Saturday, 16 November 2013

After a few days in Orange catching up with relatives we were again on our way towards home. 
The first town we passed through was Stuart Town and believe it or not this beautiful little railway station is still in use - as a train station.  
Next was Wellington.  It seems every town built in the 1800s or early 1900s  all had beautiful stone Post Offices and Court Houses.  This is the Court house in Wellington and still in use today.
They also had a nice park which, as well as this fountain, they had their War Memorial.
Then it was off to the Wellington Caves. I had wanted to go to see them for some time but when we were at the Riversleigh Fossil area we were told that the Wellington Caves are in the same age as Riversleigh as they have found the same type of bones in both places, so it was a must that we call into them.  However, at Riversleigh they have found full skeletons whereas at Wellington they have only found odd bones and only in one cave.  They believe that the bones were washed into the cave a Wellington by flood waters whereas at Riversleigh they say that the animals fell into the water and drowned. We did not go into the cave in which they had found the fossils.

This little, or rather big, creature roamed the earth (particularly Australia) some 20 to 40 million years ago and is a relative of our wombat.

Cathedral Cave. The only cave we went into.  It was good but I don't think it was any where near as good as the Yarrangabilly Caves down in the Snowy Mountains.

At the Wellington Caves they also have a Japanese Garden. It was quite nice but only small - much smaller then the Cowra Japanese Gardens.
We found a very nice free camp on the banks of the Macquarie River just north of Wellington.
We went for a walk down along the creek and saw these cattle down at the creek having a drink.  There were quite a few storms brewing around us as well. Luckily we only received the tail end of the storms although during the night it did get extremely windy. 

Sunset - looking up at the cows on the hill.

No, they are not angels as I first thought.  When you look more closely at them you will see that they are galahs.  As well as these ones there were several more on the way into Gulargambone.

This fellow in Gulargambone looks more like a cranky galah.
On our way from Coonamble we came across this daddy emu and five little chicks.

We stayed at a free camp at the Pilliga Bore Baths just 1.5 kilometres from the little township of Pilliga.  A lovely spot until about eight or nine o'clock at night, particularly Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights when all the ferals and low lifes come out.  We weren't there on the Friday night but were there on Saturday and Sunday nights when people were turning up at all hours of the night to use the bore baths (a hot artesian swimming pool) and making one hell of a racket.  They have lovely facilities there - free gas barbecues, toilets and outside shower, a roof over the pool and lighting.  Some of those who turn up smash bottles in the pool and try to wreck everything - typical behaviour of louts in the city but there are no cities near Pilliga.  I have no idea where they come from as there are only about half a dozen houses in Pilliga and some farms around the area.  The nearest town would be Wee Waa which is about 40 /50 kilometres away.

There was a nice lagoon area created where the water from the pool is drained out to and there were lovely sunsets.

Looks a little different in the day time.  This horse came both mornings for some bread.
We drove down to Baradine where there is the Pilliga Discovery Centre and picked up some mud maps and got some advice on where to go.  It is quite an amazing place - there are roads everywhere and I am glad that we had the maps and had spoken to the ranger otherwise we could still be driving around in the Pilliga Scrub.

They have a walk which is called the Sculptures in the Bush.  It is about 2 to 3 kilometres long and goes across the top of  Dandry Gorge and then back to the carpark along the bottom of the gorge.  They have five sculptures along the top with a plaque explaining about the sculpture, why the artist chose to do this particular sculpture and a little bit about the artist.  They are really good.  The first  is called 'Spirit' which is these two figures, made out of marine steel, looking down into the gorge.


The next sculpture is of an aboriginal man with a boy sitting on his shoulders and the man is showing the boy where to go hunting down in the gorge.

The next sculpture depicts an aboriginal axe and a white man's axe.  The aboriginal axe is carved out of granite and is warm to touch. The white man's axe is carved out of marble and no matter how hot the day is, it is always cool to touch.

