Ross’s initial plan for Easter was a chilled long weekend with his lady friend, sampling the good wine and food that Orange is famous for. That was until Sam and Emily upped the ante considerably by suggesting that they return Ron, their Subaru Outback, to his roots.

All photography by Emily Franke // @em.franke

The plan was Sydney to Broken Hill return, with a stop off in Mungo National Park on the way back for good measure.

We took the Tuesday off work, giving us 5 days to play with, and the right balance between driving and exploring. Setting off after work on Thursday, we raced through the Blue Mountains, and finally set up camp in the Mudgee Showground in the early hours.

We woke at sunrise, smashed some breakfast and a coffee, and hit the road.

Destination: Wilcannia

We passed Dubbo before reaching a sign signalling the end of coastal NSW, and the beginning of the Outback. As if on cue; the vegetation thinned, the trucks got bigger and we started to see Emus left right and centre.

Outback and Back, Ross Clayton, NSW, desert, outback, subaru, road trip, Emily Franke

Road to Nowhere


Wilcannia has a rep as one of the roughest towns in NSW, with a drink and drugs problem to match. What we found couldn’t have been further removed.

We stayed at Warrawong on the Darling and took their pet Emu for a walk, had breakfast in a tea house that was stuck in time and had a good yarn with the locals about the wild boar one of them had caught the night before.

Outback and Back, Ross Clayton, Emily Franke, NSW, tent, billabong, camping

Outback Bondi Beach

Outback and Back, Ross Clayton, Emily Franke, NSW, Emu, desert, animal, subaru

Rissole the pet Emu

Outback and Back, Ross Clayton, NSW, dog, ute, road trip

Wilcannia Mob

White Cliffs

Our next stop was White Cliffs. Famous for opal mining and the fact most of its inhabitants live underground to escape the heat, as well as the proud owner of the world’s first solar farm.

To give you an idea of its size, at last count it had a population of 103.

We checked out the famous Underground Motel, grabbed a beer at the local pub and then set off for Broken Hill via the Mutawintji National Park.

Outback and Back, Ross Clayton, NSW, white cliffs, outback

Welcome to White Cliffs

Outback and Back, Ross Clayton, NSW, outback, solar, farm

The First Solar Farm

This isolated stretch of dirt road was where Ron decided to have his only tantrum of the trip; bursting his tyre and shredding it for good measure.

Outback and Back, Ross Clayton, NSW, Desert, changing tyre

“Who run the world?!”

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