A Travellerspoint blog

Talwood to Yelarbon Recreation Area

sunny 40 °C

Thursday 30th
Talwood to Yelarbon

Leaving Talwood we quietly enjoyed the journey towards Yelarbon (C 6 # 805), a spot we were previously had been aware of but had not stayed. One unique feature of today’s drive was the number of agricultural machinery being moved on the highway. Most required a qualified Pilot to ensure traffic control and reduced accident potential. All the pilots were helpful and we had no issues in spite of some spots passing them at narrow points or on a corner. There was one instance of a convoy with about eight machines being moved. All this in conjunction with the many road train trucks carting wheat to silos for trucking or train to manufacturers.

We found the Yelarbon Recreation Reserve set off the highway but could still hear the passing traffic. What did impress was that, for $15 per night, we could have a powered site, water supply and excellent (if a bit old) shower and toilet facilities. Being another hot day we decided that this was a good investment. Adjacent to the park site was a small lake with a variety of birdlife, and, as evening arrived we were joined by a large number of kangaroos.

Posted by psstevo 20:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Dirranbandi to Talwood Recreation Area

sunny 40 °C

Wednesday 29th
Dirranbandi to Talwood

We awoke to a lovely sunny day and slightly cooler than recent days so that seemed to be a good start. The showers here were very serviceable and we did enjoy the cooling overnight with electricity supply and at only $25 for a serviced site we felt pleased. As usual in country areas the major noise comes from neighbouring dog owners who lack competence in dog training so a few barkers overnight took some of the shine of things.

As we did not need to leave early today we were just finishing breakfast in the van when Mary called out “There’s a snake!” A 1.4M brown snake was cruising past our van on its way to somewhere else. I jumped out with camera and it gave me a ‘do not get closer’ look, which I was happy to comply with but still got my photos.

Getting the various outside items all set for departure was done with a little more attention to potential for our snake’s relatives or friends not to interfere with our preparations!

Back on the road and the flat landscape continued with many farms along the road although everything looked very dry. A lot of big money has been spent in the region improving irrigation and suchlike to improve productivity and more jobs perhaps?
The trip to St George was uneventful and we spent some time enjoying a cuppa in the shade beside the Balonne River – and a walk around the town. No Millers here though!

As we travelled we enjoyed seeing some serious farming activity for quite some time with more earthworks than we recall from our last visit about two years ago. A nice little town (famous quite recently as the home town of now Federal Minister Barnaby Joyce) and unlike some of the smaller villages it seems to generate a positive ‘vibe’.

After departure from St George we decided to revisit the historic and unique Nindigully Pub for lunch. We met another couple, from the Sunshine Coast who also arrived for lunch, and chatted as we waited for ages for our burger – a local speciality! Fortunately we had only ordered the one burger (the other couple had ordered one each – little did they know!) and had some difficulty in eating our half burger. Delicious it certainly was and beautifully presented and absolutely superior to any attempt by Macca’s to match in any way.

As we travelled we saw many very large paddocks ready to have wheat harvested and we wondered just how many loaves of bread each paddock would provide. The figure must be huge – which is encouraging. Some paddocks had already been a harvested and we soon saw many giant wheat silos waiting to be filled and often surrounded by massive football field sized mounds of covered wheat. A big business out here providing many jobs.
We soon reached the small village of Talwood and headed for the Sports Ground (C 6 # 822) for the night. Just prior to the Sports Ground was the obligatory set giant silos and piles of wheat and the noise of workers taking care of business. We found a shady site and settled down with the flies and enjoyed the evening. Several other campers worked as harvest time wheat workers and looked forward to a long shower to remove the day’s sweat and grime!

Apart from one or two road train trucks arriving or departing it was a very pleasant spot we had and all that it cost was a small donation to the Sports Ground. Our second visit and we would happily stay again.

Posted by psstevo 20:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Lightning Ridge to Dirranbandi

sunny 38 °C

Tuesday 28th

Another fine and warm day, although this morning began about 20C for a change and that felt really pleasant! After the usual shower and breakfast as we did not plan on a long day today we both started on our chores. Today mine included filling the two water tanks and also the two 10L containers of spare water. This task went quite well until I noticed that we had water running out from underneath the van. Turning the main tap off I soon found the cause – one of the water inputs had a rupture in the tubing between the solid input vent and the hose down into the tank. Water had gone all over the interior floor and Mary was not too happy at the mess that was made. Especially as she had just finished cleaning up ready to depart!!
The breeze and sunshine helped to dry everything out before a belated departure.

Stopping at the local IGA in town we stocked up enough supplies for the remaining week and dawdled out to the main highway north towards the Queensland State border.

This half of the Castlereagh Highway was nearly as bad as the section up from Walgett so, as we had time to spare, we took it slowly and enjoyed the sunny day.

The landscape gradually changed with a little less of the arid region and ‘burnt off’ look of recent days with a few more and taller trees. The farming seemed to still consist in mainly cattle stations and little else of agricultural importance.

We reached the State border and immediately arrived at the Queensland border town of Hebel and decided (as our clocks went back one hour to remove Daylight Saving time) to have a break (after all it was almost lunchtime somewhere!).

