17.01.2019 – WE MADE IT TO TAMWORTH!

After driving 4,592.kms from home, we finally arrived at Tamworth to camp for 10.days and take in the Tamworth Country Music Festival.  Temperatures were 39.degrees and above for almost every day we were there, draining us from energy, but we soldiered on to do what we could in the time.

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How does one describe this Festival?

To the newcomer, it is overwhelming to decide what to do first. For people who have never been, one cannot imagine how many people are performing in hotels, clubs, all entertainment arenas indoors and outdoors – buy tickets/free concerts. Busking in the main street which is closed from traffic for the event with stalls in the middle. Power lifting competitions, whip cracking, and other events happened in and around the main street too. A horse ridden in the centre of a busy mall in the main street. The Festival stretched to nearby Nundle with performances there too. For the Festival, special buses were running to, or close to, all the venues and in town. It was a great service.

Then there were all the statues and tributes around Tamworth to artists, the Big Guitar, Hall of Fame, the Tourist Bureau display of autographed guitars, the Art Gallery with a display of the 2018 Archibald Prize entrants. National Championships Rodeo.  All things Country!

Mike had a promotional beer and gave the entry ticket to our friend, who’s name was drawn for a double ticket to “Have a Beer with the Badger” – Nick Cumins. Lee went with her and during the evening, watched a Guinness World Book title holder (in 3 divisions) for whip cracking, perform. Amazing.

We spent the time listening/watching numerous well known country singers, “tribute” singers performing Elvis, Dusty Springfield, Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell and more, yodeling, comedians, –  the list was long.

On Australia Day, the grand Cavalcade of about 100 vehicles/floats paraded down the main street, Lee Kernaghan leading the way, wearing his signature black Akubra hat.  Lots to watch.

We managed to get tickets to the Golden Guitar Award Night which capped off our ten terrific days at Tamworth.

We think we will have to go back again now we know what it is all about!

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2-3.02.2019 – Kratzmann Caravan EXPO

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Mike will be at Kratzmann Caravans for their huge EXPO sale of motorhomes and caravans this weekend, at 194 Bruce Highway, Eastern Service Roard, Burpengary East, Queensland.

Come and say hello and see what great deals are on offer! If you can’t get there, phone him on 0419 929 696.

https://www.kratzmann.com.au/

16.01.2019 – Ration Point, Sofala

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.

15.01.2019 – Turon River, Sofala

Following an unsuccessful morning fossicking, unless of course you count the bullet casings, wire and junk Mike found, the heat of the day set in and we took Suzi to the nearby river to cool down. Mike tried a bit of panning and took some equipment to check out sections of river.  Between us, all we caught were photos, but more importantly, the formerly dry river bed now had water flowing well, about knee deep, and it was lovely and cool.

14.01.2019 – On the road to Gold! (We can only hope!)

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.

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12-13.01.2019 – Canberra

A MUST SEE in Canberra – National War Memorial and Museum, and allow plenty of time.

From the steps of the memorial, (top right photo below), it lines up with the remembrance pond and eternal flame, to in the distance, the hot air works of Parliament House. The covered walk ways either side pay homage to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in times of war and it is sobering to see all the names with poppies decorating the wall.

Inside the dome where “the unknown soldier” lays in rest, are amazing tributes to men and women of the forces, in the lead light windows and the walls which are done in mosaic tiles and is just amazing.

The Museum chronicles Australia’s history well. Displays take time to go through as well as videos to watch. While there, volunteers were available to look up relatives who served in the armed forces of WWI and WWII and obtain their records. Fascinating. We only hope no more is added to the museum because of future wars.

 

A visit to more markets at the Old Bus Depot and also the Glassworks next door.

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11.01.2019 – EPIC – Exhibition Park in Canberra – Camping Site

Here for the weekend, we camped at EPIC where we have camped before and found the facilities all good. It is not open all year round, so wise to check their web site for dates, but it is conveniently located, close to the city and near public transport. On Saturday mornings, it is the location of the Farmers Market and we stocked up our supplies and tried delicious food.

www.exhibitionparkincanberra.com/

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10-11.01.2019 – Yass, New South Wales

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!

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10.01.2019 – Tiger Moth Memorial, Narrandera, New South Wales

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Between Hay and Yass, we stopped for a break at Narrandera, visiting the Tiger Moth Memorial near the Tourist Information Centre. Tiger Moth planes have always held a spot in my heart – my father flew them and my first flight was sitting in his lap at a very early age in a tiger moth.

Of course central to the display, a Tiger Moth. Around it, displays of model aircraft and information on the people of this region and their involvement with flying.

 

09.01.2019 – Free Camp Site, Sandy Point, Hay, New South Wales

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.