25th November – Canberra

After one night at Batemans Bay (there really is nothing there unless you like fishing or boating) drove up the Kings Highway to Canberra via Braidwood and Queanbeyan to spend a couple of nights with my daughter and her husband. Arrived Friday afternoon

On the Saturday made a brief trip into the centre of Canberra to visit the National Portrait Gallery which I had not seen before – the paintings used to be housed in Old Parliament House. Finding a parking space in the Parliamentary triangle was hell but eventually managed to find one right next to Lake Burley Griffin.

After visiting the gallery walked beside the lake and then visited Magna Carta Place next to the old Parliament House Gardens.

171125 017 Canberra National Portrait Gallery171125 007 Canberra171125 009 Canberra171125 020 Canberra171125 030 Canberra171125 022 Canberra High Court171125 025 Canberra High Court171125 033 Canberra171125 038 Canberra171125 043 Canberra171125 049 Canberra171125 053 Canberra Magna Carta Place171125 054 Canberra Magna Carta Place171125 056 Canberra Magna Carta Place171125 066 Canberra Old Parliament House Garden171125 070 Canberra Old Parliament House Garden

As you can see the day was a beautiful sunny day however in the evening  the heavens opened and hail and rain poured down. We were going to Belconnen on the other (northern) side of Canberra. Until the Woden turnoff the rain and hail continued when, just as suddenly as it started, it ceased and the roads were suddenly dry.

23rd November – Eden to Batemans Bay

Distance: 212Km
Fuel: 34L

Only about 200km to Batemans Bay so didn’t leave the Eden camp until nearly 10am. Really leisurely drive northwards, had intended to stop on the way but the few rest areas seemed rather desolate with little shade.

Found a caravan park off Caseys Beach near Batehaven just south of Batemans Bay proper and set up the camper. Poor TV reception here, they are in a slight depression, so I didn’t bother to get out the aerial especially as we are only staying one night.

171123 026 Pleasurelea Tourist Park

It was 1.30pm by the time we unhitched the car and we were pretty hungry so drove down the road to the shopping centre at Batehaven and bought the inevitable seaside fish and chips (and gravy) which we ate on the waterfront.

To be honest we saw a Thai restaurant on the way past but after turning round could not find it again, Sad smile or at least not until after we had bought the fish and chips.

171123 014 Batemans Bay171123 015 Batemans Bay171123 017 Batemans Bay171123 019 Batemans Bay

By the time we finished eating the sky had darkened and thunder could be heard in the distance, back at the park just made a cup of tea before the rain started. There was thunder and small hail  for about 20 minutes then light rain for another half an hour.

By 6pm the sky had lightened and we were able to make tea, a toasted sandwich and spend time outside before it got dark.

22nd November 2017–Eden and About

Distance: 84Km
Fuel: 51L

Explored Eden and its surrounds today – First stop was a drive to Bega to visit the cheese factory. The interesting thing is that the original ‘factory’ is inside the Heritage Centre and the Heritage Centre itself was once the factory though now it is surrounded by the modern works which employs hundreds of people (judging by the car park). Didn’t buy any cheese because Bega’s ‘Strong and Bitey’ cheese is already in the fridge.

171122 041 Bega Cheese Factory171122 001 Bega Cheese Factory171122 005 Bega Cheese Factory171122 006 Bega Cheese Factory171122 008 Bega Cheese Factory171122 013 Bega Cheese Factory171122 016 Bega Cheese Factory171122 018 Bega Cheese Factory171122 021 Bega Cheese Factory171122 029 Bega Cheese Factory171122 030 Bega Cheese Factory171122 039 Bega Cheese Factory

Had coffee and cheese cake in their cafe though.

Back to Eden and the Killer Whale Museum. Whaling ceased in 1930 but Eden originally was the centre of the east coast whaling industry. The museum contains the skeleton of killer whale ‘Old Tom’ who worked with the whalers to herd whales into Two Fold Bay in return for food rewards.

171122 111 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 044 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 059 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 062 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 068 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 084 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 085 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 087 Eden Killer Whale Museum171122 095 Eden Killer Whale Museum

Made a quick trip to Eden Wharf followed by an equally quick visit to the look out over looking Two Fold Bay.

171122 118 Eden Wharf171122 119 Eden Wharf171122 122 Eden Wharf171122 133 Eden Lookout171122 134 Eden Lookout171122 136 Eden Lookout

Somewhere I have never visited before is Ben Boyd Tower originally conceived as a private lighthouse by a whaler in the 1840s. It was just visible from the Eden lookout across the bay. Click on the photo for a larger version.

171122 138 Eden Lookout

It was never used as a lighthouse but was used as a lookout to see whales as they made their way up and down the coast. It gave those whalers the jump on their rivals.

