Posts Tagged With: Cowra

Days 100 & 101 – Chilling in Cowra

The last few mornings have been freezing, perhaps more-so because we are near the river.  Bertha’s thermometer showed negative on Saturday.  The days, however, have been clear and sunny with blue skies, but still chilly.  It has been great sight-seeing weather and we have been quite busy.

Cowra Japanese Garden & Cultural Centre

When-ever we are in Cowra we make a point of visiting the Japanese Garden.

Welcome to Cowra Japanese Garden

Its history goes back to the Japanese POW breakout in 1944 and is a testament to reconciliation between our two nations.  It is a wonderfully peaceful place to visit and you can almost feel the calm descend on you as soon as you walk through the front gates.  After starting with lunch we then did a tour of the Cultural Centre which has some amazing displays of Japanese culture, clothing, dolls, samurai outfits, a beautiful raked pebble garden and more. These displays change over time so it is always interesting.

Views of the Cultural Centre

Views of the Cultural Centre

Once out in the garden, there are plenty of paths to follow through the different aspects of the garden; visit the tea house and other buildings; feed the fish; explore the bonsai collection, and more.  Each time we have visited it has been a different month of the year and it is lovely to see the different colours as the seasons change.

“Bonsho” Bell

Views of Cowra Japanese Garden

Views of Cowra Japanese Garden

Views of Cowra Japanese Garden

Views of Cowra Japanese Garden

Cowra Prisoner of War Camp

From the Japanese Garden we set off to the POW Camp, which was the scene of the POW Breakout.

Cowra Breakout POW Camp

Last time we came here it wasn’t much more than some overgrown paddocks, but there is a project underway to make the area much more accessible and meaningful.  There is a new interpretive covered area which provides a great overview as to how the camp was organized; nationalities of the inmates; and the story behind the cause of the breakout and exactly what happened at the time.

Views of Cowra POW Camp

The original POW Camp consisted of four 17 acre compounds, each designed to hold 1,000 prisoners.  The majority of prisoners were Italian and Japanese, but there were also Koreans, Indonesians and Taiwanese.  There are new paths to various areas around the Camp and interpretive boards to explain highlights, stories, etc.  We were particularly impressed by some of the stories from the Italian section where the internees had vegie gardens, did a lot of cooking, made their own grappa, and even built concrete monuments and fountains.

Views of the Italian section at Cowra POW Camp

We look forward to coming back here again some-time in the future to see further development of this important historic site.

Cowra War Cemetery

It was perhaps a logical move to visit the War Cemetery after visiting the POW Camp where 234 Japanese prisoners were killed (or committed suicide) during the Breakout.  The War Cemetery is adjacent to the main Cowra cemetery and comprises several sections.

The War Cemetery itself includes memorials to 26 Australian Army members and one Airman from the RAF, including the Australian officer and enlisted men who died in the Cowra Breakout.

Australian Memorials at Cowra War Cemetery

The Japanese War Cemetery was established immediately after the Cowra Breakout on August 5, 1944, but was later expanded to include other Japanese who had died prior to the Breakout.  The RSL maintained the Japanese section of the cemetery until 1964 when the Japanese War Cemetery was officially opened at the request of the Japanese government.  Other Japanese remains from WW2 were exhumed and are now interred here.

Japanese War Cemetery at Cowra

Visiting the Cowra War Cemetery was  a sobering experience.

Cowra – General

Over the last few days we also did a lot of walking and enjoyed a few coffees and meals, bought newspapers and magazines, stocked upon groceries, and I even had a hair-cut, all boosting the Cowra economy.

Looking out our back door

Still living the dream!

Categories: 2017 Up The Centre Adventure | Tags: | 2 Comments

Day 99 – Forbes to Cowra

It was freezing when we woke this morning; Bertha’s thermometer showed 3.5 degrees at 8.00am.  So, on went the diesel heater until it was warm enough to comfortably start our day.  We saw some pelicans on the lake as we got ready to head off.

Scenes at Forbes

First stop was McFeeter’s Motor Museum which was only a few hundred metres away from where we had camped. Ann spent a nice quiet time in the sun reading with a cup of coffee while I indulged myself taking photos of some really interesting classic and vintage cars.  I have been here before but perhaps I have been suffering classic car withdrawal symptoms as it is a while since I have seen a good collection of restored and well maintained cars.

