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AUSTRALIA | Monday, 19 October 2009 | Views [718]

I am beginning to think I have found my other paradise. As much as I love the sea and living in Mornington, this part of Australia I seem to be at one with.

Since we arrived in Bourke the temperature has been between 27- 34 degrees and drops down to 9-12 overnight..perfect.

In Bourke the self guiding drive tours are called Mud Map Tours. According to bush folk lore the story goes "if you see two fellas sitting around a smooth patch of dirt, one drawing with a stick, then you would be right in thinking he's drawing a map. possibly, after trying to absorb the directions, the listener has mumbled "clear as mud" and walked away in disgust" so the story says.

Once again we come across where Major Thomas Mitchell has been..where would we be without all his travels. He arrived in Bourke in 1835 and built the only fort in Australia, built by an Australian explorer. Today there is only a replica of Fort Bourke Stockade. It has to be asked, why in the middle of no where would you need a Fort. Apparently it was to keep all the firearms and supplies safe from the natives.

There is a large billabong with various bird life enjoying what little water is there. Obviously by the tide mark on the trees it has been a lot higher.

Another Mud Map tour we visited the Lock and Weir which were built in 1897, again when the Darling River flowed and had more activity than today.

Very interesting was the final resting place of Professor Fred Hollows. His tomb is a huge rock which looks like the iris of an eye surrounding the tomb are lots of rocks laid out in the shape of an eye. He was truly an amazing man , loved by the locals here and people all over the world for the wonderful work he did. Hard to believe its 18 years since he died.

This morning we set off early to explore The Gundabooka National Park. We were looking forward to seeing the spectacular Rock Art work at the Milgowan Aboriginal Site. Some of the rocks have been dated back 380 million years ! The art work dates thousands of years old and was well worth the hike. We were privileged to share this scared site all to ourselves as there were no other tourists around.

We walked through scrub alive with feral goats, lizards and the largest Grey Kangaroo I have ever seen, he was massive. We were very pleased he took off in the other direction. The bird life was truly wonderful beautiful little red and yellow robins. Black cockatoos and large Eagles soaring high above us. Beautiful.

Climbing up and through the huge boulders we came across a dry river bed where the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler. Perfect time for a cool bottle of water and a stop to listen to "ah the serenity". Magic.

Finally our climb ended at the Rock Art. We stood in awe just thinking about the people who had passed before us and left this incredible piece of history. I couldn't help but think how lucky we were to be standing there. It is a moment that will stay forever with us. www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au  Gundabooka NP Bourke.

Sadly our time in Bourke has come to an end, tomorrow we move on. We are heading down the road to Trilby Station www.trilbystation.com.au where will park the camper by the Darling river for 4-5 days and enjoy station life for a change.

I would like to take this opportunity and thank my parents Stan and Cynthia for giving me this thirst for travel. We have a long way in catching up with all the places you have seen , the kilometres you have travelled and the stories told on your return from your travels. We hope we will see as much of this great big beautiful country of ours.

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