05/02/2015 From Gulgong, we took the Ulan Road to connect through to the Golden Highway and then eastwards to the coast via the Hunter Valley. This is one of the best routes from the interior of the state to the coast, relatively unimpeded by mountains of the Great Dividing Range and other obstacles. This route took us into the beautiful Hunter Valley characterised by the many horse breeding properties with kilometres of black timber rail fencing enclosing acres of lush green lawn-like pasture that looked good enough to pull up for and eat. Just as we had gotten used to kilometre after kilometre of verdant pastures, we came over a crest of a hill to be confronted by the first of many coal mines located in the valley. The contrast of what we now saw to what we’d just passed through was like a scene from the apocalypse – high black hills of coal swarming with lumping great dump trucks moving over it like ants on a gigantic ant nest, and wide swathes of surface strip mining that extended for kilometres. It is beyond me why they are still digging this stuff up in this day and age. And in such a beautiful place as this as well! It was like Eden meets Dante’s Inferno!
At Singleton, we were fortunate to get a camp site at the showgrounds as the circus was in town and their Big Top and vans and gear took up most of the area across the main show ring from us. The local RSL across the road served up a great meal and drinks, and a $10 win on the Keno (i.e. money back only). With the occasional deep lion roar through the night, we could almost have been camped on the grass plains of the Serengeti being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the wildlife. No after-dark strolls to the amenities block that night!