171122 156 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 163 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 165 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 166 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 170 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 178 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 181 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 186 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 191 Ben Boyd Tower and NP

On the walk to the tower I came across this rather nice goanna who didn’t seem at all worried by my presence. I’d guess he was a bit under 2 metres from head to tail.

171122 152 Ben Boyd Tower and NP171122 154 Ben Boyd Tower and NP

Talking of native animals the caravan park sems to get visitors just before dusk who seem to prefer the grass,

171122 214 Eden Gateway Park

21st November 2017 – Eden

Distance: 384Km

Today I was reminded why I prefer the inland to the coast. The drive from Wollongong to the far south coast of NSW probably wasn’t a bad run as these things go but I hated most of it. Far too much traffic.

Spending a couple of  days down here before visiting Katie and Geoff. Tomorrow will have a look at the attractions that Eden has to offer as well as a visit to Bega.

Quite a nice park but, like everything near the coast, perhaps a little overpriced though to be fair nothing like as much as nearby places.


Bellbirds are happily s(r)inging away as we had an evening stroll around the park.

10th November–Canowindra to Home

Distance: 409Km
Fuel: 48L

Set off for Wollongong at about 8.30am, it was a pretty uneventful trip, drove south at first via Boorowa to get to the Hume Highway near Yass and continued on that heading north until Picton Road.

Arrived home about 1pm, unloaded the car but the camper will be sorted out tomorrow.

Filled up with fuel at the local servo – the most expensive fuel of the whole trip at $1.38/L – How does that work?

Statistics for Trip

Total distance: 2927Km
Total Fuel: 318L
Average Fuel Price: $1.30/L
Average Park Cost: $28.58/night

9th November 2017–Out and About

Distance: 166Km
Fuel: 44L

Drove to Cowra to visit the Japanese Garden – we have previously visited the POW Camp and the War Cemetery but for some reason haven’t visited the Gardens before. As they opened at about 8.30pm we left straight after having breakfast and arrived at about 9am.

They are beautifully laid out gardens over a fairly large area with a mixture of flat and hilly terrain.

171109 073 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 004 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 012 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 013 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 014 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 018 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 019 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 021 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 033 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 037 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 040 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 041 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 042 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 045 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 050 Cowra Japanese Gardens171109 059 Cowra Japanese Gardens

After a couple of hours walking the grounds had coffee and carrot cake in the cafeteria before setting off for Grenville the town where Henry Lawson was born.

I have visited before and it is one of those lovely country towns where time has stood still. Driving past an Enhance petrol station was pleased to see diesel at $1.22 a litre so filled up ($1.37 in Canowindra and $1.28 in Cowra). That should get us home tomorrow.

171109 089 Grenfell171109 078 Grenfell171109 085 Grenfell171109 086 Grenfell171109 087 Grenfell171109 094 Grenfell171109 095 Grenfell171109 097 Grenfell

After looking around for a while set off cross country back to Canowindra to visit The Age of Fishes Museum. Never been before… I mean fishes? Pah! Big mistake…

It was absolutely fascinating – all about fossils found in 1956 by a bull dozer driver rebuilding the road who realised that these impressions in the rock might be important. They are the fossils of fish from the Devonian Period 360 million years ago when life existed in the water but not on land, when the fish were first developing lungs as well as gills. It preserves over 3000 fish from a drying pond. The admission fee included an audio visual package which was worth taking. The visit took well over an hour it was so interesting.

171109 127 Canowindra The Age of Fishes Museum171109 110 Canowindra The Age of Fishes Museum171109 112 Canowindra The Age of Fishes Museum171109 114 Canowindra The Age of Fishes Museum171109 116 Canowindra The Age of Fishes Museum

Afterwards walked around the town centre looking at the old buildings before returning to the caravan park at about 4pm.

171109 130 Canowindra171109 137 Canowindra171109 138 Canowindra171109 139 Canowindra171109 142 Canowindra171109 145 Canowindra171109 151 Canowindra171109 152 Canowindra

8th Nov–Coonabarabran to Canowindra

Distance: 328Km

Lazy start with only just over 300km to travel.

Tom Tom took us on all the back roads with absolutely no traffic to speak of, a really nice way to travel through little villages, bush and rolling farmland. All along the route were ‘animals on bicycles’, clever and funny at the same time.

Stopped for lunch at a tiny place called Cumnock; the local ‘supermarket’ was also the hardware, paint supplier, Post Office and cafe. Ended up having a couple of homemade pies, coffee and tea all of which turned out to be quite good.

171108 002 Cumnock171108 001 Cumnock

Arrived in Canowindra (pronounced without the ‘i’) early afternoon and found the caravan park. It’s a small council owned park with a caretaker who is also the local taxi driver; as he was out just rang the phone number on the office door and was told to pick a site; he would pick up the money later.

171108 003 Canowindra

Sure enough after we had set up and had some tea he turned up. $22.50 per night, three nights for the price of two – free clothes washing machines, dryer, BBQ, nice clean toilets and showers – how good is that? Pity we can only stay two nights.

