Up early to start our day of exploring. First up was a quick look at the Murrumbidgee River and then we headed out to the Ben Scott Memorial Bird Trail, giving the new car it's first taste of an unsealed outback road. It was quite fresh this morning, and there were plenty of birds to be heard, but they proved much harder to see. Still, it was a nice walk through the river country.
Next we headed for Regatta Beach in Yanga National Park. Another few kilometres of unsealed road (this time with corrugates thrown in), through the saltbush and paddy melons. We made it to the beach which is on Yanga Lake, a manmade recreational lake that was created in 1913 and is home to the Balranald Yacht Club.
Back through Balranald for one last look at the Murrumbidgee, then we headed west, stopping for a quick look at Lake Benanee, then on to Euston for lunch. In Euston we had a quick look at the historic court house which was built in the 1880's, and at the mighty Murray River.
West from Euston we got into the real Mallee country with thick Mallee scrub on the roadsides. We arrived in Mildura just before 2:00pm, booked into a motel, and then went even further west on the south bank of the Murray to Wentworth. Just out of town are the Perry Sand Hills, which rise up off the plains and are the real red sand you think of as being in the Australian outback. We wandered over them for a while, watching the shifting shapes as the wind whipped across them.
Back in town we had a look at the Murray Darling junction, an iconic spot where two great Australian rivers meet. We climbed the viewing tower to get a bird’s eye view of the convergence and then followed the walking trail to the end of Junction Island which is the last piece of land before the waters meet. On the island we saw our first Yellow Rosellas, which were new birds for us but not technically lifers because Yellow Rosella is a subspecies of Crimson Rosella.
We drove back to Mildura through New South Wales this time, passing lots of orange orchards on the way.
Tomorrow we plan to visit our first Victorian national park, but as I write this it's started raining. Guess we'll just have to see what it's like in the morning...