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.