So . . . like many Aussies our overseas holiday was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic.

What to do? Where to go? Like the rest of Australia we’ve decided to hit the road in search of a little adventure — to break the boredom at home.

Our destination is outback Broken Hill and we’re driving a bright orange Citroen C5 Aircross (beep if you see us).

Reckon we won’t see another car like this one out there.

Day Eleven, and we’re off from Ivanhoe to Goolgowi, a distance of about 320km (you’ve probably never hear of either place and neither had I).

Along the way we have stops planned at Mossgiel, Hilston, Merriwagga. Not sure how to pronounce the first one and you’ve probably heard of none of them either (I hadn’t).

But first a quick whip around Ivanhoe where we spent the night at the Ivanhoe Hotel.

It confirmed our initial suspicions — there’s not much to see in this one ‘Knight’ stand.

The bangers and mash however are some of the best.

A wrong turn found us doing a little unplanned off-roading and true to form the C5 Aircross never missed a beat, although it could do with a little more ground clearance.

If nothing else this trip has given us a new found respect for the Citroen brand and the car.

Mossgiel the route notes say consists of one house and a community hall.

Afraid we must have been looking the other way, because we missed the town/locality completely.

Between Mossgiel and Hilston we were peppered with flying insects in the final 20km of dirt road (we think grasshoppers).

Hilston is a bustling agricultural community with some 1500 residents.

There’s a few things worth checking out, such as the Swing Bridge and Lake Woorabinda, a man-made lake for water-skiing that is circled by a  walking track.

Not sure what happened to the water because the only skiing that is going to be taking place there anytime soon is grass skiing.

This seems to be the case with a lot of the towns that we have passed through because the tourist information predates the drought.

Red Dust and Paddy Melons Gallery is also worth a look where you can find some interesting artwork and banana jam.

After Hilston we turn just off the highway for the interestingly named Merriwagga which holds a strong claim to expression The Black Stump.
The story goes that a woman named Barbara Blain was burnt to death nearby in March, 1886 after her dress caught fire in the wind.
Her husband Jim who had gone to water the bullocks found what remained of the poor woman on his return.
He told others grimly she looked just like a black stump.
Bain and others are commemorated in a Memorial to Pioneer Woman of the Merriwagga District which stands in a  park across the road from the pub.
The Black Stump Hotel by the way boasts the highest bar in the southern hemisphere and it takes some gymnastics to get up on to a bar stool.

More to come tomorrow.


CHECKOUT: We hit the road to Broken Hill — Day 10

CHECKOUT: We hit the road to Broken Hill — Day 9

We hit the road to Broken Hill -- Day 11


Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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