Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15th
Cream coloured wattle

I love hearing an owl in the night when we camp in the bush. Last night I could hear a Barking Owl. I have heard this sound a couple of time in the last few weeks.

Our last day...we left Livingstone NP with a view of fog in front of us ...a sign of us getting further south.
Foggy drive
Cootamundra Wattle is becoming much more prevalent along the road sides. Having said that, we came upon a few wattles with very pale cream blooms compared with the brighter yellow wattles. There are so many varieties of wattle, I have never tried to identify these wonderful Australian trees. Eastern Rosella Parrots were quite common this morning. Pairs of these bright coloured birds often flew across in front of us.

We arrived back home in Milawa about 3.20 pm. The rivers are full of water and the paddocks green with long grass. It all looked very similar to what we have seen throughout central NSW.
Our garden is green and very wet...also the Grass tree looks great, surrounded by the desert daisies which we planted this time last year.

August 14th

Wattle trees border many road ways.
Again- a lovely morning walk. The rocky track in Weddin National Park led us on a steady rise….the return trip was much easier! The Mugga Iron barks, Black Cypress, White Box trees and some wattles in bloom made for attractive scenery. We walked for 15-18 minutes and then retraced our steps. We found a few blue Calledenia orchids and several bushes of Dahpne Heath as well as some  grass trees.

After coming out of the National Park we followed a Stock Route for about 15 kms. The gravel track was very good but it is a while since a mob of cattle has been through that way!

Paddocks are very wet and most creeks we crossed showed the effects of flood waters. Obviously there has been heavy falls of rain in the area. The farmlands look amazing. Everywhere we could see the bright yellow of Canola crops in bloom as well as the brilliant green of grain crops.

We bi-passed both Junee and Wagga Wagga and drove out to the Livingstone National Park. This is a simple park with no facilities for campers despite that, we were free to camp the we settled  in a cleared spot at about  3.30pm. It promised to give us a cold night for the last camp of our trip..thank goodness for our heater.

We are looking forward to returning home to Milawa with the hope that our Grass tree still looks as healthy as those in Weddin NP.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

August 13th
Mural at Tourist Centre Grenfell ...The stars come close and bright words by Henry Lawson.

What a clear blue sky! we walked up the Terrara Creek along the winding vehicle track and crossed the Terrara Creek 8 times. Luckily there were stones at each crossing which were a help to me. There are many lovely campsites beside the road.  A notice board told us that one flat area by the creek had been used by a Chinaman  for growing  vegetables during the days of Copper mining. Presumably  he bucketed water to his plants. It is a very narrow and pretty valley with trees, birds and green slopes. We have been fortunate to see several of the rare Turquoise Parrot in the bush today.

Driving across country through farmland has provided a lovely morning. We stopped in Grenfell to buy eggs and milk. This is the town where Henry Lawson was born in 1867 during the gold mining days. The town holds the annual 'Henry Lawson Festival of Arts' which promotes poetry, writing, composing and painting. He is well remembered here with plaques and a bronze statue.

We settled in the nearby Weddin National Park shortly after lunch, enjoying a quiet afternoon of reading and general R&R.

Have a chat with Henry!
August 12th

It was minus 3.6 degrees in Bathurst this morning, despite this we slept warmly. The heater went on prior early so we were kept warm. Our Webasco cooker has been troublesome for several weeks. It has developed a very irrational switch on pattern. Today gas was essential for our morning cup of tea.

Eileen and Geoff need to be home this coming Sunday which is a little earlier than we need to return to the NE, so they are going more directly south than we are. This allows us to wander for a little longer.
Spools at 'Home Patch' Bathurst

Our first call for the morning was a patchwork shop called ‘Home Patch’..the Home of Hatched and Patched. It was a very tastefully decorated shop and I was lucky to find a number of ‘spools’ I purchased several of these. Yvonne and I are looking forward to a new embroidery project which involves putting our work on a spool.

The city of Bathurst was settled in the first half of the 1800s. We drove by Abercrombie House, which is on the north side of Bathurst. This particular home is extensive with 52 rooms and is considered a heritage treasure. The Morgan family, who now own it have been maintaining and restoring it for the last 40 years.

We decided to return to Orange and look for the Winery that Philip Shaw operates. It is a little way south of Orange. The buildings and sales  areas are very attractive. We were lucky to be able to spend quite a long time chatting with Philip. John knew Philp, when he lived in Rutherglen about 40 years ago. At that point he worked at Lindeman’s Corowa.

From there we drove through very hilly and green farmlands to the Nangar National Park where we have camped for the night. The Terrara Campsite is about 7 km from the main road. The track in was quite narrow and we crossed the creek about about a dozen times. It is a remote and very pretty spot to spend a night…no doubt below freezing in the morning. The valley is so narrow that we may not see the sun here before we leave camp tomorrow.

The hills of Orange and Bathurst are part of the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range.

Eucalyptus Dealbata in Nangar NP

Thursday, August 11, 2016

August 11th

I could not resist a short walk in the bush on such a beautiful morning.....What bliss walking in the bush at 9.15 am with all my chores behind me!

Greenhood Orchids in Goobang National Park

This morning we continued south again.Through Yeoval and Molong to Orange which is a bussling city. ...and on to Bathhurst. The farmlands were really lovely ...undulating and green with many many sheep and only a few crops. This is Banjo Patterson Country.
The first attraction in Bathhurst was to drive around Panorama Hill. This iconic race track is steep, with many tight curves.. It must be exciting to see the main race of the year..the 'Bathurst 1000'. We lunched on top of the hill in a very chilly wind. We were told it had been -4 deg here this morning.

A BIG 4 Camping Park is our destination this evening.

Eileen and Geoff  very kindly took us out to dinner at one of the best restaurants in Bathurst...'Cobblestones'. We all enjoyed a delicious meal. The bottle of wine John chose was a Phillip Shaw wine made from his vineyard in Orange. The blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc was most suitable for our meals. We knew Phillip when he worked in Rutherglen about 35 years ago.

Tomorrow morning our travelling partners of over 8 weeks will head south to make a quick entry into Victoria on Sunday. We have 3 or 4 days left yet before we need to be home.

August 10th

I felt quite sad to be leaving the Warrumbungles this morning. It promised to be a fine and warm day again and I could have quite happily stayed a little longer.
Our track took us west toward Gilgandra, through green farmland including and emu farm. There were hundreds of these birds in conventional farmyard paddocks.

Our main stop in Gilgandra was a visit to the Gallery and Information Centre which we thoroughly enjoyed. The main attraction at the Gallery was the story of the     Gilgandra Coo-ee march which took place in 1915 when young men from the area marched to Sydney to enlist as soldiers to go to the 1914-18 War.  Men marched the long road to Sydney collecting other young men along the way. Last year 2015, 100 years later, a re-enactment took place. The Gallery featured a large series of photographs taken of the participants in this re-enactment. It is a truly wonderful Australian story.
Some years ago, the ‘Zig Zag’ artist Group, of which I was a member, displayed a travelling Exhibition in this same gallery. It was lovely to see the large space being used for another exhibition. It can recommend a visit if you are passing that way.

Footsteps representing the Coo-ee March re-enactment 2015
The next leg of our journey, we followed a rig which was very similar to the Dinning rig but with a difference!! Firstly we noticed them throw orange peel and an apple core out the window to add to the litter along the Newell Highway… the prime mover was puffing out a large amount of black diesel smoke…so much for a clean, green Australia!

We lunched in the Dubbo Information Centre Park and quickly moved on to the Goobang National Park where we have camped for the night in the Wanda Wandong Camping Area. What a pretty spot with Ironbark trees, Box trees, birds and kangaroos. A short walk through the nearby bush was delightful, especially as we found Blue Caladenia Orchids and hundreds of tiny Greenhoods. I will need to check my orchid book at home to positively identify the type of Greenhood.

A lovely hot campfire and a starry sky…quite unexpected as rain had been forecast!

Ibis in Dubbo Park.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9th

Early morning view of Rocky peaks

A great day spent relaxing and exploring the Warrumbungle National Park.

A light frost lay on the grass when we first looked out to see the early sun on the nearby rocky peaks.

John and Eileen decided to stay at camp while Geoff and I went for a 3-4 km walk along a track which took us up over quite a high rocky knoll. Wattles were in bloom and other wildflowers as well. We crossed the Wambelong Creek 3 times. I do hate crossing creeks on stepping stones. The last crossing was quite treacherous as water was over the rocks, even the hems of my trousers got wet. 

Apostle bird
Views around our camp are quite spectacular which makes sitting in the sun even more enjoyable. Kookaburras and Apostle birds entertained us at lunch time. As evening came many kangaroos came out to feed. Their antics are amusing as well. We saw 2 female kangaroos have a brief  'box on' with each other. One very young kangaroo was gamboling about, hopping over its mother and even received a couple of reprimands over the ears.

 This will probably be the last day I wear short sleeves as more rain is forecast and we must move south a little more tomorrow.

Our camp in Warrumbungles National Park

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8th

What a warm morning in Moree. After receiving an email from my cousin, Robin, who recommended we have a chat with Tian Harris, who works at the Tourist Info Centre where we went  soon after 9.00 am. Luckily for me Tian was at work today and she was very happy to tell me all she new about Edward Dickens. She  mentioned that Edward had worked in the Lands Department so we were able to see this lovely old building. Evidently there is a memorial plaque, in memory of Edward, in the Moree Anglican Church. We went around to see the church but, unfortunately it was locked. It does seem odd that Edward is buried in the Methodist Section of the cemetery even though the memorial plaque is in the Anglican Church...presumably he was a member of the All Saints Anglican Church.

The Lands Department Building where Edward Dickens worked.
The trip along the Newell highway through Narrabri and Coonabarabran took us through bush country again as well as a State Forest. There were many Iron Bark trees and generally the bush reminded me of the Chiltern Forest in Victoria. The road was excellent and the scenery interesting...several Canola crops were in yellow bloom and there were many yellow wattle trees amongst the Iron Bark trees. We had a wonderful view of Mt Kaputar where John and I camped many years ago.

Tonight we have set up camp in the Warrumbungle National Park and will stay here for two nights. It is quite chilly here after a warm and sunny day and hopefully it will be similar tomorrow so we can do some walking along some of the many bush tracks set up for visitors to enjoy.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 7th.
Card painted by Julie King
Tonight we are camping in Moree at the 'Gwydir Carapark - Thermal Pools & Hot Springs Resort'. We enjoyed a lovely long soak in the warm pool late this afternoon. I found it to be a relaxing and fun thing to do. The Artisan water is drawn from the Great Artesian Basin about 750 metres below the ground. Chlorine is added to comply with Council Requirements and then the water is delivered into the pools ready for visitors to enjoy.

We were awakened this morning, at our Lake Copeton camp, to a chorus of laughing, from several kookaburras. They were laughing at us, yesterday, as we sat reading.

The morning was clouded but the day was quite warm and this evening thunder clouds have gathered. It is expected to be warm again tomorrow. The drive across here from Copeton Lake was mostly through bush country and on hilly bitumen roads. One property was name ALLAWA which means 'my place' I have used this name for one of my quilts when the theme was 'home'.

It was good to see men on horses rounding up cattle. Mostly bikes are used these days for this farm activity. Then as we came through Bungara the local Pony Club  members were out for a ride. I did love to ride as a young girl.

The Gwydir Highway took us into Moree. A few km. east of Moree we passed by a pecan orchard, something I have not seen before. There was a Sunday morning market in progress when we arrived in town. This was rather fun to walk through.

Today, I was very pleased to receive an email from a new friend. She and her husband were camping at Lake Leslie when we were there. Julie gave me a card on which she had painted a picture of wattle.

Memorial Plaque for Edward Dickens

The highlight of the day for us was finding the grave  of Edward (Plorn) Dickens who married Constance Desailly, my great grandfather's neice. Edward and Constance lived near Wilcannia and that is the reason why we began our Safari in that area. Conctance was buried in the Box Hill cemetery and Edward was buried here in Moree. Edward, among other occupations, had been a member of the Legislative Assembly in NSW. He died on 1902 and was buried in the Moree Cemetery. I believe the Dickens Society erected the elaborate Memorial Grave ston

Moree Cemetery Grave of Edward Dickens

Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 6th

We left Gordon's farm 'Oxley' late in the morning after an inspection of sheds and machinery.

Unidentified wattle near Lake Copeton's edge
Copeton Dam was about 36 kilometres. It is currently very low in water storage. It has lovely facilities for visitors, including a number of camping areas, a golf course, cafe and play ground  for kids. Over lunch we made the decision to stay the night. The day was fine and warm so R & R was most welcome. Dinnings were able
to plug into grid power and we camped nearby on the edge of the bush. Reading and stitching and a short walk to the edge of the lake soon filled in the afternoon. There are several types of wattle in bloom and many kangaroos feeding on the lawns.

Lake Copeton at a very low level

August 5th

The morning dawned clear blue and chilly after a very cold night camping in Bald Rock National Park. It is not surprising as the altitude is 1128 metres.

We left this pretty bush and drove a short distance to the Boonoo Boonoo National Park. This was also very pretty with a lot of wattle in bloom. It was a much more user friendly park with several short walks. We all went out to see the Boonoo Boonoo Falls. They were amazing with a lot of water flowing over the rocks and down quite a distance through a deep gorge. The flowers in the bush were really great.

Boonoo Boonoo Falls
Lunch was enjoyed at Deepwater before we left the Highway to go cross-country to Inverall...disappointingly one of the roads we wished to travel on was closed because the Severn River was in flood. The detour we had to take took us a very long way round.

Ellis Cousins June & Gordon with Cocky

We eventually arrived  at Gum Flat to visit my cousin Gordon  Ellis, and his wife Marilyn, at their property 'Oxley'. Gordon is a keen Ferguson tractor enthusiast. Marilyn has an interesting collection of ornamental shoes...made from china, glass or pewter. They are all displayed in a large cabinet. There was plenty of talk about tractors, cropping, Ellis history and Australian outback travel. We had the pleasure of camping near their home and farm sheds. Gordon has a wonderful old cockatoo  that makes a lot of squawking noise from time to time and does enjoy a walk on Gordon's shoulder!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 4th

We were awakened to a solo tune from the Pied Butcher bird. It was a chilly and windy morning..even the tumble weed was rolling in the wind. We have not seen much Mistletoe while we have been away but here by Lake Leslie there is a very concentrated infestation of this parasite on the roadside gum trees.

As we drove to see the Dam wall of Lake Leslie there were 4 dear little pretty faced wallabies hopping along the roadside. They are distinctive because of a pale stripe each side of their face.

 The wall is large and high but the water in the lake itself is very low at present.
Dam Wall at Lake Leslie

From the lake we went across country to the New England Highway and then on to Stanthorpe. It is the centre of a busy farming area producing fruit, wine and cheese. I was fascinated with the site of whole orchards or vineyards covered by netting. This was used as a preventative measure against hail damage..

This evening we are camped in Baldy Hill National Park. Wattles are in bloom and really brighten the bush. The night is very cold here as it is quite high in altitude. It will not be possible to see Baldy Hill as it is a long fact the walks all seem long in distances at 14 km and 18 km.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 3rd

If you have read last night's blog you will note that I spoke of a 2nd thunder storm. It was wild and gusty and took its toll on the awning on EC. It was a very noisy few minutes. Luckily it went back into place this morning but not without some damage. It will now spend the next few weeks in place above the rig...well taped in.
Detail of Scrumbling 

An end section of the 'scrumbling' wall art 
Warwick is a busy town with much community enthusiasm. We visited the Gallery to see the last of the exhibitions from the 'Jumpers and Jazz Festival' . Dominating the foyer was a 7 metre long piece of work which had been stitched together by Prudence Mapstone. There had been many contributors from all over the world. This style of crochet and knitting, by Prudence, has become well known world wide and is known as Scrumbling. 

