Posts Tagged With: NSW

Bushman’s Rest, Lake Cullulleraine – Weethalle Showground – Narrabri – Scarborough (South Australia – Queensland)

20161223  Saying goodbye to our camping buddies Charles and Joy at World’s End Reserve, we followed the Goyder Highway east through rolling hills, golden fields of wheat and endless sheep pastures. The Murray River soon appeared on our right, and from the top of the Golden Limestone Cliffs, we looked out on the swollen river. Flood waters had breached the banks and spread out through the river red gums on the broad floodplain to the far cliffs. It was wonderful to see the mighty Murray so full and replenished by recent rains. There was a downside to the flooding, though. The many scenic bush camps dotted along the river were under all that floodwater.

Consequently we motored on, following the meandering river east and crossing it just beyond Renmark via the Paringa Bridge. This heritage listed bridge has a single railway line in the centre (now disused), with a narrow road lane on each side of it. A lift span allows river traffic to pass underneath. The road lane felt very tight for the Kruiser and we were glad it wasn’t any wider.

A little way down the road, we crossed into Victoria, intending to stay at a bush camp on the border. The Landy, though, was showing an outside temperature of 38C and rising, and we opted instead for a powered site. We spent the night beside Lake Cullulleraine at the Bushman’s Rest Caravan Park with the aircon keeping us cool and comfortable. The next morning was overcast with a forecast of rain. It was our wedding anniversary and we stayed on a second day beside the lake to celebrate.

img_3089Between the small towns of Goolgowi and Rankins Springs on the Mid Western Highway, we were happy to sit a long way back from a caravan that was travelling along at our pace. Suddenly, the van tilted and pulled over to the roadside, having lost a wheel. We stopped and gave them a hand to find the wandering wheel, got their details and went ahead to Rankins Springs to arrange a tow vehicle to get them into nearby Griffith where the broken wheel studs could be replaced. We were the first on hand to help them, and two other caravans pulled up to offer help as well. Aussies are a great bunch, quick to pitch in and do what they can when someone’s in trouble, especially for travellers on the side of the road.

That night, we camped in the showgrounds of the small town of Weethalle, among a group of rustic buildings facing a white-fenced trotting track sitting idle between infrequent race meetings. A local contact person was very helpful in opening up the facilities and making sure we were comfortable for the night.

From Lake Cullulleraine in upper Victoria, we had three big motoring days that took us home by Christmas Day, firstly 547kms to Weethalle in New South Wales, then 578kms to Narrabri where we stayed the night with Deb and Stu, and the final leg of 611kms to home. North of Narrabri, broad sheets of water lying in the paddocks and across the road at one point was evidence of recent rains. We’d crossed three State borders in four days to spend the festive day with family.

Since commencing in 2014, we’ve travelled 65,740kms with the van. Here are some facts about our overlanding to WA this year:

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“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve travelled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.” – The Landy 

The Landy

The Landy and Kruiser

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

Hay To Hamilton – Mallee Country (New South Wales – Victoria)

10/05/16  Heading west from Hay in NSW, we crossed the Murray River into Victoria at Tooleybuc via the quaint historic bridge that was designed to rise up to let paddle steamers through. Regrettably, none was to be seen, of course, but it wasn’t hard to picture one churning down the river, bellowing smoke from its stack and steam from the whistle.

With the scenery mostly unchanging and monotonous, podcasts and albums had copped a flogging on the drive. Before leaving home, I’d stocked up on a lot more “Conversations with Richard Fidler” podcasts from ABC Radio which we’d found great for passing the time while we tootle down the road.

Further south on the Sunraysia Highway (sounds like the road is sponsored by a dried fruit company, doesn’t it), we overnighted at a camping ground in the small Mallee country town of Lascelles. It was a pleasant spot, and very conveniently located beside the old Minapre Hotel. We were both knackered after the long drive and, up for a meal cooked by someone else, we tucked into a delicious home-made steak and roasted veg dinner, washed down with cold beer and good conversation from Wally, the publican. The population of the town was 44, Wally could name each one, and he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else because it’s a great lifestyle. Good on him.

