Coldstream to Wentworth October 2018
By Len Borrow
Mike Welsh’s cousin Peter runs an asparagus farm 18 kilometres north of Wentworth Western NSW.
Mike suggested the idea to club members for a flyaway in the second week of July this year and quite a few members were interested in the trip and the accommodation, but because of bad weather the trip was cancelled and new arrangements were made to go away on the second weekend in October.
Originally up to three or four planes were going to fly to Wentworth but one by one members dropped out. In the end the ‘gallant three’ ended up having a fantastic time at Tarcoolar Mike’s cousins asparagus farm.
We flew in the yellow peril, the faithful PZN. About three days before leaving the weather looked a bit ‘iffy’ but on Friday 12th October it was beautiful blue skies and a 10kt tail wind.
The original departure time was 10.00 am but PZN lifted into the sky, by Len’s watch, at 10.42. Ross was slightly worried about the propeller pitch on PZN and was load conscious but his weight and balance said all was ok, he took no chances in the mild wind conditions on the strip and made sure all of runway 37 was available if needed.
Both Mike and Ross had fully planned the navigation on their tablets. Ross headed for Kilmore gap and we made it in 28 min. I was in the back using maps and dead reckoning, a map with pencil lines,watch, navigation rule and a Jeppersen navigation computer. (The old basic navigation skills !) I had drawn my flight plan to go to Kilmore then straight to Wentworth, but Ross used several landmarks as way points to check progress. It was a great trip at 5500 feet. We made Wentworth in 2 hours 40 min. We roped down PZN and put on the canopy cover.
Peter Welsh met us on the strip and helped us with our bags to his car. The countryside around Wentworth is very dry and semi desert unlike Coldstream and its green rolling hills. Pete’s place is about 18 Km from the air field. He has a 100 acres of desert land which has river frontage onto the Darling river.
The main crop is organic asparagus with a season from the start of March until ½ way through April. The crop is irrigated with Darling water and no chemicals are used in growing, cow and sheep manure being the only additives to the red desert soil. Pete had a great property that is very extensive. There is no pipe water supply and 25,000 litres of rain water is collected in 5 gigantic tanks. The water tastes fantastic and there is always a supply of cool fresh water in Pete’s fridge. I asked Pete why it tasted so good and sweet and he told me it was the bird dropping which made all the difference. There are extensive workshops and packing sheds for the product. The asparagus is sent to Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, China and Japan. It is a great product and has a world market.
Pete is a pilot himself and has had several aircraft and has flown a lot in the remote areas of Australia. Pete’s wife Paz is always doing something and we sampled her home-made spring rolls straight from the oven~ delicious ! There are 3 dogs on the property who follow Pete around everywhere and are a part of the family and the German back packer Max, who lives on the riverboat, is on his third visit from Leipzig Germany. He is like a son to Pete and Paz.
Ross and I stayed in cabins out in the grounds and Mike was in the main house. We went up the river on a boat made by Pete ( Called Princess Paz’s Poverty Pack) for a picnic . And on another day we went by high speed motorboat around the only island in the great Darling river system.
We left on Sunday morning and again with a good north tail wind we were back in Coldstream in two hours 20 min.
Pete is interested in flyaways and visitors to his property. Paz and Pete were great hosts, the accommodation was great so was the food. Mike Ross and I all had a great time.
Thanks for a great write-up Len, sounds like a fantastic trip! We are always looking for content for the website, if you go on an interesting trip or event, email us as firstname.lastname@example.org