McFeeter’s Motor Museum, Forbes

Japanese Funeral Car at McFeeter’s Motor Museum, Forbes

Some of the collection at McFeeter’s Motor Museum, Forbes

Some of the collection at McFeeter’s Motor Museum, Forbes

Heritage Camping at McFeeter’s Motor Museum

Back on the Newell Highway we soon turned onto the Lachlan Valley Way.  This is a very nice drive through what we might regard as ‘typical Australian bush’.  Mature trees, crops, water in dams, sheep and cattle – everything that we imagine and expect from the bush.

Scenes along the way

We soon drove through the small town of Gooloogong – population 466.  This is a neat and tidy place with a very prominent hotel, a unique log cabin style hall, and a caravan park.

Views of Gooloogong

From Gooloogong we continued through ‘typical’ country-side although now with more signs of irrigation and even some grapevines.  Unlike some areas we have driven through the farm houses and associated sheds etc are visible from the road, and are quite interesting in their own right.

Views along the way

Views of Cowra

After about 30 kms we turned onto the Mid Western Highway and eventually arrived at our destination – Cowra Van Park.  We have been here several times and this is one of our favourite parks.  The managers are friendly; the sites are large and includes concrete slabs to park on; the amenities are impeccably clean; and the park is right on the edge of town and on the banks of the Lachlan River.  You really can’t get much better than this.

Once Bertha was set up (it doesn’t take long) we went for a walk back across the Lachlan River to the Visitor Information Centre.  There are a couple of cafes beside the VIC so we stopped for a coffee before going in.

Views of Cowra

After collecting a few brochures we spent some time at the Cowra POW display and theatre.  There is a brilliant 9 minute hologram feature in the theatre which recounts the story of the Cowra Breakout of Japanese POWs in 1944.  The technology is exceptional and the story is enthralling.  Once the presentation finishes there are display boards with further details to flesh out the story.  There are also books for sale, and a display of artifacts from that time.  It is all very moving.

Cowra POW Theatre & Display

It was starting to get cold as we headed back to Bertha so we settled down with the heater on to watch some TV.

We will be in Cowra for several days so will only do a summary or our time here before we leave.

Categories: 2017 Up The Centre Adventure | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Day 7 – Cowra

The weather forecast for this morning was for minus 2 degrees and it was probably quite accurate.  According to the temperature gauge it was 3 degrees outside and 10 degrees inside when the heater went on!  Eventually Bertha warmed up and we set about preparing for our second day in Cowra.  Outside it was crisp but with a beautiful clear blue sky.

There is really only one reason we keep coming back to Cowra and that is to visit the Cowra Japanese Gardens.  The last few times we have visited in August/September, so we were looking forward to seeing quite a different perspective of this lovely place at this time of year.  So we packed up Bertha and trundled off.

Upon arrival we headed straight for the Japanese Gardens Café, intending on having a hot coffee, but a quick look at the menu and we decided to have an early lunch.  It was delicious, and included a coffee.

From the café we started at the Japanese Cultural Centre, which contains a wide variety of Japanese art pieces, sculptures, items of traditional clothing, models of traditional style houses, and a display of toys.

Models of traditional Japanese buildings in the Cultural Centre

Models of traditional Japanese buildings in the Cultural Centre

Toys and a bear scultpture

Toys and a bear scultpture

Then it was outside into the sunshine and the glorious Japanese Gardens.  I really got a bit carried away with my camera as a place like this is such a change from my more usual classic car and motorsport photography.

One of the really great things about these gardens compared to other Japanese gardens we have visited is the combination yet contrast of the Japanese topiary, gnarly trees, ponds, waterfalls, miniatures and closely clipped lawns with the majesty of Australian eucalypts and other natives.  It is altogether just superb!

Views of Cowra Japanese Gardens

Views of Cowra Japanese Gardens

Views of Cowra Japanese Gardens

Views of Cowra Japanese Gardens

The gardens feature a number of buildings including a replica Edo House which really puts McMansions into perspective.  Clearly bathing is an important aspect of traditional Japanese life and the deep tiled bath looks quite inviting.  The living space is quite small in comparison.

Edo House

Edo House

Our favourite place at the gardens is the tea house.  It is just so peaceful and serene just sitting and looking out over beautiful views over many aspects of the gardens, including the pond and a waterfall.  This is not just a place you walk through without stopping.

