Nuriootpa – Mildura

This morning I would have liked to sleep some more because of the late night. There was so much to catch up on after a couple of days without Internet. Sometimes expensive motels do have good beds. This one certainly did and the breakfast was great, too.

As on the outbound journey, I tried to find some vantage point from which to photograph the opening bridge spanning the River Murray at Paringa, near Renmark, which is a great, orange-painted steel affair dating from 1927. Alas, there was nowhere. It’s very narrow, and I wouldn’t have wanted to sneeze while driving across.

This has been a record-breaking winter for warm temperatures and lots of wet stuff. No wonder the mosquito population has exploded. They’re all terribly hungry… and they’re intent on feeding on me! I’ve sprayed in the car and I spray in the motel rooms on arrival but I believe they’re immune to all deterrents.

The Murray is a mighty river, wild and wide. I know there have been times when this river has been a touch short of water, but the stretches I’ve seen of it on this journey have been swift flowing, deep and wide.

Holder Bend, the River Murray at Waikerie.

Holder Bend, the River Murray at Waikerie.

Since I passed through this region a little over three weeks ago, when the branches of the fruit trees and grape vines were naked, the blossom has now almost finished and everything has fresh, spring-green leaves. This whole area is the fruit bowl of Australia, sadly now most of the crop is canned by American-owned companies.

For much of today’s journey I’ve been vaguely following the Murray. The most photo-friendly part of this trip has undoubtedly been in WA and the Nullarbor. Since getting this far east I’ve been constantly frustrated by (a) lack of advance warning of up-coming places of interest, and (b) zero provision of places to see or photograph same. Drivers, too, are more intent on getting somewhere in an almighty hurry.

The mighty Murray.

The mighty Murray.

An amusing incident this afternoon: I pulled into a motel on the approach to Mildura and was duly signed up, credit card taken and key handed over, when the receptionist said, “Oh, by the way, perhaps I should have told you, you can’t park in front of the room because of the garden. You have to park here, in front of the building.” Thinking that mightn’t be too bad, I asked, “Okay, well where’s the room?” The reply astounded me. “You follow the wall along the side and up the ramp at the back. The room is at the other end of the building.” It was 29 degrees C in the shade, so I stood there while she tore up the paperwork then drove on.

I had been optimistic about getting a few miles further east today, but I place quite a bit of importance on my frame of mind when undertaking any sort of journey. This morning I figured I was not about to be pushed so I drove until I’d had enough, and that was as far as I was safe to go.

The scent of jasmine is syrup-sweet and sure to induce hallucinations…

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