Australian Adventure (June 30 - July 01, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 17 & 18)

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Silverton was once a town home to 3,000 residents during the heyday of the mining boom, but people began leaving in the 1880s when Broken Hill surfaced. Currently, the town only boasts between 45-50 permanent residents, but the art scene there flourishes.

The town is considered a semi-arid zone with only around 190mm of rain a year.

Due to its natural charm, several movies and tv shows have been shot using Silverton as a backdrop. Movies filmed there include Mission Impossible II, Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Mad Max II.

Our Sunday started off with a walk around Silverton. First up, the Christopher Trotter Silverton Scooter and the remains of the Cornish Cottage and Nevada Hotel.

Our next stop with the site of former Australasia Bank which was later physically relocated to the town of Broken Hill and now acts as a residence.

Many of the old buildings of Silverton were moved to Broken Hill using trains of camels and/or horses. Only a few buildings currently dot the landscape at Silverton, but there used to be many more.

You can't go to a place and not visit the heart and soul of the town. The Silverton Hotel sits in the center of Silverton and is one of the most photographed hotels in the country. It's a pub and offers accommodations.

Plus, you have to love the artwork on the car out front.

We made quick stops past the church before quickly visiting Beyond 39 Dips and The Coin Carvery. Andy Jenkins is a talented coin carver with a sense of humor, but I got distracted by the wild donkey roaming around trying to keep people from getting out of their cars.

The donkey led us to the Old Silverton Schoolhouse, which was operational from 1884 to 1970. The old schoolhouse is now a museum and the two remaining school-age children residing in Silverton are bussed to Broken Hill to go to school.

We found the other church of the town and took a quick photo before continuing on to the Silverton Outback Gallery - John Cowley Art Studio, where I was able to pick up several awesome postcards and meet the artist.

A quick stop at the Mad Max 2 Museum and a peek at some remainders of some set pieces from 2005's Badlands, a show that never made it, had us entertained.

But a trip to the Silverton Historic Cemetery, a burial place of the pioneers of Silverton, put life in Silverton into perspective. This 42-acre cemetery was fenced in 1888 and residents there were often victims of typhoid or mining accidents. Tough life.

There is just something eternally sad about the tombstone of a 23-year-old woman that reads "Blighted hopes."

Our lunch stop of the day was the Mundi Mundi Lookout over the Mundi Mundi Plains. Yum - more peanut butter and jelly.

During really clear days, they say you can see the curvature of the earth from this spot. They also filmed the crash scene of Mad Max 2 here.

It's a great place to get a scope of the vast nothingness that exists in parts of Australia.

Tired of dry earth, we headed to the Umberumberka Reservoir. This body of water was completed in 1914 to supply the town of Silverton with water.

While there, we sampled some Turkish Delight. It is not delightful. Chocolate covered gelatin. Ugh!

To round out our Outback day, we headed to some outdoor art at the Living Desert Sculptures. They brilliantly had the idea to create an art attraction at the highest point in Broken Hill. There are some impressive pieces.

Although we'd had a rather full day already, we had to go back to Bell's Milk Bar where I got a waffle topped with ice cream and Bell's homemade caramel sauce and Kris got a coffee hazelnut thickshake (an American style milkshake).

On the way back to the Broken Hill Tourist Park, we took a quick photo of the Giant Ant & Kintore Headframe.

Monday, July 01, 2013
Today was largely just a drive day.

We did manage to find a roadside attraction and chose to stop at the giant concrete dice next to nowhere a bit of a drive north of the town of Yunta.

We drove through the fruit fly fruit quarantine area and check point, but we didn't have anything that might harbor the pests. We just soaked in the red earth, gorgeous sky, and interesting signage.

We stopped for lunch and potty stop in a nice town called Burra. I very much enjoyed the bridge over the creek and some of the lovely architecture.

South Australia is so pretty. It's rolling green hillsides and shimmering gold crops. There are tons of roadside ruins.

Before we knew it, we were driving through Adelaide. Adelaide doesn't seem to have the largest downtown and instead feels like it extends outward more. It seems like a nice city. I unfortunately had trouble photographing it from the moving car.

I finished book eight of the trip: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard and quite enjoyed it.

Thanks to the wikicamps app, I found us an overnight campsite with great ratings (rare for a city area and well deserved).

We stayed in the hills of Adelaide at the Belair National Park Caravan Park where you can walk to the Belair National Park. Lovely walk. Great duck pond. Some of the ducks were sporting quite an interesting hairdo.

I spotted a wild koala - then Kris spotted a different wild koala! Kris also spotted a nice sunset.

Lovely evening and a great indoor kitchen at the caravan park.

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