Tuesday 30th March 2010, Glen Innes.
We broke a few golden rules in our move today to Glen Innes (see map), north of Armidale on the New England Highway. Number one, we packed up and moved in the rain, and two, we travelled more than 300K in one move. The weather forecast dictated that we move in the rain or possibly stay in Scone for another few days or so until it cleared up, and we weren’t going to do that as we were not very happy with the caravan park we were staying at, and we are running short of time to get to the Sunshine Coast. As a result I got drenched packing up this morning, and I saved on washing all the dust off the car as it was cleaned by the rain during the trip. It did clear up after about half way through the trip and has stayed dry since giving us a chance to setup in the dry, but the forecast for the next week is not good. We have been looking forward to returning to Glen Innes for some time now and if it does rain for the duration of this visit we are not going to see all that is here, but that won’t matter as we once again suggested that we must come back this way again some time as there are a few quite nice looking towns in this district we would like to visit sometime.
Friday 26th March 2010, Scone.
We went to see something today that we never knew existed until we got to Scone the other day, ‘The Burning Mountain’. It was a worthwhile day as there was a lengthy walk up and down hills to get there, so we also got some good exercise that we really need. The Burning Mountain is exactly what it infers, a burning mountain, well it is in fact a coal seem well below the surface that is on fire. It was naturally lit and has been alight for about 6,000 years, and burns at the rate of about 1 meter per year. It is apparent where it has been burning as the temperatures produced along its path has effected the soil and vegetation growth from it. The latest area is conspicuous by the heat generated from the soils surface, and the vent where the fumes are seeping from. One can also see where the land is sinking along its path after the coal is burned and leaves a void under the surface.
Thursday 25th March 2010 Scone.
We went for a drive to Barrington Tops National Park today, a long way to go for not a great deal to see, but it was worth it. We were almost halfway into the trip when we realised where we had heard about this National Park when we saw a rock that was shown on a travelling show on telly, it was a conspicuous rock in the shape of a penis and we gathered this was why it wasn’t advertised on any of the brochures. It was only by luck that I spotted a sign ‘The Rock’ and reversed back to see what it was when it became apparent. When I said there wasn’t much to see, apart from ‘The Rock’, there were only a couple of lookouts with short walks, and then there was an area that I reckon that Arboretum at Wellington got his ideas about for the fern gully with the artificial canopy. There was one walk through a rain forest that had a great example of ferns under a natural canopy that was well worth the time. The forest itself was a little different with a moss growing over most of the trees that we haven’t seen to that extent yet, so I guess all National Parks, although some seeming similar, do have there individual differences.
Tuesday 23rd March 2010, Scone.
We have now moved on to Scone (see map) on the New England Highway between Muswellbrook and Tamworth. Linda has already been to the information centre and thinks that we may have to stay here longer than we planned due to all the walking areas and other things to do, we will see though when we look into it later. She also found out that Scone is noted for its thoroughbred horse breeding. There are more breeding mares within 40 Kilometres of Scone than in England, Scotland, Wales and France combined. Scone and neighbouring towns represent the largest thoroughbred breed region eclipsed only by the state of Kentucky USA, some bragging point eh.
Friday 19th March 2010, Wellington.
Here I am being a little slack again by not putting any words down, I guess it is going to take a bit of getting used to again, but then we came here to visit K and A and we are enjoying our time with them. We have been doing a few touristy things and it is these that I should have been writing about. We went for a drive to Lake Burrendong the other day and were a little disappointed as the lake was nearly empty, I guess with all the rain most areas have had recently we just expected it to be full. We also intended to check out a couple of caravan parks while in the area, but they turned out to be in National reserves and were closed by boom gates. One can gain entry via the automatically opening gates at the entry, and are then required to pay for an exit coupon at the kiosk within the park. Now there was no information as to whether one could enter and exit free after just having a look around, so we left on the basis that we were not going to pay a park entry fee just to have a look at the camping ground. There was an Arboretum in the area that was certainly well worth a visit. One thing that really got my attention was the ‘Fern Gully’, being an area for growing ferns. They had created an artificial forest canopy within the gully where the ferns were growing underneath, and it created an ideal growing environment for them, hence there were some excellent examples of all types of ferns. We also visited the Wellington caves, or at least the area, but didn’t enter the caves themselves, rather just having a look at other attractions such as the Japanese Gardens. We found that the 2 caves and a mine had an entry fee of $20.00 odd each, $11.00 concession, and we decided that this was too much to pay for something that we had already seen in other limestone caves. We have decided to stay here for an extra couple days as we have changed our travel plans and we will now have a little extra time to get to Queensland. It turns out that some places we were going to visit are booked out, and others are too expensive, so we are making our way straight up the New England Highway, Tamworth and on, from here.
