One of the things about the real outback is that the sunsets are supposed to be absolutely stunning. They are pretty good at home at times so I was expecting something pretty stunning. If there's a bit of cloud cover the sunsets at home can be something special... here's one I caught earlier this year.
There are quite a lot of places to catch a sunset in Broken Hill that are just spectacular. There's the Broken Earth Restaurant on top of the slag heap, then you could catch it at the Mundi Mundi Lookout just past Silverton or you could go to the Living Desert and see it while looking at the sculptures that were part of a sculpture symposium held in 1993 by artists from around the world. Hmm we were having an arty day so it seemed only fitting to make it the sculptures for sunset.
We had a few hours to to kill til then, so we went to check out another gallery that had been advertised on big signs all over town. It had a silver and mining museum and the worlds longest watercolor painting as well as a chocolate factory. Sounded like a match made in heaven to me. Well it was all a bit disappointing, the art was a bit so so, specially after looking at the Pro Hart gallery. The whole place seemed to be just a tourist trap geared at selling you junk .. I've seen a lot of the stuff here in Dubbo. The silver was made on site and there were some very nice pieces, but just so much of it! The painting was a chore to get to through all the tourist trap stuff .. then when you got there, there was a sign saying to had to go back to the counter at the front of the shop to pay for entry to see it .. I missed it, I couldn't be bothered going back to pay for it. Such a difference between this gallery and the last. At the Pro Hart one you felt like you were really welcome, and all they wanted to do was show you the amazing life of Mr Hart ... here it felt like the tourist trap it was, all they wanted was our money and if we weren't going to spend then just get lost. We bought chocolate and went back to the cottage.
At about 4pm we headed out of town. The Living Desert Reserve is about 9km out of town and when you arrive at the gate you are greeted by the most lovely lady who is full of enthusiasm and advice about the park. 'If you want to see the flowers then go this way, but if you don't want to miss the sunset then I suggest you drive straight up to the sculpture site' she said, 'you can walk up there and see the flowers and country side on the way but you might risk getting locked into the reserve as the gates close at 6:30pm no exceptions.' Eek I didn't want to spend the night there, and I really wanted to see the sunset at the sculptures. So we drove up the most winding little road I have ever seen ... to be struck by ... the View.
This is just from the car park.
That's Broken Hill, 10km away. That mound behind the town is the slag heap produced by mining and perched on top is the restaurant.
You have to walk up a little path to get to the sculptures, and the views just kept getting better.
While it was a bit red, there was a lot of green around too.
It certainly doesn't look like a desert at the moment.
Then we came to the sculptures .. wow.
They are carved out of huge chunks of sandstone that was sourced from somewhere local, then somehow transported to the top of this hill, and carved.
They really dominated the landscape.
They were huge.
But it still wasn't quite time for the sun to set.
So I started snapping pics of some of the flowers. Australian flowers amaze me, when you look at the plants they are scraggly, wiry, doing it tough and it shows .. then they flower.
And as if to show that they really are gentle and have a side that is pure beauty, the flowers are the most delicate, pretty things that can be found anywhere.
We wandered down the path a bit.
Yep we found a lot more flowers.
And we found some wildlife.
I wandered quite close to these guys without disturbing them at all, once I'd finished my pics they were still munching happily without a care. We sat and watched another couple who spotted them, the girl with a camera who then stomped up to them and practically chased them away down the hill .. that girl needs to learn some control I think.
Finally the sun was starting to set, we wandered back up to the sculptures.
It took us ages to work out what this was, now that I look at this photo it seems so obvious.
Terry found a good vantage point.
I snapped more pics.
When the setting sun hits this sandstone it just comes to life.
And with it reflecting off the town in the background it was becoming breath taking.
There is one sculpture that just demanded more photos.
And a critter that was demanding attention too.
The sun was getting very low .. and amazing.
Time to try to catch the photo I really want.
Yep that's it .. perfect.