Japanese Tea House - so serene!

Japanese Tea House – so serene!

Another favourite place is the bonsai house which features some amazing examples of the intricate art of bonsai.

Bonsai House

Bonsai House

Japanese gardens always feature still water in the form of ponds and lakes, as well as moving water in waterfalls and streams.

Water is a feature at Cowra Japanese Gardens

Water is a feature at Cowra Japanese Gardens

Ducks, cranes and other water birds are naturally attracted to the water, especially as bags of bird food are available in the gift shop.

Water Feature

Water Feature

The Cowra Japanese Gardens also feature contrasts between expanses of closely cut lawns, rugged looking stone outcrops, smoothly trimmed bushes of many descriptions, pathways wandering around vegetation, and more.  As commented previously, all these traditional Japanese Garden features flow seamlessly around some huge and striking eucalypts.

Views of the Cowra Japanese Gardens

Views of the Cowra Japanese Gardens

Finally it was time to leave the gardens and we couldn’t help but notice how steep the road was from the gardens and nearby hospital to the main street of Cowra.  We stopped briefly at the supermarket for some supplies before heading back to the Van Park and setting-up Bertha.

Steep hill on the way back from the Japanese Gardens

Steep hill on the way back from the Japanese Gardens

Later in the afternoon we had a visit from Mick’s parents Jeff and Wendy who had been visiting Katie and Mick in Canberra and were on their way back home to Bathurst.  It was great to see them and catch up with their news, as we haven’t seen them for quite a while.

After farewells it was time to close up Bertha, turn the heater on and prepare a light meal.

It is forecast to be zero degrees here overnight so tomorrow we will definitely be heading somewhere a bit (hopefully a lot) warmer.

Categories: 2016 Big Maroochydore Adventure | Tags:

Day 6 – Canberra to Cowra

We woke this morning to a clear and sunny, although slightly chilly, morning.  The last few days with Katie and Mick have been great, and they both came out to the caravan park with fresh coffee to wave us goodbye.

Clear blue skies leaving Canberra

Clear blue skies leaving Canberra

From Alivio Tourist Park we headed onto the Barton Highway and then onto the Hume Highway before turning off at the Lachlan Valley Way to Boorowa.  At best this could be called a “scenic route” with single lane highway and double lines most of the 100 or so kilometres to Boorowa.  This was quite difficult driving with few opportunities to allow speedier cars to overtake, but having said that the scenery comprised rolling green hills, full to overflowing dams, and plenty of healthy looking livestock.  It was quite beautiful.

Rolling green hills with an interesting sky

Rolling green hills with an interesting sky

We soon arrived at Boorowa and parked at the Rotary Park.  Boorowa is a small country town known for its fine merino wool and for the Superb Parrot.  There are some impressive heritage buildings in Boorowa, including, not surprisingly, some very nice old hotels.

DSC05695_690

Boorowa is also very proud of its ANZAC heritage, and there is a substantial ANZAC memorial and a very moving ANZAC walk with a Lone Pine tree and plaques dedicated to servicemen and women who served in the Wars.

ANZAC memorial and Lone Pine walk

ANZAC memorial and Lone Pine walk

After a walk around town we stopped for a very tasty lunch at the Pantry on Pudman.  We’ve been to Boorowa a few times and have eaten at several places in town, but the eccentricity of Pantry on Pudman makes it quite a special place.

Back on the highway after lunch the conditions were very much as before, and we suspect that we had just missed a substantial downpour (for a change) as the roads were wet and there was running water everywhere.  By this time the skies had turned from clear blue with a few white clouds to quite an interesting mix of grey and blue skies and a mixture of cloud cover.

On the way from Boorowa

On the way from Boorowa

Approaching Cowra

Approaching Cowra

We soon arrived at Cowra, which is a place where we have stayed several times.  We stopped at the Cowra Van Park, and secured a nice site backing onto the river.  Not surprisingly the river is quite high, but we are at no risk of flooding.

View from our site at Cowra Van Park

View from our site at Cowra Van Park

After setting up connections for power and water we headed off for a leisurely walk around town.  Being a Saturday afternoon many of the shops were closed for the day but it was great to stretch our legs.  We were especially sad to note that one of our favourite bookshops, where we used to enjoy chats with the owner, has closed down permanently.  Eventually we headed back to Bertha to close up, warm up, and settle in for the evening.

