Posts Tagged With: moree

Day 88 – Goondiwindi to Narrabri

The sky was looking a paler shade of grey when we got up but soon the sun was out and it warmed up.  In fact it stayed in the mid-20s most of the day.

After getting ready and packing up Bertha, it was only a couple of minutes from the caravan park until we were on the Newell Highway and across the border in New South Wales.

The first town we drove through was Boggabilla – we didn’t actually stop but we love the sound of the name!

Views of Boggabilla

Views of Boggabilla

This part of the country is very flat, and there were obvious signs of recent rain with plenty of water along the sides of the road.  Vegetation ranged from canola crops, wild meadows, trees surrounded by crops and/or canola, and some paddocks with cattle or sheep.  Basically everywhere appeared to be lush, and green and yellow.

Views along the Newell Highway

Views along the Newell Highway

Road conditions were generally good, and unlike our complaint yesterday about rest stops, along the Newell the situation is much improved with regular “proper” rest stops off the highway, with seats and benches, and many with toilet facilities.  Unfortunately many were too soft and muddy to consider using them.

Big trucks are still an issue however the only real solution appears to be to add extra lanes to the highway system.  Apart from road trains and generally large trucks, there were plenty of oversize trucks as well.  On more than one occasion we saw overtaking trucks on the wrong side of the road heading straight for us.  Having said that there was at least a reasonable provision of overtaking lanes which goes some way to alleviating the problem of shared highways.  My general approach is to pull over as soon as I can when a truck or some-one in a hurry is behind me, and so far we have managed to stay out of trouble.

Plenty of big trucks on the Newell Highway

Plenty of big trucks on the Newell Highway

We stopped at Moree for a combined coffee and lunch stop, and enjoyed both at the Café Omega in the main street.  A long walk followed in order to keep up our step numbers.

Arriving at Moree

Arriving at Moree

Moree is known as “Artesian Water Country” and it appears that nearly every second motel and caravan park claims to have artesian pools or spas.

After lunch and our walk we continued along the Newell.

Canola and associated grain handling facilities remained the main attractions along the highway.  We were particularly impressed with one grain facility which had clearly invested in solar panels.

Views along the Newell Highway

Views along the Newell Highway

Views outside Moree

Views outside Moree

At one point along the highway we commented on the large amount of mud and dirt left on the opposite side of the highway by a truck that had obviously come off a dirt/mud road and left huge mud tracks along the highway.  Just our luck that another large truck decided to overtake us and promptly spayed the front of Bertha with a lot of that mud.  Visibility was so bad than we had to pull over at the next rest area to give the windscreen a really good clean.

Washing the windscreen

Washing the windscreen

Soon we arrived at Narrabri.  We were a bit surprised to see a few houses that looked like older style Queenslanders up on stilts, even compete with palm trees.  There are some beautiful buildings in this town and there are obvious attempts to retain the heritage of the town.

Buildings around Narrabri

Buildings around Narrabri

Street views of Narrabri

Street views of Narrabri

First priority was to check into the Narrabri Blue Sky Caravan Park.  We stayed here a few years ago and it has a good number of drive-through sites especially for overnight stop-overs.  The facilities are good and there are nice touches like the herb garden for use by visitors.  Today it was a little bit damp underfoot and the managers told us that they were expecting heavy rain overnight.  In fact they have cancelled the scheduled sausage sizzle for tonight due to the forecast weather.  According to the local TV news, the SES is flying a helicopter into Narrabri tonight to help with expected rain and floods.  Not exactly what we wanted to hear!

Once Bertha was all set up, we headed off on the short walk into town and to explore the shops, including purchasing some supplies for afternoon tea.

Back at Bertha we decided to enjoy a cup of coffee and cake at the camp kitchen.  Several other travellers came over to check out the camp kitchen facilities and to have a chat.

Narrabri Blue Sky Caravan Park

Narrabri Blue Sky Caravan Park

We moved back to Bertha just in time as a light rain began to fall.  As we finished dinner the light rain became a bit heavier, so we’ve battened down Bertha’s hatches and look forward to a night in front of the TV.

Yes, we’re still living the dream!

Categories: 2016 Big Maroochydore Adventure | Tags: ,

Day 80 – Moree to Gilgandra

This morning we woke to beautiful clear blue skies, but it was still very chilly.

Leaving Moree on the Newell Highway we immediately struck roadworks, and bridgeworks, and more roadworks. We almost thought that we were back on the Bruce Highway in Queensland! A lot of work was being done on widening roads and also clearing trees and scrub away from the roadside, presumably in preparation for further road widening. The roads were in a really bad way, so much so that the council had signs up advising motorists to slow down due to bad road conditions. This section of road was largely flat, with crops like canola growing.

Scenes along the Newell Highway

Scenes along the Newell Highway

Our first stop was at Narrabri where we stopped at Cameron Park – N771 – for morning coffee. This is a nice area next to the river with amenities and a dump point, plus an undercover seating area, a kids’ playground and plenty of parking. The road actually continues around under the bridge to access sporting facilities on the other side of the Highway.

