Distance: 306 Km
Fuel: 32 L
Left this morning just after 8.30am, easy pack up because there was no TV aerial to take down – according to my app the nearest transmitter was over 60 km away so I didn’t bother putting it up.
The sat nav took me to Dubbo on the main road but then decided that a country road was quicker than the main road to Cowra. Fine by me, usually less traffic but on the downside few rest areas. Looking at the map the difference must have been marginal. When you take into account that these back roads tend to wind more than main roads thus keeping to the speed limit is impossible so any time saving is probably an illusion but it was a nice drive.
I stopped at a small town called Yeovil (one pub, one store) and bought a coffee – which was very good.
Didn’t stop in Canowindra because I was there not that long ago (>>>Click Here<<<) but continued on to Cowra again a place I am familiar with.
Chose a caravan park about 3km out of the centre of town and after setting up went for a drive for fuel and a look at some of the attractions.
First visit was to the WWII POW camp where the infamous Cowra Breakout occurred when Japanese prisoners attacked the guards and tried to escape or die in the process.
Next stop the Peace Bell.
Finally a trip to the Bellevue Hill lookout in the centre of town.
Distance: 308 Km
Fuel: 35 L
Every night/morning is a little warmer than the previous (since the big chill).last night I had to throw off the summer doona and ditch the hot water bottle.
This morning was a very relaxed leaving, not that far to travel today so packing up was done in small bites, ie picked up and packed away mat, had some toast, put away TY aerial, had cup of tea etc – didn’t leave until 9am. Looked like being another perfect day.
Coonamble was the only hold up – there must have been a very important person being buried because the town was at a standstill as the funeral procession went through, even the police were involved. I say a hold up but it was probably less than 15 minutes delay I have been held up longer for road works.
Gilgandra was reached just before 1pm after only one 20 minute stop to stretch my legs. The caravan park I had decided on was on the entry to town and only $25, small place but seems OK.
After setting up drove into town for a look around and buy fuel. About the only thing that Gilgandra is well known for is the Coo-ee March of 1915 (that is probably a disservice to the town but that is all I know about the town).
At the beginning of the First World War about 20 local lads decided to walk to Sydney to enlist in the army. On the way they picked up recruits from the towns they passed on the way. By the time they reached Sydney they were 300 strong – this is also known as the Gilgandra Snowball. Gilgandra has a statue in the main street commemorating this event.
This trip is winding down, tomorrow is likely to be the last stop when I will be staying at Cowra.
Distance: 448 Km
Fuel: 49 L
Even as I left Roma I had not decided where I would stop for the night. I have previously stopped at Hebel (one pub, one store and about twenty houses) as well as Lightning Ridge (opal mining centre of NSW) so decide to just drive and see how felt when I arrived.
It was very dry country that I drove through, the grass was almost yellow but the weather was perfect, no need for air conditioning today. Didn’t stop at St George or Dirranbandi just kept going until I reached Hebel.
When I was last in Hebel (click here) the General Store was up for sale with the threat of closure at Christmas if not sold but it was open when I arrived. I stopped in for a coffee and one of their home made pies (they are really good) and walked to their History Circle just to stretch my legs.
It was only just after midday and the journey had been very easy so far; I decided to push on to Lightning Ridge which was only about 70km further on.
Arrived in Lightning Ridge at about 1pm and checked into the first caravan park I came to.
Visited the Tourist Information Centre and paid $1 for a Car Door Tour guide. I don’t know if it is just an Aussie thing but a number of towns have these guides. An old car door is painted an appropriate colour and numbered indicating a point of interest, personally I quite enjoy them and so easy to find rather than the usual council signs which often peter out in the middle of nowhere.
The evening meal? Went to the pub, they had a bistro but all the meals were $28 then I noticed the bar sign for food served all day. Pizza – $15 – that’ll do me. It was quite good too, went down well with a couple of beers.