Friday 12th March 2010, Wellington.
Cootamundra is another one of those towns that one could relax in for a while, but then there are quite a few of them in this area, we travelled through quite a few again today without even stopping. We keep saying it, but we would enjoy having quite some time in this area to just check out these small towns, but in saying that there are numerous areas the same throughout the country, so its no wonder that we think that we will never get to completely see all the districts in depth that we would like to. We have now moved on about 300K to Wellington (see map) to visit K and A and it was nice to catch up with them again, and it will be nice to just sit around here and veg. for as long as we can, even it can only be for a maximum of about 10 days or so. It has already proved well worth coming this far north as it is warmer already, as is proven by the fact that I am sitting here at 9:00 PM writing this and still have my shorts on, I haven’t been able to keep my shorts on of an evening for some time now.
Wednesday 10th March 2010, Cootamundra, NSW.
Another move after all the wet weather now sees me at Cootamundra (see map) North of Gundagai and Wagga Wagga. The main reason for stopping here is that it is the last train stop for Linda to embark from the train to Sydney that is in the area of our travel plans, she is on her way here very soon. The train turns south from Cootamundra on to Yass, which is back down on the Hume highway at the intersection to Canberra, and then follows the Hume to Sydney. Our travel plans are not too stringent so we are on our way to Wellington to visit K and A for a week or so, then I want to go to Port Stephens for a week and must get there before Easter, and high park prices. Then we will have a month to get to the Sunshine Coast so Linda can return to Melbourne for a short visit.
Monday 8th March 2010, Wodonga.
I have been telling everybody that I am glad that I left Melbourne when I did, but we were hit with heavy rain here as well. It was the hail that Melbourne had that I was fortunate to miss because I hate to think what it would do to the solar panels on the roof of the van, and the van and car. We have had heaps of rain, as did the entire state of Victoria, but not the floods as Melbourne had, and I have had to extend my stay here for a couple of days to give everything a chance to dry out. Not that I have had a problem with things getting wet, I have been ok inside the van and under the small roof I erected outside, but I just need to give the ground etc. a chance to dry a little. Linda sent me a message last night saying she was having trouble with water invading Matt and Lou’s house at several points, I will have to give her a ring later to find out how bad it was. This extra time here will give me a chance to do some washing, and Linda is due to meet up with me tomorrow so it will save her travelling any further.
Thursday 4th March 2010, Wodonga.
Yeah, back on the road again, although it being without Linda. She had a late call for baby-sitting this weekend so I left her there in Melbourne and started to make my way north on my own and she will catch a train or something to meet up with me where ever I am. I got as far as Wodonga today, on the NSW border. I chose to stay somewhere different to where we normally stay in Albury just for something different, as I have had my eye on this, The Wodonga Caravan Park, for some time and never thought to check it out. We actually had some not so good reports about this park from a web site I found so I decided to find out for myself how good the park was, or not, as the reports on the web were a bit old. My impressions so far is that it is a little cramped but tidy, but the next few days will give me a better idea as it is forecast for rain and thunderstorms and that is the sort of thing that ultimately gives one a good or bad experience that influences ones ideas. I guess one is getting somewhat used to settling in one place for an extended time nowadays, as the trip today seemed a fair bit out of the ordinary as one is not used to it lately, but I’m sure it won’t take long to come back. It is going to be interesting over the next couple of years as to where we go because, while we were watching a TV show on the Nullarbor the other night, Linda was heard to say that she would like to go across there again. This threw me aback a little as I too have been having ideas that I would probably like to go to WA again one day, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see us try it again, at least this time we will be prepared for it.
Monday 1st March 2010, Melbourne.
The time is very nearly here again to pack up and start our move north. I plan on leaving here on Thursday, but Linda has been called on to baby-sit and will be staying back for a few days. It wasn’t Narrelle that called on her services but Matthew and Lou, so it is now looking like she will come and meet me at Albury on Monday or so. The plan is to pack up the annexe tomorrow so we will have Wednesday to make sure all is roadworthy with the van, meaning the things that haven’t been checked during the problems we had recently on our journey down here, then on Thursday just casually head north and see where, being on my own, end up. I am looking at rest areas to possibly do a couple of nights camping out, but then we will see what happens.