South of Lascelles the following day, the country changed and we were soon passing through very picturesque sheep and cattle grazing country with the Grampian Mountains in the background. From dead flat and dry to green mountains, it’s amazing how the country quickly changes.

There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want – Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

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

Hay (New South Wales)

8/05/16  The drive from Billabourie to Hay was a rather miserable affair. We woke to rain and drove all morning through rain, through the towns of Hillston and Goolgowi on the Kidman Way, then onto the Mid Western Highway to Hay in the western Riverina region of south western NSW. Not only was the weather dreary, the landscape was even drearier. Out this way, the country is as flat as a table and stretches on in every direction. Oncoming vehicles could be seen three days away. Fruitlessly, we spent our time seeking out a semblance of a hill. And there are only four trees in that part of the Riverina. I know because I counted them. There was almost a fifth, but it turned out to be a fence post. Even the sheep looked dismal which I could sympathise with because, after all, who takes pleasure from wearing a woollen jumper in the rain. Still, the cattle seemed happy in their leather gear.

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It’s been raining on and off in the Riverina for about a week, which is good for those about to sow, and not good for those about to pick, yet good for those growing meat, but not good for those travellers who might drop a wheel off the edge of the hard stuff and onto the soft shoulder of the road. It didn’t happen to us but we saw many signs of where it had happened to others on the rather narrow Mid Western Highway. That plus the rain plus lots of water lying on the road made for a not very relaxing or enjoyable trip.

So, rather than the showgrounds as planned, we overnighted in Hay at the Big4 caravan park. Both of us had had enough of sploshing around in mud, and quite looked forward to pampering ourselves with paved pathways.

Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow. – Anon

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

Bird Watching – Bourke To Billabourie (New South Wales)

7/05/16

Categories: Bird Watching | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Billabourie – New South Wales

7/05/16  Once in a while you come across a camp that ticks all the boxes. Billabourie was one of those camps. It’s a working farm that also operates a great little camp ground in a stand of old timber beside the Lachlan River, north east of Hillston. A few powered spots were available but we chose to stay on solar and located a bit further away for privacy. We set up a few metres from the river’s edge and had a magic view of the water and the surrounding park-like grounds shaded by huge old River Red Gums. Best not to camp under these majestic trees as they self-prune their very large branches which would make a mess of anything underneath. The two awnings and the groundsheet went out, and we made ourselves comfortable in this very picturesque spot. What a magic place.

We had our first camp fire this trip and couldn’t have found a better location for it. A breakfast of bacon and eggs on the fire kicked off the next day and we sat around the remains of the fire enjoying the scenery and silence, the morning birds our only companions. Two other vans were there when we pulled in but they left early the following morning. From then on, we had the place to ourselves. Di whipped up a damper/scone combo in the camp oven that went down very nicely with a dollop of butter and Tony A’s yummy homemade rosella jam. And I did a camp oven lamb roast that had to be my best yet, hands down.

The nights were cold, the mornings crisp and the days beautiful. The Kruiser is well suited for cold weather living, the diesel heater keeping us snug-as-a-bug inside first thing in the morning until the sun came up enough to bring some warmth.

I did a bit of lure fishing, which is my term for extricating lures snagged on tree roots, overhead branches and hidden underwater obstacles. You could almost hear the fish scoffing between my colourful outbursts. They certainly need not tremble at the sound of my name. No worries; they’ll be that much bigger next time I go snagging lures.

Enjoying a morning cuppa overlooking the river each day, it was just too easy to go with “Maybe we’ll stay another night”, and our planned one-day stopover at Billabourie stIMG_2890retched out to three.

Unfortunately, the final day turned grey and overnight rain softened the bush track for our departure. Nevertheless, the Landy was up for some mud puddling, and when we eventually reached the sealed road the front of the van was wearing a red mud face mask.

