Today’s weather was even better than yesterday – chilly to start but clear blue skies and generally warm and sunny. We both wore short sleeves all day.
Hillston Caravan Park was quite a different proposition to Narranadera Showgrounds the night before. The caravan park was almost totally full with several vans coming in after we had moved inside for dinner. Plus the caravan park backs onto a sports oval with flood lights for training, so there was a lot more light and movement compared to the night before. Our neighbours started moving out of the caravan park at 6.30am! Still, we both slept well.
After breakfast and an earlier start than previous, we headed back to the Kidman Way to continue our search for warmer weather. Some 36 kms out of Hillston we checked out the Lachlan River Rest Area (N924) which was recommended by friends. Next time we’re up this way we will certainly consider staying there rather than at the caravan park in Hillston provided that we did not need power for our heater.
First stop was for coffee at the very interesting, historic Royal Hotel at Mount Hope, about 100 km north of Hillston. The publican told us that they had received 255 mm of rain so far this year compared to 44 mm for the same time last year. This was reflected in the lush green scenery around the hotel and along the roadside. There was a lot of wild life around – we saw quite a few emus and plenty of wild goats. It does seem that some farmers are using goats to control unwanted shrub infestations in their paddocks, and that the wild goats are actually being gradually domesticated.
From Mount Hope it was a further 160 kms to Cobar, our overnight destination. We were in Cobar two years ago during our 2012 Big Winton Adventure but were literally washed out so this time we’re pleased that the weather appears to be better and that we will actually be able to enjoy some sight seeing.
First order of business was to check into the Cobar Caravan Park – the only one in town – where Ann organised a perfect drive through site near amenities and without too many close neighbours. The park is only about half-full. Then a quick lunch and off to do some sight-seeing around town.
A few kilometres out of town we visited the Fort Bourke Look-out which overlooks the New Cobar Gold Mine. It was quite amazing to see the huge dump trucks wind their way down the open cut section of the mine and enter into the “mouse hole” at the bottom. I don’t think that I would ever be game to go that far underground, even if it meant finding gold.
Then it was back to the Visitor Information Centre which is housed in a beautiful old building that used to be the Administration building for the Great Cobar Copper Mine. Cobar is essentially a mining town that produces copper, gold, silver, lead and zinc. The same building also houses the Great Cobar Heritage Centre where we did the tour and found it absolutely fascinating. It covered the area’s aboriginal heritage, the history of mining, early settlers and their lifestyle, growth and development of the town and general area, and more. There were plenty of displays, including a reproduction underground mine, and lots of historic mining equipment, vehicles, and so on.
After learning heaps about Cobar it was back the van for a cup of coffee and a walk around the park to explore a bit, then back to the van for dinner, blog and TV.
So far our visit to Cobar has gone very well.