Monday, February 27, 2017

Nindigully to Home

From Nindigully we continued eastwood on the Barwon Highway heading to Goondiwindi, where we spent two nights camped at the showgrounds.  

Your fee of $25 gets you power, water, showers and toilets with a dump point located several kilometres away. The sunsets here were just amazing...

Leaving Goondiwindi we soon passed through Boggibilla as we headed eastwood on the Bruxner Highway towards the small town of Texas. 
This is an RV friendly town with a lovely free camp located several kilometres from town beside the Dumaresq River. A dump point and free showers are located in the main street. We have stayed here before but today it was a coffee stop at one of the local cafes. 

For the next 76 km the highway runs beside the QLD/NSW border as the highway twists and turns on its way to Mole Creek. This road is no different to many other country roads that have been damaged by the amount of heavy B-doubles that constantly run back and forth each day.

Just 5 km north of Tenterfield we joined the New England Highway for the run into Wallangarra. The next two nights were spent camped in a large paddock several hundred metres behind the Jennings Pub.

The pub is listed in WikiCamps and Lyn who owns the pub cooks the most amazing meals and the beers are lovely and cold.

The Wallangarra Railway Station was opened in 1887 to link the different gauges used in NSW and QLD. The QLD narrow gauge used the western side of the station with NSW standard gauge trains using the eastern side. The opening of a standard gauge link through Kyogle in 1930 changed everything.

On our second day we visited Girraween National Park and climbed the Pyramid and Granite Arch tracks.

After our walk and a quick shower we travelled into Tenterfield for some sightseeing and for lunch. We have been here on three previous occasions to see the Saddlery shop in High Street, but our fourth visit was successful.

The building is still in its original condition from its 20 inch blue granite building stones through to its red cedar doors and windows. The ceilings are stained brown from the rising tobacco smoke over the years.

There have been many saddlers over the years but George Woolnough was the most famous of these being Peter Allen's grandfather. He was the saddler from 1908 through to his retirement in 1960. 
Many people including A. B. "Banjo" Paterson were regular visitors.

George Woolnough's grandson Peter Allen has kept alive the memory of his grandfather with one of his best known songs "The Tenterfield Saddler".

And these size 13 shoes he wore on the video of "I go to Rio"

From Wallangarra to our next campsite was a mere 57 km. I had read about camping at the Aloomba Lavender Farm just north east of Stanthorpe from another Bushtracker owner and from entries on WikiCamps.

Unfortunately the place did not live up to the reports that we had read but at $15 per night it was far better than staying in a caravan park. At least we had rather nice views of the surrounding countryside.

Our time spent here involved touring the Stanthorpe district sightseeing and visiting cheese factories, breweries, wineries and having lunches out. Some of the lovely cheeses, olives and dips purchased during our travels made for wonderful happy hours.

We left on our way to have brunch with Deb and Hank at Tenterfield before we headed our separate ways. They were off towards Alstonville before heading home the following day while our plan had been to camp on the Mann River for several days. 
The temperature at 1 pm as we passed through Glen Innes was just 14 degrees and with the forecast of quite heavy rain over the coming week we decided to continue home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Home to the Nindigully Pub

We left home this morning on our way to Queensland. 
Normally we break the drive and spend a night at the Yelgun rest area north of Ballina but have decided to continue through to Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast.

Camping is allowed adjacent to their famous markets and at $15 per night for an unpowered site it's a great stop over. The price includes the use of toilets, showers, non-potable water and there is even a dump point on site. 
A limited number of powered sites are available at $20 with a maximum two night stay.

Deb and Hank who live at Tewantin are joining us for a two week trip out as far as St George with some time spent around the New England area north of Tenterfield including Stanthorpe in South East Queensland. Our plan is then to camp at several locations before returning home to Sawtell.

After leaving Eumundi we continued south along the Bruce Highway and took the Landsborough turnoff. At Beerwah we headed west towards Peachester before joining the D'Aguilar Highway just east of Kilcoy. 

