(3/1/2018 – 12/1/2018)
After we left Lake Moogerah we travelled south to NSW. We decided to travel inland rather than down the east coast as we wanted to visit family living in Cobar and Griffith. We also planned to attend the Elvis Festival in Parkes!!!!
We drove down the New England Highway and stopped at Stanthorpe, Qld for lunch and then continued into NSW (change of time again for daylight savings!!!).
Glen Innes (3 Jan)
We stopped at Glen Innes Showgrounds and stayed overnight (at $22.00 with power and water).
Glen Innes is at the intersection of the New England and Gwydir Highways and is in the heart of New England High Country. Until recent years, the district produced more than half of the world’s supply of sapphires, including the famous Reddestone blues. Fossicking for sapphires and other minerals remains a popular pastime for locals and thousands of visitors alike. Glen Innes also has strong ‘Celtic’ connections. The earliest settlers in the region were Scots. The love of Celtic history, music and culture has remained strong among Glen Innes residents. In 1992, locals organised the first Australian Celtic Festival. The festival celebrated its silver jubilee in 2017 and attracts Celtic musicians and performers from around the world, as well as many thousands of visitors.
Moree (4 Jan)
We packed up in the morning and travelled on the Gwydir Highway to Moree where we stopped at the Moree Showgrounds overnight. As much as we wanted to do some free camping it was just far too hot and we needed power so we could use the aircon – and we had it cranking!!!!!! There were only a couple of caravans there and it was $22.00 for power and water. It was very dry and dusty, not much grass at all but there was shade in the late afternoon. I did a load of washing and I think it dried in an hour!!!!!
Moree is located at the junction of the Newell Highway and Gwydir Highway. It is situated on the Moree Plains Shire. Moree is home to artesian hot spring baths which are famous for their reputed healing qualities.
We left Moree and continued along the Gwydir Highway. We arrived at a town called Walgett in the afternoon and we were going to do another overnight stop but we didn’t like the area nor feel comfortable there. I took over the driving and we decided to head to Bourke which was couple of hours away along the Kamilaroi Highway.
Bourke (5 – 7 Jan)
Well, we found a great caravan/camp spot just north of Bourke. It was called Kidmans Camp and we stayed for 2 nights ($35.00 for power and water). Wow, what a beautiful park!! There were lovely maintained gardens with lots of trees for shade. They had a large amenities block, laundry and camp kitchen Best of all, there were 2 swimming pools which was perfect considering the hot hot hot weather!!!!
Kidmans Camp is located about 8kms north of Bourke along the Mitchell Highway and situated on the banks of the Darling River.
We were disappointed that the PV Jandra River Cruise was not running as it was closed for the season. Unfortunately the Bourke Visitor Information Centre, The Back O Bourke Exhibition Centre and the Back O Bourke Outback show were also closed.
Actually, I thought Bourke would be a bigger country town than it was. On Saturday, we took a drive around the town and we also drove on some 4WD tracks around the Darling River. Then we had a swim late afternoon, sooo cool and refreshing as I think it was about 43 degrees!!!! On the Saturday night we took the courtesy bus into town and had dinner at the Bourke Bowling Club.
An interesting thing we discovered was that the world famous Opthamologist, Fred Hollows is buried in Bourke so we went to the cemetery and had a look.
He became well known for his work in restoring eyesight for countless thousands of people in Australia and many other countries. It has been estimated that more than one million people in the world can see today because of initiatives instigated by Hollows, the most notable example being The Fred Hollows Foundation.
He passed away in 1993 from cancer and he had a state funeral. He had requested to be buried at Bourke where he had a great affinity with the people and the land.
Cobar (7 – 12 Jan)
On Sunday morning (7/1) we packed up and left for Cobar. We travelled down the Kidman Highway and arrived in Cobar late afternoon – very hot and alot of red dirt everywhere. We checked into Cobar Caravan Park for 5 nights. Andrew had family living there so we spent most of the week with them. There was no pool at the caravan park so we went down to the local swimming pools most afternoons for a swim.
Cobar is situated on the crossroads of the Kidman Highway and the Barrier Highway. Cobar is bustling and a prosperous town with a mixture of old and modern buildings. The town and district of Cobar Shire is steeped in mining and pastoral history.
One day we took a drive out to Fort Bourke Lookout. Fort Bourke Hill is the historical site of Cobar’s first gold Mine, the New Cobar Gold Mine. Peak Gold Mines operates an underground mine at Fort Bourke.
We could see the open mine pit and the entrance to the underground mine from a well constructed viewing platform. Wow, the mine pit was massive.
One night Andrew’s cousin took him out wild pig hunting for a few hours. The wild pigs are a nuisance. Wild pigs cause thousands of dollars of damage to farmer’s livestock and property.
After a wonderful week visiting Andrew’s cousin and his family, we left Cobar and travelled down to Forbes.
(3/1/2018 – 12/1/2018)