Posts Tagged With: Parkes

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 8 – Cowra to Gilgandra

We woke to yet another chilly morning, although again the sky was clear blue and the sun was, eventually, shining.  In fact at times we actually felt hot!

Cowra Van Park on a crisp morning

Cowra Van Park on a crisp morning

From Cowra we headed up highway B81 (forget the name) to Canowindra, which is the home of the Age of Fishes Museum.  Apparently this is one of only two fish fossil museums in the world and is a National Heritage site with international scientific significance.  Apart from the museum Canowindra also features a beautiful heritage town centre which is well worth a look.

DSC05752_690

Views of Canowindra

The next town we went through was Eugowra, which also had some very nice old buildings, including the Central Hotel.

View of Eugowra

View of Eugowra

For lunch we stopped at Cooke Park at Parkes.  This is a nice area with quite a few families enjoying the sunshine and having lunch at picnic tables.  Plus there are a couple of fountains, nice grassed areas and a clean toilet block.  Ann cooked a nice hot omelette in Bertha and we then went for a bit of a scenic tour around Parkes.  Previously our focus when visiting Parkes has been around visiting “The Dish” so this time we saw a very different side of the town.

Lunch stop at Cooke Park in Parkes

Lunch stop at Cooke Park in Parkes

From Parkes we headed up the Newell Highway (A39) to Peak Hill and decided to stop when we saw a sign promoting an art and craft show.  It was actually quite interesting and one exhibitor had come from as far away as Cobar.  I also popped in for a look around Cossors Diecast Collectibles in an old bank building, which for a car person is an incredible collection of car related models, posters, books, and so on, and its right in the middle of nowhere (so to speak).  We also checked out the local antique shop, which included a Lolly Shop and a cafe.  Being good grey nomads we further contributed to the economy of Peak Hill by filling up with fuel.

Continuing along the Newell we were slowed down for several kilometres of roadworks, before arriving at Dubbo.  We have never really been attracted to Dubbo for some reason so we didn’t stop, although we did see an interesting motorhome.

Not your typical motorhome

Not your typical motorhome

After a stop for coffee at a rest area outside Dubbo we continued on to the Gilgandra Caravan Park.  We’ve been here several times before and love the fact that there just seems to be so much space.  We arrived a bit later in the day than we had anticipated, but we were shown to a nice flat site overlooking the happy hour camp fire, by the camp kitchen.  Unfortunately it was a while before they lit the camp fire by which time it was getting cold so we decided to forgo the fire and enjoy dinner in Bertha instead.

Plenty of room at Gilgandra

Plenty of room at Gilgandra

We’re a bit further north but it’s still cold so hopefully we can get somewhere warmer tomorrow.

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: , , , ,

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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