Up early to hike Mutawintji Gorge. Beginning at 7:20 a.m., the temperature was a cool 9 degrees. The 6 kilometre return walk took us across a flat sandy area, over rocky terrain and along the river bank. We saw over 100 feral goats, feeding in the greenery near the river, all fleeing over the hill as we passed.
About 2 kilometres into the walk we arrived at the start of the gorge. The towering red cliffs are dotted with cypress and river gum, and are home to gravity-defying euros who jump up the vertical escarpment with unbelievable ease.
Hiking up the gorge was a little tougher, with no formed path. We had to climb over boulders and jump deep crevices, until we reached a big permanent waterhole at the end. Along the way we saw a lot of emu poo, and couldn't believe the track that this bird must have taken. Seeing it scamper over the rocks would have been a sight. In terms of birds we didn't see much, but the scenery made the walk well worth it.
Three hours after setting out we arrived back at the car, and headed out of the park. We backtracked to the Silver City Highway, seeing big mobs of Emu and Red Kangaroo, and then turned north, driving through rocky hills to Packsaddle.
Packsaddle is a roadhouse situated 175 kilometres north of Broken Hill. We stopped to fuel up and got some yummy burgers for lunch. North of Packsaddle the highway alternates between patches of sealed and unsealed road. We passed a couple of places where roadwork was being done in preparation for sealing. By the looks of it the whole road should be done in a year or so. (Note: As of 2021, the Silver City Highway from Broken Hill to Tibooburra is fully sealed.)
The closer we got to Tibooburra, the flatter the country became, with just a few hills jutting up from the plains. It is very dry out here, I think it's been a while since they've had good rain. In the paddocks there isn't much stock, if any, and the wildlife is sparse.
Arriving at Tibooburra mid-afternoon, we headed straight for Dead Horse Gully campground in Sturt National Park. It was immediately clear that conditions are extremely dry and that there probably won't be many birds. We chose a campsite and then did a short walk around the granite tors. The tors are remnants of volcanic activity, and appear as hills of red boulders. As suspected, bird activity was very low, and as the sun set things remained silent. At 7:30 p.m. we tried our luck at spotlighting, but everything remained very quiet. The only creatures we spotted were wolf spiders.