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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: The Pig Hunt

Rick (left) and Andy
Rick (left) and Andy, all geared up for some festive pig hunting in the bush

It wasn't the best of starts, by any standards. If we'd have known that the God of Pig Hunting Trips was looking down, going, 'Sorry, lads, can't help you,' we would have thought twice. Cool, hip and armed with bows we might have been, but clairvoyant we were not.

Warning Signs

The boys peering under the bonnet of a car
Trying to fix the car by the highway

We set off early on Boxing Day in two cars. One, Andy's, carried Andy, Rick and me, while the other car, Dave's, carried Dave and Steve. Five of us, two cars, loads of stuff... and lots of kilometres.

Rental Cars

Mark feeding a possum in Narrandera
Feeding a possum in Narrandera

The following day we got to the local wreckers and miraculously found a new alternator for Andy, which he fitted. At least one car was working now, but Dave's wasn't so easy. Yes, the local wrecker could get a new engine by tomorrow, but the garage couldn't fit it until 2nd January. We had lost one car. Luckily there was a travel agent that rented cars, so we booked one to arrive the next day, and settled into life at the campsite, with its crazy swimming pool with huge slide and local Aussie holidaymakers. The people opposite had been coming to the same caravan park for 34 years without a change, and they thought we were a travelling rock group, which was kind of cool.

Police Marksmen

On Friday we moved camp to a site called Lake Keepit, and having seen the lake, that's exactly what you could do with it. The brochure showed it as much bluer, but when we went for a swim we found muddy water full of strange little plants. Perfectly healthy and safe, but very strange on the feet, so I decided I needed some thongs (that's flip-flops, or sandals, not sexy underwear, by the way).

Dripping Rock

Dripping Rock
Pretty little Dripping Rock

Following the policeman's advice, on Saturday we headed off for a place called Dripping Rock, 30km from Gunnedah, near the charmingly named town of Boggabri. Dripping Rock is a hell of a long way from everywhere; we had to travel for an hour down the dirtiest dirt tracks I've ever seen, and eventually we had to give up and stop, as the holes in the road were getting as big as the rocks beside them. Another wicked storm had just started up too, flooding sections of the road and making the fords a little too big for the Ford, but luckily we found a suitable camping spot on a little bug-free stream, and settled in for the night.

New Year's Eve

On New Year's Eve we headed out to Gunnedah to party with the country locals, and party we did. I wish I could tell you more about what happened, but it's all a bit of a blur, like all good parties. I do know that we headed out to Dripping Rock after returning in the wee hours, where the others lit a fire, and I fell asleep. The only reason I know we went to Dripping Rock is that I woke up there at dawn, one of the mellowest ways of waking up to the New Year that I've experienced.

1 A billy is a pot of water, and billy boiling is the art of boiling a pot of water. Country folk: they be mighty strange.