Warrumbungle National Park

Friday 21  to Wednesday 26 September

We had a pretty good pack up and headed towards Coonabarabran then out to the Warrumbungle National Park.

We found a nice spot by the creek at  Camp Wambelong in the Warrumbungle NP, $5 per adult per night and $3 per child per night, plus $7 per day for car access however you can buy a yearly pass for $21 which is cheaper. Was a drop toilet but you could drive down to the powered site for hot showers. This is us in the front and the Buckler family down closer to the creek

warrumbungles 016a

We had a really relaxing week here, did a couple of bushwalks, checked out Siding Spring Observatory which is well worth the visit.

Siding Spring Observatory is 27km west of Coonabarabran and is Australia’s largest astronomy research centre.  Its elevation is 1160 metres above sea level overlooking the Warrumbungles.  It is open to the public throughout the day unfortunately no night viewings are available.

http://rsaa.anu.edu.au/observatories/siding-spring-observatory

warrumbungles 047warrumbungles 051warrumbungles 054

The Warrumbungle National Park is such a beautiful spot just to sit back and relax we had perfect weather and a great time just experimenting meals in the camp oven and the kids enjoyed Charley and Amelia’s company Darrell and I really enjoyed Tamara and Rob’s company.  It was great seeing all the kangaroos just ambling through each afternoon and morning.

warrumbungles 019warrumbungles 027warrumbungles 034warrumbungles 039warrumbungles 067warrumbungles 071a

Next stop Dubbo before heading to Wellington.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Over the Border into NSW

Monday 17 to Friday 21 September

We left St George heading for a couple of days RnR at Lightning Ridge.  Our first stop was the nice little town of Dirranbandi.    Dirranbandi has a population of approximately 450 people and is most a cotton farming area.  Dirranbandi is thought to mean “frogs in a swamp” hmm cue for me to tell Darrell to keep driving.

We did stop at a rest area by the river, and I made Darrell, Tom and Taz all check the toilet coz I was busting they all came out and said no frogs your right.  But what happened soon as I went in a bloody frog climbed down i ran out screaming legs crossed and made Darrell get it and relocate him into a tree.   Ewww bloody frogs they will be the death of me.

Our next stop for the day the border town of Hebel.  Hebel is a tiny little village with only about 100 people, there is a pub and a general store we stopped at the rest area on southern end of town where the kids spent ages feeding the horses.

I wonder on state of origin night who these 100 people go for.  GO BLUES!!!

LIGHTNING RIDGE

Finally we arrived in LIghtning Ridge, we wanted to stay at Lorne Station where we stayed last year but we had heard from another traveller at St George it had just closed down, this was such a shame as this was a great place to stay.

So we chose the new Opal Caravan Park http://www.opalcaravanpark.com.au/ beautiful amenities, brand new pool and right opposite the artesian spa. 

Lightning Ridge is one of our favourite towns we just love it.  We came here last year and came back purely to soak up in the artesian spa.  We didn’t do any of the tourist attractions.

Lightning Ridge is such a cool quirky town with so much to see and do, I love the population sign it just has a question mark on it.  There is the bottle house, a castle, the streets are marked by car door colours not street names.  And the John Murray art gallery is just pure awesome loved it last year and loved it again this year.

http://www.johnmurrayart.com.au/

We copped a ripper of a storm while we were here that really had the van shaking we had to wind in the awning it blew over the satellite dish and snapped  connection off it.

While we were at Lightning Ridge Tamara Buckler from http://homeiswhereverblog.wordpress.com/ emailed me to say they were at Burren Junction and did we want to join them for a couple of days.  Tamara and I worked together a few years ago and she and her family are on the road fulltime now also.  So that was the plan we would meet them tomorrow at Burren Junction.

BURREN JUNCTION (19-21 September)

So we headed to Burren Junction to meet up with the Buckler family.  Burren Junction is located roughly halfway between Walgett and Narrabri.  It is a very small community with only about 150 people and is predominately a cotton and wheat farming area.

