Posts Tagged ‘Mt.Panorama’

486. Sunday 17th April 2016. A drive through parts of western NSW…

20/04/2016

Monday 11th April

Heading west from Gymea we picked up the Great Western Highway. Much of the highway climbs over the Blue Mountains and passes through the fertile plains beyond the Great Dividing Range. The highway begins a steady climb through umpteen small heritage listed towns and is only one lane – both ways. Road works are an ongoing works in progress. I would call it simply the Western Highway and omit the “great”. That said the area is steeped in historical sites. More sites than we can expect to have time to see on this journey.

First up we stopped at the town of Katoomba which sits atop the range at 1050 metres above sea level. In the winter it snows here. Today however it was a pleasant 27° and winter is still around the corner.  We paid the parking fee to visit the Three Sisters

The iconic Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Enlarge the photo and look at the first sister on the left. You can see a narrow bridge from the cliffs to the sister.

The iconic Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Enlarge the photo and look at the first sister on the left. You can see a narrow bridge from the cliffs to the sister.

Three early settlers found a way to bring horses and wagons through the Blue Mountains and the plains beyond, Their endeavours opened the region to expansion. Those historic expeditioners were. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. Suburbs have been named after them along the road they surveyed. These statues at Katoomba are in honour of the original convict labour used to build the road, the soldiers appointed to keep the convicts working and also to the local aboriginal population who did their best to harass and stop the invasion.

Three early settlers found a way to bring horses and wagons through the Blue Mountains and the plains beyond, Their endeavours opened the region to expansion. Those historic expeditioners were. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. Suburbs have been named after them along the road they surveyed. These statues at Katoomba are in honour of the original convict labour used to build the road, the soldiers appointed to keep the convicts working and also to the local aboriginal population who did their best to harass and stop the invasion.

Tourists simply cannot get enough of the views.

Tourists simply cannot get enough of the views.

at Echo Point

Echo Point is the location at Katoomba where all the tourists buses and other visitors spill their passengers to gawk and go OOOh when they see this spectacular view of valleys and steep sandstone cliffs.

Echo Point is the location at Katoomba where all the tourists buses and other visitors spill their passengers to gawk and go OOOh when they see this spectacular view of valleys and steep sandstone cliffs.

This viewing platform is an on the edge experience

This viewing platform is an on the edge experience

Donnis enjoyed the scenery.

Donnis enjoyed the scenery.

Look beyond the bearded guy in the crumpled hat and note the huge sandstone cliffs of the Grose Valley.

Look beyond the bearded guy in the crumpled hat and note the huge sandstone cliffs of the Grose Valley.

and gape in awe with thousands of tourists at the huge vista which are the Grose and Jamison Valley’s. It is sort of a green version of the Grand Canyon. A very steep narrow staircase leads down to an equally narrow bridge joining the sandstone cliffs to the first of the three sisters.

Atop the first sister with the Grose Valley in the background.

Atop the first sister with the Grose Valley in the background.

Closeup of the foot bridge to the sister. For some reason the bridge is named Honeymoon Bridge.

Closeup of the foot bridge to the sister. For some reason the bridge is named Honeymoon Bridge.

On this occasion my knees failed to live up to the expectation of my mind so we left the walk to braver souls.

Next on the agenda was Scenic World where the operators provide a free multi story carpark. A good thing they do as the lines of people willing to spend big dollars to be terrified meant we would run out of daylight before being able to join the Scenic Railway

This is the end of the Scenic Railway, Note that it sits atop a steep drop to the valley floor.

This is the end of the Scenic Railway, Note that it sits atop a steep drop to the valley floor.

which offers a 52 degree incline whilst dropping over the edge of a cliff then hurtling towards the valley floor before brakes and safety cables bring you to a stop at a platform dangling over yet another cliff above a valley floor further below. See   www.scenicworld.com.au

Scenic Skyway is a cable car suspended 270 metres above the valley floor. The floor is glass!

The Skyway with the glass floor moves slowly across the chasm between to cliffs. To add a little terror it stops halfway while  controller explains something trivial.

The Skyway with the glass floor moves slowly across the chasm between to cliffs. To add a little terror it stops halfway while controller explains something trivial.

Equally thrilling is the Scenic Cableway which descends 545 metres to the floor of Jamison Valley.

Scenic world has three rides which make the strongest person feel trembly in the knees. This is Cableway.

Scenic world has three rides which make the strongest person feel trembly in the knees.
This is Cableway.

