We had been told about the bush camp at Gregory. Above the river is a small camp but we chose to go down to the river and under the bridge. We camped two steps from the water. It is not an official camp (as the small camp above the river is) but that doesn’t seem to matter. There was about 30 vans and campers gathered along the river edge.
We parked up and went to have a look at the town. Gregory is one of those towns where if you were passing through and you blinked you would miss it. There was a general store. Ok it was a shipping container but it did cover the basics. There was a sign telling every one how many coffees the owner needed to sell to pay his rates. The owner was friendly and chatted away to us even when we explained we were just looking. A veggie truck came once a week to supply the locals with free produce. One house had some horses in their front yard and there were some great facilities for travelers. So nice to see. Not only a dump point but hot shower as well. Bonus.
Then there was the pub. We were told the owner of the pub did not have a kind word to say about the vanners who chose to camp beside the river. Especially when you could park up behind his pub. For me the pub didn’t have a very good vibe to it. We had a quick look and left.
Before we arrived at the river someone had thrown some bread on the ground. We didn’t notice it until we were sitting outside in the evening. We sat and watched the finches come in to feed on it. It always surprised me how small some of the birds are. They seem to be too tiny and delicate (the body about the size of a man’s thumb) to survive in the harsh conditions of Australia. It just wasn’t the finches that came to feed. We had a show of birds every night. Amazing.
There is a good current flowing in the river and it is a little like Mataranka in you jump in one end and float lazily down stream. Only this wasn’t like Mataranka as the water wasn’t warm and the water wasn’t deep. (You scraped your bottom on some of the rocks in some places and the current was stronger. You had to keep an eye on what you were doing. In some places you could end up in a little whirl pool or miss your stop and end up further down the river. We went for the swim with out noodle and when we arrived at the end it took me several attempt to stand because of the strong current. It didn’t help that the river floor is covered in rocks and they moved when you tried to stand, it wasn’t always easy to get a foothold.
On the second day we were at the bush camp Adrian was sitting outside reading and I was inside making lunch when I head children playing in the water. Their voices seem to become excited, it didn’t sound right. I stepped out of the van to see what was happing when I saw Adrian walking back to the van all wet and a father thanking him. The father yelled at the boys, they were still in the water with their younger sister. “I told you to get your sister out of the water.” The boys were not more than ten or so and their 2 sisters were younger. It seemed the youngest girl had been caught in the current and would have been washed away except for the quick thinking of Adrian. The boys not realizing the danger had let her float away. Daddy was not happy with them and let them know.
Coming from Corella Dam where we had formed a community we were surprised with how totally different the river camp was. While Adrian spoke to people and they were friendly enough there was no happy hour. Everyone stuck to themselves. Not that it was a bad thing sometime it is good to have a quiet night on our own.
On the third day Adrian had stopped to talk to someone on the riverbank as we were floating down the river. I stopped with him, not an easy feat when the current has other ideas for you. A group of people walked by. The person in the front detoured to us to show us what he had caught in his net. Both Adrian and I jumped out of the water quick smart when we saw one very large water snake. The man continued along the river to the end of the camping area and let it go. To start with the snake was not happy and wanted back on land. The man suggested to the snake it would be better further down the river. After several attempts the snake finally got the message and swum with the current down the river. I didn’t get into the water again after that.
One night as we were watching the birds play in front of our van Adrian notice a Maggie looking at himself in the car window. It seemed he didn’t like what he saw and flew at the window. We watched in amazement as he did this several time before giving up and flying off. I took a film of “bird attack car” just to make sure we have the proof when we tell the story to the family; how our car was just sitting there minding it’s own business when the bird attacked it. Poor car.