Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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14 April 2006 - Hay to Robinvale  

Location map Today we continued along the Sturt Highway across the Hay Plain to Robinvale on the Murray River. The Hay Plain lives up to its reputation for being nearly treeless and flat (although the GPS showed that there is a slight slope down towards the west). Along the way we passed Ravensworth Beef Feedlot where beef cattle are fed for market as part of the growth of the cattle industry around Hay. They grow irrigated pasture as feed for the cattle. Beef production is complementary to the sheep industry but growing in importance with the expansion of irrigation and the feedlot industry.

We wonder where the water will come from for additional irrigated pasture or for the cotton being talked of in Hay. For several years insufficient water has flowed down the Murray to keep the mouth of the river open so there can't be much unused water available in the Murray/Darling/Murrumbidgee system; it could also be argued that already too much water is being taken. Time will tell.

We passed a surprising number of emus, clusters of 10 or 12 foraging through stubble were quite common; we assume there were many more emus well away from the road.
Cattle on the road Cattle being driven slowly along the highway verges - the "Long Paddock".
Hay Plain Hay Plain
Group of emus Emus on harvested grain stubble.
There had been high cloud when we left Hay but about half way to Balranald we saw a large sheet of grey to black cloud ahead of us covering about half the horizon and stretching vertically from the horizon to almost immediately overhead. This frontal cloud mass progressively blocked the sun as we drew closer. Then the rain began, first with large drops from the cumulus clouds at the leading edge of the front; fortunately there were no hailstones in this rain (the A'liner transparent domes are toughened but we have seen some broken in hailstorms and remain wary of hail at all times). Behind the leading edge of the front we passed into heavy continuous rain which reduced visibility, fortunately with no further risk of hail. Heavy rain continued intermittently to Robinvale where we had to set up the A'liner in occasional rain.
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