But… we had to find accommodation for the night and continued on the Not So Great Western Highway, followed the steep Victoria Pass to Lithgow, a once great Coal Mining Centre and the Military contracted Lithgow Small Arms Factory. The town still has a strong community spirit which accounts for the very modern Workies Club where we had dinner.

Tuesday 12th April – Happy ..th Birthday Donnis

Looking at a map I now realise we will have to compress our days, missing some sights, in order to use the planned route and find our way home by the weekend. We skipped the attractions at Lithgow and pushed on to Bathurst where we drove around the famous Mt Panorama Motor Racing Circuit.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Panorama_Circuit    Most of the track and some of the pit area is open to the public.

Entrance to the Mt Panorama Race Circuit.

Entrance to the Mt Panorama Race Circuit.

The start lines for races.

The start lines for races.

...and the race is underway. Top speed of 60 Kph has been achieved.

…and the race is underway. Top speed of 60 Kph has been achieved.

At the top, Skyline Pass with terrifying steep off camber left and right bends. around the

At the top, Skyline Pass with terrifying steep off camber left and right bends.
around the

I have been watching the Mt Panorama Race, on television, in October each year for all my adult life. It was thrilling driving the same track, at 60 Klm per hour where the professionals are racing at speeds up to 300 KPH. How is it possible?

There is lots to see at Bathurst but we are on a mission to fit in as much as possible every day.

We picked up the Castlereagh Highway and drove to Sofala, an old gold mining town established in 1851.

Boot Hill, the dead centre of Sofala.

Boot Hill, the dead centre of Sofala.

Most of the original houses pre 1900 are still intact, some habited. The narrow street follows the Turon River for all the 300 metres which comprises the town.

At one time Sofala was big enough to have sufficient population to justify a gaol.

At one time Sofala was big enough to have sufficient population to justify a gaol.

Donnis looking for a book at the Sofala Book Store. It was the only store, apart from the pub, which was open.

Donnis looking for a book at the Sofala Book Store. It was the only store, apart from the pub, which was open.

This ancient building was an eatery but not open when we visited Sofala.

This ancient building was an eatery but not open when we visited Sofala.

I was a bit cruel and left Donnis hanging around for awhile.

I was a bit cruel and left Donnis hanging around for awhile.

There is so much history here but we only had time for a walk around, a quick lunch then on to Mudgee.

Mudgee is also an old gold mining town but survives today due to sheep farming. It is a wealthy town, full of attractions but many of the old historical shops and houses have been modernised and in our opinion has lost a lot of its character appeal.

We drove on to Gulgong, birthplace of Henry Lawson, arguably Australia’s greatest poet and the man who appears on the original $10 note along with some town buildings.

The Henry Lawson Centre at Gulgong.

The Henry Lawson Centre at Gulgong.

I have been a keen reader of the collective works of Henry Lawson. Regrettably while travelling my collection of books were stored in our garage. After 4 years in storage and several years just sitting on the bookshelf the books had become musty smelling. I did not feel like moving all those books once more only to sit on a bookshelf and perhaps never be looked again. I gave away my collection.

Sob sob.

For those interested in why I liked the stories  and poems by Henry Lawson, please refer to the following site.   http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poems-book/verses-popular-and-humorous-0022000

The wonderful thing about Gulgong is that it is still old. The gutter/footpath edging is made from rough dressed sandstone.

Gulgong have left the original rough dressed sandstone on place for the gutters and foothpath edging.

Gulgong have left the original rough dressed sandstone on place for the gutters and foothpath edging.

I am so pleased they retained this feature. There is minimal attempt to modernise the buildings.

Musty old building in Gulgong. Despite its appearance it has been fitted out inside with a couple of flats.

Musty old building in Gulgong. Despite its appearance it has been fitted out inside with a couple of flats.

Mmmm. This buthchery has been on this site for 100 years.

Mmmm. This butchery has been on this site for 100 years.

We stayed overnight at the Prince of Wales Hotel, built somewhere around 1875 or earlier and much of the old building is retained and incorporated into a newer but still old style interior.

ONe of the dining areas at Prince Of Wales Gulgong

One of the dining areas at Prince Of Wales Gulgong

POW outside Dining area.

POW outside Dining area.

POW Fireplace for the outdoor dining area.

POW Fireplace for the outdoor dining area.

Wednesday 13th April

Today we elected to turn more northerly and miss the large towns/cities of Dunedoo, Dubbo, Orange and Wellington. I guess my driving plans were too ambitious for the time we have available.

