From Wagga Wagga to Rockhampton to Emerald and down
Sunday 25 March
Here we again. Currently in Yerong Creek. Stayed at Balranald and Darlington Point on the way here.
Lorraine made me divert to two wineries in Griffith. Just a 20 minute stop in both locations to gain some friends for other bottles in th pit.
Went out for tea last night at the local bowing club.
Sunday 1 April
Well we got into Stone the Crows on Friday morning. It is similar to free camping.
Our view is not bad.
Our old friend Ed was available for Lorraine to purchase Friday nights tea. Great food at good prices. Better than cooking.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of of seeing The String Family and the show last night was a tribute show by Simon Gillespie.
The standard of entertainment is excellent.
Not forgetting to go out on the bike. 2 laps gives me 46 km. Safe roads to ride on.
Sunday 9 April
Well since the last post we have shifted to Junee and then on to Cowra.
What I have not shown you is some of the other things from Stone the Crows.
Ashleigh is the youngest member of the The String Family who travel Australia. She has just turned 14. Her and her brother were given the task of running a morning show and told they could keep the money they got from the busking. Mum and dad regretted it as the kids got over $400.
Lorraine wanted to borrow Ashleigh’s scooter for her mode of transport to get around. It would have been handy to get our coffee from Toby and Kasey. The Art of Espresso make good beans and Toby makes it into very good flat white.
This person Ivanna Crackenoff is in actual half of Mel ans Susie who live in Lightning Ridge and are normally Bush Poets.
The program for next year has been released and will be another great event
We then moved to Junee on the Friday. Into the caravan park for four loads of washing and some catch up sleeping.
Shifted on Sunday to Cowra.
The Peace Bell is very impressive. You are permitted to annoy the council workers by ringing it.
Visited the Japanese Gardens which were quite impressive.
Then off to site of the camp where the Japanese and Italian prisoners wereheld during World War Two
The Cowra prisoner of war and internment camp was located several kilometres outside the town of Cowra in south-central New South Wales. It officially began operation in June 1941, but it was several months before the first prisoners arrived. Cowra was purpose-built to house prisoners of war, mostly Italians, brought to Australia from overseas and it operated primarily as a prisoner of war rather than an internment camp. Civilians interned at Cowra included local Italians and nearly 500 Javanese and Indonesians.prisoners.
Sunday 15 April
Prior to leaving Cowra we visited the old railway Depot to view the old carriages and equipment.
Travel in olden days would have been exciting when considering the equipment that had to be used. Slow and noisy might have been the way of the day.
Different to sleeping in the van. Fold down bed.
The carriages were pulled with a locomotive that was similar to this. It has seen better days.
On Thursday we shifted to Wellington.
The view from the back of the van is quite pleasant. We can watch the trains cross the river at 10 km/h
On Friday we went exploring the area and visited Mudgee, Gulgong, Dunedoo and Dubbo. Lunch in Dunedoo bakery, the best curry pie for a long time. On Saturday we visited Lake Burrendong. But on the way we found a wayward Turtle. Lorraine shifted Murtle off the road so an elephant would not crush her. It was good that she did not want to practice discus and get her into the lake.
Burrendong Dam is one of the largest inland dams in NSW with a capacity of 1,678,000 megalitres, three times Sydney Harbour. . Is is currently 38% full.
Burrendong Arboretum is on the side of the lake. Murtle might have been happy there.
Wednesday 18 April
Well the other day, on Monday, I think it was, I am losing track of the days, we shifted to Tamworth.
A nice cross-country drive listening to John Laws having to put up with some interesting callers. He cannot like to use the dump button.
Went through Scone but did not have to cut our way through one. Very pretty countryside with lots of horses. It s interesting to see how dry it is on the western side of the Great Dividing Range. People we have spoken to in different locations are talking about drought conditions.
When we got to Tamworth We went to the Hall of fame and then the Big Guitar.
