Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Moss Vale 14 September 2015

When the Hume Highway bypassed Gunning, it started to slowly go downhill and only a few shops remained opened in the small hamlet. However Gunning refuses to die and over the past few years a variety of new shops and cafes have opened and revived the village. We drove onto Moss Vale and camped at the showground. It feels like we are almost home, but as we never seem to have time to see the highlands, we are staying overnight to have a look around.
In the morning we got up early and went to the opening of the Bowral Tulip Festival. There were some stunning groups of colourful flowers, all in full bloom, with strong primary colours dominating the displays. The displays contrasted with the beautiful subtle displays at the Cowra Japanese Gardens.
We then hit the road and arrived home in the afternoon. The house sitters had done a great job in looking after Nicky and the yard and we were very appreciative of the work they had done. What a great trip - we saw so much contrast on our journey - from the lush tropical jungles of North Queensland to the dry deserts of central Queensland and the rich farm lands of western NSW.

Gunning 13 September 2015

We travelled through more rich farming land with contented cattle and sheep and deep green wheat fields and bright yellow rape crops. The further south we drove the busier the roads became. While we might have had one or two vehicles overtake us in two or three hundred kilometres, we now have a rush of cars roaring past us.
Stopped at Boorowa (right in the middle of sheep country) for a late lunch and then onto Cowra.
While Cowra does not have the charm of Forbes, it does have beautiful blossom trees – pink, mauve, white and red that create a magical streetscape. Onto the Japanese Gardens which are as beautiful as we remembered them. Every part of the gardens has been meticulously designed and prepared for a visual feast.
Camped at Gunning Showground for a quiet night.

Gooloogong 12 September 2015

Unlike nearly every other country town we have visited, Forbes does not claim to be the birthplace of anyone famous (although Ben Hall the bushranger was shot nearby), have Australia’s biggest sheep/pineapple/opal nor was it the start of any great political movement – it is just a small country town that has managed to retain its colonial heritage while managing to keep the town alive. Peter got up early to take some photos of the graceful public buildings that decorate the town.
We then drove through more colourful country and stopped at Gooloogong. This is a small village that allows you to camp right in town and is appreciated by travellers. Unfortunately there was a bush wedding in the hall next door but it wasn’t too noisy and finished about midnight.

Forbes 11 September 2015

Parkes is named after Sir Henry Parkes, who is known as the father of Australian Federation. While he owned a large estate in the Blue Mountains and built 2 houses there, he somehow managed to impress the good aldermen of the town and even though he had only visited it 3 times, he consented to the town being named after him. Personally I liked the original name – Billabong Creek. We had a look at the new visitor’s centre that has three attractive museums - they are a folk museum, an Elvis museum and a car exhibition.
The Elvis museum would be a ‘must see’ for any Elvis fan. We are not great Elvis fans but we were impressed with the many artefacts they had that once belonged to Elvis.
They also had a great little car museum with some fantastic classic cars, including a Mk 1 Humber Vogue. The local history museum has a breath taking collection of items that reflect the many influences that have shaped the modern town. However talking to some of the volunteers, they are concerned about the future. Like many similar museums, the volunteers are getting older and there are no younger people putting up their hands to take on the roles.
We drove onto Forbes and camped by the river. This is magnificent country – rich agricultural land and full dams. Just down the road the Forbes Agricultural Show had just opened, so we wandered across to have a look. Country shows are great – friendly, authentic, a good range of exhibitions and easy to get around. The kids were out in force, enjoying the stomach twisting rides, washed down with a syrupy drink and a greasy Pluto pup. That night they also put on a great fireworks display.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Parkes 10 September 2015

Drove past hundreds of acres of bright yellow Rape flowers – it made an amazing sight. It carpeted the rolling hills and we felt like we were driving past a giant Christo wrapping. Stopped at Peak Hill for coffee. We haven’t visited this town for over 10 years, but little has changed since our last visit.
It was once a prosperous gold mining town, with about 30 shops along the main street. It currently has about 5 shops left, however the locals are now using some of the empty shops as art galleries, craft shops and junk shops – at least it makes the town feel more alive! Drove onto the Parkes Radio Telescope. We remembered it from the movie The Dish, where it played an essential role in broadcasting the first moon mission in 1969. It has an enormous dish, 64 m across and can be seen for miles across the sheep paddocks.
Camped at Parkes for the night, which is probably most well-known for the Elvis festival it has every January.

Dubbo 8 – 9 September 2015

Drove onto Dubbo and settled into a camp run by another CMCA member. Peter remembers going to Dubbo to help out from a big flood and a damaging cyclone when he was in the SES, but there is no evidence of damage now and it is an attractive and thriving rural centre for western NSW. Went out to Dubbo Zoo for morning tea and then visited Dundullimal, an old property from the 1830’s.
It has the original homestead, stables, worksheds, gardens, wells and even an old timber church. The National Trust have done a great job in restoring the buildings and the grounds and have even built a café in the style of the heritage buildings, which serves delicious meals.
We camped on the property of a fellow CMCA member in a large paddock covered in bright yellow daisies – felt quite surreal.