Shortly after leaving Gulgong we turned off on the Black Stump Way, a back road in fair condition. For those unfamiliar with Oz, the Black Stump is/was a mythical/real place in the middle of nowhere with unexplored territory beyond. To say you went west of the Black Stump meant you have gone into countryside unexplored by white man. One such town is Coolah which sits squarely in the middle of Black Stump countryside.

A mechanic shop/panel beater/spray painter at Coolah had a great many old cars dating from around the 1950's. This looks like a Vanguard. Then again it could be another British motor car. Anybody know what it is?

A mechanic shop/panel beater/spray painter at Coolah had a great many old cars dating from around the 1950’s. This looks like a Vanguard. Then again it could be another British motor car. Anybody know what it is?

Trains do not run anymore  in many of the older established towns. This example in Coolah has all the bits and pieces removed from this signal post. Even the station has disappeared and only the tracks, overgrown with thick grass are the only indicators a train once came to town.

Trains do not run anymore in many of the older established towns. This example in Coolah has all the bits and pieces removed from this signal post. Even the station has disappeared and only the tracks, overgrown with thick grass are the only indicators a train once came to town.

In fact Coolah calls itself the Black Stump capitol.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Stump   It is a small town and like many small towns is struggling to retain is character and to stay alive in the 21st century. It is sad to see many closed shops and knowing young people have to leave town to find work. By coincidence Donnis worked at the hospital here for three months in the winter of 2014.

The road eventually joined the Newell Highway at Gunnedah. (By taking this route we also cut out other towns such as Gilgandra (where I have a cousin – Hi Lance) and Coonabarabran. We stopped for lunch then decided to stop for the night at Tamworth, famous for the Country Music Festival in January each year. We arrived earlier than expected and drove as far as Bendemeer where we stopped for the night.

i30 parked outside Bendemeer Hotel.

i30 parked outside Bendemeer Hotel.

The old pub was built in 1864 and apart from a few modern touches still looks and smells like 1864. The old highway which ran through the town brought traffic and customers to the small town was diverted in 1983/84 and the town is trying to re-invent itself and find new ways to attract customers off the highway.

During dinner tonight we received terrible news. Our good friend Glennis passed away last Friday. Glennis was diagnosed with tongue cancer only a few months ago. She made the decision not to have radiation therapy so she could enjoy her remaining time as best she can.

 

No longer will we meet at various country locations while travelling in our motorhomes. Last Thursday she and partner Eric were married in a simple ceremony on their property in the Daintree Rainforest. Glennis died the next day.

Vale Glennis.

We also heard from my cousin Bob, he has three types of cancer and has elected not to take any radiation treatment as it will only detract from his quality of life and may not give him any longer to live.

Sigh!!!

Thursday 14th April

Woke to a chillier morning than we are used to and drove to Armidale. Wow! It is even chillier here. Having lived at nearby Guyra for 5 months back in 2013/2014 I realised at this altitude (just on 1,000 metres for Armidale and over 1,300 metres for Guyra) it can be cold all year round. Two days ago we were at Katoomba also on 1,000 metres and on first getting out of the car noticed a chill in the breeze. Here the chill occurs without any breeze.

We stopped here to visit friend Greg T who is in a nursing home. Greg is only a few years older than me but has suffered Parkinsons Disease for about 10 years. Recently he acquired Alzheimers Disease. Doctors believe he now has Lewy Bodies, another degenerative disease and he needs constant care. While visiting he stayed awake long enough to recognise our presence but fell into a deep sleep and could not speak with us. His wife Linda and two of their sons, Jason and Gavin spent a good hour with us. I am sure in Greg’s subconscious he knew we were there.

Sigh!!!

Passing through Guyra we stopped to speak with Greg’s third son, Justin, before we travelled the New England Highway to Warwick in Qld before taking some back roads through to Beaudesert and Canungra and arrived home after 10 hours on the road.

Gee it was wonderful falling asleep in our own bed.

338. Sunday 13th October 2013. Tralalala on the road and we reach Mackay Central Coast Queensland…

13/10/2013

Monday 7th October

Today is our last day in beautiful Noosa.

Boo Hoo!

Tomorrow we hit the Bruce Highway and recommence our northward journey.

