Posts Tagged With: forbes

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 98 – Peak Hill to Forbes

Once again we woke to a rather chilly morning which evolved into a beautiful clear and sunny day with temperatures in the mid-to-high teens.

After another slow start, which we are now renowned for, we headed off in Bertha to the Peak Hill Gold Mine Experience which was only a short drive from the caravan park.  Although we knew that there had been a gold mine in Peak Hill, we had never visited it before but when we got there we were most impressed.  There are several walking trails and you can actually walk right around the old mine, but we simply walked to the main interpretive information area.

Peak Hill Gold Mine

Scenes at Peak Hill Gold Mine

The Peak Hill Gold Mine produced a total of 153,000 ounces of gold between 1996 and 2002 under its current ownership.  Gold was first discovered here in 1889 but was initially recovered by underground mining whereas the more recent work has been done by open cut techniques.  Since production stopped a huge effort has subsequently gone into rehabilitating the old mine to make it environmentally safe and friendly.  This is an ongoing process.

From the gold mine we ventured back into town to the antique store/lolly shop/café for a nice hot cup of coffee by the wood fire (it was a little chilly out at the mine).  After coffee we made a short visit to a local store where we bought a few second-hand books for later.

Then it was back to the Newell Highway heading South.  The Newell is known for the high volume of trucks on the road and this was certainly the case today.  There were plenty of trucks going in both directions and a reasonable number of caravans and motorhomes going in the opposite direction to us.  The highway is, however, in reasonable condition so there weren’t really any issues with all the trucks and other traffic.

Scenes along the highway

There were some roadworks just south of Peak Hill but really, although there is some inconvenience at the time, it is great that the highway is being upgraded.  These particular works were actually realigning the road and will remove several curves from the highway and that will be a good thing!

Our next stop was at The Dish, 19km north of Parkes.  I just love coming here to look at the Dish, but also to have one of the Dish Café’s beef and burgundy pies. We’ve been here several times in the past and the views and the pies have been great every time.  We actually bypassed The Dish on our last trip so we really had to visit this time.

One thing that we had never seen before was a person actually on The Dish itself.

First sighting of The Dish

Welcome to The Dish – see the person up the top in his Hi-Viz vest?

Views of The Dish

Displays at The Dish

Visitors are requested to turn off mobile phones etc so as to avoid Radio Frequency Interference to the dish.  There are signs everywhere and they go as far as not having paywave EFT facilities in the gift shop or the café (ie you have to insert your card and manually enter your PIN).

After a delicious lunch and a good look around the displays and gift shop, we returned to Bertha and headed back to the highway.  We didn’t go through the Parkes town-ship itself but continued down the Newell which effectively bypasses town.

We soon arrived at Forbes and headed straight to the Visitor Information Centre which is located in the old railway station.  There is a statue of Ben Hall the bushranger outside.

Forbes Visitor Information Centre & Ben Hall statue

The ladies there were very helpful and supplied us with maps and some brochures.  They also gave us directions to a freecamp on the outskirts of town, but still walking distance to the mainstreet, shops, cafes, restaurants, etc.

Within a few minutes we had found the freecamp at Wheogo Park and had Bertha setup in freecamping mode.  There are a number of other caravans and motorhomes here but we found a great site and have fantastic water views over Lake Forbes (the water is only about 7 metres away).  It wasn’t long before we were sitting on a bench by the water enjoying a cup of coffee.  Several other vanners came by and joined us for a chat beside the lake.

Views of Forbes free camp

Views of Forbes free camp

After coffee we went for a walk along the path, returning to Bertha before it became too cold.  We have phone coverage, internet access, and access to 32 TV channels, so we should be set and cozy for the night.

Thoroughly enjoying the motorhome experience!

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

Day 90 – Dubbo to Young

After a very wet and windy night, we were a little surprised to wake to a calm morning.  The torrent of water through the caravan park had dried up, although the ground was still very soggy.  We had a better chance to have a good look around this park and although it’s a bit old and tired, it appears that the young owners are working hard to renovate and upgrade facilities, and they are doing a great job so far.

Westview Caravan Park in Dubbo

Westview Caravan Park in Dubbo

After leaving the caravan park we made our way to the Newell Highway, and were amazed to see how busy it was.  We had only just got onto the Newell when we came across an illuminated “water across the road” sign.  Perhaps not a good omen but it appeared that the Newell was still the best bet for our planned destination today, so we continued on.

Busy as Bourke Street. Unwanted street sign.

Busy as Bourke Street. Unwanted street sign.

Things weren’t too bad as we progressed through the small village of Tomingley, and passed the mine.

Views of Tomingley

Views of Tomingley

Not surprisingly, there was still a lot of water around with creeks overflowing and rivers flowing strongly, and sheep and other livestock having to cope with wet feet.

Views along the road from Dubbo to Peak Hill

Views along the road from Dubbo to Peak Hill

We stopped for a coffee at Peak Hill.  After a walk around town we settled in next to a lovely wood fire at the antique/lolly shop/café and enjoyed a coffee, snack and chat with the owners.  We then investigated the interesting “Lindner Corner” building which houses the Tourist Information Centre, plus antiques and is the local centre for arts and crafts.  They have recently received a government grant and are developing a very interesting tourist stop.  The lady there was also ready for a chat to tell us all about it.