 

There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot! – Anon

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

Bourke – Cobar (NSW)

4/05/16  Travelling south from Cunnamulla, we crossed into New South Wales and spent two days in Bourke. The grey rain clouds cleared on the second day leaving sunny blue skies, and we dried the canvas awnings after the previous few days’ rain. Di took the opportunity to do a cook-up, producing a large curried stew that’ll give us a few meals, and a yummy roast in the Weber. That used most of our vegies which would otherwise have to be thrown out when we get to the quarantine area a little further south.

Packing up camp for the next move was a particularly slow process, largely from a general lack of motivation aided by lots of coffees, and it wasn’t until 10:00am that we were on the Kidman Way again heading south to Cobar, a short hop of 160kms.

Many caravans and motorhomes were on the road at this time of year, migrating from Victoria to flock in their warmer northern nesting grounds. My index finger was wearing out from offering up the obligatory “single digit wave” to oncoming travellers. I also like to intersperse this with the “four digit wave” to those who appear more worthy. Motorhomes can be quite responsive to “the wave”, particularly where the female passenger gives back an enthusiastic two-handed wave. It’s like “Hey, caravaners hardly ever wave at us in our motorhome, and that guy just gave us the “four digit wave”, and I’m going to let him know I really appreciate it!”

Against the trend, we were among the crazy few heading south, enjoying the pleasant days and cool nights after a run of very high temperatures starting in September last year in NT through to when we left home ten days ago. The wet weather brought a drop in temperatures, and welcomed relief from the very hot days. We’d been looking forward to a cool change and wintering in the van.

On the outskirts of Cobar, we free-camped on the bank of Newey Reservoir, among the shady pepperina trees. The waterfront view from inside the van was priceless. We watched ducks feeding in the shallows, a majestic white egret patiently stalking fish and a rather regal pelican cruising lazily past our camp.

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“Tourists went on holidays, while travellers did something else. They travelled.” – Alex Garland, The Beach

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

Homeward Bound (Multiple States)

15/12/15  We’d intended returning home to Redcliffe in March for a month or so to catch up with everyone, but decided instead recently to be back for Christmas after almost eight months travelling.

From McLaren Vale, we drove north to Peterborough via the M2 Expressway that took us through the heart of Adelaide. It seemed to be the most direct route and I expected it to be like Brisbane where expressways from south, north or west take you quickly across the city. But the M2 soon changed IMG_0818from a fast multi-lane expressway to a clogged dual lane urban road with lots of traffic lights and lots of city traffic that slowed us to a stop-start crawl. I’d commented previously on the poor state of the country roads in South Australia, and we now found that the ones in Adelaide are very ordinary as well. I came to call them “Hallelujah Roads” because I kept saying “Jesus Christ!!” as I drove along. I’ve come to really appreciate the good roads we have in Queensland after spending time in South Australia.

From the overnight stop at Peterborough, we travelled the next morning 300kms north-east on the Barrier Highway to Silverton, just out from Broken Hill. I wanted to see the Mad Max Museum but, as things go, it was closed the afternoon we arrived. We had lunch at the rustic Silverton Pub and looked around the ruins and standing buildings of the old mining town before setting up for the night at Penrose Park on the edge of town. We’d driven all that day through light drizzly rain and the rig was mucky brown where the diesel exhaust had stuck to the wet van and car. So, after setting up camp, we got stuck in to washing them down to a squeaky clean result.

Another early start the following day had us heading to Broken Hill for fuel and then east, still on the Barrier Highway, through Wilcannia to a free camp at Meadow Glen Rest Area, 50kms west of Cobar. It was a large bush area set back from the highway with a shady cover of pine trees. We were the only ones there apart from a few goats and a young forlorn looking black mickey bull in need of company, who stayed nearby all night.

The country we’d come through in the last two days was low and flat, with very sparse vegetation and, apart from lots and lots of feral goats on the side of the road or family groups of emus crossing from one side to the other, there wasn’t much of interest, so we had the music and podcasts cranked up.

