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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Home 17th October 2009

Peter was up early to scrape the ice off the windscreen and head for a few garage sales, but no bargains. Peter said there were a lot of dealers around who were snatching everything up! After a windy trip down Macquarie Pass we were home again. Had a look around the garden and we were pleased to see that the steady rain had given a growth spurt to the garden. We are heading off soon for Wangaratta Jazz Festival after we have cleaned all the bull-dust out of the truck and car – it is everywhere!


Goulburn 16th October 2009

On the way home now. Quick drive down the freeway and pulled into the showground to hook up for some power – the temperature forecast for tonight is nought degrees! Had a wander around and looked at a few op shops – they are very upmarket in Goulburn and becoming quite homogeneous – nothing unusual in them. After dinner we walked across to the old Goulburn Brewery and listened to some traditional Irish music – a good end to our quick trip.

Yass - Mare and Foal

Yass 15th October 2009

Another really wet day. Wandered the shops of Young and found a nice pet shop to get our young friend a few things he needs! A completely new world of shopping! The woman in the shop gave him a Kelpie raincoat for Heather to cut down to size! They also had a two-way coat that looks like a Paris Hilton affair for dogs for $4.50! Save it for the fun photo shots! He has a charming effect on dog people!
We enjoyed our walkabout but with the really cold change we gladly jumped back into our home for lunch and back on the road. The scenery in the countryside has gone back to very pretty, green farms, with yellow canola crops brightening everything up!
Stopped at Boorowa, another tiny town, for quick browse. The rain came down again and drove us back to the road. Arrived at Yass and found an attractive spot near the river and poplar trees to camp. After a few major heavy downpours (with hail), we called it quits and settled down, heating up the place using the generator and air con. It really feels like snow is falling somewhere! The forecast says it will snow in the “Snowies” tonight!

Coming Into Yass

Young 14th October 2009

Met up and accepted an invitation to visit the men working in the Shed! They invited us to have morning tea. We sat in the dining car carriage of an old train and enjoyed a great chat about farming and country towns. We provided the buttered sultana cake to their delight.
Up in the cold, windy, rain to walk along Main Street, Grenfell. Heather was totally carried away with the great bargains of jams, chutneys and sauces. A few good knits for our grandson, a bearded Iris in a pot called Thunder Echo (so appropriate in the current weather situation) and out of here. We really liked the town for its sincerity and great presence of the past!
Had a pretty drive to Young in the rain and wind. The clouds entertained us with numerous shapes and colours.
Young sat in its valley of grey cloud and mist as we arrived and we could have been in Katoomba. It was very cold and we tramped the main drag and realised it was just an everyday clean town that could have been anywhere. Grenfell’s unique beauty was suddenly obvious.
Found a spot to camp out of the wind at the local showground in peace and quiet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Young - Which Bank Finally Respected Their Heritage?

Temora Fields

Goolgowi Dust-storm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Camping at the Men's Shed, Grenfell

Old Mill at Grenfell

Grenfell 13 October 2009

Left Rankins Springs and headed east through a series of small villages to West Wyalong. There is no East, South or North Wyalong; however there is a Wyalong that sits like a pimple on the rump of West Wyalong. Apparently in the 1880’s, all the gold diggers preferred to stay where they were, rather then go to the new town that the Shire had planned for them – go figure! West Wyalong has managed to retain the charm of yesterday, while catering for the needs of modern communities and we spent a pleasant day wandering around the town. Had fun trying to buy a postcard! Must have little call for them!
We were going to go down to a mineral pool south of here; however the weather turned cold and windy, so we headed towards Grenfell. The countryside has taken a dramatic turn, with undulating hills of rich wheat fields and sheep grazing on the stubble. Grenfell is a smaller town then West Wyalong and is obviously struggling, with numerous empty and boarded shops and very cheap housing. We enjoyed the many examples of fine Victorian buildings that would have been demolished in more prosperous towns in the name of progress. After a walk through the town, we settled down near the disused railway station for the night. The Goods Depot is now the community Men’s Shed. One of the blokes made us very welcome even offering use of the blokes’ toilet out the back. Are there any working railway stations left in country NSW? Soon they could all be Sheds!


West Wyalong

Rankins Springs 12 October 2009

Spent the morning in Hay and then set off east. The landscape remained the same, with endless plains, wheat-fields and occasional rice-fields. Past Goolgowi, (a half-horse town) the countryside became hilly and by the time we reached Rankin Springs (a one-horse town) there were trees and green grass! These little towns are dying and have the skeletal remains of neglected shops! One very intriguing deserted café from the past, The Bluebird Café, had lovely colonial architecture and a charming little bluebird motif above the door. In peeling faded paint it boasted hamburgers and Chicko Rolls! Stayed in the truck stop near the pub and heard only one or two trucks -very quiet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hay 11 October 2009

Left Turlee Station and headed back along the bone shaker road to Balranald. The locals say it is a good road but we didn’t feel the same in our truck! Filled up with water and snacked on lunch in town. Heather met a lovely man who was surprisingly spruce 81 years old. He chatted openly about his life and proudly told about his achievements. He said he was NSW’s first Aboriginal JP and after many interesting life experiences he was now a magistrate in Mildura and sorting out lots of issues relating to drink and drugs! He told me he gets a laugh when roadside police ask him when he had his last drink and he tells them that he has never even tasted alcohol! He said they do not believe him. He tells of horse breaking, stock work, being an overseerer, a buck jumper in shows including Walgett in the 1940s. His traditional Aboriginal family lived on an island 5kms from town. With the changes to the river this island has disappeared. He gave her his card with a black cockatoo, which is his totem.
Headed off along the Hay Plain and camped at the Sandy Point Camp again. Beautiful weather for an evening BBQ by the river with all the white cockatoos settling along the banks! Summer coming at last and we were into summer clothes at last. Next we will be complaining about heat! We discovered a hole in one of our grey water pipes. This would have happened on the rough dirt road. Peter was able to temporarily fix it until we get home. Problems are rarely too much trouble for us and are quickly resolved. We seem to have lots of alternatives in this big home away from home!

Old Mungo Shearing Shed

Lake Mungo National Park

View Across Mungo Lake

Lake Mungo 9 – 10 October 2009

Set off for Lake Mungo along 100km of dirt road. Arrived at Turlee Station rather shaken and stirred. Turlee is a sheep property near the National Park that is cleverly using its close proximity to Mungo for attracting campers. It is a bit rough, though hot water and toilets must be heaven for many. Nathan told us that a group of them are piping water over 100kms from the Murrumbidgee!
Next day we took the 4WD up another 30km of dirt road to the NP. Lake Mungo is an old fresh water lake that has extensive evidence of Aboriginal occupation stretching back 40,000 years. It is part of an old lake system formed about 150,000 years ago and finally dried up about 20,000 years ago. There is about a 70km track to drive around the park to see the different areas. When we arrived, there were dark clouds that looked like rain. Not knowing local conditions we asked the Aboriginal guide for his opinion - expecting him to look at the clouds. Instead he informed Peter that he would check the forecast on the net!
The highlight was The Walls of China. The huge sand dunes on the edge of the lake creates the feature that is so significant. On one side of the dune are pinnacles of compressed sand exposured like chimneys of sediment in different colours and revealing the history of aboriginal occupation. The long drive around the surrounding country meandered past farm relicts from 1800s onwards kept us absorbed until we saw the other side of the dunes. This side is very white sand and reminds you of dunes next to great oceans. Crossed the bottom of the lake and headed back to Turlee to enjoy a chat with the owners. They have two properties, owned by the father and son. Felt old as the son was 32! As well as the sheep they have just sown 4,500 acres of wheat and hoping for the rain to fall at the right time.

