Members Trips

Road Trip to Wellington National Meet

a road trip to 
the wellington national meet
hosted by Ken & Joy Johnstone

The idea for the road trip came about as a means of making the 110kms to travel to Wellington more interesting. After discussions with Doug we decided to cover an area of western NSW that we were familiar with. The plan was to travel from Orange to Menindee Lakes and then onto Mungo National Park. From Mungo NP we would travel via Ivanhoe and along the western railway line to Condobolin and finally arrive in Wellington for the start of the National Meet.

With some trepidation I floated the idea of a road trip open to others, to Rob, who thought it was a good idea. So the planning was completed and the trip posted on the's Up Coming Events web page.

The trip was to start from Narromine on Monday, September 17 and end at Wellington on Friday, September 28.

We faced a drama in the week leading up to the departure. Our trailer needed new brake pads. The trailer was booked in and many $$$s later we where ready for the trip. It seems the brake setup was probably secondhand  when we purchased the trailer as new and this had to be replaced. Not a great start to the trip.


Day 0 - Sunday, September 16

Narromine Caravan Park

Doug and his brother Neil arrived at our place shortly before 9:00am and we set off to the Dubbo Caravan, Camping and 4WD Show. Our first stop was at Molong to check our trailers wheel bearings. They were pretty hot and had to be adjusted. 20 minutes later we set off again.


Around 11:00am we arrived in Dubbo and I realized I had picked the wrong park. Eventually we found the show and spent around 3 hours checking out the exhibits.

We arrived in Narromine around afternoon-tea time and setup at the caravan park beside the airport.

Distance travelled: 205 kilometres.


Day 1 – Monday September 17

At 10:00am we visited the Narromine Aviation Museum. We were also able to see the historic aircraft display in one of the hangars. The aircraft consist of:

• A flying replica of a Wright Model A Flyer
• A Tiger Moth Trainer
• A Sabre Jet Fighter
• A Hawkridge Venture Glider built locally at Dubbo, which disturbingly was the same age as me. I’m not sure I want to belong to an historic time.

Prior to a relaxing afternoon we had a trip to the shops and a short drive around town.


Day 2 – Tuesday September 18

Nyngan Riverside Caravan Park

A breakfast of pancakes kindly cooked by Neil started the day before it was time to pack up camp for the next leg of the journey.

We left the caravan park at 10:15am and headed west to Trangie for quick stop. From there we travelled along the highway until turning right for Warren and the Tiger Bay Wetlands. A heavy shower greeted us at the wetlands car park. After the rain had passed Doug jump-started a stranded Ute. We then walked around the wetlands area. Leaving the wetlands we travelled out to the Warren Weir. Along the way we passed the Ute again beside the road with the driver on his mobile. We thought it was strange but pressed on to the weir for lunch. After lunch we spent a short while looking at the river and the weir’s fish ladder.

Leaving Warren we rejoined the highway and travelled onto Nyngan and booked into the Riverside Caravan Park at 3:15pm.

Distance travelled: 119 kilometres.


Day 3 – Wednesday September 19

Cobar Caravan Park

Waking to a misty morning we took our time to pack up. Leaving at 9:15am we set off for Cobar, arriving at the Cobar Caravan Park at 11:00am. While setting up our camper trailers Doug could not fine his lump hammer, it was decided that he must have lost it while jump-starting the Ute at Warren. Not to worry, just go and buy another one.

The afternoon saw a change in plans and the scheduled trip to the Mt Grenfell Historic Site was put off until tomorrow. We took the opportunity to replenish the drink stocks while Doug and Neil set out for some sightseeing.

Distance travelled: 136 kilometres.


Day 4 – Thursday September 20

Thursday was planned as day for sightseeing around Cobar but we decided to move on to at lest Willcannia.

After breakfast and packing up we set off for fuel and a bit of sightseeing. Obtaining diesel proved a bit harder than first thought. At the first garage only one bowser was open and in use by a truck, moving on to the second garage we found the same situation. Eventually at the third we were able to re-fuel. Re-fueling done it was off to the Fort Bourke Hill Lookout and the eastern Cobar town sign for some photos.