View of Peak Hill Tourist Information Centre

View of Peak Hill Tourist Information Centre

From Peak Hill we continued down the Newell Highway to Parkes.  Usually we would have stopped at the café at the “The Dish” but today we felt like something different so we continued into town.

It was then that we got some bad news – the Newell Highway was closed between Parkes and Forbes.  This definitely didn’t suit our plan.  There was a detour to Eugowra.  From there we could go through Canowindra to Cowra, our intended overnight destination.  Accordingly we headed down the Eugowra-Parkes Road and eventually Military Road.  Unfortunately, at the end of Military Road, we met a council works team and another detour sign and were redirected down Escort Way into Forbes.  This detour added an extra 65 kilometres to our journey from Parkes to Forbes.  And we didn’t get to visit Eugowra after-all.  Not happy Jan!

Views of Parkes, including statue of Sir Henry Parkes

Views of Parkes, including statue of Sir Henry Parkes

We stopped in Forbes outside the Forbes Shire Council Water Filtration Plant for a late lunch and to determine our next best course of action.  From Forbes we could either head down the Lachlan Valley Way to Cowra, or down the Henry Lawson Way to Grenfell, and from there to Cowra.  After due consideration we decided that the Lachlan Valley Way had too much of a risk of flooding from the Lachlan River, so we headed down the Henry Lawson Way to Grenfell.

Views along our detour

Views along our detour

This was an interesting drive on a relatively good road with only a couple of incidents with water across the road!

Water Hazard on Henry Lawson Way towards Grenfell

Water Hazard on Henry Lawson Way towards Grenfell

Eventually we reached Grenfell, which is a delightful town renowned as the birthplace of Henry Lawson.  We were hoping to find an open coffee shop but had no luck so we had thermos coffee in Bertha instead.  We now had another choice to make.  From Grenfell we could go to either Cowra or Young, both being about the same distance away.  As much as we like visiting Cowra, we decided to head towards Young as it would shorten tomorrow’s drive considerably.

Views of Grenfell

Views of Grenfell

A quick search in Wiki Camps found a suitable caravan park in Young so off we went.  There was some interesting scenery along the way.

Views along the highway into Young

Views along the highway into Young

Street scene in Young

Street scene in Young

Arriving in Young we set up Bertha at the Young Tourist Park and had a great chat to the couple next door in a new Sunliner Pinto motorhome.  Ann then took a short walk to Aldi to pick up some supplies and we are now hunkering down for the night.

Today has been another tiring day as the rain yesterday has left a big mess in many places.  Fortunately it didn’t actually rain today but it has been very cold and it is very soggy underfoot everywhere.  Having a long detour of course made the day much longer.  Still, we are safe and sound and making good progress on or way home.

Still enjoying the dream!

Categories: 2016 Big Maroochydore 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: , , , ,

Day 36 – Forbes to Wagga Wagga

We left Forbes about 9 am and headed for West Wyalong. We stopped at 955 Poppet Head Rest Area in Wyalong for coffee in the park. It was a nice stop set back from the road in a park setting with a big Mine Poppet Head structure. Then it was on to Temora for lunch at Lake Centenary. Only a day stop but very nice. The lake is used for V8 boat racing, water skiing, etc. Then it was down through Old Junee to Wagga Wagga Big 4 for the night where we had pizza left over from last night for dinner. We are both sick of travelling so far each day and are both feeling very tired. The roads are not wonderful. There is still a lot of water by the roadside and lots of long wide loads on the road and we seem to be having to pull over often to let trucks past.

Categories: 2012 Winton Adventure | Tags: ,

Day 35 – Gilgandra to Forbes

Up early. It was cold but not freezing and raining a bit. Driving impressions today were that the roads were a bit better –not as bumpy. We saw some VERY wide vehicles coming the other way and had to pull off the road several times to let large trucks pass. Road stops seemed to generally be of a pretty poor standard.

Need to Pull off the Road for these Big Boys

Need to Pull off the Road for these Big Boys

We drove around the outskirts of Dubbo and were looking forward to stopping at Maccas for a treat of coffee and apple pie but we couldn’t find a place to park so we continued down the highway. We pulled in to the Mountain Creek rest area for a coffee stop before heading on to Peak Hill. Peak Hill is a nice but dying town with a closed mine and lots of lovely buildings, including 3 great antique shops. Ann cooked up bacon and eggs for lunch in the van. I found some old cars to photograph. Then it was on to Parkes. We drove through the middle of town and it is bigger than we expected. We will be back at some stage to visit “the Dish” which is nearby.

Old Car in Peak Hill

Old Car in Peak Hill

Then back on the road to the Country Club Caravan Park in Forbes. Yes it is 5 minutes walk to town. Yes it is opposite the golf course. No it is NOT flash. OK and clean with a good site and only $22.50 for the night but nothing like what we expected. We arrived at about 2 pm and set up the van without unhitching.  We then walked into town and had a nice long chat with the ladies at the Information Centre. Charmaine was interested in cars and lives opposite the freecamp in Forbes. We kept walking all around town. We bought some stubbies and came back to the van via Maccas where we stopped for our treat of coffee and apple pies. We’ll get pizza delivered to the van for tea tonight as we’re both very tired.

Country Club Caravan Park in Forbes

Country Club Caravan Park in Forbes

Interesting Type of Drive Thru Site at Country Club Caravan Park in Forbes

Interesting Type of Drive Thru Site at Country Club Caravan Park in Forbes

Categories: 2012 Winton Adventure | Tags: ,

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