Hebel to Wentworth and Mildura
by Sandie Downs
In August 2015 Peter Damm, Suzanne Mintel, Jenni and Stan Pearce and Sandie Downs rode their august steeds 1,125 km, along the dirt roads traversing either side of the Darling River on a self-supported bicycle tour. New members, Sean Kelly and Denis Weisz, joined us for the first three days to get a taste of outback bicycle touring. Denis drove a support vehicle for these three days.
The vastness of the New South Wales outback sets this area of Australia apart from other corners of the world with great tracts of red sandy earth merging with endless blue skies. The diversity of features is significant, whether fossicking for opals near Lightning Ridge, boiling the billy around a campfire or just bending the elbow in a country pub, the outback has experiences in abundance. Bicycle touring one of Australia’s longest rivers is about the journey and the adventure, experiencing its remoteness and the people who live along its banks, smelling the wildflowers and hearing the different sounds of birds and animals that abound along the meandering roads and waterways. Due to this year’s winter rains outback NSW was green with herbaceous plants and wildflowers for as far as we could see – beautiful country for the duration of our three week ride.