Distance: 354 km
Fuel: 37 L
Stopped in Tamworth for food and a toilet break! Maccas was the only place open.
Then in Manilla to watch two up in the main street – unfortunately I forgot to take photos. Tried to do the same in Barraba and Bingara but they had detours in place which took me too far out to walk back. Every little town and settlement had some event at the local club or war memorial as I drove past.
At Warialda the council run caravan park was on the highway so easy to find. There was no office just a number to ring; I was told to pick a site and he would be along early evening. Small caravan park but plenty of room.
Found the local IGA was open and nearby bought fuel then drove around town but while it looked a nice enough town there was nothing outstanding about it.
Next door to the caravan park is the sports ground. I presume the local footie team is called the ‘Wombats’ (well, I think it is a wombat)
Distance: 373 km
Fuel: 34 L
Left home at 8.30am. Drove through the hell that is Sydney traffic between the M7 and the Newcastle Freeway. Eventually arriving in Muswellbrook about 1pm.
This is very much coal country, Passed the Liddel and Bayswater Power Stations (when Tallawarra closed I was offered a job at the latter). If I hadn’t been so tired I would have driven a bit further on.
Anyway found the Riverside Caravan Park and booked in.
Cheap enough – $15 for a powered site. Riverside is a bit of a stretch, while it is on the banks of the Hunter River those banks are about 20 metres straight down. I don’t think it really caters for the passing tourist trade but more providing cabins for the local mine workers. I think there are only about four caravan sites.
The railway line runs close by so it might be noisy tonight.
I bought fuel after setting up then went for a walk to stretch my legs. There is a Chinese restaurant, two pubs and the Workers Club a short walk away. So I won’t go hungry.
At dusk I was having a cup of tea when I saw hundreds of birds flying nearby, I thought it was strange to see birds flying as it got dark so I had a closer look. It was hundreds of bats getting ready to look for food.
Went to the club for dinner to try their $12 Schnitzel special – it was ok.
Don’t worry I am not going to be posting pictures of everything I eat!
Distance: 301 km
Fuel: 31 L
Was home about 1pm after travelling mainly on the Hume Hwy as Boorowa is only about 45km north of the Hume.
Total distance travelled was just over 2000km – averaging about 290km each day. I find about 300km a comfortable maximum distance to travel each day taking about three and a half hours driving time which leaves plenty of time for stops and visits each day.
Distance: 334 km
Fuel: 31 L
Change of mind
It had been my intention to stay at Narromine tonight but as I drove it was obvious that I was going to arrive far too early – ie before noon – so I decided to press on an extra 55km to Peak Hill.
Nevertire is somewhere I never tire of stopping just to stretch my legs (and photograph the sign).
According to BOM the temperature in Peak Hill is going to be 40’C but as I drove not only did the temperature rise but also did the wind. It was a hot dry wind, I doubt the humidity was over 15% but the wind didn’t relent once. where ever there was a bare paddock there was a dust cloud visible for miles. I drove with my sidelights on the whole way. I am hoping that as the wind was behind me it resulted in better fuel consumption.
Peak Hills was hot… After checking in – when I was given a handout of local attractions – my set up was very quick because the park even provided a TV connector. The site was shady but it was the wind that was hot so the shade didn’t provide much relief; anyway it was time to look around.
Another day, another gold mine…
The first port of call had to be the Peak Hill Gold Experience only a couple of blocks from the caravan park.
Then I drove out to the Bogan River Weir a few kms out of town.
I had a look at the local attractions including St Josephs Church designed and built by its first priest.
By now the day had reached its predicted 40’C so it was time to seek air conditioned comfort and where better than the local Ex Services Club where I spent an enjoyable couple of hours. I decided against waiting there until the dining room opened at 6pm as there was the danger that by then I would be incapable of ordering a meal so I returned to the caravan park to start writing this (and recharge my phone).
The meal at the club was not bad I had a Char Kuey Teow, if I had a complaint it was that it wasn’t spicy enough.