Posts Tagged With: peak hill

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 97 – Nyngan to Peak Hill

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 a slow start we packed up Bertha and went for a quick walk down to the river.  The pelicans look so regal!

Peaceful pelicans

We then headed into Nyngan for another walk around and stopped for coffee at the Daily Grind coffee shop.  Sitting outside in the sun with our coffees we were briefly joined by Bob and Anne, who were also having a walk around town.

It was soon time for us to make a move so we headed back to the Mitchell Highway and crossed over the railway line that went through town.  There was another side to Nyngan that we hadn’t seen before.

The “other” side of Nyngan

Soon we were out in the country-side, and it was not long before we were confronted by roadworks.  Traffic was actually stopped in both directions for a while and was eventually let through one lane at a time.

Scenes along the highway

Roadworks

Once through the roadworks we came to the interestingly named town of ‘Nevertire’.  By now we were clearly in grain country with the major features in Nevertire being grain silos and grain handling equipment.  It appeared that a very long string of railway cars were being filled with grain as we passed.

Grain handling infrastructure in Nevertire

Trangie was the next town along the highway so we pulled off the highway to have a look around and decided that it must be lunch time.  Trangie is a small country town which has a quaint bakery – we bought rolls and takeaway coffees and ate our lunch in the Bicentennial Park opposite the Bakery.  The streets are very wide and there is a good assortment of shops including, of course, several old hotels.  There are some very nice community areas and gardens around the town.

Views around Trangie

Scenes around Trangie

Scenes around Trangie

From Trangie it was back on the Mitchell Highway and through more grain country and also some indications of water irrigation channels and water spraying equipment.  A large complex of buildings turned out to be a cotton processing facility, further confirming our idea that we are in irrigation country (we didn’t watch 4 Corners last night but I wonder if this area was discussed?).

Cotton Gin

Narromine was our next stop.  This is another nice country town with a great mix of heritage buildings, and it’s a lot bigger than we expected.  There are also indications that this is something of a citrus area.

Perhaps not surprisingly Ann found a craft shop and spent a bit of time exploring.

Scenes around Narromine

Scenes around Narromine

During that time I found a statue of Australian cricketer Glen McGrath, who was born in Narromine and is obviously regarded as a local hero.  Reading the plaques on the statue he definitely had a very distinguished cricketing career.  When he retired in 2007 he held the world record for the highest number of test wickets by a fast bowler (I’m not a great cricket fan so this did come as a bit of a surprise to me).

Glenn McGrath statue

I also found a War Memorial honouring Narromine’s war dead, and there were a lot of names on the list.  Very sad.

War Memorial at Narromine

From Narromine we diverted from the highway and took a lesser road towards Parkes.  Road quality was actually quite good and we drove down very nice tree lined sections of road.  There were signs of irrigated crops at times, and cattle grazing at other times.

Scenes along the highway

Some 40 kilometres along the road we drove through Tomingley.  There’s not much here other than the historic Cross Roads Hotel which was apparently established in 1880.  However there is some huge mining activity in Tomingley.  A quick search on Google tells us that the Tomingley Gold Project consists of 4 exploration licenses covering some 270 square kilometres from Tomingley down to Parkes in the South.  The project includes the Peak Hill Gold Mine.  Population at the 2011 census was 330.

Not a lot to the Tomingley township

Mining activity in Tomingley

At Tomingley we turned onto the Newell Highway and it was less than 20 kilometres to our destination – Peak Hill Caravan Park.

Scenes along the highway

We have stopped in Peak Hill for coffee or lunch on several occasions, but had never actually stayed here.  Caravan park owner Leighton showed us to our site and gave us a sheaf of information about the town.  Frosty – Leighton says Hi!  When we first arrived there were only a couple of other vans and motorhomes here, but once we set up there was a continuous stream of new arrivals.  There are 34 sites here and I don’t think that many will be vacant overnight.

We got Bertha organized and then went for a walk around town.  According to Leighton it is 324 steps from the caravan park to the services club, and that seemed about right.  We walked from one end of town to the other but will come back for a better look in the morning.  Peak Hill hasn’t survived quite as well as other small country towns we have visited and there are far too many empty shops.  Never-the-less the community is certainly working hard to keep the town clean and tidy, and welcoming to visitors.

Scenes around Peak Hill

Scenes around Peak Hill

Scenes around Peak Hill

Back at the caravan park Ann sussed out the camp kitchen and later cooked our dinner out there.

Peak Hill Caravan Park

It does get dark very quickly and quite early, so we were soon settled in Bertha for the night.

Still living the dream!

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

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: , , ,

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