The plan had originally been to have a quick look around the Loxton Historic Village setup which was an attraction in town with a colonial town mocked up and I assume, actors running around. However, neither of us were really in the mood and we wanted to get to Mildura in order to be in time for an afternoon trip on a paddleboat down the Murray. So after another quick look around town and a refuel, we were on the road again. The landscape changed again as we got closer to Mildura with scrubby outback giving way to crops and the occasional vineyard with a couple of glimpses of the big river out to the left. We stopped for a short break at Lake Cullalleraine where I think I may have smacked the muffler into a stupid-arse pointless flower bed near a rest stop whose toilets were for 'customers only'. While I understand it would be annoying to clean facilities if people who are using them aren't giving anything to you, I would still be more predisposed to be a customer after using said facilities. So after the muffler smack turning around, we found the free rest stop which was much, much nicer being on the shore of the lake. We were immediately assailed by coots (a noisy and rather annoying water fowl) who were obviously used to travellers feeding them. I pulled out some of the biscuits from the hotel room we had taken and threw them out. Suddenly, out of the trees and the reeds came a very noisy family of apostlebirds, or what I knew as happy families. I hadn't seen these since the last road trip I did between Mackay and Brisbane where at one rest stop near Rockhampton there seems to always be a large flock of them. Apostlebirds are hilarious. They are constantly chattering and squawking about seemingly nothing and seem to fight and share in equal measure. I spent a bit of time feeding them and watching their antics.
From there it was a quick trip across to Mildura where we arrived in plenty of time to check in to the caravan park, unpack, have a bit of break before heading down to the Paddleboat Rothbury for a two hour trip down the Murray. Luckily, we arrived just before a tour bus of pensioners turned up and we managed to board and pay and grab the seats right up the front at the top. A few seconds later and we would have been too late. The trip down the river, through Lock 11 and back is a slow affair travelling at only 4 knots (about 10km/h) but the weather was fine and not too hot and it was nice to be driven around by someone else with a bit of commentary on the way. Apparently there are over 140 species of birds along the Murray and admittedly we were only on one section, and it was the middle of the day, but we still only saw a maximum of perhaps 12.
A little bit weary from sitting in the sun for two hours, we drove straight back to the caravan park where we took advantage of the cooker to make some pasta with chorizo and capsicum. Afterwards, Yvette rearranged all our belongings in order to make room in the car for our friend Pete who was meeting us in Broken Hill and travelling with us across to Dubbo. I meanwhile did some laundry which had built up since staying with Gavin and Pia. Having clean clothes is always nice when you're on the road however it means that my overnight bag was now full to bursting. Time for Spicks and Specks and then bed.