DALBY up to SYDNEYAugust 19, 2018 in Australia ⋅ 🌬 13 °C
DALBY TO SYDNEY 21/7 to 8/8/2018
During our stay in Dalby we investigated the city and caught up on some shopping. We headed for the new Aldi store which Frank was keenly anticipating only to find it still surrounded by a construction fence – its opening delayed by over a month. Needless to say he was devastated!!! Our coffee pods had run out and so had his favourite chocolate. We found a camp draft event underway at the showgrounds so spent a couple of hours there watching the horses and riders competing. After our Dalby stay we headed south-west along the Moonie Highway along straight roads through mostly flat countryside to the town of Mooney where we stopped for lunch and then continued south to Goondiwindi where we stayed overnight. The next morning we had a wander around the city centre which has lovely wide tree-lined streets. On a prominent corner of the main street is the striking Victoria Hotel with its black and white timber façade and square tower. The city is situated on the Macintyre River which forms part of the Qld/NSW border. We saw the historic bridge and customs house and a statue of Gunsynd, the famous Gundiwindi grey race horse near the banks of the river.
We then set off down the Newell Highway towards Narrabri, stopping at Moree for lunch and a look through the information centre where there was a display of information about the local cotton industry. It housed an enormous cotton harvester which we climbed up and sat in the cabin. Cotton is a big industry in central western NSW and the flat plains have enormous ploughed paddocks which stretch to the horizon in places. All the cotton had been harvested but who knows if it will be planted for the next season now that the drought has really taken hold. After our short stay we continued to Narrabri where we set up for the night. We decided to eat at a nearby pub where Frank took up the challenge to eat the huge mixed grill for dinner. (See photo) He managed to finish it!! The next morning we had a look around the city centre and the headed out towards part of the Mt. Kaputar National Park to see an unusual formation called Sawn Rocks. It is a geological formation known as organ-piping which is enormous and spectacular.
We continued from Narrabri down the Kamilaroi Highway through flat agricultural land with the Nandewar Range on our left. We could see the effect of the drought on the land, which must be devastating for the farmers. We stopped in Boggabri for lunch and continued to Gunnedah, a city of 10,000 people with a large business district which boasts an Aldi store among its supermarkets. Yay!! During our stay in Gunnedah we visited two lookouts, one on either side of the city. The first and highest – called Porcupine lookout gave great views across the flat plains to distant mountain ranges in every direction. The second – called Pensioners Hill, had sandstone sculptures depicting the history of Gunnedah as well as views of the city. We also visited the statue of Dorothea Mackellar acknowledging her connection with the area and displays of plaques with some of her poetry. In keeping with the influence of some famous Australian poets in Gunnedah’s history, there is even an unique amenities block in the centre of the city called the “Lyrical Loos” with murals on the outer walls and recordings of poems being played inside where the doors are named and verses of poetry printed on the inside. It seems that a lot of country towns make their toilet blocks look more attractive with murals painted on the outer walls.
We drove south-west towards Mudgee through more drought-affected countryside which became more hilly with mountain ranges in the distance. We stopped for lunch at the NSW version of the Black Stump near the small township of Coolah and then turned onto the Castlereagh Highway heading towards Gulgong. The countryside seemed to have a slightly greener tinge with lots of sheep and some cattle in the rolling, cleared paddocks. We stopped in Gulgong mid-afternoon and found and amazing town with lots of historic buildings, narrow streets and gold-rush history. The town featured on the original $10 note and has a historic opera house where Dame Nellie Melba once performed and has a strong connection with Henry Lawson. It was totally different to any other country town we had visited on this trip. A real gem!! We continued to Mudgee and set up at the caravan park near the centre of the city. While in Mudgee we wandered around the streets of the city centre admiring the well-preserved historic buildings dating back to the 1800’s. These days Mudgee is all about wine, gourmet food and interesting shops. We made a day trip to Rylstone where my father’s family came from in the hope that I may be able to find some information on the family. Rylstone is a small town with a lot of very old buildings, some made of rough cut sandstone dating back to the mid 1800’s with lots of character. We started off with lunch at the old Globe Hotel where the barmaid told us to enquire at the shire office about historic records. Whilst the woman in the shire office was not very helpful, we were lucky that a man sitting in the waiting room overheard my enquiry and said he knew the owners of the property once owned by my uncle and aunt in Cudgegong and recommended we go to see the woman who worked at Kandos museum only five kilometres away. So off we went to meet Daryl Clapham at the museum where she gave us directions to find the old Cudgegong cemetery where we went and found the graves of my grandparents and other members of the Perram family. (I had previously been told that the cemetery was underwater when the Cudgegong River was dammed to form Lake Windamere). It was a really fruitful day and we were so lucky that the man in the waiting room overheard my query. Daryl also invited us to drop in and visit her at the property which was once owned by my uncle and aunt and where I had spent a lot of Christmas holidays with my family when I was young.
After packing up camp in Mudgee we headed off towards Cudgegong and turned off on Perrams Road to visit the farm (now named Hazelbrook) which is now partly subdivided but the majority is owned by Mitchell and Daryl Clapham where they raise cattle and a small number of sheep. Daryl showed us around some of the old buildings and shearing shed and we shared lots of information about the past farm history which was really interesting. We then continued our drive towards Lithgow past some hilly pastoral countryside and stunning mountain ranges where we viewed the enormous Capertee Valley from a lookout. We arrived in Lithgow just before it started raining and set up camp. The next day we drove up the steep climb to Mt Victoria where the views of the mountain scenery were amazing and continued past Katoomba, descending to the eastern side of the Blue Mountains. Heading south along the Hume Highway we turned off towards Wollongong where we planned to spend three days visiting old friends while staying at the Corrimal Beach caravan park.
After an enjoyable time in Wollongong we headed to Sydney to the Lane Cove River caravan park where we stayed for six days and enjoyed our time with Janette, Rich and Olivia visiting parks and playgrounds and walking around the newly developed Barangaroo waterfront area between Darling Harbour and The Rocks area. We also took a ferry to Cockatoo Island and looked around the historic buildings used as a prison for convict second offenders and also the ship building area of more recent years. It was hard to leave our beautiful grand-daughter but it was time to head back to Melbourne. We had an overnight stop in Gundagai before continuing down the Hume Highway in the rain all the way to Melbourne. At least the countryside was green and the livestock in the paddocks looked in good condition – something which we hadn’t seen through western Queensland and NSW where the drought conditions were terrible.
In all our trip took us 11 ½ weeks and we covered 10,400 kilometres. We zig-zagged our way up through western NSW and Qld. to the Gulf of Carpentaria and then back south again by a different route. We saw some truly stunning scenery including beautiful gorges and met some really great people and learned a lot more about this amazing country of ours.Read more