Categories: 2016 Big Maroochydore Adventure | Tags: ,

Day 83 – Cowra to Canberra

This morning was probably the coldest day of this adventure to date. The thermometer was showing 4 degrees when I first got up, but the van soon warmed up with the heater on. We took our time packing up and preparing to leave, by which time the sun was out, the sky was clear and blue, and it was starting to warm up.

The drive from Cowra to Yass along the Lachlan Valley Way is a tremendous driver’s drive. It is basically a series of sweeping curves through rolling countryside on a well maintained road with a few straight stretches thrown in for fun. This drive is interesting for the driver and offers the occasional challenge at whatever speed suits. Importantly the countryside is also interesting, with green fields incorporating slashes of yellow, plenty of cattle and sheep grazing with a few alpacas and goats for good measure. There are a few smaller villages and some very interesting buildings and properties along the highway.

Scenery along the Lachlan Valley Way

Scenery along the Lachlan Valley Way

Morning coffee was at Boorowa. We’ve stopped here several times before for coffee or lunch and visited several cafes and pubs. Today we had coffee at “The Pantry on Pudman”. The coffee was superb and the muffins were fresh from the oven, tasty and not horrendously oversized! Décor was “quirky” with antique furniture, books and magazines, light fittings, paintings, etc everywhere. I’m sure that if I had mentioned to the waitress that I liked the cup and saucer my coffee was served in then it would be immediately for sale! Our friend Diana would love to see this place.

Arriving at Boorowa and Pantry on Pudman cafe

Arriving at Boorowa and Pantry on Pudman cafe

From Boorowa we continued down the Lachlan Valley Way to near Yass, where we turned onto the Hume for a little while and then onto the Barton Highway to Canberra. This stretch is not nearly as enjoyable as our morning drive, although the countryside is still quite interesting.

From the Barton Highway we changed to the Federal Highway and we soon arrived at our favourite place to stay in Canberra, Capital Country Holiday Park, which is actually just over the border in NSW at Sutton. This is a clean and tidy caravan park with plenty of large drive through, level sites and good amenities. There is also a range of cabins and facilities for school groups. Although most of the occupants of caravans and RVs we have ever seen here are in the grey nomad’s age group, there is a jumping pillow, tennis court, outdoor swimming pool and mini-golf, so the younger patrons are catered for as well. Although actually in NSW, it is still only 15 minutes into the centre of Canberra. At this time of year the park is almost deserted, and we have the place pretty much to ourselves.

Capital Country Holiday Park is almost deserted apart from us!

Capital Country Holiday Park is almost deserted apart from us!

Jumping pillow, tennis court, swimming pool and cabins at Capital Country Holiday Park

Jumping pillow, tennis court, swimming pool and cabins at Capital Country Holiday Park

We will be spending several days in Canberra with our daughter Katie who has been living here for a few years, and we won’t be posting daily blog posts during that time.

Categories: 2014 Townsville Adventure | Tags: , ,

Day 82 – Chilling in Cowra

Today was a designated rest day after several days of solid driving so we allowed ourselves a bit of a sleep in and a lazy day in general. It wasn’t quite as cold this morning but we were very glad of our new heater to warm up the van. Outside it was another crispy, clear sunny day with blue skies. It might be cold but at least it isn’t raining!

Early Morning at Cowra Van Park

Early Morning at Cowra Van Park

After fiddling around in the van for a while we went for a walk into town to stretch our legs and enjoy the sunshine. We stopped for lunch in a small coffee shop and then continued on our walk. Eventually we went our separate ways and Ann went to a fabric shop and I went to a second hand bookshop. We were both very pleased with our purchases!

We then walked back to the van for a short rest before heading off in the Ute to the Cowra Japanese Garden. This is an amazing place and we come here every time we visit Cowra. Many travellers will remember that Cowra was the site for internment camps for the Japanese and Italians in WW2 – there was even a film about the Cowra Breakout. Ann’s father had been stationed in Cowra at some stage in his military service. The Japanese Garden is a beautiful commemoration of the now friendly relations between Japan and Australia.

