Images and words by Guest Blogger: Ricardo Rusch from www.facebook.com/silvernomadaustralia
It’s a lovely colourful drive from Mirrool to Narrandera, the butter yellow Canola flower is pretty as are the roadside verges all aglow with wild flowers which allegedly are a noxious weed a comrade tells me, though no one told the bees.
When the highways started bypassing towns some 25 odd years ago, it had a profound effect on the viability of business which previously maintained an existence picking up passing trade to boost their local patronage. Sometimes even just a km or two off the highway can be a death knell for a small outpost.
Towns and councils worth their salt, have adapted and now invest in freedom camp locations to attract road trippers and market their municipalities as destinations which is where we fit in. Now I am as guilty as anyone of swooping past some lovely outposts to get to the next destination, as time permits and retirement looms I hope to change that and just let the off beat roads take me where they will. Small towns really appreciate visitors to come and spend a few dollars in local businesses it’s been tough going for many years.
Anyway back on track we take the deviation off the highway to check out Grong Grong, we’d heard it has behind the pub camping so we stopped for a quick look see. Quite pleasant with a funky garden feel though quite small and yes we are destination bound for Narrandera and back to Melbourne so onwards we push.
There are at least a half dozen freedom camps around Narrandera so check it out in Camps 10 – Camps Australia Wide NSW sites 839 – 845. There is lots of choice for all from tents to big rigs. We found the free site 842 Brewery Flat Reserve about a km south of Narrandera to be pretty awesome. It is a 72 hour free stay with toilet facilities, water, mobile reception and is pet friendly. The area is massive so you can have huge rigs and there’s room to get around. To one side of the flats is a fish stocked river and if you drive or take a stroll through the camp and under the overpass you get to some lovely rehabilitated wetlands teeming with bird life.
Narrandera has delightful historic buildings and even a heritage railway station which is kept immaculate by railway buffs and volunteers in the hope that one day the trains may return. (Well that’s the romantic feeling anyway) I think the odd train passes through, though talking to one of the locals we were told the railway has pulled up one of the sidings which allows trains to pass each other which they we trying to get back.
On the banks of the river stands the remains of a brewery, sadly this piece of prime land is private property and although the owners have built an architect designed home which is aesthetically pleasing adjacent to the ruin, one can’t help but feel deprived of the opportunity to explore the ruin. It certainly would have made a lovely community center,gallery or similar.
There is so much to see around this part of NSW so make sure when going that way you have some time up your sleeve and stop to smell the roses.