Day 77 & 78 Broken Hill
21 Nov 2011
|We left Port Augusta early enough but were held up by the search for coffee and something to eat. Not much open early on a Sunday morning in smaller towns. We finally found a small coffee shop open next door to an underground car park which was buzzing with people perusing the markets. Now we know why the streets were so empty, they were all car boot shopping.
After the caffeine find we meandered through the foothills if the Flinders Ranges through Horrocks Pass and stopping at Hancocks Lookout which overlooks back to Port Augusta and takes in the Spencer Gulf. It was a great view and a worthy detour.
The hilly climb made a nice change to the flat Nullabor but made for slow progress so after an unexpectedly long day in the car we arrived in Broken Hill, set up the camper and settled in for the night.
Broken Hill is written up very favorably by its marketing team and you tend to take what they say with a grain of salt as most towns talk the talk without walking the walk. But Broken Hill is different, there really is a lot to see and we could have really stayed another couple of days.
The morning was spent at an actual cafe! The first time we've eaten out for breakfast the whole trip. Bacon and eggs, pancakes, croissant, coffee and latte's all went down a treat. In fact we have only eaten out a handfull of times on the trip which has been good. It's fair to say outside the major cities it's hard work to find decent restaurant food, and don't talk to me about Roadhouses! It's hardly surprising country folk are on the larger side of life when you look at the type and quantity of food they eat.
After breakfast we went to visit the Daydream silver mine about 20ks out of town. The mine first started in the mid 1880's and worked on and off until 1983, Sometimes only one man working the mine. It's a real old fashioned mine and we went underground on a tour and it really highlighted how tough life was for miners back then. Hand digging through rock and small quantities of "black powder" a light duty type of explosive used before dynamite. The tour of the mine was very good and even Stace at 36 weeks pregnant donned her miners hat and lamp and descended the darkness and squeezed through the tiny shafts.
Further down the road was Silverton, a real dusty old service town for the local mines back in the day. We stopped at the pub for lunch and looked around the ghost town like streets with its beautiful old buildings. Mad Max 2, A Town Like Alice and Razorback were all filmed here. Testament to its real outback feel. Further still was the Mundi Mundi plains lookout and the reservoir built between 1912-1915 to service Broken Hill. It.s a very impressive dam considering the year it was built and is more than capable today almost 100 years later.
A stop at Pro Harts gallery was stopped short by the kids disinterest but is well worth a look. He was a very inspiring man and it was good to become more familiar with his work. "Oh! Mister Hart, what a mess!."
After the gallery we treated the kids to a milkshake at Belle's milk bar. A traditional milk bar that has been unchanged since its "renovation" in the 50's. It has been a milk bar continuously since 1938, very impressive.
After a jam packed day we "treated" the kids again with microwave porridge for dinner (we couldn't be bothered with anything else and they loved it) and hit the hay. Tomorrow, Dubbo.