Cowra Japanese Garden

Cowra Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden is a very peaceful place to visit with a weight seeming to be lifted off your shoulders almost as soon as you enter. It has all the traditional Japanese features including ponds and waterfalls, raked pebble gardens, curved paths, rock formations, clipped hedges, traditional buildings and so much more. All this is in a typical Australian environment where the eucalyptus trees combine wonderfully with the Japanese elements of the garden. There are several small buildings and plenty of benches and seats so you can just sit and contemplate in the peace and quiet.

Cowra Japanese Garden

Cowra Japanese Garden

Cowra Japanese Garden

Cowra Japanese Garden

Cowra Japanese Garden

Cowra Japanese Garden

In addition there is a cultural centre with displays including Japanese traditional culture, warriors and samurais, architecture and buildings, bonsai plants, pottery and sculpture, and so on. There is an audio tour device that will help guide you around the various exhibits. There is also a café and a gift shop.

Interesting Facts about the Cowra Japanese Garden:

  • The Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre was opened in October 1979, with Stage 2 opening in November 1986
  • The garden covers 5 hectares and is designed to represent the entire landscape of Japan
  • It is the largest Japanese garden in the Southern Hemisphere

On the way back to the caravan park we stopped off for some supplies. I then made various preparations for our departure tomorrow before we both settled into the van for the evening, by the heater.

Still living the dream – but perhaps wishing that it was a bit warmer here!

Categories: 2014 Townsville Adventure | Tags:

Day 81 – Gilgandra to Cowra

This morning the thermometer inside the van displayed 6 degrees – you might say that things were a bit chilly! However the heater soon warmed the van, and hot showers and a hot cup of tea warmed us as well. Outside, it was another bright sunny day with a wonderful clear blue sky. The wind, unfortunately, was cutting, and very, very cold.

Early morning at Gilgandra Caravan Park

Early morning at Gilgandra Caravan Park

Packing up didn’t take long and we were soon back on the Newell Highway. Well sort of. There were major roadworks right outside the caravan park entrance which extended over the bridge across the Castlereagh River and pretty well to the junction of the Newell and Oxley Highways. We had to wait a little while at the caravan park exit but then the man with the stop sign signalled us to go and we actually got exclusive access to the road, across the bridge, and onto the Newell Highway while all other traffic had to wait. We felt very privileged!

Our stop for morning coffee was at the side of the highway in Dubbo, near the Zoo. We were sure that we could hear some of the animals!

Dubbo

Dubbo

The Newell is a busy highway with a constant stream of big trucks and oversize loads travelling in both directions. The condition of the sides of the highway and the various rest stops and truck pull-overs indicate that inadequate funds are being provided for road maintenance works. The safety implications of this lack of maintenance are very obvious to travellers.

Plenty of Big Trucks on the Highway

Plenty of Big Trucks on the Highway

We then continued down the Newell and at about Peak Hill we both started feeling hungry. The original plan was to have a light lunch in the van at a roadside stop somewhere along the way but we both decided that a pie and chips would be a much better option. After-all, it was cold! Fortunately we knew just the place to go.

Several kms North of Parkes we turned down Telescope Road and made our way to the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope – better known as the setting for the Australian movie “The Dish”. We knew from previous visits here that the Dish Café serves up fabulous pies and excellent coffees. The chef certainly didn’t disappoint this visit either! Our lunch left us in great form to continue our journey today.

The Dish, Parkes

The Dish, Parkes

Pies and Chips for lunch at the Dish Cafe

Pies and Chips for lunch at the Dish Cafe

From Parkes we continued down the Newell to Forbes where we intended to stop for a quick cup of coffee but I got distracted by the sign to McFeeters Motor Museum. We saw this place last time but had to keep driving – this year we seemed to be making good time so we stopped to have a look inside.

McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

We arrived just in time to be taken on a guided tour by Bill McFeeter himself. Bill McFeeter is 75 years old and has been collecting cars for a very long time. His collection grew to the size where he decided that he needed to build a shed to store all his cars and the idea of making the shed a museum came to the fore. His wife Jan convinced him that his shed should be something different and it certainly is! This motor museum is a purpose built building which also houses a café, wine and local honey shops, and a tourist information area. Jan also convinced Bill that there should be carpet on the floor and that the cars should displayed with suitably dressed mannequins. Jan even changes their clothes to suit the seasons! Jan’s whole idea was to make this motor museum interesting to women as well as men and judging by comments we heard, she has succeeded!

