The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

20 April, 2013

Dubbo to Albury

After leaving Tamworth we could see the change in the country side - the grass was brown and much dryer. The Autumn leave are starting to fall.  It's been a while since we have experienced season changes as we are used to Wet and Dry, so this was great to see.  The streets of Tamworth and Dubbo looked great with all the Autumn leaves falling.

We were hoping to camp at the Warrumbungles N/P however after calling into the information centre in Coonabarabran we were informed that the Warrumbungles was closed for camping due to the fires earlier in the year which devastated the NP.  We started to look for suitable alternatives but most were close to the road, so finished up going to a recommended (red tick) free camp just 10km north of Dubbo.  This turned out to be one of our longest days so far, roughly 340km.  The camp was off the main road and quite a nice spot along the river for about 8 or so caravaners.  When we arrived late afternoon we would have been around number 14 or 15 so was a bit crowded.  Would have finished up with 20 or more staying overnight and had heard that at times the access road is full of campers, must be 30 plus.  The group was a friendly lot so sat around the campfire for happy hour and traded travel stories.  More and more travellers are staying in the free camps as Caravan Parks increase their fees.  We had been told that all the parks in Dubbo were booked out over the weekend as Triple J had a music concert on Saturday night, so staying in Dubbo was not an option.

Free Camp 933 at Terramungamine north of Dubbo, a popular spot .. hey!!

We set off the next day into Dubbo for a look before going further south.  We walked up and down the main street and was surprised that Dubbo has a Myer store, had a quick look at the old Goal and had lunch on the park lawns. After hearing how difficult it would be to get a site in Dubbo we found a Property about 26km from Dubbo on the Obley Road that would be suitable for a couple of nights. As we travelled past the Dubbo Zoo heading along Obley Rd, Hels remarked on the bike sculptures on the road side with various animals made out of various old farm implements sitting on them.  Nothing more was mentioned until later, when we were heading towards Molong.

Our camp on the property out from Dubbo

Oliver and his new mate, might have to get some sunnies for Oliver to be cool!!

Campsite on the property out of Dubbo

Oliver playing on the Harvester
Even though the camp area was basic it was a most relaxing spot just to chill out for a couple of days, Hels had time to finish reading her book and I just enjoyed the warmth from the sun, but the nights were cold!  Oliver was excited as he found a new friend and was allowed to play on some of the old farm machinery, a 1930's Sunshine Harvester.  Ian & Betty brought a lovely dinner to share one night and both Helen and I were in ore of the travels they had done, especially taking their Harley to the USA and travelling around - they had some great stories.

1930's Sunshine Harvester

Sunshine Harvester

On leaving the farm we continued on Obley Rd travelling towards Molong.  We had forgotten about the Animals on bike sculptures until they started to appear again, which made us wonder what and why.  We stopped in Cumnock to talk to Todd on the phone and noticed outside the hardware store was another Animal on a bike, this time there was a caption on the sign which referenced a web site - this explains the paddock art sculpture trail from Molong to the Dubbo Zoo.

Zebra and Hippo on bikes in Cumnock

Animals on Bikes

Animals on Bikes

From Molong headed to Eugowra a small rural town between Molong and Forbes on the Mandagery Creek.

Were attracted to Eugowra as the Camp 6 made reference to "The Fat Lamb Hotel" for accommodation, and after staying at the Blue Healer Hotel and dinning at the Golden Dog we thought this would be an obvious choice. Now have a look at the 'piccie' as to why we did not stay!!!! Camp 6 Reference NSW  503 no longer exists as it burnt down.  We did however stay at the show grounds, this provided a great backyard, as on Sunday morning we had the trots trials for the local club, it's great to have a different back yard now and again.

Fat Lamb Hotel Camp 6 Ref 503, I think they left the roast on for toooo long.

After breakfast and watching the trots we went for a drive to Forbes about 40km to the west and then up to Parks to have a look at the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope (as in the movie 'The Dish').

Hels checking out the Dehavilland Vampire Single Bomber the park at Forbes, looks more like a model plane however it was a real one.

CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope 20km north of Parks, became famous in the move "The Dish"

Sent Hels to the naughty corner .... no not really. 
This is a sound amplifier, you whispered into it and the sound travelled to another dish about 50 meters away.

We left Eugowra late after coffee and headed for Gooloogong, a long trip across the other side of the Lachlan River at trip of approx. 25km, yes 25km total!  Decided to stay in the Free camp 2km west of Gooloogong near the site of the first Anglican Church, not sure why this is the first as haven't been able to find out much more information.  The only site we found was the old grave site. Light rain tonight which brought out the huge moths which particularly liked the lights in our van!

Gooloogong camp 6 Ref 505. Not sure if we actually saw the site of the First Anglican Church .

After leaving Gooloogong we travelled further south through lush farming land which reminded us of  the SA country side with lots of gum trees and undulating fields. Travelled through Grenfell (Henry Lawson's birthplace) and on passing through Young which is known for the cherry crops the weather started to get even cooler!!!!  Travelled through Cootamundra (Badman's birthplace), Bethungra and Illabo, decided to stop for lunch at Junee, about 50km north of Wagga Wagga. Discovered Junee has a lot to offer as they have the Railway Station which was built in 1883 and in great condition, the Roundhouse Museum which houses the turn around train repair shop, the Liquorice and chocolate factory (Hels thought she was in heaven!) so decided to stay the night.  Junee also has Australia's most Haunted House, Monte Cristo Homestead, so we hoped the ghosts didn't stray too far that night.

Coffee in the railway station tea room at Junee

Junee Railway station

Junee railway station, built 1883

The Loftus Hotel, Junee, Est 1896 one of many pubs in the town

Oliver escaped out the car and would not come back until we went into sample the products of the Liquorice & Chocolate Factory.

Monte Cristo Homestead - Australia's most haunted house

Left Junee after a quick drive past the round house, the railway repair workshop where the trains would have been driven in then turned around on a turntable after being repaired and sent on their way.  Also checked out Monte Cristo Homestead but as neither were open continued on our way.  We decided to go to Sandy Beach Camp [Camp 6 Ref 800] for a couple of nights before heading into Albury.  Had a great camp on the Murrumbidgee River East of Wagga and enjoyed our first camp fire with another couple Norm and Pat - great company.
Sandy Beach Camp [NSW 800]

Thanks Target ..... Coat $19, Trackky dacks $8, Slip-ons $6 ... I will survive the southern cold!!

On Friday headed into Albury and after setting up in the caravan park went to surprise Briony at work, I think she had been expecting us since early morning - was great to see her.  Will stay in Albury now for the next week or so enjoying her company and of-course celebrating her 30th Birthday.

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