Posts Tagged With: Historic towns

Kooma View Farmhouse – Nuttbush Retreat – Jamestown – World’s End Reserve (South Australia)

18/12/16  After Ceduna, we met up again with Charles and Joy at Kooma View Farmhouse, 60kms or so west of the town of Kimba, the halfway point across Australia from east to west. That brought home to us that we were halfway back on our return leg to Queensland. Kooma View is a disused farmhouse that the property owners make available to travellers to camp at no charge, although donations are welcomed to help with the upkeep of the basic facilities (the dump point and flushing outdoor toilet). The house was open and visitors were welcome to look through, which was interesting but clothes hanging in cupboards and crockery set out on the kitchen table were a little eerie. Some furnishings and contents were very familiar, dating back to our childhood. It felt like someone should be living there – like those movies where everyone vanishes suddenly leaving everything undisturbed. We spent the night camped in the grounds near to the house. No ghosts or green alien abductors bothered us.

The following morning, we headed on east through Kimba and Iron Knob to spend two nights at Nuttbush Retreat on Pandurra Station, near Port Augusta. We’d previously stayed there when travelling across to WA in June. I replaced a broken brake pad sensor in the Landy, finally extinguishing a dashboard warning light that had been in my face for more than a week.

Our next leg took us around the top of Spencer Gulf through Port Augusta and over the high South Flinders Ranges to quaint, historic Jamestown, with its lovely stone residential and commercial buildings. Charles and Joy pulled in shortly after us, having taken a separate route, and we joined them for lunch and a leisurely walk around the town from our semi-bush campsite at Robinson Park Reserve on the northern edge of town.

In the morning, we took the Hallett Road to one of our favourite towns, Burra, which we’d spent a couple of days exploring last year. We were just passing through this time, and had lunch and refuelled before heading 30kms south to our bush camp at World’s End Reserve on Burra Creek. In spite of the creek being dry, it was still a very pleasant camp with just our two vans in amongst old river gums near the creek. This was our last night with our travel buddies, who were heading on to the vineyards of Clare while we continued east towards home. We generally don’t travel with others, preferring the flexibility of doing our own thing, but have done so now with a few couples who we’ve enjoyed camping with. We’d thoroughly enjoyed Charles’ and Joy’s company and had great fun together, sharing seven camp sites since first meeting them at Esperance in WA, and we’re looking forward to getting together again and doing more free camping when they’re travelling around Queensland next year.

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - South Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wagga Wagga – Gulgong (New South Wales)

4/02/2015  From Wagga Wagga, we continued 40kms north on the Olympic Highway to Junee where we pulled over for a leg stretch. The town has retained many magnificent old buildings that give a hint of what life would have been like in the late 1800s. We could easily imagine an enthusiastic young porter whose job it was to pull the chain and ring the bell on the platform of the ornate railway station, announcing the imminent arrival and departure of the next north- or south-bound mail train.

We stayed that night in Young, 100kms distant along the highway, and the following night in Blayney, 140kms further on and just west of Bathurst. Our intention was to travel to Scarborough via the Pacific Highway along the NSW coastline. While I prefer quiet bushland settings and the country scenery, Di is much more a water-baby at heart and had been missing sand between her toes and sunburn on the beach. So, to miss the traffic and crowds that tend to be drawn to coastal areas, we planned to hit the coast further north beyond Sydney.

15kms before reaching Blayney, we turned off the highway to Carcoar, population 218, located in a small green valley, straddling the banks of the Belubula River. The town has been classified by the National Trust due to the number of intact 19th century buildings. It was fascinating to walk around the town, but equally fascinating to find none of them open, not even the pub. The town apparently bustles with tourist activity on weekends; but not Tuesdays, apparently.

The old general store with its walls still lined with the original shelving had its doors open, but was unattended, and we started to think we’d stumbled into a ghost town.

While we would have preferred a pub lunch, as we walked down the main street, we had a feed of plums followed by apples from fruit trees growing on the footpath, and followed this with a bunch each of muscat grapes from a vine growing next to the Stoke Stable, built by convicts in 1849. Not a pub lunch, but better for us and free for the taking. Thinking about it, though, there may have been not too dissimilar reasons why some of the convicts found themselves in Carcoar at that time building a stone stable.

From Blayney the next day, we took the Millthorpe road to meet up with the Mitchell Highway. Millthorpe is a lovely little town located between Blayney and Orange with a population of about 700 people. It comprises grand buildings, heritage architecture and a streetscape that has remained largely unchanged since the early 1900’s. The entire village is classified by the National Trust and the village centre has cobbled, bluestone bordered streets.

