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Come back and see us after the floods

The outback is expected to bloom after the flood recede, and with more rain forecast over summer landscapes like the Ledknapper Nature Reserve north of Bourke are set for a good season. Photo Nancy Robinson, Ellerslie

Tricia Duffield

As the floodwaters recede and life begins to return to normal across the Outback, the call has gone out – come and visit!

The floods meant this season’s tourist trade was almost non-existent, with roads closed, and communities cut off, many without any road access for supplies and essentials.

Local shows, races, rodeos, gymkhanas, festivals, and other events were cancelled, but organisers, committees, and councils are already pencilling in next year’s dates.

There is a silver lining to the flood restrictions, and that’s the potential for what could be one of the biggest seasons in years in 2023.

The floodwaters will have abated, Covid scares largely dispensed with, roads opened – and the glorious green outback will beckon.

Bourke Shire Council is already thinking ahead, with plans for the return of the popular Outback Show at the Back O’Bourke Exhibition Centre just one of the big-ticket items on the list.

Bourke Council’s General Manager, Leonie Brown, said there was much to see and do in the shire, and the post-flood landscape would be something many people would have never imagined.

“The land is looking very green and beautiful,” she said. “So, I would encourage tourists to come back and see Bourke and the Outback when it’s not brown and barren.

“There will be so much life after the floods - the birdlife is amazing, there’s the opportunity to see the wildlife and the wildflowers, Mount Gundabooka and its indigenous cave paintings, Mount Oxley and our beautiful natural attractions.

“The Jandra paddleboat hasn’t been in service since Easter Sunday, because the river height has been above seven metres since then, which is unheard of, but once it gets under that height, we’ll put her back on the river and she is always a big attraction.

“There’s fishing and yabbying and all the things you can do on the river when it’s not flooded, there’s the Crossley Engine exhibit and we have our wonderful country pubs at Byrock, Louth, Fords Bridge, Enngonia, North Bourke and even Hungerford, which although it’s in Queensland is at the edge of our shire and worth a visit.

“So, I would say come back to Bourke, there’s plenty to see and do - and get to know the locals,” Mrs Brown said.

The Shires of Brewarrina and Walgett are also keen to welcome visitors who had to cancel their plans to head west this season.

Walgett Shire Council General Manager, Michael Urquhart, said travellers should mark their calendars for a tour of the region early next year and make the most of the unique experiences on offer.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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