Darling River, Macquarie Marshes, Brewarrina, Bourke & Broken Hill Tours
Recent flooding in Outback NSW New South Wales has led to the Macquarie Marshes experiencing their best conditions in 10 years. Join us to explore this unique wetlands with now 35,000 water birds breeding
The Macquarie Marshes are an extensive wetland system covering an area of 220,000 hectares in north-west New South Wales, representing one of the largest semi-permanent wetlands in south-eastern Australia. Macquarie Marshes are a well known habitat of many water birds with over 60 species sighted here with a reported 42 of the species using the ideal conditions for a breeding place.
March 23-29 – Darling River, Macquarie Marshes, Bourke & Broken Hill – 7 or 8 days (6 or 7 nights) – Explore these Outback NSW Rivers and Wetland highlights. Now teaming with life after rejuvenation floods. Includes 2 nights at the Willie Retreat to explore Macquarie Marshes NP, Back O’ Bourke, Gundabooka National Park, and the banks of Australia’s longest river, theDarling River, before Kinchega National Park and Menindee Lakes and 2 nights in Broken Hill. Return by train or plane, or optionally continue with us to Adelaide for optional Womadelaide Festival Connection options to Sydney, Broken Hill orMelbourne and Lake Eyre tours & flights.
DATES TBC – Darling River, Macquarie Marshes, Bourke & Broken Hill – from Adelaide or Broken Hill to Sydney. (Reverse of above) Explore Outback NSW Rivers and Wetland highlights. Now teaming with life after rejuvenation floods. Includes 2 nights at the Willie Retreat to explore Macquarie Marshes NP, Back O’ Bourke, Gundabooka National Park, and the banks ofAustralia’s longest, the Darling River, with Kinchega National Park and Menindee Lakes and 1 night in Broken Hill. Connection options to Sydney, Broken Hill or Melbourne. Do 3 or 4 day Lake Eyre Tour & Flight prior, travel overland to Broken Hill & SAVE. Reverse of following itinerary.
Darling River, Macquarie Marshes, Brewarrina, Bourke & Broken Hill Tours
DATES TBC – from Broken Hill or Adelaide to Sydney via Darling River, Macquarie Marshes, Bourke is reverse of below itinerary less 1 day in Broken Hill & 1 night (costing shown at end of tour description)
Details for Westbound tour – Sydney to Broken Hill & Adelaide option
Day 1 – Depart Sydney 8am via Blue Mountains and Katoomba with a brief stop at Echo Point and the Three Sisters. We visitSecret Creek Sanctuary at Lithgow for morning tea, and check out the amazingly rare Australian wildlife being saved by the operators, the Australian Ecosystems Foundation. See animals such as the Spotted-tailed Quoll, Dingo, Regent Honeyeater, Purple Copper Butterfly as well as many less threatened native species. Within its own land, AEFI has established both captive and wild breeding programs for species such as Eastern and Spotted-tailed Quoll, Rufous Bettong, Long-nosed Potoroo, and Red-necked Pademelon. Other species here include Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, the Cream-striped Red-necked Pademelon, Swamp Wallaby, Emu and Brush Turkey. Travelling via the Great Western Highway we pass through Bathurst, where the NSW gold rush started, and was base for the worlds largest transport network at the time, the Cobb & Co coach company operating 30,000 horses. We stop for lunch by the Macquarie River at Wellington, after passing the Wellington caves where Bush Ranger Ben Hall used to hide out. Passing through Dubbo, we are following the Macquarie River and heading for the marshlands. The soil & climate are getting dryer as we pass through Narromine (cotton growing), Trangie and Warren were we follow the river valley to our overnight at Willie Retreat in the marsh lands. BLD
Day 2 – We have all day to explore this lush lively area. Ibis, Egrets, Cormorants, Spoonbills and Herons are but a few of the breeding species found at the Macquarie Marshes. The Marshes include native plant species of Common Reed (Phragmites australis) and River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulenis). Enjoy a relaxing picnic lunch in the marshlands, tour to “Sandy Camp” and experience the nature reserve section of the Northern Marshes visiting the ‘outback’ towns of Carinda (and outback pub) and Quambone. Overnight Willie Retreat. BLD
Day 3 – Travel the outback desert roads to Brewarrina, and see the Barwon River Aboriginal stone fish traps, over 6000 years old estimated to be the oldest man-made structures on Earth! We lunch in Bourke, with time to view the new Back O’Bourke Exhibition centre for some local history, including SR Kidman’s story as we are on the “Kidman Way”, the great droving route of Australia/’s famous cattle king. In the afternoon we take a Darling River cruise on the paddle boat PV Jandra. Paddleboats ran the Darling until 1931.The Darling River is over 1000 Km long and its headwaters stretch from central NSW to South East Queensland. We relax on the river, as the Jandra holds takes us on a one hour cruise that will give an insight into the paddleboat days and modern life on the river. The Jandra leaves from Kidman’s Camp at North Bourke. Overnight Bourke. BLD
