Day 15 & 16 | Goondiwindi
We decide to pack up this morning and move camp over to the shed where the cattle are shown. It’s another stinking hot day and the shaded spot is most welcoming. The wind is also blowing a gale again. We have a neighbour and he’s hooked up to the only water supply under the shed. We’ve met some interesting people on this journey already and that’s all I’m going to say about our neighbour…
Goondiwindi is famous for the great Goondiwindi Grey “Gunsynd” so it’s on Andrew’s bucket list as everyone knows he’s a huge racing fan. We take a drive down town to visit the statue located on the banks of the MacIntyre River and take a short walk along the levee bank which was built in 1956 after the town experienced 3 major floods.
We do some shopping and I decide that I should make some muffins in the glass oven. Andrew is busy socialising again. I heat the oven, place the muffins in their little silicone cups and head out to pop them in and splat, muffin mix all inside the oven! After a few explicits Andrew tells his new friends he better go see what’s happened. Long story short, he saves the day and gets all the mix back into the cups and take two. Muffins for tomorrow morning tea! Following that small hiccup roast pork and vegetables for dinner is cooked with no major dramas.
There’s a few hours work to be done today, so I’m busy pounding the keyboard again. After lunch we take a drive out to the Botanic Gardens and Cinta has a swim in the lake. The gardens feature only native plants and there are bbq areas, playgrounds, fishing, canoeing or swimming in the lake.
We haven’t seen TV since leaving Mission Beach, so Andrew decides to see if he can get it going. No luck so he heads off to town and finds a very handy guy who straight away says he knows exactly what’s wrong. There is a fuse inside the 12 volt plug and it’s blown. $1 fix. Happy with that, we now have TV reception and we see the news for the first time in over 2 weeks.
A slight hiccup overnight. The lights in the van start flickering. The fridge automatically goes over to gas. The gas is not actually on as we are on 240. Hmmm. We are not real handy with this sort of stuff. In desperation we turn the gas on so the fridge can keep cool. A quick check of all our gauges and the solar gauge is registering 1 bar. Lucky we have a 240 battery backup, so that is turned on and our solar battery is charged up again.
After a restless night for Andrew and a lengthy discussion in the morning we come to the conclusion that the lights, water pump, TV and being under shade have drained our solar power and could have also had an affect on the fridge. After charging up the solar battery and putting the fridge back on 240 it’s lovely and cold and we are ready to start another day.
Wildlife: Wild ducks, magpies
Day 17 | Goondiwindi to Inverell
Our neighbour has left so we decide to give the car and caravan a good wash before we head off for Inverell. Departing Goondiwindi we cross the border into New South Wales and reset our clocks forward an hour. We are travelling along the freight route on the Newell Highway through to Moree.
The landscape is awash with a sea of brown crops; sorghum. Further on we see fields of chickpeas and stop for morning tea outside a pecan farm near Warialda. It’s a much cooler travelling day at 30 degrees and we are finally travelling through the hills. It reminds me a lot of the countryside around Toowoomba.
We check into the Sapphire City Caravan Park for the night and I’m greeted by a charming young man named Luke. He’s originally from Victoria but lived in Cairns for many years. We had a great chat about the area and about our journey so far.
The park has 10 lovely grassy sites on the side of the hill and you can easily drive through to set up. It has an amazing camp kitchen which even has a piano! I head down town to pick up more supplies and decide to buy a skillet. It will be handy for when we have 240 power so that we don’t have to use our gas. Andrew is busy socialising again with the neighbours so I prepare tonight’s dinner; pork stir fry and cooked in the skillet of course!
Wildlife: dead kangaroos
Day 18 & 19 | Inverell to Guyra
Bacon and eggs for brekky and then we pack up and head off for a free camp in Guyra. Just outside Inverell we pass the Sapphire Wind Farm; the largest wind farm in New South Wales. There are cattle droving on the roadside, we see sheep, goats, horses and there’s a vineyard as well.
Glen Innes is our morning tea stop and dump point. We find a lovely park adorned with pine trees and a small creek. The air is fresh and we are heading for a top of 29 and minimum of 15 in Guyra. I’m thinking I’m going to have to dig into the winter box and get a cardigan out tonight.