Interesting to see in the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame the first exhibit that I looked at is from Colin Huddleston from South Australia
Can remember going to square dancing in the Methodist Hall in Hayward Ave. He was actually a Store man at the E&WS on Grand Junction Road. Appeared with Reg Lindsay on the Country and Western Hour on Channel 9 in the 1970’s
Next off to the Big Guitar to have a look at the wax figures. Yes we found Reg Lindsay and Frank Ifield.
Saw Frank a couple of years ago at Stone the Crows. He looked better than the wax product.
Chad Morgan was also there and we have seen him the Clare Hotel a few years ago.
We decided to visit Nundle which is out past the Chaffey Dam which supplies Tamworth with the water supply.
We were expecting it to be a bit cooler at Nundle when we saw this cloud formation.
The woollen mills were a must for Lorraine to possible purchase some supplies for home. It was cooler than expected.
The working machinery was interesting due to its age plus they are getting a sock machine that they may be able to use. Currently that have the product turned into socks in Victoria. Bought 2 pairs otherwise sheep are eating grass for nothing. Notice all the wool in the background. Reminds me of my mother’s cupboard behind her knitting machine.
Quite interesting it to see it working.
Saturday 21 April
Well we travelled a long way to get to Glen Innes – Home of the Celtic Festival.
All of 200 Km. Well it was a slow trip having to stop at Guyra for lunch at the bakery.
After booking into the caravan park it was interesting to go to the Standing Stones.
The Standing Stones are located overlooking the town.
They are arranged in accordance with the following.
The view over Glen Innes was quite amazing taking in the colours of autumn.
We decided to visit Grafton for sentimental reasons. Had to visit a waterfall on the way.
Boundary Falls was a steep walk from the car park.
Could be considered a nice walk down to the bottom of the falls.
Then off to Raspberry Lookout.
We also stopped at Heffron Lookout. Not so fond memories of going from Grafton up to Glen Innes. Last time we made it up just a little bit further.
Thursday 26 April
Today we left Stanthorpe. We had travelled the great distance of 153 km from Glen Innes.
When we crossed the border from NSW to Queensland at Wallangarra we stopped for coffee. We did enquire what happened during day light saving in NSW but not Queensland, the chap serving coffee said a few of the people wore two watches.
The caravan park was quite nice and almost a bush setting on the granite rocks.
The view from the back of the van was quite nice. Not surrounded by van on all sides.
Stanthorpe is also known as the Granite Belt Wine Country. At 1000 metres elevation, the air seems fresher, the sky more blue. We discovered a landscape of dramatic beauty and diversity. We went on a tourist drive where we discovered National Parks where giant granite formations emerge from thick forest. They have a list of the top 10 wineries. Also the vegetable production has been taking place for long time. A fixer upper was located.
The property would have been utilised for the apples grown under the cloth. Apparently some wineries cover the grape-vines in the same way to protect from hail stones.
We were going down the road and Lorraine decided she wanted a coffee. To my surprise the next place we saw was a winery. Just had to stop.
We also came across Storm King Dam which is the water supply for Stanthorpe. Apparently it has previously been used for Marathon Canoe Races.
You can also fish in the dam as it is stocked, but you need to have a permit if you are over 18 years of age.
Saturday 28 April
Arrived on Thursday in Toowoomba to be at the Jolly Swagman Accommodation Park. Did not expect to be in this park but the GPS brought us here anyway. Going to put addresses into the device next time.
Off we went to the Cobb & Co Museum. On loan from the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, Italy, a vast array of machines are created from original da Vinci drawings bringing the mechanical concepts of this curious mind to life.
This is an example of one of his designs for a tank designed as a tortoise. Eight men worked the gears and wheels to propel it. Cannons all round was an interesting concept.
Next was a Naval Tank that was designed for the cannons to be fired simultaneously so the craft was not thrown off-balance.
