23-Feb-2002 -- Moornanyah Lake, NSW. Continued from 32S 145E
We took a reasonable dirt road for about 130 km, more-or-less directly into Ivanhoe, where we refueled. We then headed down the main road (albeit an unsealed road) towards Balranald.
As the crow flies, the confluence is only about 30 kilometres from Ivanhoe. My analysis of the 1:250,000 map of the area suggested that there were no roads that reached the confluence from the east (i.e. from the Ivanhoe-Balranald Road) so it was going to be necessary to drive a bit further south and then head west to Peneena Station from where some farm tracks should take me to the shores of Moornanyah Lake (a dry lake 99.9% of the time). The map showed a track running right around the lake with the confluence being close to the eastern edge of the lake. Roughly speaking, it looked like about 50 kilometres each-way off the main road.
So that was the plan – now for the execution!
About 10 or 15 kilometres out of Ivanhoe we passed a letterbox and driveway to a station called “Moornanyah”. Now this looked quite promising as the Moornanyah Station probably takes in Moornanyah Lake and this could be a much quicker way of getting to the confluence. However, after some ill-fated route changing on previous confluence attempts, I had resolved to stick to my original plans even if a “short-cut” looked on the cards. Accordingly, I reluctantly drove on despite the significant risk of having to listen to my wife saying, “I told you so” for the rest of the weekend!
From my map, the driveway to Peneena Station appeared to be directly opposite the driveway to Bellevue Station so when we got to Bellevue Station, I turned right on a reasonably well-defined track. This track finished after about 3 kilometres at a water tank so we turned back and worked out that Bellevue Station had two driveways about a kilometre apart (one was to its airstrip and one was to its homesteads I think). Directly opposite the second driveway to Bellevue Station was a huge “Peneena” sign so I was pretty sure we were on the right track.
The driveway to Peneena Station was around 30 kilometres long and took about 40 minutes to transverse. On arrival at the homestead I had a chat to the station manager who sadly informed me that there was no easy access to Moornanyah Lake from where we were and I would have go back about a third of the way down his driveway and then follow a farm track parallel to a particular north-south fence up to the boundary with Moornanyah Station and then follow the boundary fence looking carefully for a make-shift gate, of which he said there were several.
We were told that we should be able to drive cross-country fairly easily to the edge of the lake and then follow that track to the Moornanyah homestead. The guy at Peneena also warned us that Moornanyah had been having some problems with cattle rustlers in recent times and that the owner might be a bit touchy about us being on his station. Accordingly, he suggested that we go straight to the owner before we start hunting around for the confluence (which is what I always try to do anyway of course).
So feeling a bit silly about not having taken the direct route to Moornanyah Station over 90 minutes ago, we embarked on what was looking like a fairly tricky navigation exercises to get to Moornanyah. As it happens, the directions we had were fine and about an hour or so later we were at Moornanyah Station.
I went in to speak to the owner and his wife and they both seemed genuinely interested in the project. The homestead was about a kilometre from the confluence and when I pointed in its general direction, the owner told me that a trigonometric station had recently been placed there by some government land surveyors. He offered to drive out to it with me – which I kindly accepted.
As we headed to the trig station we drove past the confluence, so I flashed my lights and we both turned around and drove right up to confluence that was about 300 metres off the main driveway. The owner wanted to mark the spot for prosperity, so he dug a small hole with his shovel with a view to putting a stake in later.
I gave the owner the address for the website and he said his wife used the internet and would have a look at in due course – so if you are reading this now, thanks again for your kind hospitality!
During the drive cross-country, we encountered a pack of about a dozen feral pigs right out in the open (which was the first time I’d ever seen feral pigs) as well as thousands of sheep, hundreds of kangaroos, hundreds of cows, dozens of emus, dozens of feral goats, a few foxes and a couple of rabbits. This more-or-less made up for the two and a half hours we had wasted – but we were now putting the fourth confluence of the day in serious jeopardy.
It was now a little bit after 6:00 p.m. so there were barely two hours of daylight left and we had a good one and half hour drive to our fourth and final confluence for the day – so it’s going to be touch and go!
Continued at 34S 144E