One of the things I wanted to see was a large open cast gold mine. Something I had seen on documentaries on TV but never in real life (so to speak). I had seen online or read somewhere that the town of Cobar had two such places.
Due to rain we were unable to drive down the Darling River unsealed road between Bourke and Wilcannia. But there was always the option to take the slightly different route to Wilcannia on the main roads, and via Cobar. The town of Cobar is in the central west of NSW about 750km from Sydney on the eastern edge of the outback.
The Peak Gold Mine
Actually this mine produces copper as well as gold. That’s two for the price of one. Pull all the rock out of the ground and process it not only for the precious gold but also for the increasingly valuable copper.
The place is well signed, just outside the town and has a free to enter viewing platform overlooking the mine. Not sure why so many other similar places we came across never allowed this. Really odd I thought. The views into the bowels of these mines are fantastic.
Sights like this always impress me. It’s the sheer scale of these operations.
The Big Beer Can and The Big Verandah
The Australian penchant for making ‘Big’ things is on display in Cobar town centre too. And what better than a “Big Beer Can”? Especially on a hot day.
Sadly the hotel/pub was not open. But there was another hotel just down the street which had its own claim to fame on a list of big things…
The hotel verandah (or balcony) is 130m long and wide enough for four runners to race (and come to a stop) a 100m sprint. It is said to be the longest hotel balcony in New South Wales. Better than that the pub was actually open for a cold one.
Moving on West…
Cobar is yet another place that deserves more time to be explored. But our accommodation was booked and so it was back on the road. The long straight drive down the Barrier Highway to Wilcannia and White Cliffs.