|Travelling Australia - Journal 2008b|
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|22 July 2008 - Boort to Rutherglen|
A clear morning; yesterday's strong wind faded away at sunset last night and today was calm and cold. I went outside to
take some photographs and my fingers quickly became numb with the cold. The caravan had remained connected all night so
packing up was quick and we left the caravan park a few minutes after nine o'clock. On the way we passed an irrigation channel
near Boort; it looked pretty pathetic with shallow pools of water in the bottom, areas of drying mud, and no flow.
From Boort we drove along secondary roads to Echuca; these roads were a bit better than yesterday's and mostly reasonable to drive on although on a few occasions I had to slow down and put a wheel off the bitumen to make space for heavy transports going the other way (they had to get partly off the bitumen as well to make space for us).
|Irrigation channel adjacent to Boort caravan park.|
|Water take-off from the irrigation channel left high and dry by the drought. Under normal conditions this pipe would be about half a metre below the water surface.|
Between Boort and Echuca we drove through open plains devoted to a variety of agricultural pursuits. Grain was growing in some parts and there was also many sheep and a few cattle. Some paddocks were configured for flood irrigation but there was
no indication that water had flowed through the supply channels recently. The irrigation channels we drove over were mostly empty or nearly so; but one or two channels were full. We didn't see grape vines or fruit orchards; the single vineyard and winery we passed yesterday west of Boort was not the beginning of a major grape and wine area. Traffic was light, although there was a surprising number of heavy transports for secondary roads. The weather remained good for travelling, no wind,
sun shining and hardly any cloud; inside the car was warm and pleasant.
We joined the Murray Valley Highway on the outskirts of Echuca but turned off the highway in Echuca to see if, by chance, we could park with the van near a bakery we had previously used. We need three or four parking spaces to park with the van so I didn't really expect to find a suitable spot but we parked outside McDonalds for morning coffee before refuelling and returning to the Murray Valley Highway. We don't have a specific destination for each day but expect to stop at about 3 o'clock. There are so few caravans around that booking ahead is irrelevant; we saw one other caravan, two campervans and two motorhomes all day.
After leaving Echuca we passed more paddocks set-up for flood irrigation (without water) and an increasing number of cattle grazing. This an area of mixed agricultural activity; cattle, sheep and cropping were all common. At the intersection of the Murray Valley Highway and the Newell Highway we turned aside from the Murray Valley route to have lunch at the Big Strawberry at Koonoomoo a few kilometres along the Newell Highway. This is a regular lunch stop for us when we are in this part of Australia. Then through Corowa to rejoin the Murray Valley Highway; around Corowa was a stone-fruit growing area with many orchards along the road.
A couple of paddocks past Corowa were growing something unusual because they were host to flocks of straw-necked ibis and a few white ibis; these were generally common bird species but we had not seen many on this trip. Since leaving Boort this morning we had seen quite a few pink galahs, magpies, several sorts of parrot, a few crows, and one flock of corellas.
At Rutherglen we first visited the information centre then booked in to the caravan park for two nights. By 3:30, when we had finished setting up, the late afternoon chill was obvious. Forecast overnight temperature for this area was minus one.