TV host can't get enough of outback

Thursday, 20th September, 2012

(From left): Sydney Weekender crewman Duncan McLeod, host Mike Whitney, producer Susan Elliot, TriState Safari owners Mick and Joanne McCulkin and crewman James Cunningham. (From left): Sydney Weekender crewman Duncan McLeod, host Mike Whitney, producer Susan Elliot, TriState Safari owners Mick and Joanne McCulkin and crewman James Cunningham.

By Erica Visser

Far Western NSW has been given another push as a tourism destination by a travel television show hosted by former Test cricketer Mike Whitney.

The Channel Seven program, Sydney Weekender, last month spent time in Broken Hill and surrounding areas gathering enough footage for two episodes.

The first, which features Mungo National Park and Wentworth, will screen in Broken Hill on '7TWO' at 1pm on Saturday, September 29.

The second focuses on Broken Hill and Silverton and will be saved for a later date.

Tri State Safari's Joanne McCulkin took part in the making of the episode.

She said that the program's host, Mike Whitney, and his crew loved spending time in the region.

"We spent four days with them. We took them on our three-day Mungo Deluxe tour," Mrs McCulkin said.

"We went through Wentworth and to Mungo National Park where we stay at Mungo Lodge."

And this wasn't the Weekender's first stint in Far West NSW either.

In fact, Mrs McCulkin said that Mike Whitney could not get enough of the outback.

"This is probably about the sixth or seventh episode we've done with Sydney Weekender over the years. It's been 10 years of doing stories on and off," she said.

"Mike is so enthusiastic about the area out here. He just loves getting out here and he's totally enthusiastic about promoting the outback.

"Of course this is as far as the program will go, since it is aimed for short tours just outside Sydney, but he goes on there and he just raves about it."

The second episode features the Living Desert and Sculptures, shots of the city's streets and Silverton.

Mrs McCulkin said that if Sydney Weekender ever wished to return, she and husband Mick would find somewhere to take them.

"We'll find other places. His boundaries are within the NSW state borders," she said.

"We haven't gone sort of up round the Bourke region at all.

"Also to see things at different times. We've taken him up to Cameron's Corner when it was bone dry, when there was a field of flowers, and also when there was the floods.

"We've done the salt lakes up near Packsaddle when they were bone dry and then with water as far as the eye can see."