In the morning we parked at the end of The Woods a Noosa Park area at the entrance to the Noosa River. From there we walked along the path to little coves along the Noosa River foreshore until we reached Hastings Street. This is the main road through the beachside suburb and at almost any time of the day or night, it is busy.  https://www.google.com.au/search?q=hastings+street+noosa&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=GjtSUtv9Gq2uiQftloG4Bg&ved=0CIoBELAE&biw=1366&bih=643&dpr=1#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=mQ4voLx5vEG3lM%3A%3BljqeQf9UmwVtKM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.noosaeguide.com%252Finfo%252Fupload%252F_pool-ev.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.noosaeguide.com%252Finfo%252Faccommodation_info.php%253Fns%253D15%3B400%3B289

We had coffee and croissants at Seasons Restaurant overlooking the beach. http://www.seasonrestaurant.com.au/

The Season Restaurant

The Season Restaurant

We then followed the seaside path through Noosa Woods to a refurbished cove called Doggy Beach. http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/noosa-dog-beach-project-track/1217743/

Doggy Beach

Doggy Beach

On a clear day you can see ...Doggy Beach

On a clear day you can see …Doggy Beach

Once, it was a forgotten backwater filled with concrete stumps, fallen trees, rocks, debris, snags and a bit isolated and unfriendly. Now it is a wonderful family dog friendly location, sheltered from all winds except a direct northerly. A sandbar just offshore is exposed at low tide but the naturally shallow water is a great place to take young children and dogs of course. Did we wander into the water and go for a swim and splash around on the sandbar almost catching waves which reflect off the north shore of the river?

Of course we did!

For a wonderful time line potted history of the Noosa area, have a look here   http://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/library/documents/heritage/timeline_of_the_noosa_district.pdf

Tuesday 8th October

We woke early and went for our usual walk followed by my exercise routine. In my mind I calculated that worst case scenario we would be on our way by 10am. As the morning progressed I updated that departure time to 11am. Later still I gave up entirely, realising we would get away when the CO-PILOT was ready!

Hallelujah Brother! We finally got started at 12.15pm. Even then the CO-PILOT wanted to visit another Over 50’s Resort on our way out.

Grrr!

Today our destination was Yandaran about 36 Klms north of Bundaberg a 326 Klm journey for the day. We called in to see old friends Jerry and Pam R. We passed through Gympie on the Bruce Highway and noted as we travelled the countryside turned from green, healthy and lush to a dried out brown and dusty the further we drove. We by-passed the turnoff to Maryborough and left the highway for the drive into Bundaberg where we could see the devastation from three years of floods still evident along the banks of the  Burnett River. The council caravan park beside the bridge was wiped out. The locals are still struggling to recover.

Jerry and Pam commented that the little settlement of Yandaran was not affected by floods.

Wednesday 9th October

We spent a quiet day around camp.

Some essential repairs/maintenance took up about an hour of my time. Somehow the rear view camera had a dirty smudge so I climbed the rear ladder and cleaned the lens. That took all of 5 minutes. The forward view travel camera had fallen down on Tuesday so I cleaned the windscreen and re-attached the video camera. Another 5 minutes well spent. The main job was to re-attach the windscreen washer attachment. It fell off when we were driving to the Gold Coast a few weeks ago. Finally the moon, planets, stars and earth were aligned enough for me to get stuck into the task. The rest of the day was spent in umm err, rest. We just sat around talking with P&J.

Thursday 10th October

We are on the road again!

Tra la tra la la la la.

It was a big travel day all of 2 hours or 150 Klms. We saw Calliope River and decided to stop for lunch. After lunch Donnis took a vote to stay the night. On arrival there were probably less than a dozen rigs already in place along the elevated river bank.

WWWGO at Calliope River

WWWGO at Calliope River

Calliope River

Calliope River

As darkness fell we found perhaps nearer 50 rigs keeping us company.

Some of our neighbours

Some of our neighbours

In the afternoon we took a walk around the area and found a GPS Mark. Long term readers will recall that in our travels we have often found Trig Points. Not so many in the last 12 months. It was therefore a surprise to find the new version of the trig points. According to the plaque, we can expect to find more of these GPS Marks in our travels.

Trig Points have been replaced by GPS Stations

Trig Points have been replaced by GPS Stations

I have developed a “red eye” which looks terrible but is not painful or uncomfortable nor has a discharge. My eyesight seems to be unaffected. Donnis has been using saline drops but it seems to be spreading. I made an appointment to see a doctor in Mackay next Tuesday but if it worsens we will go to plan B…which we have not yet planned.

Friday 11th October

Calliope at sun rise

Calliope at sun rise

We were on the road early…6.30am to be exact. Donnis wants to travel in the cool of the mornings.