The local pub served cold drinks amidst a range of clever artworks and so Charlotte, the bar keeper from England on a year off uni studies, included us in her chat about her amazing life in this tiny town where the previous two days temps had been about 43C!! Her folks back in England, she informed us, had absolutely no comprehension of her new life.

Across the road was the Hebel General Store, and they proudly told us that we could enjoy a home-made curry pie and cappuccino for a price a bit above capital city prices. And enjoyable it was too.

Heading on north we soon reached the small and famous outback town of Dirranbandi and eventually found the small caravan park (electricity provides airconditioning!) and decided to overnight here. Dirranbandi is famous (some would say infamous) because nearby is the Cubbie Station cotton (who spotted the deliberate mistake here??) farm that is very large. (Still checking that aspect out).

Posted by psstevo 22:13 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Lightning Ridge - Car Door touring and SUNSET

semi-overcast 41 °C

Monday 27th

Today we planned to take the ‘blue door’ car tour and, deciding that the day was going to be even hotter than previous days we planned on getting this one done in the morning. Again it was traversing the dreadful gravel/rocky ‘streets’ into the large mining areas around town and finishing at the Kangaroo lady’s place for Mary to visit the collection of knick knacks on display. I spent the time trying to photograph some butterflies and some of the dangerous mine access pits.

In this hot weather I have been reading my Kindle story of John Forrest, an Australian explorer of some note (C 1870) who managed to cross the Nullarbor after Eyre had failed, and then went on to other fascinating explorer journeys. The Nullarbor expedition was especially meaningful as, last year, we traversed similar geography in a few hours and it took Forrest and his team months. Well worth a read Bushbaby team presently touring WA!
As the clouds gathered we faced the possibility of a storm and the wind became like an oven blast making the day quite unpleasant, so, like many other residents, we spent a fair bit of the afternoon in the van with the aircon going full blast. We had decided to do the ‘green car’ door tour late in the day as it finished, about sunset, at the highest point on the Ridge that stood above the vast flat plain surrounding us.

There were a few pointers to some local trees, including one tree hat was claimed to be the world’s only Opal Tree!!! Pull the other leg – anything to make a buck it seems. The track gradually rose to the high point that was very close to the site of the first opal strike many years ago. It also did provide a spectacular view as far as the eye could see and of the sun sinking in red, yellow and orange cloud formations that made this also a worthwhile visit.

In between the sunset shots there was time for a look and a photo of the uncompleted drinks can house. Eventually the darkness fell as the spectacular colour display gradually faded away and it was time to take the homeward challenge on an unlit and very rocky road that seemed to meander in and around the many mine shafts and back to the main highway. Because of the potential for a dispute with silly kangaroos we drove very slowly and navigated the hazards safely. What a good ute to manage all this rough stuff!!

A most enjoyable evening and worth the effort.

While I remember this unrelated point, we have bought yet another step for use in accessing the van. Followers of last year’s journey around Australia may recall that while busily engaged in taking photos of the Rabbit Cemetery in Farley, West Australia, the expensive step was left behind by the enthusiastic photographer. Well, this trip the replacement step was left behind at a free camp because the still enthusiastic photographer was too busy taking photos of feral goats to remember to load the step back into the van before departure. Fortunately a shop in Lightning Ridge stocked the exact model/s that we had forgotten, and so we again have a safe entry and exit of the van! I cannot reveal the person’s name as I will probably have to cook my own meals for the rest of this trip.

Posted by psstevo 21:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Lightning Ridge - exploring the Chambers of the Black Hand

sunny 40 °C

Sunday 26th

A cooler night thanks to the lower temperature in the van to start with enabled a better sleep. A nice shower helped to start an already warm morning and we decided to visit the famous Chambers of the Black Hand attraction nearby. The rocky road there kept us at walking pace and we only just made the attraction by starting time.

This has been a working opal mine for a number of years until the owner got a bit bored with digging for opal and started to carve a simple ‘Welcome’ sign. This gradually developed into an unexpected passion for sculpture and today the two major underground levels are filled with an amazing array of sculpture and artwork covering ancient Egyptian art, religious art, comic art and some very telling political art (especially so because of artist Ron’s ability to change any sculpture with a slice of his knife – and a certain couple of senior politicians have been amazingly ‘transformed’ with pertinent results in the art!!).

The two plus hours on this fascinating place is worth the journey here to see and it has been acclaimed widely as a special place of culture. We would visit them again, especially as these real opal miners have all the necessary knowledge of their industry to make everything easy to understand and enjoy.

On leaving the mine Mary complained of feeling quite unwell so we ended up spending some 2-3 hours (in airconditioning so that was the one bonus!) at Lightning Ridge Hospital seeing a doctor to resolve her back pains. A very tired doctor was very helpful and eventually we returned to camp for a light lunch and rest.

Later we decided to enjoy another of the local attractions, namely the famous ‘car door’ sightseeing self-drive tours to visit local sights and designed to (hopefully) persuade you to buy their opals!

A nice ice-cream helped to keep us cool and so we returned again to prepare for a cooler evening, including a brief swim in the park pool. Very nice change it was too.

Posted by psstevo 21:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 59) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »