Thursday, 19 July 2012

Planes ,frost and Ned kelly

 Don't know why this went sideways but we had a really informative time at the PArkes Telescope.
Spitfire, one of only two in Oz, it still flies.this one fought in the battle of Britain.

Glenrowan's version of Big.....Ned Kelly.

Cold enough? They say it gets cold in TAssie-we had to break out of our van. Evidence presented here.

In deference to Bert's swollen knee, we hired a buggy for the day at the zoo. Heaps of fun steering it and trying not to fall off. Here is Hilda, off to MacDonalds.
One of the two whispering dishes at Parkes.

Parkes to Glenrowan

We have arrived in Glenrowan, home of the infamous Ned Kelly of course. We were having such a good run that we just kept on trucking, straight past Wagga, straight past Albury-Wodonga and right into Bushranger country, Victoria. It really looks like the kind of area you picture when you hear the stories and there is a Ned Kelly animated theatre here which we attended. The guy has set up a number of rooms to look like the saloon, the railway station, the hotel and the executioner’s room which were the setting for the last great battle to capture the Kelly Gang. He has gone to so much trouble and expense and his imagination and creative talent are superb. He has it all rigged up with lights and robotics and sound effects and when you enter, you become one of the people who were there at the scene. There is the gun fight, the troopers arriving, the execution, the waiting at the station, the burning down of the Inn and the scene inside. There are ‘rats’ running over the bar, babies crying in prams, life size musicians playing fiddles, people drinking and even a kid swinging from the lamp etc. So life- like and all animated-well worth a visit as it goes for 40 minutes.

Last night we stayed at a place called Temora. It has an aviation museum with aircraft from WW11 and the Korean and Vietnam wars. They all fly and of course we missed a big flying day by being there three days too soon. That is the story of our trip-too late for the cotton harvest, too late for the mini country music festival in Tamworth, too early for the flying day and the school band competition in Sydney etc. Not that we care, if you wanted to be at the right spot for all those things, you’d have to plan and implement pretty carefully and that doesn’t sound too relaxing. It was very interesting and we had a private guide volunteer tell us all about the planes. They had some motors on stands too so that really was a talking point. But it was FREEZING overnight. Check out the pictures of the frost. We were not cold in our bed but the spot was very open being at an airfield so a prime target for cold. It wasn’t operating after dark so no worries about noise because it’s only a recreational and specialised strip. Apart from one other van, we were the only ones there.

Our other main stop was at Parkes where we toured the CSIRO observatory which tracked the moon landing. They also had a 3D theatre of space missions and planetary exploration. We will post a picture of two dishes set up outside, similar to the dish on the telescope. They are set about 100 metres apart and if you speak normally facing one of them, your partner at the other dish can hear you and it’s possible to carry on a conversation. No telling what we told each other! If it works as simply as that, it’s not surprising that they can pick up electronically enhanced sounds from space.


A concerned brother in law stressed that we should take a camera with a proper lens along on our holiday because the iphone photos simply wouldn’t be acceptable. Camera 1 was fine until the recharger and its batteries decided they didn’t like each other anymore. Camera 2, borrowed from Leah and brought along as back up, was fine until it too needed charging. For some reason, even though we left it on for hours, it wouldn’t spring back to life. Irene took it home when she went for Dad’s 90th but had no further success. Borrow Mum E’s-Camera 3. Now we have recharging without a problem but guess what? Nothing to transfer photos onto the computer with. So, dear ones, iphone photos will have to do to chronicle the time until we get home and we can get some off the proper camera. Good night.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Dubbo 2

The paving inside the main entrance is made of wooden blocks abour 300x150mm. These are hammered into the ground narrow edge down and were preferred to stone cobbles because they softened the noise of horses hooves as they brought yet another prisoner for incarceration or execution. So thoughtful! But most of it is still intact after 200 years so that ain't bad.The gaol is clearly from the same era and jurisdiction as the Richmond one. A great claim to fame for Dubbo.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