Took advantage of the free washing machine and dryer before a quick trip to the local IGA for milk etc.

7th November–The Warrumbungles

Distance: 84Km
Fuel: 48L

Woke to sunshine though it was cool, only about 10’C but after the previous day that was wonderful and it very soon warmed up.

After breakfast left for The Warrumbungles only a short 27km drive to the Siding Spring Observatory. There was a small exhibition about the work they do and a lot of information about the solar system.

Strolled up to the observatory dome itself and took the lift to the 4th floor where there was a viewing gallery to see the telescope itself. There is now a panel about the 2013 bushfire when they thought they had had a repeat of the Mt Stromlo disaster and lost their telescope(s) to the fire. Apparently it was a close run thing and it was only their own clearing of the area previously and the concentrated efforts of the local Bush Fire brigade that saved most of the equipment.

171107 040 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 012 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 024 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 026 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 049 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory

The view from the base of the telescope building is spectacular too.

171107 013 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 015 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 016 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 033 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 036 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory

The observatory is the centre of a virtual solar system laid out to scale. The starting point is the dome of the big telescope, it represents the Sun while at various points over many kms are boards representing the scale and location of the planets. I think the scale is 1:38million.

171107 047 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 055 Warrumbungles Siding Springs Observatory171107 006 Warrumbungles Earth171107 124 Warrumbungles Jupiter

After coffee in the souvenir shop we set off for the Warrumbungles National Park. First stop was the Whitegum Lookout – a great place to stop – the lookout itself was only a 500m walk from the car park.

171107 062 Warrumbungles Whitegum Lookout171107 063 Warrumbungles Whitegum Lookout171107 068 Warrumbungles Whitegum Lookout171107 069 Warrumbungles Whitegum Lookout171107 073 Warrumbungles Whitegum Lookout171107 079 Warrumbungles Whitegum Lookout

Then on to the visitor’s centre – still in demountable accommodation after the 2013 bushfires though, at last, a new centre is being built on the site of the destroyed old one. The helpful lady there recommended a couple of the shorter bush walks for us. Decided on the Wambelong Nature Walk which was a moderate 1.1km circuit. I have to say that it is a definition of ‘moderate’ I was previously unfamiliar with – the last section of the walk involved a lot of walking over very steep rock formations. It was worth it for the scenery but it was hard work – afterwards our backs, knees and ankles knew that they had been working.

171107 122 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 084 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 086 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 087 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 089 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 091 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 093 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 095 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 099 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 104 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 108 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 114 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 117 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 118 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 120 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail171107 121 Warrumbungles Wambelong Nature Trail

After this returned to Coonabarabran, filled up with fuel at the local Coles Express before returning to our site at about 3pm pretty well exhausted.

6th Nov–Goondiwindi to Coonabarabran

Distance: 355Km

Last night was wild and windy with squally showers occurring intermittently – or at least that is what I was told, I actually slept soundly and missed most of it. In the morning the ground was wet with puddles here and there but I don’t think the actual rain amounted to more than 5 mm. The temperature certainly took a tumble from the low/mid 30s of the past few days to a fairly cool (but not cold) morning.

There was a band of thunderstorms predicted today to sweep across northern NSW forecast to reach Coonabarabran at about 2pm so we didn’t want to leave too early as it was only about 300km to travel. In the event this was probably a mistake.

Spent the morning packing up in slow motion doing each job with a break for tea or coffee or allowing plenty of time for things like the mats to dry in the sun. Watched most of the other vans pack up and head out and by the time we left at almost exactly 10am the park was just about empty.

Set off in bright sunshine heading south – within minutes it was 11am as we crossed the state border into NSW.

The first couple of hours were uneventful and we stopped  in a rest area at about 1pm to make coffee using the gas stove, again trying to delay our arrival in Coonabarabran.

About a 100km from our destination the skies from the west started to look ominous and while we waited at road works thunder crashed about us and the heavens opened – a mixture of hail and belting rain. The hail made a hell of a noise on the car but I don’t think it dented the body work and it didn’t smash the skylight on the camper (as happened to a bloke we met on Saturday). The heavy rain continued on for about 10 minutes or so then the skies lightened, I made a quick stop at a rest area to check for damage before arriving at a very dry Coonabarabran.171106 003 Coonabarabran Post Office

Checked into the caravan park  about 4.30pm when the lady told us all they had was a few spots of rain! certainly the grass was dry when we found a nice spot (told to pick which ever site we liked) but because of the gusty wind decided not to put up the gazebo even though staying for two nights. Didn’t need it as there was plenty of shade over the site.

171106 002 Coonabarabran John Oxley Caravan Park

After a cup of tea and a biscuit I drove the short distance into the town centre to get milk and some groceries from the local Woollies. Noticed a little hamburger place advertising Fish and Chips so that solved the evening meal.