Thursday, April 30, 2015

Southward Bound

As we headed south over the last couple of days the weather got colder with each kilometre of road we clicked off.  We left Gunadah after a pleasant 21' night to get down the road to a free camp and 9' outside and 14' inside - and then the rain started.

In Gulgong, we visited an old Salvation Army Church which is now home to one of the biggest collections of Henry Lawson memorabilia. 
Henry Lawson

After 3 days of no sun, we booked into the caravan park at Mudgee.  Without sun we get no solar power recharge.
We did a drive to the Wallemi State Forrest.  This is where, about 10 years ago one of the worlds rarest and oldest pine trees were discovered. 


The Forrest has some amazing rock formations also.  We took a drive into Dunns Swamp and considered coming back to camp for a few nights but were put onto another place in the Capertee Valley. 
 Some free camps are hard to find but really worth it in the end.  A few days ago we tried to find a free camp only about 6 kms out of Mudgee.  We ended up in a winery where we really struggled to get out with 21 ft of van behind us.  And this was following the GPS co-ordinates.  Today we tried again and ended up in someone's back yard and then eventually we nailed it.  Down against a creek with very nosy cattle for friends.  

We also had our first camp fire since leaving Ravenshoe as well.


When on the road we meet some of the most interesting people.  A couple pulled in and parked about 50 mtrs  away from us in a motor home.  After a while he started throwing something up into a tree.  It turns out he is an amateur radio operator and he was throwing a spanner over a limb about 30 mtrs up to which was attached his antenna.  Tomorrow, being Anzac Day these radio enthusiasts call and talk to each other using morse code in commemoration of the radio operators of the First World War who used mostly morse code for communication.  Apparently there are radio enthusiasts who man decommissioned ships, every lighthouse and anywhere people communicated from during the war.  A large group of them do this every Anzac Day.

For those of us too young to know what this is - it is a Morse Code Machine
Tomorrow will be the first Anzac Day March in Mackay that I will miss in about 20 years.  However Mudgee will see us cheering on the March this year.

This morning we attended the Anzac March at Mudgee, a town in Central NSW, just west of the Great Dividing Range.  After the parade we had lunch at a quant café called "The Quick Brown Fox"  and yes it did have a small shelf of books.

 Mudgee has a population of about 11,000 but they put on a lovely March and service following the Dawn Service at 6.00am.
Tomorrow we head for Capertee Valley.
When Henry Lawson wrote his poem, Song of the Old Bullock Driver, in 1891 he became the first notable Australian to put into words the rugged beauty of the Capertee Valley.

The Capertee Valley is said to be longer than US's Grand Canyon by almost a kilometre. Capertee's sandstone escarpments soar to hundreds of metres in height and encircle the valley from south of Mount Marsden near the town of Capertee all the way to the short-lived mining town of Glen Davis, 20 kilometres to the west.
                               A lot of photos I know but it was just so rugged and beautiful
                                  Would have been so much nicer had the sun co-operated
We arrived at the Capertee Valley about 3.30 pm and the colour on the rocky escarpment on either side of the valley from  the setting sun was a sight to be seen to be believed.  It had the feel of the Grand Canyon though not so high and with the look, smell and sound of the Australian bush.  And certainly hundreds less people than there was the day we visited the Grand Canyon.  We stayed Saturday and Sunday nights and as we were leaving, the sun was bright but for the previous 48 hours it was overcast and even rained a little bit so we were disappointed that we didn't see it in all its glory.  We went for a drive on Sunday afternoon to find that we stayed in the wrong spot to get the great photos.  The spot we should have stayed at was about 5 kilometres further into the valley.  We will certainly be coming back one day to see this beautiful valley in all its glory.
One last panoramic shot of the Capertee Valley until next time

Our first port of call after arriving in Bathurst was, like all tourists, to drive round the Mount Panorama Track.  Stuart thought if he got started now by the time the race came up he might have a chance at the chequered flag.

 Next day we visited an historical home in the area which was built in the early 1800's called    .  The family still live in it and have a lot of very old furniture as do most of these homes but one thing that I did find was this nail.
The current owners grandfather came from England and was an archaeologist so I guess it was a case of being in the right place at the right time but what a find.
We have arrived in Orange and expect to have a few cold days ahead.

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