Day 4 – This morning we head south with the Darling River to explore Gundabooka National Park. The park has open plains, a beautiful creek-fed gorge, and significant rock art and of course the magnificent Mt Gundabooka. There are 3 access points to the horse shoe shaped mountain ie the Mulgowan (Yapa) Art Site Walk – A wonderful easy trail which crosses a small rocky bluff into the Mulareenya Creek full of rock pools river gums and rock art on some of the overhangs. The Dry Tank walk, providing a wonderful setting for camping, the Dry Tank area is also an ideal picnic spot as it is here that the Little Mountain trail provides a wonderful view of Mt Gundabooka via a well marked interpretive walk. The Ngama Malyan (Valley of the Eagle) walk via Bennett’s Gorge is an easy 1 km walk leads to a wonderful picnic spot at the base of Mt Gundabooka. The area of Gundabooka is the country of the Ngemba and Barkinji people. In addition to the area being vital for stone, water, food and medicine; it also holds major significance in terms of ceremony and creation. It is a major site on a great western songline. We travel down the river now meandering with the shady river gums, to the small river town of Louth were we overnight. Louth is a tiny and insignificant settlement on the banks of the Darling River which was established in 1859 when T.A. Matthews built a pub to cater for the passing river paddle boats carrying wool and wheat, and land-based trade. Louth was also a stopover on the Cobb & Co run. BLD
Day 5 – We have an easy start to the day and travel the eastern side of the river, passing some of the grand old sheep stations that brought great wealth to this country over 100 years ago. At Tilpa, we cross the river to check out the pub and town, and enjoy some refreshments. Tilpa was once a thriving port and a ‘crossroad’ for people and trade moving along and across the Darling. The town has a monument to Breaker Morant, and is a popular place for fishing, bush walking and bird-watching ! We overnight here or optionally, depending on road conditions, at White Cliffs, NSW opal mining country. BLD
Day 6 – White Cliffs has a last-frontier kind of appeal. Its quirky, laconic residents have many stories to tell of wealth won and lost. Opals were found in the area as early as 1884 and the first store and hotel opened in 1892 as miners arrived to dig their fortune. By 1900, the population had risen to 1,000 people. To beat the summer heat, miners turned disused shafts into homes, stores and even hotels, a tradition that continues today. Here we will view the White Cliffs Solar Power Station and take a heritage town tour & opal mine tour. Heading through Wilcannia, a once important river port, we travel the western side of the Darling River toMenindee Lakes and Kinchega National Park with afternoon tea here and time to view the plentiful bird life before arrival inBroken Hill for overnight. BLD
Day 7 – Broken Hill was one of NSW wealthiest cities in its heyday when silver, lead and zinc were discovered, and where Australia’s biggest company BHP, built its wealth. The mine is past its use by date, but the town has revitalized, partly thnaks to the creative spirit of artists like Pro Hart. There is much to experience here, so the day is flexible enabling you to focus on things you want to see. Consider also a day tour to Mootwingee National Park. You can visit Pro Hart gallery or numerous others. An optional mine tour is a highlight of Broken Hill, as you descend into the once great mine on the ore lode operated by BHP. A Silverton tour is on the agenda late afternoon. Silverton has starred in countless films, television shows and commercials as a rustic original outback mining town. Once a bustling home to 3,000 people, residents began to leave in the 1880s when the nearby mines of Broken Hill commenced. Silverton offers a thriving art scene, a beautiful landscape and rustic old buildings of the rich heritage of the region. BLD
Day 8 – Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before tour ends at 10am, or join us to travel to Adelaide for the Womadelaide festival or your preferred activities. Transport connections include rail from Broken Hill to Sydney or daily flights, Mildura or Melbourne options.
Floodwaters rejuvenate Macquarie Marshes
Posted Mon Dec 6, 2010 6:50am AEDT – From recent ABC blog …
The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water says around 50,000 hectares of land in the marshes are currently flooded and if the wet weather continues the floodwaters could surpass the record of 150,000 hectares set 11 years ago.
The Conservation Officer, Debbie Love, says more than 35,000 waterbirds including ibis, egrets and cormorants are breedingand are expected to remain in the wetlands until next April.
But she says the current flooding is not enough to repair years of damage from the drought.
“There’s been a lot of changes over the last 20 to 30 years and loss of wetland vegetation,” she said.
“We’re starting to see some re-establishment in areas that have been degraded, the marsh is capable of recovery, it’s just whether the seasons and our capacity to deliver water will be sufficient to really return the marshes to a more resilient state.”
She says the rain needs to continue in the long term.
“The amount of water that we have been able to deliver to the marsh either through environmental flows or through the rainfall that brought tributary flows into the system has meant that the wettest areas of the marsh are looking quite healthy and it’s those areas on the margins, the next zone out, that we’re really starting to see some changes in now with the bigger (flood) events that are lasting longer.”