We stayed at a great free camp at the Burren Junction Bore Baths  Camps 6, NSW, 396 lovely spot, pet friendly, telstra internet and phone, fires ok, no time limit, warm bore bath pool with toilet facilities and outdoor hot shower beside pool.

warrumbungles 007warrumbungles 015a

So this concludes our first week back over the border and into NSW.  We have decided to head to the Warrumbungles NP with the Buckler family for a week.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

St George

Saturday 16 September

With a good easy pack up (sometimes you have a good pack up other times not so good) we farewelled Mitchell and took the drive to St George.

St George is a town I have always wanted to visit for obvious reasons, everyone who knows me, knows how madly passionate I am about my St George Dragons lol so here it is finally the opportunity.

St George is a divine little country town yes I could see us settling here or spending an extended amount of time there.  It has a population od approximately 3,500 and is about 500km west of Brisbane and is on the Balonne River.

We stayed at the lovely Kapunda Tourist and Fishing Park, which is a property located right on the river has hot showers and good flushing toilets and no frogs while we were there.  BONUS!!! I think the owner thought I was a bit weird when we booked in and I asked if there were frogs in the toilets lol.  But apparently only after the floods do they get in there phew.

It is pet friendly, telstra coverage and just a nice all-round place to relax.  Would definitely recommend a stay here.

Kapunda fishing park

 

So we set up camp and the kids did lots of fishing and a fish or two were caught also.  Thomas can claim that he was the first in the family to catch a yellow belly.  Way to go Groove!!

 

384169_4544627623690_1500838962_n

While the family were fishing i went and checked out the shops, unfortunately as we were only there for the weekend we missed the Unique Egg as it was closed, but we will see that next time.

Sunday 17 September

Today we thought we would drive out and have lunch at the famous Nindigully Hotel.

www.nindigully.com

Nindigully Hotel is situated approximately 45 km from St George and is one od Queensland’s oldest operating hotels.  It is situated on the banks of the Moonie River,  In the late 1800’s it was a Cobb & Co change over station.

You are able to camp out the back of the hotel on the banks of the river, hot showers are available, pet friendly with telstra coverage.

Nindigully Hotel is also famous for its HUGE Road train burger.

Nindigully 003Nindigully 005Nindigully 006Nindigully 017Nindigully 020

We really enjoyed our lunch here although the meal took almost 2 hours to be served and the service was a little ordinary.  But we can say we have had the famous Road Train burger and NO we didnt get through it all.

So we headed back or should I say rolled back to camp so we could start packing for an early start in the morning.

Good Bye St George we will definitely be returning.  Next stop will be over the border into NSW.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mitchell via Morven

Wednesday 12 September

We packed up and left the lovely town of Blackall not knowing where we will head to today.  Our first stop was for lunch at the very quaint little town of Tambo.

Tambo is one of the oldest towns in Central West Queensland and is known for Tambo Teddies.  We found a lovely park at the southern end of town where we were able to pull up by a waterhole enjoy lunch while watching the birds, there was a dump point and drinkable water so we emptied the loo and filled the water tank.

Barcaldine - morven 091

After leaving Tambo and heading toward Augathella we came across a father emu with his chicks just wandering along beside the road.

mum and her chicks

After arriving into Augathella and missing the turn into town we kept on driving heading for Morven.  We arrived at Morven and set up camp at the Morven Recreation Ground (Camps 6, QLD 664).  It is pet friendly, offers a few powered sites hot shower and good clean flushing toilets.  There is an honesty box there asking for $5 per night for unpowered per site and powered was $5 per person per night.  We enjoyed our stay here the grounds and facilities were fantastic.  Also had Telstra coverage.

Morven is a small town with a population of only 250 people.and is situated approximately 90 km east of Charleville.

Barcaldine - morven 101Morven Rec Ground

Thursday 14 September

We left Morven and headed east along the Warrego Highway headed for Mitchell.  We had noted 2 free camps just before you get to Mitchell so thought we would check them both out as they were very close together.

We called into Fisherman’s Rest where you can camp right along the river and the fishing is supposed to be good too.  We also checked out the weir but it was crowded with heaps of campers so we went back to Fishermen’s Rest.

