White Cliffs Land
Souls rooted in pure passion seem to be populating this gorgeous land where the sky takes its full dimension and the earth has the shades of life. It took us 2 full days to reach White Cliffs. Many like us do this journey to central NSW in search of a place just out of an adventure novel from the beginning of the 19 century. Reality is better.
You have to be a dreamer at the base to go fossicking, looking for the one gem that can make you rich. There is a fever in digging in the rocks to capture layers of glow in a rough surface. Each stone has its own value its weight of hopes and expectations. It captures the imagination of the miner before the one of the buyer.
You also have to be a dreamer to want to go to the Outback but the place won’t disappoint you because you will find in the town characters, the many shades you will never expected in the first place. Originality is the obvious but then beyond an almost shy exterior: sophistication is imbedded in the wild. Inhabitants won’t come to you, barely interested in who you are. They seemed to gauge you discreetly, sense you, and in a genuine gesture of trust give you thoughts randomly, these particles of their own precious dreams. They seemed to all have deep purpose, artistic talents, entrepreneurial drives and of course beautiful dreams for the future of this underexploited region.
Did I mention before that the scenery is gorgeous: wide openness, immense varied skies and red earth under silver or deep green odorant bushes. It is spiritual, wild, reaching the core of your soul in one single breath. We are in the middle of winter and the afternoon are warm and dry, over 23 degrees, the sun is low and give the impression that the light come from the red of the earth more than the sky itself.
I always wanted to see White Cliffs, and it was an amazing chance that I had my 2 children with me for this little escaped. The road was long but varied and always beautiful. We stopped for the first night in Nyngan.
10 km before arriving to White Cliffs, we were stroke by an emu on the side of our little car. I didn’t have a huge 4X4 with cushy wheels, a radio or a spot light. I was driving my little city car and my phone had lost all reception 600 km ago. Emu are huge and we were driving fast…but legally fast I might add. It wasn’t dawn or dusk. The bird died the car was damaged but it was still running well, so we went on.
The obvious stop in White Cliff is the underground hotel, inside an opal mine you can sleep in luxury. More advertised than /anything else on the net for this remote destination, it is unusual and elegant. Most of White Cliffs population is living underground. It is a timid display of interest in geothermal qualities for this solar powered country. There are some hybrid constructions as well (half underground half above).
I wanted something else. We of course went to visit the hotel and took the time to use their paid phone since we didn’t have any reception with our cell phones from the night before, and phone our host Louise of the Goodwood station. We had 46 km left on dirt road to get to our destination http://goodwoodstationstay.com.au/
This was a perfect part of our adventure. Our little Corolla made it through the rough surface and couple of water ditches without any trouble. The “roos” were everywhere with the occasional black cattle, wild goats and of course our dear emus; so many kangaroos, brown or silver small or massive. The humans are very sparses. You cross sometimes cars, sometimes motorcycles but most of the time 4X4 covered in red dust and they always, always acknowledge your presence from across the road in lifting one finger off their steering wheel.
We reached the Goodwood station before sunset. Louise must have been worried after our phone call because she was about to come towards us. She welcomed us with this so rare combination of humour and simple kindness smiling with her daughter Keeley on her hip. She showed us our new home in the shearer’s quarters, the furnace for the shower hot water, the common cooking area. We had it all, the sun was about to set…
The next day in White Cliffs, Louise introduce me to her friends:
Donna Lee at the Top Level Opals. Donna is spiritual and warm; she will welcome you with a hug and tell you all about her home, opals and all the powers attached to different gems.
Sasha and Graham, down the hill, own the Red Earth Opal Café: a little haven, a shop selling jewellery and a terrace where you can relax as you enjoy a delicious coffee. Graham offers an amazing tour of his cathedral ceilings mines.
Around the corner from the café, up the hill, you will find Lindsay and Cree’s home. It was under construction when I went but well advance. It was a fairy place for me full of art, elegance and exquisite taste. Each room was a masterpiece: mosaics, tree trunks, gems and other art works were displayed or used as integral part of the architecture. The home was alive, bounded by the nature surrounding it, mineral and magical.
Louise told me than the first day she came to this region she knew deep inside of her this was the place for her. I believed her because she seemed to blossom under the aridity and the fascinating charm of the region.
Our day ended back at the Station with Louise family where a warm healthy meal was waiting for us.
Our departure the next morning was full of regrets and we all swore to each other to try to come back by the end of the year.