After nearly three days we are back on the road again. Over the past 3days I have phoned and phoned the Hippie Camper Support office, but nothing seemed to be happening, it was as if we had been abandoned. Yesterday morning as a last resort I contacted Apollo, the parent company and asked to speck to a customer services manager. I was put onto a chap called Andy. He listened to my complaints and within ten minutes had called me back with an update. A replacement vehicle had been found and a driver would leave Melbourne by lunchtime, he would deliver the vehicle late in the evening, progress at last. True to his word Andy had managed to get things sorted and the driver arrived at 8:30 in the evening. We had been upgraded slightly with a deluxe model which was newer and certainly in better condition. Amazingly, and by sheer coincidence when the vehicle was handed over I noticed my name on both front doors in bold letters. I'm sure it was arranged especially, but it was a super surprise.
Loaded up and back on the road we headed for Hay, Mildura and then Wentworth, where we arrived around 5pm after a 450 kilometer drive. We set up camp next to the Murray River, thankful to be back on the road, despite the 40C+ temperature's. Our spot next to the river was beautiful and peaceful. Pelicans stood on wooden mooring platforms just meters away. A weir crossed the river, a lock allowed private boats and working vessels to pass up and down the river, which is very popular with fishermen. The replacement camper was running nicely so we hope all goes well now for he rest of our trip and we look forward to some great sights and experiences.
We slept quite well despite the heat and woke to a fantastic morning, clear blue sky and brilliant sunshine. Back on the road we continued our journey to Broken Hills where we hoped to be able to see some authentic Aboriginal art. Not long after lunch we arrived in the town and picked up a wad of information from the tourist office. With a full day planed for the following day we booked into the Broken Hills Tourist Park, on the outskirts of town, where we met an English couple, also traveling in a small camper. It was nice to relax and have a chat as we have seen remarkably few other tourists so far. It seems few venture into the outback during the summer months.
The following morning we wandered through town, finding a super art gallery displaying and selling the work of local Aboriginal artists. Niki haggled over prices and left with several pieces, which made her day. Later we drove out to Silverton, one of the first places early prospectors settled while searching for mineral wealth in the Barrier Ranges. In 1885 the population of Silverton was 250, by 1885 after the discovery of Silver and lead deposits the population peaked at 3000. There were several art galleries and a couple of museums in the town, one of which was the Mad Max 2 Museum, created after the huge successes of the films starring Mel Gibson, all the galleries and museums were unfortunately closed, it seems they close early during the summer period as there are less tourists due to the extreme heat. We did however visit the "Living Desert" sculptures set out in a remote part of the National Park. By the time we had returned to the campsite we were ready for a glass or two of vino, it had been a super, but tiring day.
It seems I've been travelling all my life. For the past eight years I've been following a simple, nomadic lifestyle full time touring in a camper van and meeting with other like minded travellers.
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