It is a week since we left Maroochydore but it seems much longer. The days just seem to blur from one into the other. The grey nomads call it ‘free wheeling’ and that seems like a good term because you have a sense of floating or coasting along. The road trips from there to Tamworth and then to Dubbo, where we are now, have been really nice. The open spaces, which are particularly huge and flat around here give a sense of space and openness which you associate more with African velds. It’s no wonder someone thought it would be a good spot to put a safari park. We are looking forward to that for tomorrow. Also, using van parks that are more in the country, you get the greater sense of peace and quiet which doesn’t happen in big tourist destinations. That is why we have also seen more birds close at hand, feeding on the grasses and trees around our van. Very special to see them in the wild because their colours are so much more defined and the birds are a better size than those bred in captivity. Red rumps, crimson parrots and king parrots have shown themselves to us in all their natural glory.

The weather has been kind to us as well and although it’s a winter sun, it’s still warm enough to enjoy sitting out in it. It is now 4.30pm and we have just moved inside but the van door is still open as it’s not cold yet. We walked into town this arvo to get a few basic supplies- most of these country towns look pretty much alike as they are mostly situated on a river and have the same range of businesses and shopping centres. You don’t need to go to Moree, though, unless the thermal pools really appeal to you. It’s definitely not a happening place although they are spending $6 million on building a public aquatic centre to give more people access to the artesian springs.

That is something we have had to smile about-each place is understandably proud of what is has to offer and so big notes it’s attractions as much as it can. On closer inspection, some fall a bit flat and are more interesting in your imagination. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen tomorrow. We don’t want to look at elephants ALL day!

Cheers and keep smiling!

Tamworth and Moree

The artesian spring/thermal pools at Moree. We were amazed by the tree size cactii growing by the side of the road which were unexpected in this environment. There are four pools at the park, ranging in temperature from 39 degrees to 34 and supposedly have great therapuetic capabilities and , would you believe, Bert could jump over the BIG PLANE after his first session? Hmmm, I thought not.

The towns have amazingly wide streets around here-nothing else to do with all that space? We decided it is because they all have angle parking, which takes up quite a bit of road space. This is the town clock across the road from the Bicential park in Tamworth. We went tothe Golden Guitar Centre and wax museum, Tamworth Hall of Fame, Oxley Lookout etc

Moree had its version of the Big -------; it was a DC3 from New Guinea, WW2.

A friendly old guy was celebrating his birthday with some mates at the GG Centre and wanted to do his bit for touris. We think he must have been related to Slim Dusty. Lee Kernigan's wax model flattered him-the ears were very dainty!

After Tamworth we drove to Coonabarabran for the night and are forced to begin acclimatising for home. A lovely sunny 12 degrees during the day and very cold now. Having a great time and heading for Dubbo tomorrow; will do the Western Plains Zoo-should be fun.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Goodiwindi-Victoria Hotel on the far corner. Apparently it was flooded in 1920's-in the middle of nowhere. But the way it rains here and the way they don't drain their roads (or caravan parks) it's probably no wonder.

We really enjoyed the drive from the Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba. It was nice to have rural scenery as a change from coastal. The countryside had a friendly feel to it and the roads were not as busy, more like the way to St Helens I suppose. The area is big into cotton growing and we just missed the harvest which took place last week apparently. The locals say it’s a wonderful sight with the fields white in the sun. There was lots of cotton which had blown away lying on the side of the road everywhere we went. We picked some up and it felt like wool, so soft and so clean too.

Toowoomba is known as the City of Gardens but we couldn’t see much of it because the rain had set in and you couldn’t see to the other side of the road. Needless to say, we drove on and camped at Millmerran- a country park with lots of space and cows over the fence. Lots of bird life to watch as well. This park caters a lot for seasonal workers so they have one person rooms lined up in a long row of demountables. They all come home around 4.30 in their big utes and filthy dirty from coal mining and power engineering etc. Then leave again bright and early.

Crossing the Blackbutt Range was hairy. Because of the rain the visibility was very poor and since the road is like the Sidlings it wasn’t much fun; trying to peer through the fog took its toll but we made it safe and sound. Thankfully the GPS shows you where the road is going so at least you have some idea of what’s ahead. Apart from that section, it feels more like the outback here. Long, straight roads with low scrub, easy driving.
Photos next.