On the plus side, the roads in north-west New South Wales were now so much better than those we came across in South Australia, and travelling became much more relaxed and a little quicker.

Feral Goats (NSW)

Feral Goats (NSW)

Native Australian fauna doesn’t mix well with moving motor vehicles. Lots of kangaroo and emu roadkill needed to be avoided as we travelled along, but interestingly we didn’t see one instance of a run-in between a goat and a vehicle. Goats seem to have enough smarts to move a little away from the roadside as you approach and don’t try to cross in front of you, unlike those crazy suicidal emus and kangaroos that have no road sense at all. In fact, goats seemed quite indifferent to our presence in their domain.

At one stage, we pulled in to a rest area for a cuppa and were greeted by a group of wild goats that had taken over the shade shelter and were standing up on the seats and tables. They’d made themselves quite at home and had even worked out how to operate the push tap on the side of the water tank to get a drink for themselves. While not at all bothered by our presence, they showed great interest in the biscuits we were eating.

From Meadow Glen Rest Area, we turned north at the nearby town of Cobar and went on through Bourke to overnight at Barringun near the Queensland border and south of Cunnamulla. To describe Barringun as a town would be much too generous. It comprises a small pub on one side of the road and on the other side, the Bush Tucker Inn roadhouse that we camped beside for the night. While setting up, we were greeted by the local welcoming committee – a Shetland pony that followed us around nibbling at our clothes, a couple of sheep that came over to check out the van before wandering off looking for grass, the biggest feral pig I’ve ever seen, and a couple of ravenous emus that just freaked us out. There’s something evil about an emu. Power was available at the Bush Tucker Inn, which was the reason we pulled in there. It was very hot and humid and, while we set up, the air-con was cranked up to the max. We then beat a hasty path across the road to the pub which offered a limited range of drinks from an esky in the room out back. All that mattered was that they were nice and cold. We had a couple of drinks and a chat with the bloke behind the bar who was the brother of the licensee and helping out there on weekends. In response to our question, he advised that the population of Barringun was seven, after counting through the residents of his side of the road and the other. It’s great how in country towns they know everyone by name.

Cunnamulla - "The Cunnamulla Fella"

Cunnamulla – “The Cunnamulla Fella”

The following morning, just north of Barringun on the Mitchell Highway, we crossed back into the Land of the Proper Coloured Rego Plates and went on to Cunnamulla, made a right-hand turn east on the Balonne Highway and on through Bollon to St George. That night was spent at the Pelican Rest Tourist Park. It had become way too hot to consider free camping, and we were more than happy to genuflect once again to the God of Air-conditioning and to also cool off in the park’s swimming pool. It can be a tough life pioneering around the West and you’ve got to get it when you can.

From St George, we followed the Moonie Highway through to Dalby, then the Warrego Highway east to Jondaryan where we’d intended overnighting at the Woolshed complex. But now being so close to home, we decided to push on all the way.

Crossing The Toowoomba Range - Nearly Home!

Crossing The Toowoomba Range – Nearly Home!

During our spur-of-the-moment return trip home, we had travelled through three States (South Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland) in four days, and through three time zones (6:00pm in SA is 6:30pm in NSW and 5:30pm in QLD). Which I guess means we got back the extra half hour that we aged when entering Northern Territory from Queensland back in July.…I don’t know, I’m starting to confuse myself now with the Maths but, still, would like to believe I’m feeling just that little bit younger. Anyway, the clocks have been reset, the jerry cans on the roof of the Land Rover are back to fading at their normal rate, and we’re home again…

“Travel does not exist without home….If we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.” ― Josh Gates, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - Multiple States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Arrawarra (New South Wales)

11/02/2015  The drive today from Hallidays Point to Arrawarra seemed long, our pace slowed a number of times because of roadworks to widen sections of the old single-lane Pacific Highway to double-lane. Just north of Kempsey, we turned off the highway and followed the Macleay River to the quiet coastal town of South West Rocks. We wanted to see the Trial Bay Gaol that sits on the point above the old breakwater.