We have watched the passing scenery with interest. Yaraman was dry, dusty, brown sparse spindly trees dotted the landscape. As we travel north the countryside has changed. It is now dry, dusty, less brown more green with thick bushland and healthy looking trees. As has been the case for the last week there is a strong gusty wind and we are driving into it which is pushing our fuel consumption up…dramatically. We stopped at Rocky (Rockhampton) to fuel up, dump toilet tank and have breakfast.

We stopped at Waverley Creek Rest Area for lunch. http://www.dailymercury.com.au/news/waverley-ck-rest-area-is-upgraded/1655689/  This was once a run-down poorly equipped and maintained Main Roads Department rest area midway between Rocky and Mackay. Being midway it was a convenient stop for travellers. We often used it as an overnight stop. Main Roads have organised and refurbished the area with marked  parking bays and the entire area is sealed. The toilets and lighting are all solar powered and shaded picnic benches dot the area. A separate area is set aside for trucks. Well, hats off to Main Roads.

I thought it would be nice to stop at the seaside town of Clairview for the night as it is an easy run of around two hours to Mackay in the morning. Clairview was dry and dusty and the wind off the sea was uncomfortably hot and salty. We moved on to Carmilla by the sea. If anything it even drier, dustier and with the salt laden wind blasting away I felt it better to protect my eye. As well the only sites still available are soft sand and would be easy to become bogged especially with us towing TERIOS. Tonight we are safely tucked up in sister Sandra’s house in Mackay. Along the highway a stone hit our windscreen leaving a star shaped chip which will no doubt spread.

I managed to find a late afternoon doctors appointment to find I have a burst blood vessel in my eye…http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/subconjunctival-hemorrhage/DS00867   nothing to worry about!!! It looks rather YUK!

Here's lookin; atcha with a red eye...burst blood vessel... subjunctival haemorrhorage.

Here’s lookin’ atcha with a red eye…burst blood vessel… subjunctival haemorrhorage.

Sigh!

My lovely Subaru Liberty Rallye was waiting for me and although it started first turn of the key and sounds good, the paint finish looks terrible and the window tinting is beginning to peel. The drivers seat springs have given up providing support. There is a stone chip in its windscreen as well.

Another sigh!

Tomorrow begins the first day of …what!

Saturday 12th October

We drove to Canelands Shopping Town in Mackay. The Liberty runs well although the air con stopped some time ago. The driver’s seat is a bit uneven and the remote latches to the fuel tank and the boot no longer work. It feels strange sitting so close to the road compared to sitting high up in WWWGO. While at the shopping centre car-park I noticed the Liberty has 301,500 Klms on the clock! Hmmm! It still corners well and clings like glue to roundabouts.

Most of the day was spent resting from four days of travel. For dinner tonight we prepared a Pork Rogan Josh while Sandi prepared a Chicken Honey Soy Ginger stir fry for a combined pot luck dinner.

The @#$%&!g next door neighbours had a childrens party today. It started about 10am and some parents stayed while their children played in the small inflatable pool. About 2pm the children left and the two slushie machines had booze added to the mix and the adults got stuck into it. Their bad language and loud and often aggressive attitude to each other, combined with annoying thumpy thumpy music meant they had to shout at each other. This went on until about midnight when we turned on our air con which drowned out all the drunken noise they were making. Eventually we were able to fall into a fitful sleep.

Grrr!

Sunday 13th October

I am so tired today. The party animals next door finally called it quits in the early hours and I struggled to get back to sleep. My red eye feels gritty and has not helped my general feeling of BLAHH!

We drove Sandi to the airport at noon. She is attending a conference in Melbourne for a few days. Dave went a friends house to watch Bathurst Day on TV. For our overseas readers I will explain. It is not really Bathurst Day, that is just a popular fun name given to the biggest event on the Australian Racing Car calendar. More correctly it is the Mt,Panorama Bathurst 1000Race   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Panorama_Circuit and is probably the most difficult race circuit of its type in the world. It has become an Oz tradition to watch the race on TV from start to finish while drinking beer and eating meat pies. In other words the entire day is a write off so it is impossible to make other plans on this day. I have long been over the need to watch the entire race and am usually content to watch the start few laps and the final 10 or so laps. I missed both today.

In the afternoon we visited my daughter Avery, hubby Paul, children Shelby-Rose and Anakin. It waqs a full house this afternoon as Paul’s son Beau, his partner Emma and their child Malakai were there as were Jerry and Pam from Yandaman were also visiting. After a wonderful dinner and filling dessert we called it a night.

Tomorrow we should start a bit of local exploring.