Mother of Duck Lagoon is our overnight stop and what a gem. It’s a large grassy area with toilets and it overlooks the wetlands. There is a shelter a short walk away across a small bridge and the golf course. There is about 20 vans in the park tonight and Andrew soon finds plenty of people to socialise with.
We take a walk down to the golf course just before sunset at 7.55pm and wow, what a show the sunset provides. I’m madly taking photos as I always do. The golf course has a lovely lagoon at the entrance and it’s the perfect focul point for my sunset shots.
It’s getting fresh. We’ve been experiencing over 40 degree temps, so 15 degrees tonight is feeling cold to me. Out comes my winter box from under the bed. The neighbours tell us that they’ve been there for 2 nights & the people beside them have been there for 3. They are relatively local to the area and say that the lagoon is not policed by the Council in the off season. (the sign says only overnight stays allowed) We decide to stay another night as the area was not full of vans anyway.
Next morning we take a walk up town and shout ourselves morning tea from the local bakery. There’s a coffee shop next door and they allow us to have our bakery treats while enjoying their piping hot coffee. Cinta is with us so we settle down outside the cafe. Sometimes you just have to have a real cappuccino! 14 degrees overnight and an expected top of 24 today – bliss!
Another spectacular sunset over the lagoon at the golf course. We take a walk back through the greens and I capture some more amazing photos of the sun setting over the lagoon. Heaven, this is what it’s all about.
Wildlife: 1 dead echidna, wild ducks
Day 20 | Guyra to Gunnedah
We head off around 9ish, it’s only 18 degrees and it’s pleasant doing the pack up. We travel through Uralla, home of Captain Thunderbolt. There is firewood stacked everywhere in sheds along the highway and chimneys adorn the old homes. It must get quite cold out here on the plains.
Back on the New England Highway to Tamworth and I’m keen to see the Golden Guitar. Tamworth is busy. There’s no parking near the Guitar for caravans, so I have to be satisfied with a drive by – no photo! All the caravan folk have told us that Tamworth is not RV friendly even though they advertise they are. We decide not to stay and head for Gunnedah.
The landscape is dry, barren, hilly and there are large rock formations along the highway. It’s now 37 degrees. We decide to stay at the showgrounds. The site is green and we can easily drive through. The facilities are very old, but clean and it’s only $25 for a powered site.
It’s time to stock up with food again, so I head down to Woolies and when I return home and unpack I discover that I’ve been charged for 12 mangoes instead of 2! $36, so back in the car again to get my refund. Muffins and a roast dinner in the glass oven again. One of the guys in the park yells out that the smell was driving him wild! Dinner was delish.
Can you believe I didn’t take any photos today!! I can’t!
Wildlife: Goats, 1 reindeer, dead cat, cockatoos & galahs.
Day 21 | Gunnedah to Coonamble
It’s 28 degrees as we head out along the Oxley Highway. Cattle country and they are droving along the roadside. The cattle are not startled by vehicles going by, they’re too busy eating the green grass.
The landscape is dry and barren again, though we see acres of sorghum growing. There are some sunflowers along the fence lines, it’s lovely to see some colour today. It’s hilly country and at times the bushland is very dense. We also pass a winery, The Wattagan Estate; I can’t say I’ve heard of their wines though.
We stop at the Castlereagh River park for morning tea at Coonabarabran, it’s lovely and green and an elderly lady and her carer walk across the road and feed the wild geese.
The signs along the highway say “From Mountains to Marshlands”, but the land is dry and barren again and we see many whirlwinds whipping up the dust and everything else in it’s path.
Coonamble is home of the first water tower on my bucket list. It’s an aboriginal design painted in 2017 by John Murray, Sooty Welsh and Bob Barrett. It was part of a project to Pave the Way to Gular Arts Festival 2018 in a bid to attract tourism to local townships.
Tonight we stay at the Coonamble Riverside Caravan Park and the amenities are spotless. $26 for the night.
Wildlife: Dead pig, kangaroos, wild geese.
Week 3 total expenses: $611.81, I’m much happier with that this week.
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That’s a wrap for Week 3 of the Lap of the Map.
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