The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

23 December, 2015

Heading to Burleigh Heads for Christmas

Passed through Cobar
Travelling to Burleigh Heads our first night was Nyngan Leisure & Caravan Park - fine for an overnight stay.  Opted for Caravan Park as days were quite hot and nights very warm - airconditioning for a few hours was great to cool the van down.  From here we travelled on Mitchell Highway to Nevertire, then turned onto Oxley Highway to Warren and Gilgandra.  Then we turned onto the Newell Highway to Coonabarrabran and onto Narrabri where we stayed on a property for a couple of nights - very dry and dusty.
Nyngan has the "Big Bogan"
From Narrabri we continued onto Moree encountering a lot of truck traffic including a few wide loads.  After having a look at the town of Moree we drove to Goondawindi where we stayed for the night at the Top Tourist Caravan Park - once again needing a bit of assistance with airconditioning as weather was very hot.  From Goondawindi we turned onto Cunningham Highway towards Warrick where we turned off Highway on Freestone Road to Aratula.  Stayed a while at Kooralbyn with friends Leon and Sandy at their beautiful property enjoying their hospitality and spectacular views.

Time to relax and take in the serenity

Swam with the crocs
One of the Whiptail Wallabies seen on the property
After a week of relaxation, we hitched up and headed to Canungra where we stayed at the Show Grounds (great little spot) and caught up with Helen's great-nephew and had a tour of their newly built home.  Had a nice pub meal - Hels is always in favour of not cooking!!

At this point we drove to Reedy Creek and parked the van at our house sit where we looked after Brad & Kim's lovely home and took care of their older Border Collie (Koby), and young mischievous cat (Marly).  This was a great location as we were close to Todd and Tenelle and with the added bonus that Briony flew back from NZ for Christmas, we were able to spend quality family time together.  Briony was able to sleep in the caravan so we were able to have a wonderful catch up.

Early morning view over the Kooralbyn Valley as the low cloud clears
Celebrated Christmas Day with Tenelle's family at their home - great spread and wonderful company. We appreciated Wayne & Susan's invitation as it was the first time in years that our family were all together for Christmas!!  Great Time!!

Christmas lunch and drinks, all good cheer.

04 December, 2015


Travelled on Barrier Highway through Yunta to Broken Hill, then onto Silverton where we stayed at Penrose Park Caravan Park.  Had to fend off the Babblers and Magpies during Happy Hour!!!  Drove into Silverton for sunset photos at the Mundi Mundi Look Out.

Babblers coming over for a friendly chat

Getting a little too friendly

Come on buddy, this is my home!

Next morning we drove into Silverton and visited the Gallery and Visitors Centre and Cowz Gallery before heading off towards Wilcannia then onto 'Warrawong' where we stayed the night.

Cactus in flower near the entrance to Penrose Park

Silverton from Mundi Mundi lookout, the church is a dominate building in town

Silverton Hotel and a Mad Max vehicle parked out front (not the red one).

Some of the artwork outside the galleries

Can you remember the old milk carts

Wild goats coming for a drink at the roadside stop
 'Warrawong' on the Darling, is approx 200kms from Broken Hill (3km from Wilcannia) as is an outback accommodation set up on a working farm and offers powered sites on green grass and lovely new ammenities.  Were given a mud map and drove around the property calling into Big Red (a big River Gum!!), and Bondi Beach (would have to use your imagination!!).  Had Happy Hour with the new caretakers who have lots of ideas to build up the Farm stay.

Took a drive out to one of the large gums on the banks of the river

This is named ski beach
Every farm has an old Bedford

01 December, 2015

Peterborough - Rail Museum

After staying the night at my sister's farm at Mt Pleasant we drove back through Gawler, Roseworthy & Sandy Creek where a massive fire had ripped through last week.  So much devastation of crops, homes, sheds, farm machinery etc - we were driving through dust storms as the wind was whipping up the burnt top soil.

Heading towards Clare the dust and wind reduced viability

Cropping had started around Peterborough. View from the caravan park.

Stopped for lunch at Burra (Cornish Pasty as you do) before heading to Peterborough where we stayed in the Caravan Park.  In the morning we visited The Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre which is a static railway museum based in the former railway workshops located in Peterborough. We toured the sheds and the extraordinary heritage-listed ‘Roundhouse’ before getting hands-on with heroic locos and luxury carriages.Great to walk through various carriages, some built in the early 1800s and well worth a visit if passing through the area.

Steam Locomotive T199, letting off a bit of steam!

The South Australian Railways (SAR) had 78 of these engines built from 1903 to 1917 for use on the narrow gauge lines throughout the state.

Australia's only operating triple gauge turntable used to turn the engine around and move in to workshops and storage sheds.

Morris 25 converted for rail travel

Accident Van

Inside the 1920's First Class Lounge car

19 November, 2015

Todd's Birthday

One of the main reasons we headed to Adelaide was to celebrate our son's 30th Birthday.  Although he lives in Burleigh Heads, he wanted to celebrate his birthday with family and old friends from where he grew up.  Todd and Tenelle flew in from Brisbane and we spent a wonderful few days with them.
The cake says it all!

