Darling River Run— Part 3: Brewarrina to Wentworth

“A sunburnt Country” — “of droughts and flooding rains”

So wrote Dorothea MacKellar in her 1908 inspirational poem — possibly no-where more applicable than it is to Western NSW.

Almost two weeks after leaving Brewarrina on our Darling River run we prepared for the final leg down to Wentworth.

Re-stocked with fuel and supplies in Wilcannia, we headed south and once again crossed the river, following the western side to Menindee. This red dirt road was very well maintained and wide in parts. About halfway to Menindee, we passed Nelia Gaari Station, a working cattle station, where riverfront campsites are available. We pushed on, choosing to stay at one of the many campsites in and around Menindee. Menindee is within the fruit fly exclusion zone, so travellers should be aware of this if venturing into the area. We had previously visited Menindee a number of times. It is a popular destination blessed with many campgrounds. We first checked out “Main Weir” (near the main weir that controls the Menindee Lakes Storage Scheme) and “Burke and Wills” (near the spot where Burke and Wills set up their base camp.) Both are extremely well-appointed, with toilets, garbage bins, fire places and fish cleaning tables. However, we were disappointed to find that there was virtually no water in the lakes here. We decided on Copi Hollow, the small lake built as a channel to direct water from the major lakes (Wetherell and Pamamaroo) to Menindee and Cawndilla Lakes in Kinchega National Park. At the time of our visit, Copi Hollow was one of only two lakes with water and is the principal source of water for Broken Hill. The larger lakes were all dry apart from Wetherell/Tandure, which was holding about 40% of its capacity. Excellent individual campsites are also available along the river’s edge in Kinchega National Park. We had camped in Kinchega previously, when the lakes were near full capacity.

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