Gundabooka National Park / by Ethan Astall

With the only ridge around the place being in the name, hiking in lighting ridge was well and truly off the cards -unless you enjoy long despaired flat red dirt plains or feel like taking an unexpected drop down an old mining shaft. With this in mind and having explored every car door tour and crevice of the local opshop - with one day off we decided it was time to lace up the hiking shoes and-HIT THE ROAD. We fired up the google maps, researching into any of the green zones (national parks) within a 500kms radius direction of the ridge and stumbled across Gundabooka National park. Gundabooka is south west of a town way out west called Bourke, about 400kms from the ridge, it’s known for the darling river; the third longest river system in Australia and mostly containing the longest flow of mud at this time of year out west (also not the Murray darling, which we first were surprised by). We drove out after work knock off and camped in a rest stop just outside the natty park, before driving into it the next day to find this hike we had researched - we were about to kick up some serious dust…RED DUST, as we drove over the corrugated roads, rattling our belongings and soul, red dust found its way through just about everything we own - it seems AceVantura its not the impenetrable force we once imagined it to be. None the less we pulled up in the Valley of the eagles carpark -with only one mountain in any direction as far as the eye could see, we set off to get on top of it, and as the name suggests- find some wedged tail eagles. Climbing along the red dusted rocks and looking back down the mountain was pretty epic to see the vast landscape of dusty, dry plains and have some gangajang -sounds of then playing in the background to really make you appreciate this bloody amazing country.

That night we set up camp by the darling river mud flats in Yanda campground - driving into the camp ground it seems there is only gravel car parks far from the river, but a tight squeeze through some make shifts posts and a little off roading had us the best seats in the house (or by the river) which was a great place to share some black and gold cheddar cheese and pickles, while accompanying the xxxx bitter Ethan so excitedly found in the local bottlo (proof Queensland has penetrated through the border and NSW isn’t as lame as we once thought) while we pretended to be the retried grey nomads we wish we were.