This is a beautiful and popular drive in spring. Following spring rains, the red sandhills beyond the Ledknapper Creek become a flowering paradise.
LEDKNAPPER NATURE RESERVE
- Start at the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre. Set your tripmeter when leaving the carpark.
- Travel out on the Mitchell Highway, north of Bourke.
- 43km - turn right and head towards Ledknapper Creek Crossing.
- 31km - after passing the Ledknapper Creek, turn left and head north towards Jobs Gate. the country is initially stony, but becomes red and sandy after crossing the creek.
- 10km - take the right track and look for the wide variety of flowers and shrubs, emu bush, Parakeela, hop bush and desert grevillea, when you get into the sandhill country.
- 39km - turn right,
- 14km - you will arrive at 'Ellerslie', the outback station owned by the Robinson family, who offers accommodation and a variety of station activities, including a hot bore, where you can take a spa. The famous bush poet Harry 'Breaker' Morant lived and worked in this region, as did his friend, the poet Will Ogilvie.
- Leave Ellerslie, and travel 62km west to Enngonia.
- Enngonia is associated with two bushranger stories. In 1868, Captain Starlight mortally wounded Constable McCabe of the Bourke Police, at the local inn. He was pursued west and captured some months later, on Mt Gunderbooka. Bushranger Midnight was also pursued from Enngonia, in 1878 and shot near Wapweelah. His grave can be found 39km west of Enngonia. Trek over Irrara Creek about 700 metres, where you will see a hut on your left, and 150 metres past a gate, there is a stone monument.
Midnight was wounded near Wapweelah, and died in a hut not far from his grave.
Take the alternate route back to Bourke, via Yantabulla to Fords Bridge (124km). Bushranger Ben Hall's wife remarried and lived here for a time. You can go yabbying in the Warrego River, take a selfie with the big yabby, call into the Fords Bridge pub, or just relax and enjoy the serenity pf the bush. Bourke is a further 70km drive.
If you wish to view more red sandhill areas, take the alternative route south along the Warrego River to Gumbalie, and then eastward to Bourke, along the Wanaaring Road.