After spending winter of 2020 at home I began revising plans I had made to spend time in Queensland last year for this year and hoped that Melbourne, and the Mornington Peninsula, could stay out of lockdown long enough for us to escape. A fourth lockdown in late May caused some anxious moments but the start of July saw us packing and hitching up our faithful old caravan and beginning our journey north on a cool but sunny Sunday.
As much of Melbourne still slumbered (as did our little puppy, Mel) we crossed the east and headed up the Hume Highway.
We switched to the Goulburn Valley Highway near Seymour
and stopped in Shepparton for a picnic lunch we had prepared back at home.
Lunch finished we drove further north through Numurkah and Strathmerton before crossing the border into NSW at Tocumwal.
Back at home we had successfully applied for a border permit on our mobile phones but no one stopped us to check them. Our drive continued through the small town of Finley and we ended up in Jerilderie, where we checked in for the night at the caravan park/motel. After setting up the caravan we took Mel for a walk back into town. The wall of the pool building was colourfully decorated with some local flora and fauna.
The pub was a grand looking two level building.
Back in the early days of 1879 notorious bush ranger Ned Kelly and his gang came to Jerilderie and after capturing the two local policemen robbed the bank the following day. Not so sure he made his escape in a vehicle like this one!
Jerilderie also has a car yard with a difference. Didn’t see anything that appealed there.
Mind you, when this one is fully renovated it would be worth owning.
Dinner was beef casserole in the caravan, with the heater going due to a cold night. We certainly needed all our blankets to keep warm while we slept.
The next morning once breakfast was finished we packed and headed north on a very foggy morning. Not far along we turned off to take the Kidman Way, a route we had never been on before but which would take us to a few places in outback NSW and QLD we wanted to visit.
Even with the heater going Karen was well rugged up for a turn driving. We stopped to swap drivers in Griffith, which was also under a heavy fog. It’s well known for being the centre of an agricultural area. Rice, oranges and vineyards being obvious to us as we drove along.
The sun eventually broke through as the fog lifted. We arrived in the very neat town of Hillston at lunchtime so decided it would be a good spot to break the journey. After setting up the caravan we walked into town and bought a few things for lunch from their bakery which we ate back at the caravan. Next we took a walk. Some very attractively painted emu sculptures caught our eye.
They were at the entrance to a walking trail along a section of the Lachlan River.
We crossed the bridge and followed the trail.
Along the way we stopped at several of the boards detailing information about the local flora and fauna.
During the walk two things stood out. The first was the excellent reflections in the almost still water of the river.
The second was the River Red Gums along the edge of the river. The patterns on the trunks are really beautiful.
On our way back to the caravan park we diverted to the nearby Lake Woorabinda. We thought of walking around it but there wasn’t a trail so after a quick snap of the silos reflected on the lake we returned to our caravan to a hot dinner with the heater on, as the temperature dropped.
Boy did it drop! The next morning we found quite a layer of ice on the windscreen of the Hilux, which I scraped off before we set off.
Not only was it freezing cold (-2) but very foggy again, which made the first part of our drive a slow, cautious one. By the time we passed through Mt Hope the sky was blue not grey.
At Cobar we stopped for a change of driver. Their town sign, modern, but indicative of their mining history.
As we drove through Cobar we had the impression we should be stopping here for a longer look. So next time we come this way we will. By lunchtime we had reached Bourke, our first real stop on our road trip. We booked into the caravan park on a site with an ensuite. After lunch we drove over to the Back O’Bourke Centre, which includes the information centre.
A very helpful guy gave us lots of information and ideas for the next couple of days. More about that in my next post.