Travelling Australia - Journal 2014
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24 February 2014

Mildura to Balranald
We left Mildura on a sunny day under a blue sky; temperature was in the mid-20s and was very likely to reach the mid-30s before the day ended.

We drove along Deakin Avenue in light traffic, over the bridge across the Murray River into New South Wales, then right at the roundabout on the Sturt Highway out of Mildura's outlying region including Gol Gol and Trentham. This area boasted grape vines and fruit orchards, probably relying on the nearby Murray River for irrigation.

Once we were clear of Mildura the Sturt Highway ran through mallee growing on red sand extending back from the road as far as we could see. The few cleared areas were few and far between. For this stretch of the road from Mildura to Euston mallee was dominant.

sign Mallee beside the Sturt Highway between Mildura and Euston/Robinvale.

The Sturt Highway between Mildura and Balranald is a reasonably good road overall, although some sections are a little rough. The road runs in long, nearly straight, nearly flat sections so driving is comfortable. Traffic was light, mainly heavy transports on this route between South Australia and New South Wales/Queensland. They were mostly moving steadily at 95 to 98 kph and there was little UHF chatter. About a dozen caravans passed us going the other way.

Euston is dominated by grape vines; each vineyard seems to be oriented differently so the road seems to be going through a patchwork of vineyards. Euston is a small town which tends to be dominated by Robinvale across the Murray in Victoria; Euston is also the end of the Murray Valley Highway which joins the Sturt Highway near the town. Much traffic on the Sturt Highway turns off onto the Murray Valley Highway but we kept on towards our destination of Balranald passing the turnoff to Lake Benanee which we could see from the highway.

Between Euston and Balranald the mallee continues but the area is primarily into grain growing with large cleared areas under grain, probably wheat. But the grain paddocks were not continuous and a lot of uncleared mallee remained. One or two paddocks had a handful of cattle in them but sheep were notably absent and cattle were few and far between.

In Balranald we drove to the caravan park on the edge of town and on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and checked in; then we found a grassed drive-through site and set up. By then, just after midday, the temperature was 35°C and was going to get higher. In the afternoon we went for a drive to have a look around Balranald which we found surprisingly extensive.

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