The IHC auto buggy was built-in 1909 and purchased in Australia in 1914. It was a twin cylinder 20 bhp. Used as a taxi between Nudgee Railway Station and Cribb Island.
A bypass is being built around Toowoomba at a cost of 1.6 billion dollars. It will be 41 km long.
On Saturday it was Garden day. Off to the Laurel Bank Park.
Interesting place with even shapes for the kids.
The Newtown Rose Garden was quite nice.
The roses were in bloom and the garden free of weeds.
Next it was off to Picnic Point with an elevation of 726 metres, 1 metre less than Mount Lofty.
Japanese Gardens also in Toowoomba.
Monday 14 May 2018
We have left Yeppoon. It was an interesting trip from Lake Awoonga. Firstly we we were ready to leave. Walking around the van for a final check I discovered a slightly flat tyre. The manager of the caravan park suggested it was all not gloom and doom, as it was only flat on the bottom.
Got the spare off the back and discovered that the repair in February did not last that long as it also was flat. You might ask why the yellow lead from the tyre did not have anything attached to it. Well, the short answer was that the compressor I carry for such emergencies did not work. A couple of the wires internally had come apart, so I had to fix it before we could use it to put some air into the tyre and move on to Yeppoon.
175 km later and a round tour of Rockhampton we arrived at a wonderful park at Yeppoon. So nice to be right on the sea front. The sunrise was just magnificent.
The view from the van was exceptional.
The park only had one road that ran parallel to the sea. You either had the sea behind you or the road in front.
Black cockatoos visit the park at least once a day.
Yeppoon has had a new pool just finished so that people do not have to get sandy feet. Four life guards are normally on duty between 6 am 8 pm.
We went to the Botanic Gardens in Rockhampton which included a small zoo. One animal is a wombat that likes to lie in the sun. He did not bother to roll over to go to the toilet but rather the next time he rolls over the item just hit the ground and roll away.
The chimps were not interested in doing much.
We decided to go up to Mt Archer which is lower than Mt Lofty and around 250 m higher than Willunga Hill.
Lorraine does not have a love for caves but decided to humour me and go into Capricorn Caves. The walk ways reminded me of the movie Indianna Jones and the Temple of Doom. They are dry caves. but people get married in there and also opera’s are performed.
Tree roots have come down over 40 meters to reach the floor of the cave.
Lorraine would not walk in front of me going across the swing bridge. She scooted ahead and left a couple of German tourists to suffer.
Friday 18 May 2018
We left Yeppoon to head towards Emerald. It was going to being a very long drive, which we are not used to. So we split it up into two days.
it ended up with us staying overnight in a small 1870’s town called Duaringa. We decided to purchase some food from the local takeaway. It was also the Post Office. Unfortunately we found it closed, the lady would have been having lunch so was going to reopen at 230 pm. It was 1.00 pm so we had to go to the local truck stop. It was a donation park with very nice and clean toilets and showers. Unfortunately no one seems to be able to find the donation box or the slot in the door.
At the end of the day about 10 vans had stopped to take advantage of the free water and other facilities.
Next morning we left to go to Emerald. We stopped in the Emerald Showground for four nights. Not a bad deal for $26 a night for power and water. Good toilets and showers for those that need them. Stayed for 4 nights but the caretaker only took money for two. Said you are supposed to stay for only three nights. Cam backthe next night, said I wanted to pay for 3 nights. Asked when we ere leaving and charged for two nights.
Fairbairn Dam is only at about 26%. The are currently working on raising the height.
It is used as the water supply and for irrigation. You can see the two channels that have been created. They use the water for citrus, grapes and cotton.
Another day we went fossicking for Sapphires.
I used my skills to find a couple of yellow sapphires. Lorraine said I should have found bigger ones so we could put them into a ring.
All in all, we had a good time. Tomorrow we move onto Carnarvon Gorge, to a place called Takarakka Bush Retreat. No telephone or computers for 4 days. How peaceful.
Wednesday 23 May 2018
Well we eventually got to Takarakka Bush Resort.