The second exhibition was a collection of beanies which have been exhibited in the Alice Springs Beanie Festival over the last few years since its inception. Many were made by Indigenous women in the Art rooms of their desert Settlements. There were many ingenious designs using wool felting, knitting, crocheting with the most amazing embellishments of emu feathers, beads , seeds and many other creative  ornaments.

Then off to find a super market, coffee shop, and chemist. Geoff kindly drove us around to a Quilting shop we had seen advertised....this was a wonderful surprise. It was set up in a lovely home and was the most delightful shop with very tasteful  displays of fabrics, bags and any other stitching item that maybe needed. It was hard to leave without spending too much cash.

This afternoon was spent drawing and stitching...all in all an enjoyable change from travel. It has been freezing outside with misty rain coming across the lake.

This evening I enjoyed a delightful conversation with a fellow camper who is also an artist. She uses oils and water colours as well as doing some stitching. Other people's lives are always interesting. She and her husband have been in the area for the Warwick Textile Festival. They were planning to go to Byron Bay for a Writer's Festival.

Knitted kitchen shelves!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August 2nd

A clouded warmer morning welcomed us to the day. We travelled through hilly and undulating farmlands to Toowoomba. One farm was running goats of all sizes and the next farm had hundreds of ducks ..must be destined for 'Luv-a Duc', I think.
 By the time we reached Toowoomba it was beginning to rain but by the time we left the city it was raining heavily. The population of this lovely country city is over 120,000 people and is said to be the biggest country city in Australia. We enjoyed our picnic lunch at Picnic Point which overlooks the farmlands and valleys to the east. I was very taken by the very innovative childrens' playground.

Childrens' playground Picnic Point
My friend Wendy Marsden lives in Toowoomba, but is currently away on holidays. However we did drive into Yukana Retirement Village, at Kearney Springs, where she lives. The gardens and homes in this sprawling city are really lovely. Rain is obviously needed as surrounding areas to be very dry.

The road south soon took us to Warwick where the Gallery has a Textile Exhibition on display. Today we only visited the Info Centre and tomorrow, will return from our 'out of town' camping spot, to view the exhibition and do various other shopping activities.

The banks of Lake Leslie are providing our Camping site for tonight. The lake is very low so the rain will be much appreciated. There is a second thunder storm going on around us at present.

August 1st

Broadwater Lake at 6.30 am
We woke at zero degrees and a delightfully bright sunrise. Dalby is surrounded by black soil cropping country with cotton a major crop for local farmers. More recently Gas Fields have provided a busy industry. We could hear machinery from the large gas plants as well as seeing the occasional vivid flame bursting forth from a chimney. A short drive around Dalby soon made us aware of the business of this industrial town.

 Our next point of interest is the Bunya Mountains NP. We have camped at a wayside stop  called Koehler Camp which is well mown and clean. The signs say that the steep road up the mountain is unsuitable for caravans. We set up camp, after which Geoff drove us all up the mountain for a picnic lunch and drive around this pretty tourist spot. The Bunya Pines are tall and attractive trees silhouetting against  the sky and towering above the shorter trees, vines and bushes. The National Park was declared over 100 years ago. There is a camping ground, a cafĂ© and quite a number of lodges where people can stay.

Bunya Pines

We returned to camp mid afternoon. There was a stray dingo dog to greet us. It is always sad to see a lonely dog. He was very friendly but became quite a pest. I cannot bare dogs too close and especially if they jump up. Toward evening a young Asian girl arrived looking for this dog. He was very pleased to see her and eventually took him home with her.