When you are walking back along the path at the bottom of the gorge you can look up and see the aboriginal carving and a bit further along the 'spirits' carving.

This is along the creek in the gorge - it was very dry.

Next we went to the Salt Caves.  We couldn't find any salt but the story goes that the aboriginal women used to go to these caves to collect salt.
They have built a fire tower at the Salt Caves which you can climb.

From the fire tower you can see for ever!

From Pilliga we headed north towards Bingara. Storms were brewing as we neared Bingara and looked quite spectacular but again we missed the main storm.

Bingara is another lovely little town.  They have quite a few of these murals on the sides of the buildings around town.

They also have an old styled picture theatre.  It was all closed up when we were there but I think it either still operates as a picture theatre or a movie museum.  It even had a milk bar on the corner.


Our next stop was Inverell.  It is quite a big town - bigger then I was expecting.

Some lovely old buildings. This hotel looked like it had only recently been done up.  The lace metal work around the verandah looked amazing.
Inverell also had some lovely gardens.  This one is next to the Information Centre and also beside the river.  They had some of the biggest grass trees I have ever seen.

They had a park along the river with this fountain in it.  They also had an area with a whole lot of exercise equipment.  I almost went and tested it out.

Another park another town. We stopped in Glenn Innes for lunch and found this park. There is park that goes along three blocks and each block is called a different park. I think this is Anzac Park.  It was storming while we were there - quite heavy rain so we could not really go for a walk around the park/s.

I found this cute little fellow at the picnic area at Girraween - near Stanthorpe.  Again I wasn't allowed to bring him home. 

Our last night was at Leslie Dam just west of Warwick.

They have these sculptures of Patrick Leslie and his wife Kate near the dam wall. Patrick Leslie was one of the pioneers of the Warwick area.  Kate Leslie's sculpture has a strong resemblance to Julia Gillard. 

We spent the afternoon watching storms form and then go around.

We did eventually get some rain but there were some very big storms going around us.

It fined up enough to get a beautiful sunset.


As the sun sets on our three months travelling it is time to reflect on all the places we have been and the things we have seen.  Whilst I have ticked off a lot of places I have always wanted to visit I think I have replaced them with a whole lot more that I want to go to.
We have travelled approximately 14,600 kilometres which took us through Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.  In travelling those states we have seen country that is so vastly different that it is difficult to comprehend that it is all in the one country.
Queensland, the Northern Territory and the top part of South Australia were so very hot, dry and dusty and in the centre of Australia the flies almost drove us mad.  Thank goodness for fly nets! I never though I would wear one but they are a life saver.   Travelling from Mt Isa to the Stuart Highway and then down to Port Augusta, including the roads out to Uluru and Kings Canyon, there were many kilometres with nothing to see except the highway stretching off into the horizon and the surrounding country side doing the same.  There were no animals, road kill or alive, to be seen.  It was sometimes hundreds of kilometres between towns and it was sometimes even hard to find a rest area to stop to make a cup of coffee or have lunch.
Once we left Port Augusta and started to head east the country was so green, picturesque and the temperature plunged. I realised then why I had packed so many winter clothes and the heater! 
Coming home from Port Augusta, every 20 to 30 kilometres there was either a little town of some description, a rest area or something interesting to stop to look at.  So many of the towns are so old and have beautiful stone buildings and a lot of history about them.
I can't really pick a favourite place that we went to but Lawn Hill National Park, Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles) and Kings Canyon were some of the highlights   I wouldn't have missed the flight over Uluru and the Olgas and the  'Sounds of Silence' dinner at Yulara as they were both magical.
Three months sounds a long time but it went very quickly and still wasn't enough time to see everything.  We met so many people along the way who have sold up everything, bought a caravan or motor home and have been travelling for five or six years.  Half their luck, but I couldn't sell up every thing - I would always want somewhere to come home to.
Now for all the unpacking, washing, cleaning ............. and not to mention that four letter word 'work' waiting for me.
This will be my last blog until our next trip whenever it may be.
Take care.



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