Bill McFeeter at McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

Bill McFeeter at McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

There are 60 cars on display, most of them owned by the McFeeters and the rest on loan from various friends, neighbours, etc. There is a similar number of motorcycles, although these are all on loan. Many of the cars are still road registered and Bill takes them out for a spin regularly. The collection is incredibly diverse and he has several “only one in Australia” vehicles.

Bill is one of life’s characters who loves a chat and is clearly both passionate and knowledgeable about his car collection. After the tour we took a few photos of some of the collection.

View of McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

View of McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

Early caravan at McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

Early caravan at McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes

Some of McFeeters' Collection

Some of McFeeters’ Collection

Time got a little bit away from us and we still had to complete the last leg of our trip, this time along the Lachlan Valley Highway. Fortunately the condition of the road was very good and there wasn’t much traffic so we made very good time to our destination, Cowra Van Park. We have stayed here a couple of times before and we enjoy both the park and the town. Ann had booked ahead so even though we were a little later than we would normally be, it wasn’t a problem. Keith helped us into our site, which has a concrete slab for both the van and the awning. We did a quick set-up and unhitched the Ute as we had to make a quick dash into town to buy a new heater as the other one gave up this morning.

Then it was back to the van to settle in for the evening by the heater.

Categories: 2014 Townsville Adventure | Tags: , , , ,

Cowra to Canberra

We try to take every possible opportunity to visit our daughter Katie and her partner Mick in Canberra whenever we can, so today’s trip was to Canberra.

As we don’t plan our trip with absolute military precision, we had forgotten about the annual Floriade flower show in Canberra and the effect that it has on accommodation.  Accordingly, we couldn’t stay at our usual place at Capital County Caravan Park in Sutton but were able to reserve a powered site at EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra).

The alarm went off ridiculously early to give us time to shower and breakfast and pack up and get on the road early so that we could get to EPIC as early as possible.  It’s first come first serve for the best spots and being a bit larger than most vans we wanted to give ourselves the best chance of securing a good spot.

From Cowra Van Park we hit the Lachlan Valley Highway and headed to Boorowa.  Road quality wasn’t great but the countryside was fantastic.  Gently rolling hills with a mixture of bushland, grazing [mainly sheep] and cropping [plenty of canola].  The overall impact was spectacular.

Canola on the way to Boorowa

Canola on the way to Boorowa

Sheep grazing by the Lachlan Valley Highway

Sheep grazing by the Lachlan Valley Highway

We stopped at Boorowa for coffee and to refuel the Ute before continuing down the highway towards Yass.  After Boorowa the countryside changed to be mainly grazing, but it was still quite interesting – the road quality perhaps increased marginally.

After a brief spell on the Hume Highway we eventually turned off onto the Barton Highway towards Canberra.  Compared to other times we have been this way, there was very little traffic and we were able to enjoy the scenery which at this time of year is a quite spectacular patchwork of crops and occasional trees and blossom.

Barton Highway to Canberra

Barton Highway to Canberra

Views to Murrumbateman

Views to Murrumbateman

We arrived at EPIC at about 11.00 am and took a little while to find a serviced flat spot that didn’t have too much mud.  By noon we had found a site, were fully set up and Ann was preparing lunch in the van out of the cold wind.

Set Up at EPIC - Before the Storm

Set Up at EPIC – Before the Storm

Later this afternoon we made our way to the Belconnen Westfield shopping centre to stock up on supplies.  We found it quite strange seeing people walking around in winter clothes!!!!!

Not long after we returned to the fiver the skies opened up and we were subject to quite an impressive storm.

Katie even rang to ask where was the good weather we were supposed to bring with us!  It just shows that you can’t please all the people all the time!

We’ll be in Canberra for a few days so we don’t plan to do a daily blog unless there is something worth reporting.

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags: , ,

Cowra – Day 2

Both the driver and navigator were pretty tired after Monday’s driving through the rain so we slept in quite late this morning.  When we finally woke up the rain had eased but hadn’t completely gone away.  It stayed that way all day.

After a late breakfast there was a break in the weather so we walked the short distance into town and had a look around.  Most of the places we visited when we were in Cowra last year are still here, although there are possibly a few more vacant shops than we remembered.  Unfortunately the quilting shop was closed.