Now it was time to head off to Mt Grenfell but as we neared the other side of Cobar we noticed an escorted wide load ahead. It was decided to stop at a rest bay just out of town to allow the convoy ahead to move on.

Pamamaroo Lake - Menindee

Eventually we got on the road around 10:20am and had a pleasant drive out to the turn off. Then it was onto the dirt roads up to the site. We had a pleasant walk around the site photographing the aboriginal artwork. Following lunch it was time to leave and head for the highway. At a very hot Emmdale Roadhouse we stopped for afternoon tea.


Back on the road we arrived at Willcannia at 4:00pm where Doug had to re-fuel. As we hadn’t seen any nice campsites so far we decided to carry onto Menindee and arrive a day early. Along the way the mailman returning to Menindee joined us, via UHF radio. He gave us some advice on the road conditions and directions to good camping sites along Pamamaroo Lake. Eventually we were able to pull over and let him pass.

We arrived at the campsites around 6:00pm our longest drive so far.

After we had quickly setup the adjoining neighbours came down and let us know that they were leaving the next morning.

Distance travelled: 502 kilometres.


Day 5 – Friday September 21

After a very windy night we woke to a lovely lakeside setting. After breakfast we moved onto the sites vacated earlier. Here we setup a more permanent camp.

Now inside the Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone we set off to restock bread, fruit and vegies in Menindee. As another family was to join us on Sunday, a picture and co-ordinates of the campsite was MMSed off.

During the morning we contacted the National Parks Office in Broken Hill about the planned Tag-Along in Kinchega NP only to find out it had been cancelled.

In the afternoon our campsite was visited by a blue tongue lizard, which had a liking for a tomato left behind by previous campers.


Day 6 – Saturday September 22

At around 1:00am we were awoken by a strange noise, which seemed to be coming from everywhere. Eventually it was traced to the newly added waterpump. A quick flick of the power switch and it was back to bed.

A lazy morning and afternoon were spent beside the lake. The blue tongue returned for another visit.


At 5:00pm we all set out to the Menindee Lookout where many photographs taken. It was good to see the lakes with water. In 2005 when we last stayed Lake Menindee was mainly a dust bowl, just a trickle of water from the upstream lakes.

After an hour or so we travelled onto Sunset Strip, a little community northwest of Menindee, most homes are along the lake foreshore. We witnessed a spectacular sunset while leaving.

Once we arrived at our campsite we discovered that Michael, Judith and Leticia had also arrived a day early. So we were now a group of seven.


Day 7 – Sunday September 23

With the tag-along cancelled we all set off to explore Kinchega NP for ourselves. Most of the campsites are still closed following last year’s flooding. Which was a shame as Joy and I wanted to see the campsites from 2005, this time with water frontages, maybe next time.

We returned to camp for a late lunch and made some preparations for tomorrow’s departure.


Day 8 – Monday September 24

Everyone was up early to finish packing. We left camp and headed for the service station. After re-fuelling we filled one jerry can for Doug and another for us as a just in case. From there it was onto the shops for more supplies, as it would be a few days until we could shop again.

Due to the closed roads we were unable to drive down the western side of the Darling River so we left for Pooncarie. From there it was onto Mungo NP along the way we managed to collect some firewood. We arrived at the Visitor Centre at 12:45pm. We paid for our campsites and headed to Main Camp to find some campsites.

We eventually found three sites reasonable close together. During that afternoon Barry, Elaine, Dennis and Anne joined us. Luckily one of our sites had no bollards at the rear and enough space for the new comers to squeeze through and set up camp. Now we where a group of eleven.


Main Camp - Mungo National Park

A cosy evening was spent under a shelter beside a fireplace, made from a huge wheel, getting to know each other.

Distance traveled: 218 kilometres.

Day 9 – Tuesday September 25

At 9:30am we all set of for the Visitors Centre to arrange our places in the Walls of China Tag-Along. The tour set off at 10:00am for the Walls of China Car Park where we all assembled with the guide.

