhere

  1. The guy with the bat in his hand was the better cricketer. Not the guy who looks like he is trying some sort of ballet move!!


  2. We often here the native bird life and the cattle lowing around here. Now just need to visualise the Red River gums and the Murrumbidgee winding along beside us and we could be right there with you.


  3. Just finished reading all the latest blogs – so good! You guys are having some fun. Say hi to MTC from me. Tammy. xxxx. ps not sure you can put yourself and Don in the same league let alone the same photo….


    1. Not comparing as a batsman of course only as a bowler. And not Rusty Crowe but maybe Matthew Flinders who was also an intrepid explorer moving west across Australia


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