One of the interesting things about our walk through town was the amount of what appeared to be snow in the streets.  It’s actually blossom; possibly cherry blossom given the Japanese connection with Cowra.  There is a big cherry blossom festival at the Cowra Japanese gardens in a couple of weeks.

Blossom in the streets of Cowra

Blossom in the streets of Cowra

Beautiful Old Building in Cowra

Beautiful Old Building in Cowra

We reacquainted ourselves with a second hand bookshop called Browse Awhile we had visited last year and browsed a while.  We both bought some books we have been searching for and had a good chat to Tony the owner.  We will definitely come back to visit next time we are in Cowra!

It started raining again so we had little option but to stop for coffee and cake until the rain eased.

Finally back at the fiver we remarked what a nice park this is.  Large sites, many with concrete pads for the van and awning, and some of the drive through sites even have pads under the vehicle.  Amenities are not exactly modern but certainly clean.  The park also backs onto parkland over the river, and we noted how much the river had risen since we arrived just yesterday.

View of Cowra Van Park

View of Cowra Van Park

River Behind Cowra Van Park

River Behind Cowra Van Park

We spent the afternoon confined to the fiver, catching up on some computer work, reading, and preparing for our departure tomorrow.

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags:

Gilgandra to Cowra

The weather Gods were not smiling on us today!

The day started well enough with kookaburras waking us at about 6.00 am. We packed up, hitched up and were on our way quite early.

It had rained overnight and it was a bit cooler with an overcast sky, so we started off in jeans and t-shirt instead of the shorts we had been wearing for the last few months.   Before long, however, the overcast sky had turned to drizzle and by the time we reached Dubbo it was raining off and on.

Gloomy Day for Driving

Gloomy Day for Driving

Morning coffee was at a rest stop just south of Dubbo, and in true caravanner style we put on our “fashionable” polar-fleece jackets, as it was getting colder.

We would have liked to have stopped at Peak Hill for a look around but the weather was against us so we continued on to what was to be the highlight of the day – The Dish at Parkes. Appropriately, The Dish, or more correctly the Australian Telescope National Facility – Parkes Observatory is located in Telescope Road, and there is plenty of parking space for caravans, and for fifth wheelers.

Turn Here for The Dish

Turn Here for The Dish

Australian Telescope National Facility - Parkes Observatory

Australian Telescope National Facility – Parkes Observatory

Ann at The Dish

Ann at The Dish

Shorty at The Dish

Shorty at The Dish

This is a tremendously interesting place to visit, and it would have been even better on a fine day as there are outside activities.  Never the less, we started off with some short 3D movies about Mars, astronomy and the Parkes facility.  The 3D glasses were ever so fashionable and the 3D effects were fantastic.  Most of the films were actually made at Swinburne Uni and were very informative.

Having Fun in Super Cool 3D Glasses

Having Fun in Super Cool 3D Glasses

After the introductory films we had a good look around the display area and shop where they have loads of interesting stuff.  There are some hands on/interactive things to do as well.

Then it was time for lunch in the Dish Café.  The menu was full of celestial named dishes, but we both thoroughly enjoyed our freshly baked Beef with Red Wine Pies.  The coffee, made with Byron Bay coffee beans was as good as the Byron Bay coffees we had enjoyed at Hervey Bay!

Lunch at The Dish Cafe

Lunch at The Dish Cafe

After a quick run through the rain back to the fiver, we hit the highway.

Trailblazer in the Rain at The Dish

Trailblazer in the Rain at The Dish

Interestingly, from Parkes the GPS took us off the Newell Highway and down a number of Class B and C roads through small towns like Eugowra and Gooloogong.  The trade off in road standard was that there was hardly any traffic or trucks, especially compared to the Newell.

Eugowra Hotel

Eugowra Hotel

Gooloogong Hotel

Gooloogong Hotel

Finally we made it to Cowra Van Park where Craig, the manager, showed us to our site.  Last time we were here we parked on the grass but this time he was making an effort to park everyone on slabs as it really is so wet here.  Set up was super quick and we are now warm and comfortable, and will happily stay here until the weather breaks.

Cowra Van Park

Settled in at Cowra Van Park

Categories: 2013 Big Adventure | Tags: , , ,

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