Then it was off on the tour. Along the way the guide took the time to explain the memorial stone near the end of the walkway. We then started the tour along the edge of the sand. We were shown the layers of clay that has formed the Walls of China, old fireplaces and animal bones that have been exposed over time. Eventually we reached the top of the dunes behind the walls and gazed over the surrounding countryside, what a great view. This was the fourth visit by Joy and I each time we have seen and learnt something different. With the tour finished we returned to camp for lunch.

After lunch we set off on the self-guided drive around Mungo NP. There are many sights along this drive so we arranged for each vehicle to lead the way to the stops. We stopped at:

• Red Tank Top
o A boardwalk to the viewing area as you cross the Walls of China
• Mallee Walk
o A short twisting stroll amongst the Mallee trees
• Vigars Well
o A Cobb and Co watering spot and a point to cross the eastward moving dunes behind the Walls of China. Most took the opportunity to attempt the climb to the top of the dunes. Only four made it to the top for a great view.
• Zanci Station ruins
o Zanci Station was originally part of the large Gol Gol station before it was cut up into smaller blocks for soldier settlers after World War I. Only a few structures remain but the underground shelter and storeroom was interesting.

Back at the Visitors Centre some toured the Woolshed while others waited for the hot showers before returning to camp for another relaxing night.

Distance travelled: 100 kilometres.

Day 10 – Wednesday September 26

After saying goodbyes to Dennis and Anne we set off for Ivanhoe, which we reached in time for lunch. Here we meet two other campers making their own way to Wellington. After lunch and some shopping for supplies and fuel we proceeded to our next campsite near Trida.

Trida bush camp

North of Conoble we stopped a small patch of Leopardwood trees (Flindersia maculosa). These trees have very interesting bark. After reaching Conoble the road turned to east along the railway line. We finally reached the campsite just after 4:00pm. The site was a clump of Mallees between the road and the western railway line.


After much deliberation we settled on a site on the edge of the trees and proceeded to setup for the night. After setting up we received a visit from a representative of the Jumbuck Pastoral Company, it seems the campsite was not as free as it may have been. After we told the chap that we were only staying over-night he left us to prepare tea. During the night a number of goods trains rolled on through.

Distance travelled: 223 kilometres.

Day 11 – Thursday September 27

Gum Bend lake

With an early start to avoid the menacing sky we travelled along the Trida and Matakana Roads beside the railway line to Euabalong. After a short break we turned onto the Lachlan Valley Way towards Condobolin. Along the way we stopped at the Oxley Monument for lunch. From there we continued the drive to the free camp of Gum Bend Lake near Condobolin and arrived 2:00pm.

During the National Meet in Condobolin we visited a very dry Gum Bend Lake, it sure looks different full of water.

During the night we received more strong wind gusts. During which while attempting to secure the awing I was blown off the toolbox of the camper to the ground. Many bruises later the awning was secured and we all turned in for the night.

Distance travelled: 272 kilometres.

Day 12 – Friday September 28

Leaving camp shortly before 9:00am we stopped for fuel and supplies in Condobolin. Then it was time for the drive to Wellington.

A short stop was made at “Utes in the Paddock” near Ootha and we reached Bogan Gate in time for morning tea. From there we travelled onto Parkes and took the Renshaw McGirr Way to Wellington. At Baldry, just before Yeoval Barry and Elaine left the group to spend some time at Greenbah Camping Area in the Goobang NP.

We arrived at the National Meet around 1:00pm and found sites beside Doug and Neil’s sister and her husband. While Doug and Neil were setting up camp Neil found the missing lump hammer.

Distance travelled: 232 kilometres.

Total distance travelled from Orange to Wellington: 2354 kilometres.

Joy and I would like to thank Doug, Neil, Michael, Judith, Leticia, Barry, Elaine, Dennis and Anne for a very enjoyable trip.



photos by


Judith - Judith, Michael and Leticia
Barry - Barry and Elaine
Doug - Doug and Neil
Ken - Ken and Joy



more photos


more photos 1
more photos 2


october 2012