Travelling Australia - Journal 2014
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17 February 2014

Hay to Mildura
Leaving Hay on the Sturt Highway we set off across the dead flat Hay Plains bound for Mildura with Balranald as the immediate destination. Weather was good for travelling with a blue sky and no wind. The road is good quality; other traffic was light and mostly heavy transports. The plains are so flat and the vegetation so low-growing that oncoming trucks can be seen many kilometres away.

West of Hay the Sturt Highway passes several feed lots which appear to be trying to exploit the renowned grazing available here. Many feed lots include parts of the Murrumbidgee River and probably use river water to irrigate pasture for sheep and cattle. We passed many flocks of sheep, and a few herds of cattle, grazing on the native vegetation and we also passed several large paddocks of crops (one with spray irrigation rig on it) which we surmised would be harvested and stored for stock feed; we also passed one very large storage barn half full of rectangular hay bales.

Emus were taking advantage of the feed available and were fairly common in paddocks along the road. Road kill was notably absent; on previous trips along this highway road kill has been obvious, especially kangaroos, but on this trip we saw only two or three small carcasses (fox size) and no marks on the road where a carcasse had been run over repeatedly. We surmised that kangaroos and wallabies have gone elsewhere for water and feed.

The road between Hay and Balranald is notoriously flat so it was a surprise to see the highway climb up the only hill, this was all of nine metres high with a mobile telephone tower on the top. Then down the other side onto the plain.

The Hay Plains gave way to low hills as we approached the Murrumbidgee River just before Balranald and once past Balranald we were passing through mallee, much of it cleared for extensive grain paddocks. Wheat was not continuous along the road between Balranald and Euston but was in extensive patches.

The area around Euston was dominated by grape vines in large numbers, many with white plastic covering the vines, whether to keep off the sun or birds we didn't know. Once we left Euston we were back into mallee but none had been cleared for grain which did not extend west of Euston.

Next destination after Euston was the outskirts of Mildura, usually shown on distance to go signs as Buronga or Gol Gol which are the New South Wales outlying parts of Mildura. Approaching Mildura we encountered the traditional products (grapes and oranges).

In Mildura we drove along Deakin Avenue to our regular Mildura caravan park and checked in for a week.

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