Our last day at Sofala before continuing on towards Tamworth and Mike was up early to try his luck again with his metal detector. He was again successful in finding junk metal. Keep trying Mike – there’s a nugget out there somewhere with your name on it! Meanwhile, Lee worked at the computer and watched kangaroos feed on the new grass outside.
It was another very hot day, above 40.degrees, and so in the afternoon we drove to another part of the nearby Turon River, to Ration Point, 3kms out of Sofala. What a fantastic camping ground and swimming spot. We visited there last year when there were just pools of water in the deepest points of the river, the rest of the river bed just dry stones. This day the river was running well and the water so inviting, Lee decided to cool off by sitting in the river, chatting to a couple of ladies who had their chairs in the river.
All too soon we were driving past amazing scenery, to our next overnight stop.
We temporarily left our companion travellers to strike out on our own and travel from Canberra to Sofala, New South Wales, for Mike to have a couple of days fossicking for gold. Along the way, there has been some recent rainfall and some green about, and small amounts of water in the dams that last year were bone dry.
We went back to our camping spot from last year, the top of a hill just wide enough for us to be able to turn the rig around and park with views over three sides into valleys and the Turon River below, which now was flowing, unlike when we last visited. Kangaroos were feeding on the grasses of the sides of ‘our’ hill.
A magic place to park.
Considering the lengthy distance we had travelled in the heat of the Australian Summer, perhaps not surprisingly we decided on a couple of rest days, free camping at Joe O’Connor Park, Yass. Mike and I had stayed at there 12-13.April 2018 (refer past blog entries of this interesting location). On this stay, a storm passed through Yass during the night. Mike was on a stool under the awning when a clap of thunder, close and loud, caused Mike to fall backwards off his seat!
Hopping from camp site to camp site on our journey to Tamworth (via Canberra) the next on the schedule was Hay, NSW. The site was spacious and again near the Murray River, with the town within walking distance. Facilities are very good, the ‘beach’ on the Murray River being a great BBQ/picnic spot for locals as well as tourists.
Leaving Renmark on the Sturt Highway, we drove over the Paringa suspension bridge, built in 1927 and one of only four still spanning the Murray River. We travelled through Yamba – the quarantine check point, and in no time we crossed the border from South Australia into Victoria and on to Mildura where on crossing The George Chaffey Bridge over the Murray River, we crossed a second border, into New South Wales. We had been in Victoria a little over an hour.
Approximately 20.kms on from Mildura, we reached our free camp site on the New South Wales side of the Murray River, at Bottle Bend Road, Monak. No facilities, but a large camping area and the beauty of the river.
Taking advantage of the last light of the day, we hit the road again. Not far out of Cobar we pulled over to check the vehicles and again clean the front window. Lee discovered two mounds in the ground each measuring about 30.cms diameter with whatever lives down there, able to come out of a 5.cm wide opening at the bottom. No idea on what made it and not sticking around to find out!
As we travelled into the evening to reach our camp site for the night, hundreds of kangaroos stood guard at the very edge of the bitumen, not moving, whether it be because of the sound from the “shoo roos” mounted on our vehicle, our bright spot lights or the knowledge of not wanting to be struck as their mates had on this busy trucking route? All were trying to feed on the minuscule amounts of grass growing at the edges of the road in an area hugely affected by long term drought. As we approached, each would lift their head from feeding and stand like statues as we passed. An experience never encountered before and glad to get to our rest area.
Tonight’s camp: Wilcannia Rest Area, approx. 16.kms on the western side of Wilcannia.
Today’s effort: 657.3.kms
From our overnight stop at Mooney Mooney Point we drove our now familiar route towards Newcastle, climbing every upwards and marvelled once again how the highway has been chiseled through massive mountains of rock.
Still a little weary, the Rixs Creek Rest Area 5.kms out of Singleton, was a welcome stop for a nap. It has a generous entrance and long drive through, around and out again, with toilet facilities. All through the area, wattle was in bloom.
Shortly after leaving Rixs Creek we viewed large open cut mining for coal on either side of the road and trains with 60+.carriages for transporting the coal. Climbing further upwards, views around us were fantastic and eventually, with the moon rising and the last of the day visible, we arrived at Nundle.
Caravan & Camping Show over, we hit the road at night to get a start on our journey and not battle traffic the following morning. A little over an hour later we stopped at the rest area of Deerubbin Reserve at Mooney Mooney Point. It is a very popular, large rest area, on the northern side of the bridge across the Hawkesbury River. It seems a popular fishing spot also and there are plenty of bush turkeys scavenging around the picnic area.
On our way back to Penrith, we camped overnight at Morisset Showgrounds. There the amenities were very well maintained and as usual at showgrounds, plenty of room to camp. Grocery store about 1.km away. Two people: $20 per night, $25 with power.
About 6.kms from Pacific Highway on Myall Way, the main road into Tea Gardens and On our way to Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest is a rest stop – Lions Park Lookout. It is on the apex of a hill overlooking the two towns, bridge, off-shore islands and the headlands at the mouth to Port Stephens. At the lookout is an engraving to help identify the main viewpoints.
This picnic area lookout is easily accessible by larger RV’s and has a dump point, which we needed before booking into the site at Tea Gardens Country Club.
By becoming a provisional member for 2 months at a cost of $5.50, we were able to use one of four bays, with power for up to 48 hours at a time. We again had dinner at the Club each night we were there, a great Chinese meal one night and Pizza the other.