Beyond Orange, we stopped at Molong for morning tea and a refuel, and found a lovely old two-storey commercial building in the main street that the owner informed us was for sale. The price was reasonable and our thoughts went to what a lovely Grand Design it would make, but we resisted the urge and continued on to Gulgong, a 19th-century gold rush town in the Central Tablelands, where we stayed overnight at the showgrounds with a small mob of sheep grazing nearby.

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Gulgong has a population of around 1,800 people and has retained much of its 19th century character, particularly the broad shady balconies on the many of the two-storey commercial buildings. With the advent of the automobile in the early 1900s, balconies that extended over footpaths were generally removed in most towns to avoid the problem of vehicles reversing into the balcony posts that were located at the gutter edge. Fortunately, Gulgong resisted this trend and has retained most of the lovely second-storey balconies on its many commercial buildings. You can get a very good impression of what main streets looked like in the 1800s if you replace the cars with horses and carriages. A montage of goldrush-era Gulgong street scenes was used as a backdrop to the portrait of Henry Lawson on the first Australian ten dollar note (which was in use from 1966 until replaced by a polymer banknote in November 1993). Novelist and bush poet Henry Lawson lived briefly in Gulgong as a child in the early 1870s and the town and surrounding district often feature in his works.

We spread the wealth with an enjoyable lunch and drinks at the Commercial Hotel and camped for the night on power at the showgrounds.

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - New South Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Towong (Victoria) – Tooma – Tumbarumba – Jingellic (New South Wales) and Tintaldra (Victoria)

15/01/2015  We took a leisurely drive today from our camp at the Colac Colac Caravan Park, through nearby Corryong to Towong where we stopped in at the racecourse to see the historic century-old grandstand. The very picturesque racecourse and grandstand were used in the filming of the movie, Phar Lap.

Just beyond Towong, we crossed the Murray River into New South Wales. The scenery was spectacular, with rolling green pastures of very fat Black Angus cattle.

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On the banks of the Tumbarumba Creek, the small rural community of Tooma centres around the old Tooma Inn, established in 1879, and the adjacent General Store. Hoping for a cleansing ale, we had a look through the inn but encountered not a soul except for an angry dog out back. Minus the ale, we continued on to Tumbarumba, about 35kms north.

On the way, we stopped at the Southern Cloud Memorial Lookout on the Tooma Road, seven kilometres north. The crash of the Southern Cloud, on 21 March 1931, was Australia’s first commercial air disaster and the lookout is a permanent commemoration, at a spectacular site on Bald Hill, overlooking the Maragle and Tooma valleys. Far in the distance, we could see the north ridge of Mt Kosciuszko.

A short distance up the road, we had a look at some great bush camping spots at Paddy’s River Flats and Henry Angel, and drove the short distance in to Paddy’s River Falls, a gushing waterfall about fifteen metres high. A path descended from the upper lookouts at the top of the falls to the end of the track a short distance before the base of the falls, but it would have been a bit difficult for Di to manage so we contented ourselves with taking photos from the lookouts above.

IMG_4379A short stop for lunch at Tumbarumba, and we continued on through Mannus State Forest to Jingellic, located near a crossing on the upper Murray River. The Bridge Hotel was established in 1925 and below the hotel is a camping ground on the banks of the river.

After passing through Walwa, we viewed Pine Mountain which is argued to be the largest monolith in Australia at 1.5 times bigger than Uluru. The gigantic granite monolith was uplifted to its present height of 1062m more than 2 million years ago. Since then erosion has highlighted the steep eastern side, established several creeks, and in the upper area, created small rock pools which contain shrimps and tadpoles despite annual drying, and large granite ‘marbles’ 2-3.5m in diameter.

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Across the river and down the Murray River Road, we next came to the small town of Tintaldra, located on the upper reaches of the Murray. The village was first established in the early 1860s as a customs duty collection point for the colony of Victoria prior to Federation. We spread some wealth at the nicely renovated pub, but unfortunately the Tintaldra store, constructed in 1864 with rough-hewn River Red Gum beams and rafters and walls made from vertical slats of Stringybark timber, was closed.

It was then back to camp, down the road from Corryong. For much of the drive, the mountain and valley scenery was absolutely spectacular, and during the latter part, we’d followed along next to the Murray River and had driven in to a number of very picturesque riverside camping spots.

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - Multiple States, Travel News - New South Wales, Travel News - Victoria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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