Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
3 March 2006 - Wagga Wagga to Hay

Location map We were away from the caravan park just after 9 o'clock on a bright and sunny morning heading into and through Wagga looking for a suitable petrol station (where suitable means large enough to tow the A'liner comfortably up to a pump and then leave). The Sturt Highway avoids the main shopping centre but does go through the built up area. After leaving Wagga the Sturt highway surface was quite poor and we sat on 83 kph for a while then on about 90. The road surface did eventually become fairly good but quite a few bumps were encountered before that happened. At first there were some smaller hills after leaving Wagga but these petered out. During this hilly part we encountered signs warning that we entering a fruit fly exclusion zone and thet there was vehicle inspection station ahead. We had completely forgotten about the fruit fly checks and had a large bag of apples in the fridge which we had to dump after eating several. Then there was no fruit fly inspection at all. After leaving the hills a nearly flat terrain gradually sloped towards Narrandera where we turned off the highway to stop in the town. Surprisingly we were pulled up for a random breath and licence check on the approach to Narrandra. We had stayed there for some days on a previous trip and knew where the best bakery was in town. Between Wagga and Narrandra was mainly wheat country with some cattle and sheep. The first (and only) wheat concrete silo was passed about 30 kilometres before Narrandra.

From Narrandra to Hay the road continues parallel to the Murrumbidgee River, not close enough to see the river but close enough to see the gum trees lining the river and associated meandering stream beds. There were several patches of wheat and it appears that much wheat is grown in the region because the Carrathool grain complex had very large piles of wheat in the open under waterproof covers. Scattered gum trees are replaced in a few large patches by cypress; these are large patches taking up several kilometres along the road. Then gum trees, other than those alongside the watercourses, dwindled away to be replaced by scrub and mallee types of trees or large area of open grass and low scrub. We repeatedly crossed over irrigation channels taking water south from the Murrumbidgee but from the road we could often not see any destination for this water. On other occasions we passed irrigated crops including corn, grapes, fruit, and one large paddock of sunflowers. These were often very large paddocks but equally often there were only one or two of them as if they were an experimental crop.

The road from Narrandra to Hay was not too bad. gradually declining in elevation from 156 metres at Narrandra to 90 metres at Hay - a distance of 171 kilometres. A slope of 66 metres in 171 kilometres is gradual indeed. This area is known as the Hay Plain. We saw four or five emus in paddocks along the road and no roadkill. Traffic was light, often we could see no other vehicles on the road.

At Hay we turned into the Hay Plains caravan park near the main roundabout on the Sturt Highway and were shown a green drive through site. We discussed going to have a look at Hay and the Shearers Hall of Fame but decided to leave them for another visit in April 2006.

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