We passed through Kilcoy and Moore before stopping at Blackbutt for morning tea. I have it on good authority from two pieaholics that the bakery here is hard to beat. A selection of pies and other goodies were purchased with some consumed and some left till later. 

At Yarraman we joined the New England Highway and followed that south for 33 km before taking the Dalby to Cooyar Road turnoff at Wutul. This minor road is quite rough and narrow in places but thankfully doesn't seem to carry too much traffic. We stopped briefly in Dalby before continuing along the Moonie Highway for 17 km and then turning towards Lake Broadwater Conservation Park a further 10 km away. 

 We have camped here on numerous occasions and your $6 per person per night fee gets you flushing toilets and hot showers. The campground looks out over the lake and at present the water levels are low so our time spent here was nice and quiet without the hum of jet skis or ski boats spoiling the serenity. 

We experienced rather high temperatures over the 38 degree mark while we where here and the locals came down every afternoon to cool off.

Unbeknown to us the Chinchilla bi-annual watermelon festival was on while we were here so on our second day we headed the 100 km west of Dalby to check out the action.  So on Saturday morning we joined the constant stream of traffic heading along the Warrego Highway towards Chinchilla. The days temperature peaked at 38.7 degrees so after checking out some of the stalls we found ourselves a spot in the shade and watched the passing parade and watermelon races. 

On our return we took a minor road that passed through the small town of Kogan. We stopped in at the local pub for a few beers and a healthy plate of hot chips and gravy.
Camping is allowed at the Kogan Memorial Hall and power is available for $15, or unpowered $10.

A sculpture in the park beside the hall represents Hugh Sawrey a famous Australian painter who with RM Williams founded the Stockman's Hall of  Fame in Longreach. He was a great friend of a former owner of the hotel in Kogan, and who was responsible for erecting the sculpture. We have an association with Hugh Sawrey in that we have a couple of original paintings by him.

After two days camped at Lake Broadwater we rejoined the Moonie Highway and soon passed through the small town of Moonie. It was the site of Australia's first oil field and still is in operation today producing about 35 kilolitres each day. Several hours later and 187 km had us stopping in St George for lunch and several beers.

Then we continued on towards the Nindigully Pub a further 44 km away. The Gully sits beside the Moonie River and camping is free and a gold coin donation will get you a shower.

Hank received a book for Christmas titled 'Australian Bush Pubs' and wants to tick as many of the list as he can, so this pub is his first. We also celebrated his birthday while camped here so on our second evening we enjoyed happy hour before dining at the pub.

This particular burger is the smallest on the menu and weighs in at 5.5 kg's. Of course we were unable to do it justice but the resident dogs were more than happy to assist in devouring what we couldn't. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Recce to Cangai

Yesterday with fellow Bushtracker friends Jane and John we headed off to check out two  locations west of Grafton in NSW.  

These sites are listed in Wikicamps and also displayed on the Hema North East New South Wales map. Both are located on the Mann River.

The turnoff is just over 17 km west of Jackadgery which is 43 km west of Grafton along the Gwydir Highway.

The Cangai Bridge Road is dirt and marked as not suitable for caravans but there would be no trouble towing our 20' van the 2 km into this location. There are two wooden bridges to cross with the best camping on the southern side. 
Apart from the clear flowing river the area is surrounded by beautiful mountains that make up the Great Dividing Range with Washpool and Gibraltar Range National Parks just over 20 km to the west.

Several km west of this turnoff  is another dirt road that takes you to another camping area marked on the Hema maps as Cangai Broadwater. This site has more river frontage than the first so it's an alternative in case there are too many camped at the first location.

Neither site has any facilities, so make sure you take your rubbish with you and if others haven't then carry disposable gloves just like we do and clean up any mess that's been left behind. Otherwise beautiful spots like this will be closed forever.

The river is the perfect place to cool off on a hot day and the water is lovely and clear and just perfect for filling non-potable tanks.