The stone gaol is a picturesque ruin built in the 1880s to house prisoners who constructed the breakwater, and was also used as a World War I internment camp for people of German descent who were feared to be enemy sympathisers. The gaol is surrounded by rocky foreshores and sandy beaches, and immediately around it are picnic areas and facilities for caravan camping. We thought we’d check out the camping sites as a possibility for the night, but the rates were very high for what was provided.

So we travelled on a further two hours to our next option, Darlington Beach Holiday Park, on Corindi Beach and near the small town of Arrawarra. We stayed for three very relaxing days, and felt totally spoilt with access to a lovely pool, golf course, restaurant and bar, surf beach right behind us and kangaroos and wood ducks wandering around right next to the van. Hardly like camping at all. While we were looking forward to getting back to Scarborough to see the kids and granddaughters, this was also tinged with a degree of reluctance as it would mean a break from our travelling lifestyle. We could see that after not too long back at home, we’d be itching to get moving again.

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

Hallidays Point (New South Wales)

9/02/2015

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Heading further northward, we camped for the night on a powered site at Beachfront Holiday Resort at Hallidays Point. A two-minute walk from our van took us through the vegetation at the top of the beach and down onto the sand of Black Head Beach. We had a swim in the surf and went back to the pool for a rinse off and laze about. Later, while cooking our snags and lamb chops on the BBQ near the van, we met a couple from the Netherlands who were travelling around Australia for 6 weeks in a hire car and camping in a very small tent. They were having a ball and absolutely loved our country, the scenery, the people and the wildlife. I agreed wholeheartedly with them. Why travel overseas when there is more to see of our own country than could possibly fit into one lifetime!

We were tempted to stay another day but packed up. In the process, a sudden sun-shower hit and I left rather soaked. I think the rig wanted to stay as well, because the first two times we had to brake to a stop, the ABS kicked in and Di and I gave concerned looks to each other. The brakes were fine after that, though. I think the Land Rover was just acting up like an old horse that wanted us to know it wasn’t happy moving again so soon. Fair enough too, I guess. It plays a big part in our travel adventures so it should be able to have a say in things as well.

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

Port Stephens (New South Wales)

8/02/2015  Normally we don’t ring ahead to check on the availability of a site as there’s usually plenty available.  But being now on the NSW north coast which is much more popular than inland areas, and now relying on powered sites, we thought it prudent to call ahead. We wanted to organise a site at a caravan park at Port Stephens, an hour north of Newcastle, where we’d reintroduce ourselves to the South Pacific Ocean. To further complicate matters, it was a Friday and the dark clouds of the weekend beach crowds were building up on the horizon. The first park we called was booked out. The second one had only one site left, with an attached ensuite, available for a three-day package price. Sounded good to us! Booked in for the three days. Lots of time to smell the roses. After arriving at Shoal Bay Holiday Park and setting up the van, we strolled down to the beach. As we exited the sandy path through the vegetation at the top of the beach, the view presented to us was just stunning. I’m not sure what word would best describe the colour of the blue of the water – azure, would probably come closest. The water was crystal clear, the rocky shoals on the sandy bottom dappled the water with myriad shades of blue and the two mountainous heads astride the narrow inlet from the ocean stood guard like rocky sentinels as a backdrop to the bay. Six or so yachts rocked calmly at their moorings not far offshore, and to top it off nicely, as we walked down onto the beach, a dolphin was swimming slowly by just metres offshore in front of us. How idyllic was that…

Each morning and afternoon we were visited by the local rabbits, who were fairly tame and some were quiet enough to hand feed.

On one of our day trips to explore the area we visited Anna Bay and then onto Stockton Sand Dunes where the sand on Stockton Beach varies from hard to soft packed and changes daily with the changing winds and weather. The dunes are the largest continuous mobile sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere.

The three days were spent looking around the area at the many nearby beaches, and swimming and lying on our beach. We both agreed that it would be quite easy to live at Shoal Bay.

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

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