Today’s road trip entertainment was provided by a well known Aussie country and western singer, John Williamson.
After John’s music, we listened to David Attenborough. I learnt some really interesting things about wildlife. Did you know that the humble earthworm is capable of problem solving. Seriously! And not just that, but they have a rather interesting reproductive life. The Gippslands in Australia are home to a giant earthworm.
Day 2 of our roadtrip has seen us safely arrive in Wagga Wagga, NSW after another 450 kilometres of driving. This is our destination for Marc’s graduation. Another day of leisurely driving. Some stunning scenery. Neither TRH nor I have seen this part of Australia so lush and green. Everywhere there was evidence of recent rains. Sections of the road were monitored and traffic controlled due to flood damaged roads. Both sides of the road showed evidence of recent rains.
We veered off the main road to poke around the Yanga National Park. An area we had never previously stopped to explore it is considered to be of national environmental significance. Large waterbird breeding colonies are to be found here as well as the largest known population of the endangered southern bell frog. More than 300 plant species have been identified and recorded, including the River red gum forest, black box woodland, nitre goosefoot shrubland, spike rush and other important vegetation.
The biodiversity of this area includes 24 reptile species, 18 fish species, 33 mammal species and 64 waterbird species. It was a stunning and serene landscape.
Leading into NSW, we crossed the bridge over the Murrumbidgee River at a quaint little place called Tooleybuc (2 top right photos). Our car was invaded by flocks of helicopter sized mosquitoes and mini flies. Both of which proved to be reluctant to leave the comfort of Big Red. In fact, right through the Hay plains it seemed that they were lying in ambush just waiting for us to stop and open the doors. We also saw what must be the longest sprinkler system ever! (bottom right)
Most of this stretch of our road trip was through the Hay Plains. A flat, and mostly treeless plain, it is usually dull driving. This time it was green. We saw the first signs of native wildlife. Flocks of emus changed into herds of sheep and cattle as we neared Wagga Wagga. There were an increasing number of dead kangaroos, victims of road kill, as the landscape changed from the flat plains to river lands. It was strange seeing majestic, giant eucalyptus immersed in a water logged landscape. In Hay the local picnic area was water logged.
The Hay plains are saltbush shrublands with an understorey of grasses. The plains around Hay feature shallow creek beds and dry lakes with the odd sand-ridges growing Cypress-pine.
Hay itself, with a population of approx 2,300, is one of Australia’s leading wool growing as well as sheep and cattle production. There are 26 parent studs in the area with the area home to around 26 parent studs. Crops of safflower, lettuce, pumpkins, tomatoes, garlic, corn, rockmelons, watermelons and broccoli are grown, picked and packaged in the area. More recently rice and cotton are also being produced.
I must have been really impressed by the sprinklers ‘cos here’s another photo of one – above, bottom right.
Both sides of the road, in many places was water logged. It was a good day. EXCEPT I left my ergonomic pillow in the motel at Ouyen! It will be cheaper to replace it, but I will be sleeping without it for the duration of this trip.
© Raili Tanska