DAY ONE – FIFIELD/SYERSTON EXPLORATION TREK
It was with much excitement (and a tummy full of butterflies) that I began my first ever mining exploration trek! My Long-Suffering Mentor (a.k.a. Dr. Sanja) had the great idea (although I’m sure she regretted it as soon as the ear-piercing squeal of delight reached her ears and she was forced to watch several minutes of eye-burning victory dancing on my behalf!) of asking me to accompany her as a field-hand on her upcoming exploration trek to outback New South Wales. In hindsight, she probably regretted her asking me pretty much as soon as I shouted “YES YES YES!” in her face and immediately began pouring over Google Earth maps and Geological Surveys, but to her credit she never reneged, and so began our outback trek on a sunny Monday morning at the bright, crack of dawn!
Again, in hindsight, I feel perhaps my overly chipper nature at 6am leading into a 10 hour car trip may have not made the best of impressions, but to their credit, my Long Suffering Mentor and my newly formed friend, and work colleague (how GOOD does that sound!? Hey! Hey?!) Althea, put up with my incessant questions, gesticulations and pointing out obscure roadside sights and obviously interesting rock formations (got to LOVE roadside cuttings!) and even agreed to stop along the way at particularly interesting sights……like the following…..
Yes that is a Big Strawberry……
….and yes….that is me trying to take a bite out of it! Again, I reiterate, I was VERY excited about this trip!
Our country is known for it’s immense countryside and expansive open plains and travelling to New South Wales from Victoria provides some wonderful scenery. Having heard of the rain that New South Wales has been experiencing in the last few months, it was interesting to see exactly what effect these deluges was having on what is usually a very arid terrain. West Wyalong in particular showed us exactly how much rain has been pouring these last few months! As far as the eye could see, what usually are dry open paddocks have been transformed into the most spectacular wetland estuaries complete with wetland birdlife whom I sure would normally not inhabit such areas.
The damage by the floodwaters was visible everywhere from damaged fences to chronically potholed and damaged roads, including roads still covered by water. In the true spirit of adventure (which I was surely embracing!) we drove through the floodwaters with great splash, enjoying it so much I made my Long Suffering Mentor turn around to go through it again…..
And, of course……again!
….by which time everyone in the car was thoroughly sick of me going “WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!” and so, off we set towards Trundle, NSW!
With our trusty navigator sitting in the back directing our path, we continued on our way until reaching the beautiful town of Trundle, NSW. Having spent 10 hours on the road, our bottoms (and Sanja and Althea’s ears – from my inane chatter!) were a little worse for wear, and we were most pleased to find the Trundle Pub which would be our accommodation for the next 4 nights. Actually, it wasn’t that hard to find the Trundle Pub, being that the town of Trundle consists of, well, the pub! So…….
The town of Trundle is famous (!!!!!) for having the widest main street in Australia. Apparently, Trundle’s forefathers wanted a street wide enough for stock trains to be able to turn around (stock trains, in those days, comprising of huge trailers pulled by teams and teams of horses, bullocks, and other various strong, hard-working animals!) And, yes, the road was very, very wide!
The pub was built in 1909 and accommodates a myriad of revellers including excitable rooky geologists and backpackers passing through looking for some work in outback New South Wales. The shared-style accommodation was originally built for the itinerant workers from the nearby busy railway line which was a way to bring produce to rural NSW. It’s rustic ambience was captivating and it was comfortable and clean. Plus, I got my own room with a balcony so I was ecstatic!
After a welcome cold drink and a traditional pub schnitty (chicken schnitzel for those uneducated people out there! – with gravy!) we clambered off to bed with strict instructions to be ready to leave at 7.30am.
Let the adventure begin……..!
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