It was only a distance of 238 km. One of our longest drives.
If passing through Rolleston on a Saturday morning you have to stop for Coffee in the Park. Took our own cups. the lady spilt the first one. Soy milk in the second one and got it right third time. Good fundraiser for the community.
The first day was taken in getting there and setting up. Then off to Happy Hour which occurs every day at 4.00 pm. The kookaburras are being captured and then released in another location. They have developed a liking for cheese. Unfortunately they take it out of your hand as you are putting it in your mouth.
The next day we walked Carnarvon Gorge. Lorraine suggested we walk to the furthest point so that the next day we could walk shorter distances. We probably covered 20 km in seven hours. We made it to the Cathedral Cave. This massive, wind-eroded overhang sheltered Aboriginal people for thousands of years. A panorama of rock art reflects the rich cultural life of those who gathered here.
Another example of the ochre drawings.
We also went to Amphitheatre. Had to climb a few stairs to see an example of the effect of water erosion of sandstone.
Then into this.
Looking straight up.
We decided on a Helicopter ride over Moolayember Gorge. Twenty minutes of exciting scenery. Lorraine got to sit in the front for some reason.The pilot said the two big guys had to sit in the back.
There is also another self-contained park that you can go to. No power, water, electricity, shop, showers. Sits on the to of the hill open to the wind.
The cattle on Bandana station have a crop of Leucaena to eat. It can grow to 18 feet tall. I thought it was a vineyard due to the way it was planted.
We landed and everyone had an exciting time.
Great scenery in the Carnarvon Gorge. No one had told us the further you go up the gorge that the stepping stones get smaller and actually wobble as you put you cross over them
The next day we walked into the Moss Garden. More stairs to make sure the muscles in our legs were operating in peak condition.
Wards Canyon is where two brothers used to live, whilst trapping possums.
The whole days walk was worthwhile.
Saturday 26 May 2018
Well it was into Roma that we went from Carnarvon Gorge.
A pleasant drive into the caravan park. It was into the park and the owner directed alongside the concrete pad. Left hand down, right hand down. To the extent that the wheels were millimeters away from the pad.
It was then time to visit the Big Rig where you get the history of Roma as a Gas and Oil producer in Queensland. It was quite interesting in the way that gas was discovered whilst they sunk a bore for the town water supply.
A short story goes that whilst travelling back from Kalgoorlie over 10 years ago we stopped at Caiguna. At the roadhouse we met a husband and wife riding motorbikes. They had been on the road for a couple of weeks travelling from Queensland. When they said they were from Roma I immediately said “oh where Golders have got a store and have their kids in the TV ads” The woman said “you can’t get away from those Golder girls. We see them every day”
When I asked what they did they informed me that had a bakery.
Well off we went the next day for lunch to the only bakery in town. Had the best Thai Chicken Curry pie in over 5 years. Really good coffee as well. When the lady came and collected the plates I enquired as to whether the owner of the bakery had a wife who rode a motor bike. Do you know her was the reply. I said that I met a lady bike rider on the Nullabor a very long time ago. Off she went and another woman returned. Smiling she said she remembered that I had given her a scarf / neck. warmer. She had seen it a couple of weeks prior stashed on her bike in the shed.
Her husband was not in Roma because he was in Wagga Wagga. He is the president of the Australian Clay Target Association. He was responsible for starting the project for the new building where we go for Stone the Crows each Easter.
He is responsible for great pies. When you look across the street to the other corner you see the Golders store where I bought a new shirt, served by one of the Golder girls.
To prove that I did not bring the bike and not ride it, off I went out to the Sale yards but a couple of cows told me to Mooooo ve along.
Lorraine was not going to make me some shirts or shorts but could not resist going into this store. This is just one aisle.
But wait ! they could give Spotlight a run for their money due to the wool they sold as well. Lorraine heard these three pieces crying and just had to rescue them.
