Yet another glorious morning – clear blue sky, little cloud cover, and nice bright sun. It’s just a pity the day starts out so chilly.
From the Gilgandra Caravan Park we turned onto the Castlereagh Highway and headed north. We soon came to the small town of Gulargambone, which is renowned for its corrugated iron galahs. Professor Google provides the following explanation:
“Who would ever have thought there was so much mileage in corrugated iron galahs? It does make very clever sense because “gulargambone” is an Anglicised corruption of a Ngiyambaa word “gilagambuwam” meaning “with young galahs” or “place of galah parrots”. That, surely, entitles the town to put galahs wherever they like. The concept was created by artist, Sam Newstead. The plan involved the entire community and utilised corrugated iron found around the town. It was decided that each sculpture should be “2 metres square, raised 2-3 metres from the ground and attached to metal poles”. There are a total of 40 galah sculptures around the town”.
We stopped for coffee at the Gulargambone Rest Area a few kilometres out of town, where we met an amazing lady who was caring for 4 orphaned joeys. She lives on a large property about 80 kms from Lightning Ridge which has been badly affected by drought for the last several years. They had to basically destock the property but had bought 1,000 lambs earlier this year and had just sold some wool, which was their first income in 2 years. She is a volunteer for WIRES (Wildlife Rescue Service) and currently looks after 9 orphaned joeys. She was on her way to Dubbo for a while and had to take the youngest joeys in her care with her. Meeting people like this is one of the reasons we love travelling so much!
Our next stop, for lunch, was at Coonamble. This is quite a large town with plenty of activity. We had seen a lot of horse floats on the road the last couple of days and it turns out that there was huge Rodeo in Coonamble over the long weekend which explains the horse floats. Apparently there was also a large regional quilt show as well! We went for an enjoyable stroll around town and made a quick stop at the hardware store for a few items to clean Bertha after she somehow copped a spray from an overtaking cattle truck. The odour was overwhelming! Then we enjoyed a light lunch at CJ’s Country Kitchen. After lunch we visited the supermarket for supplies and then continued up the Castlereagh Highway.
Next stop was Walgett where we stopped for a cool drink, as the temperature was in the twenties.
From Walgett we continued along the highway and were interested to see a huge metal sculpture, which happened to be opposite the Lightning Ridge Rest Area. This place is not in the Camps 8 book but quite a few travellers had found it anyway and were obviously planning on staying there overnight.
We soon turned off the highway to our overnight destination of Lightning Ridge and checked into the Lightning Ridge Outback Resort and Caravan Park. We had stayed here for a quick overnighter several years ago and now it was an opportunity to hopefully have a much better look around.
One thing that we had noticed all along the highway was the amount of water on the side of the road and in paddocks. There were plenty of full dams and large areas of what appeared to be lush green pasture. Apparently there has been good rain in the area recently and they are hoping for more. We later found out that some of the coloured “Car door” tours of Lightning Ridge are temporarily closed as the ground is too wet. Even the caravan park shows signs of recent rains.
It was still quite warm after we had set up Bertha so we headed off to the pub for some cool refreshments. We then set off for a quick walk around the neighbourhood and we couldn’t ignore the statue of Charlie Nettleton, who is credited with founding the black opal industry in Lightning Ridge.
As it was starting to get dark we returned to Bertha for a freshen-up before walking across to the hotel bistro for dinner. Although we weren’t sure about the décor, the bistro was very well patronised and the meals were very tasty although of “miner” portion sizes so neither of us could finish our meal.
Sunset over the caravan park was a great end to a great day.
Still living the dream.