Cameron Park, Narrabri

Cameron Park, Narrabri

Back on the Newell Highway, driving conditions changed with a better quality road, a straighter road, and plenty of National Forest areas. At one stage we passed another Trailblazer 5th wheeler – we don’t see very many on the road and selective perception means that each one we do see seems to be special!

Lunch was in Coonabarabran. We stopped there on our 2013 Adventure and again parked in Nelson Park – N786 – before walking around town to find somewhere for lunch. This park is another great facility for travellers, with parking, BBQs, undercover seating, a large, clean amenities block, playground equipment, and more. There were plenty of people stopped there for lunch. Visitors do need to be a little careful though – the park is guarded by several large and cantankerous geese!

Lunch was at Coonabarabran

Lunch was at Coonabarabran

Road conditions changed again as we left Coonabarabran with picturesque rolling hills and more grazing country. We saw sheep in large numbers for the first time in quite a while.

Different scenery along the Newell Highway

Different scenery along the Newell Highway

Then disaster struck! While we were stopped at a servo just outside Gilgandra a truckie indicated that we had a bit of a problem with one of the tyres on the caravan! He wasn’t joking – it was absolutely shredded!! What was worse was that it was OK at Coonabarabran and that neither Ann or I had heard or felt anything go bang, and I hadn’t felt any difference in handling. I have to put it down to a solid chassis in the van and dual axle configuration. We pulled over at the servo and changed the tyre before heading on to our overnight destination.

Shredded Tyre on our 5th wheeler

Shredded Tyre on our 5th wheeler

Changing the tyre on the 5th wheeler

Changing the tyre on the 5th wheeler

Off to the tyre store

Off to the tyre store

Gilgandra Caravan Park is a favourite of ours and we have stayed here several times. They again put us on a good site and as soon as we were set up I headed off into Gilgandra to find a new spare tyre. There is only one tyre store in town and they fixed us up with a good second hand tyre with the right specifications – they didn’t have any new tyres in our size in stock. This will do as a spare until we get home when we can review the tyre situation overall.

Set up at Gilgandra Caravan Park

Set up at Gilgandra Caravan Park

Then it was back to the van to store the spare in its allocated position before heading inside to put on some warmer clothes and relax with a beer.

Not quite the way we had planned today – but it could have been a lot worse!

Categories: 2014 Townsville Adventure | Tags: , , ,

Day 79 – Warwick, Qld to Moree, NSW

When I first poked my head out the van door this morning it was a crisp and chilly with a heavy fog as far as I could see. There were ducks and kangaroos searching for food amongst the caravans. I did exactly what any sensible person would do – I came back inside the van, turned on the heater, and got back into bed!

Eventually things warmed up a bit and the fog disappeared, so we thought that we should get up and get things happening. As a result we made a bit of a late start. We hadn’t unhitched so getting ready didn’t take too much time, and we were able to stop at a tap on the way out to top up the water tanks.

We drove along the Cunningham Highway to Goondiwindi where we turned onto the Newell Highway. Some 40 kms past Goondiwindi we stopped at the North Star Road Rest Area – N761 – for lunch. This is quite a large area with what appear to be very new amenities and quite a few good, sheltered spots where you could stop for the night.

Driving today has been a real mixed bag, and has been quite difficult and tiring. The road has been uphill and downhill, straight or with sweeping bends, good quality roads and shocking quality roads, roadworks, extra wide loads coming towards us, and practically anything you can imagine. At times the amount of road-kill on the road tested my slalom driving skills!

Police escort for extra wide load approaching

Police escort for extra wide load approaching

Extra wide load approaching

Extra wide load approaching

Wow ! That's big!

Wow ! That’s big!

Wow ! That's big too!

Wow ! That’s big too!

Interesting roadside stop

Interesting roadside stop

Scenery wise, again it was a mixed bag ranging from dry grazing land, to lush irrigated pastures, to dead dry waterholes and dams, to groves of healthy looking olive trees, to crop stubble, to recently tilled soils, to just plain ugly scrub.

Olive groves

Olive groves

Our final destination for tonight was the Moree Showgrounds – N765. Ann and I are both a bit over caravan parks and when we can’t find a suitable free camp – ideally a lake or dam – stopping at sale yards and similar is a good compromise. There is usually power and water, often a dump point, almost always plenty of space, and usually basic or better amenities. Moree Showgrounds fits the bill perfectly with only a few vans here; we have power and water and a nice big level site. The amenities are very basic – but our van is self-sufficient so that’s not really a problem.

Plenty of room at Moree Showgrounds

Plenty of room at Moree Showgrounds

We did a proper set-up and unhitched and drove into town to top up with diesel and to shout ourselves a decent cup of coffee.  Then it was back to the van for dinner and update the blog.

Still living the dream !

Categories: 2014 Townsville Adventure | Tags: , ,

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