Roma has a very big bottle tree. Over a 100 years old, six meters tall and takes six men at finger tips around the tree.
Monday 29 May 2018
Well, we are now at St George. Getting closer to the New South Wales border. We travelled a great distance to be here. 196 km in a day.
We visited a shop where a Greek national carves emu eggs.
Quite impressive that you can go through five layers to get different colours.
We also went to a couple of dams / weirs where they retain water for the irrigation of cotton fields. Beardmore Dam has a surface area of 2,850 hectares. The catchment area is 71,560 square kilometers and an average depth of 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) and, when full,it can back up some 75 kilometers.
When full, it can supply water that is retained by the Buckinbah Weir. Lorraine took the perfect picture.
Ever wonder what is behind some very high embankments in cotton country. Waiting to be filled !!!!!
We also saw Riversands Winery, where Lorraine bought some very nice Liqueur Muscat. Lunch was not bad either sitting under the trees.
Saturday 2 June 2018
Well we have been in Lightning Ridge for a few days. We spent a long time coming from St George.
We detoured to see some silos in colour at Thallon.
Then it was off to our final destination. Came across a bakery that was supposed to be really good. Forced myself to have an apple turnover from the Dirranbandi.
Eventually arrived at the Opal Caravan Park.
Every day at 4.30 pm they have an afternoon show. It is put on by Mel and Susie who are bush poets that we have seen at Stone the Crows.
When we arrived in to the shed we got a Queensland greeting of “Aaaahhhh”. Seen you before, they say, are you on a holiday. We told them we had not been home yet. They put on a different show every night. Sometimes they even refer to the script. Does not matter how many times we see them, they are really special.
We even went to the Gallery of John Murray who paints bush scenes that are different. A piece of his art is a van that is elevated in the town.
Well, the next day we were invited to morning tea at a location to be revealed as we got closer, like walking in through the gate. Followed Susie along a gravel road that is straight out of a rally book. However we arrived at a herbal bath retreat managed by Susie. It is really a dam they use for watering the garden. We felt very privileged to be be invited by Mel and Susie to their beautiful home.
The garden is something that is special in a place like Lightning Ridge.
The pathway is mosaic.
The unbelievable part is that the home was built by and lived in by John Murray himself. He forgot to take a a few items so that Mel and Susie could enjoy the property. Do not think this is going anywhere.
The majority is as it was originally built. Notice the pallets used as the bench tops. It was explained that Lightning Ridge was and is the recycling capital.
Morning tea was something to be seen to be believed. All cooked by Mel. The record for scone eating was eight. Lorraine was telling me to leave the record intact. Mel was looking for a challenge. It is still eight. For the tour and the morning tea they could easily charge $30 – $40. Leo who is sitting in the bottom right hand corner does a very good poem disguised as Frank Spencer.
Susie wanted a set of gates so made her own.
We also went to Grawin for lunch. The Glengarry Hilton is an interesting place to go fossicking whilst waiting for the best hamburger and chips.
Saturday 9 June 2018
Well yesterday we arrived in Broken Hill. We had travelled to Bourke and stayed in the Kidman Camp Caravan Park.
It is very close to the Darling River. A paddle boat travels down the river and is a one hour trip down to the old bridge that crosses the Darling between Bourke and the caravan Park.
At the information center they also have an outback show where a demonstration of horsemanship and training of kelpie’s occur. He does a demonstration of sheep trialing.
He has a couple of puppies that are in training. Interesting that he does not keep any dogs that continuously bark. This dog is going over to his mother.
When we arrived in Cobar the Nissan was not running very well. My advice to people is not to break down in Cobar unless you have a couple of weeks to spare. After having the fuel tank drained !! and new fuel filter fitted it ran no better. Thankfully we have RAA Premium Plus cover and rode in a tow truck to Broken Hill dodging kangaroo’s, pigs, goats and emus. This is our new home for a few days, at least until Tuesday when we go to a recommended mechanic.