Posts Tagged With: The Dish

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 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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