Mungo Sandhills

Turlee Station Campsite

Balranald Campsite

The Hay Plain

Balranald 8 October 2009

We spent the morning looking around Hay and buying a few things to support the town. It has survived the drought and is making a big effort to attract travellers to the town. We had a look at the old (now disused) railway station and a small museum dedicated to the many foreigners interned here during the war. The irony of locking up Jewish refugees because the authorities thought they were Nazis, was not lost on us. Also had a look at the old gaol which had served many purposes. The last use (until 1974) was for a girl’s gaol. The old goal cells were painted pink or blue and had all the iron furniture bolted to the floor - it would have been too awful to imagine! We headed off towards Mildura, stopping at Balranald. Changed our plan at that point and decided to go straight out to Lake Mungo to ensure we did not feel too stretched for time. Drove out on a very desolate road and stopped by the side of the road close to a slight depression that must have been an old lake - flat saltbush and bluebush everywhere. It was a beautiful quiet night with one of the best sunsets. It reminded us of a similar night on the side of the road near Roxby Downs.

Nicky Meets His Nemesis

Hay 7 October 2009

Barellan's Favourite Daughter
Left Griffith and onto Hay. As we drove out through the vineyards, the landscape changed and became dead flat. The vast flatness is emphasised by the lack of trees and is known as the Hay Plains. It is reputed to be one of the flattest places on earth. You could see vehicles approaching from a huge distance. Hay is a friendly little town that has provided a new free camp spot (Sandy Point) next to the Murrumbidgee River. The river bank is very sandy at this spot and the locals must be in beach heaven in summer. The water level was very low, reflecting the years of drought and the never-ending story of who can dam the river and take what they want.

Hay Railway Station

Griffith 5 – 6th October

Griffith Campsite

We really enjoyed the scenery after we left Binalong right through to Tempora It was greener than Kiama and rolling hills of dense green crops and super yellow canola. Cattle, orange coated sheep ( - could this be the side effect of the dust storm) roaming through paddocks of purple Patterson’s Curse making a scene rather like Scottish Highlands as we hit cloud and rain!
The countryside dried up a bit more as we moved west. We passed through a little cute town where a friend grew up and realised this was also the town Yvonne Gooloogong was raised.
Arrived in Griffith by late afternoon. Could smell a pretty marvellous scent all the way in from all the orange blossom - Heavenly! Griffith seems a thriving town, with a strong agricultural base of grapes, oranges and rice. Had a funny little chat to the Fruit Inspector about all the fruit fly regulations that make half sense! The couple said that they were the only inspectors around here! After throwing out our water melon, she told us it would have been OK to keep it! She also told us it was OK to bring in grapes at the moment No one really believes I had that conversation. The visitor centre’s attendant didn’t! Found a lovely official rest stop in town in a park, next to a canal in a section of the town that looks like Canberra (i.e. we got lost on round-abouts)! It was designed by Walter Burley Griffin. Hence the name of the Highway makes sense. Unfortunately we had to stop to get a few repairs - the generator was not working so we had to get this fixed. We also had a few stone chips and the shower recess was also broken, but will need replacing and so there is not much we can do until we get home.

Galong Peak Hour

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Binalong Road Rage

Binalong 4th October

Left home late due to the inclement weather and headed for a music festival at Goulburn. However, one look at the wet, cold, conditions convinced us to head to the drier western part of the state. We thought we might head to Lake Mungo NP as the times to go there are limited in summer and the depth of winter. We stopped for the night at the well known Stan Galloway Memorial Car Park in a village called Binalong right next to the Mechanics Institute. This was one of a series of very quaint villages we found where time seems to have stopped. Each one was a few hundred people. One boasted there were 70 residents and about 300 around the district! Saw a few comical outback scenes were a man in his slippers drove his lawn mower up the main street to shop. Another scene where 2 old codgers stopped their car in the middle of the road to have a chat with another farmer and then left the car there whilst one was in the shop. Well? With only 70 people only town why not?

You can see our new dog (Nicky) in the photo. He is a Havanese and has a lovely nature. So far he has been good so fingers crossed.

What the !!!!