Nearly a bush fire with sparklers for candles!

The main celebration was a picnic in the park (casual and no fuss was Todd's request) - originally going to be held in Rymill Park but unfortunately the timing coincided with the major horse event, so had to settle for South Terrace Park.  The day was sunny and Todd had a great day catching up with quite a few friends and relatives before continuing on the celebrations in the city with a group of "young ones"!  All in all he had a terrific celebration and was very appreciative of those who attended.
Gathering in the shade of the trees in the south parklands

We spent another week in Adelaide where we caught up with family and friends, had doctor check ups, car serviced etc.  Thanks to everyone for arranging breakfasts, lunches and dinners - wonderful to catch up and hear news of families.  Adelaide does not seem to change and gives us a feeling of familiarity when driving around the suburbs and city.  Most of all we appreciate catching up with friends and relatives which we do not see when living our lifestyle.

Left to Right; Tennelle, Todd, Geoff (me) and Helen (Hels)
Being Movember Todd has more hair under his nose than I have on my head.

05 November, 2015

Bathurst to Adelaide

What a "HOT" grid girl, Hels

Wet, wet, wet and cold - good old Bathurst!  Drove a couple of laps around Mt Panorama Circuit and still amazed how the Racing Drivers drive around at such great speeds.  Had a look through the National Motor Museum which had a good display of cars and motorbikes.

The Mountain

From the top of the mountain looking back over Bathurst

This brings back memories - 1976 winning L34 Torana driven by Bob Morrison.  We camped on the mountain that year.

Similar to the one and only Ford I owned, a Consul Cortina

More memories of my earlier cars. LJ Torana and my HK Monaro was blue.

After a couple of days we were back on the road heading for Wagga.  Stopped for morning tea at Blayney then travelled through Carcoar (est 1833), Cowra turning off Mid Western Highway onto Olympic Highway to Young, Cootamundra, Junee.  Free camped at Oura Beach Reserve (19km east Wagga Wagga) beside Murrumbidgee River - lovely spot).  Late afternoon had a storm come through - thunder, rain, hail!  Decided to stay a couple of days and moved to a spot closer to the River - just set up before the rain came down again!  Lovely view of the river and great to watch the abundant birdlife.  The weather cleared up on our last 2 days and we enjoyed relaxing days by the river - although the flies were very friendly!.  Were able to light the fire at night so all in all an enjoyable stay and quiet even though there were a few vans camped around.

Oura Beach Camp spot

Was a very good site

Had barely vacated our spot when 'ol mate' drove in and set up - he had his eye on our spot and when found out we were leaving he was ready and rearing to set up.   Travelled south through Gumly Gumly then back onto Sturt Highway before cutting through back road (Mates Gully Road) to Tarcutta.  Here we met up with another couple who we travelled Canada with, Garth & Rosemary and had a good old chat.  We continued onto Wagga Wagga and free camped at Wilks Park, leaving the van and stocking up on supplies in Wagga.

You have to call this farm art because it looks like sheep! 

Departed next day continuing on Sturt Highway where we stopped for morning tea at Lockhart - quite a bit of "farm art" on display as part of the Spirit of the Land Festival held in October.  Travelled to Urana before turning onto Newell Highway to Jerildirie then turned off  to Conargo.  From here we drove to Deneliquin, staying the night at friends house and thoroughly enjoyed being entertained by Tony and his son John paying guitar and singing.

Outside the Lockhart service station

Headed out next day on Cobb Highway towards Hay - turned off on Pretty Pine Road to Moulamein where we stopped for lunch.  Continued onto Kyalite before turning onto Balranald-Swan Hill Rd to Toolybuc then onto Murray Valley Highway towards Robinvale.  Free camped approx 2km east of Robinvale at Pump Road Camp - found lovely spot by the River - feeling the serenity!!

Camped on the River Murray

 Thunderstorms developed all around but only a few showers at night.  Morning however produced some heavy showers and posed a few problems as we were camped on clay area and things were becoming a bit sticky.  Afternoon however brought out the sun and we stayed on for another couple of days enjoying the birdlife and also keeping a close watch on a goanna who was climbing trees checking out bird nests in the hollows.  Had the place to ourselves as campers had disappeared due to the rain.

Visitor to camp, was not interested in us though.

Was more intent on getting bird eggs from the nest. Would have been 5 meters up the tree.

Late sunset over the river, was this tree we watched the birds coming and going from during the day.

Reluctantly departing we called into Bottle Bend on way to Mildura.  Quick coffee, supply shop and fuel stop in Mildura we drove to Lake Bonney to look for a camp but Hels did not think it was a good idea to drive down in the soft sand!! I thought it would be OK but continued onto Waikerie to camp at Overlander Hotel however wedding was in progress and no vacancy!!  Crossed the Murray River via ferry and camped at free camp Holder Bend Recreation (approx 2km out of Waikerie).  Late camp, both tired and grumpy!

Holder Bend Recreation camp, ski club on the opposite side.

From here we travelled to Gawler and stayed in Caravan Park to catch up with very dear friend Wendy - had a great visit.  Next day it was onto Adelaide where we stayed at Windsor Gardens Caravan Park for 2 weeks.