Fishermen’s Rest (camps 6, QLD 660) pet friendly, a drop toilet but not great, telstra coverage awesome river frontage.  Was a nice spot but did have a few local hoons come down at night nothing to bad though.

Fishermans rest

Mitchell is located along the Warrego Highway and is another very friendly town.  It is best known for its Artesian Spa it has a well serviced town with a post office, bakery, supermarket, a few pubs, a great little country hospital we thought this was a great little town.

Friday 15 September

Today was spent just relaxing around the campsite, fishing and washing there were only one other lot of campers here so we spent some time catching up around the campfire, the kids managed to catch a few small fish but nothing big enough to eat.  Unfortunately we did not get to got to the artesian spa (one of the reasons we came here) as it was closed for maintenance oh well just means we have to come back again.  We have become Artesian Spa Junkies lol.

This concludes our shot stay in Mitchell next destination will be St George.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blackall

Monday 10 September

We left Lloyd-Jones Weir and drove the relative short distance to Blackall we were not 100% sure we were going to stay there or not as we thought we may just stop for lunch and go to the Artesian Spa.  But Blackall is a town well worthy a few days.

Blackall is a nice tidy town with the friendliest locals we have encountered we stopped in at the information centre and were surprised at what was on offer in this town and were quite impressed with the low cost camping offered here.

Barcoo River Camp (Camps 6, QLD 686) $5 per night payable at information centre pet friendly, fires ok telstra coverage and free hot showers just 2 blocks away it has a 48 hour limit for stays.  It is right in the heart of the town and you can walk from your campsite to most of the attractions however the Wool Scour you do need to drive to.

You wouldn’t believe it but we set up camp here right next to the Newton’s we really didn’t expect to run into them again but the kids were very happy to have their mates to play with and Tom and Hayden love cracking their whips.

Blackall was named after Queensland’s second Governor Sir Samual Blackall and has a population of approximately 1500 people.  Like Barcaldine the towns water is completely supplied from the Artesian Basin and comes out at 58-62 degrees hot water systems are generally not used in Blackall.

Barcaldine - morven 001

Blackall is also famous for the Black Stump.which was used for surveying purposes back in 1887.  Surveyors placed the stump for latitude and longitude so  anything beyond the stump was known as beyond the Black Stump..

Barcaldine - morven 007Barcaldine - morven 008Barcaldine - morven 010Barcaldine - morven 011

There is a memorial statue in the main street for the legendary shearer Jack Howe in the main street.  We first learned about Jack Howe back in Longreach he is famous for sharing the most sheep in a record time.  321 sheep in 7 hours and 40 minutes thats a lot of sheep.

Barcaldine - morven 004Barcaldine - morven 005

After lunch we all headed down to the Aquatic Centre, now this aquatic centre is probably our favourite aquatic centre we have ever been too its just lovely it has a large 50 metre Olympic size pool filled with artesian bore water which was a lovely 36 degrees with a hotter spa at the end which was 40 degrees.  This pool has been designed for everyone there is like a beach style entrance so wheel chairs can access it and small children can make there way in where its not to deep and the people who manage it are the loveliest people and really go out there way to make sure you enjoy your stay there.  There are hot showers here also.  Admission to the aquatic centre is $11 for a family.  There opening hours are 6-9am then 2-6pm.

Barcaldine - morven 003

Tuesday 11 September

Today we had a leisurely start as the kids wanted to play with the Newtons before they leave as this will probably definately be the last time we catch up as they are now heading a different direction.

We went to the Blackall Woolscour now this place is awesome and well worth a visit.  I had no idea what a woolscour was or did.

A woolscour is where the wool was washed and cleaned before being shipped.  This was done to reduce the weight of the wool and save money on shipping.

The Blackall Woolscour in the only fully working steam powered woolscour left in Australia.  The Woolscour operated commercially from 1908 through to 1978.  The water from the bore was the perfect temperature for the steam engines.  It has been fully restored now to a working museum.

Barcaldine - morven 012Barcaldine - morven 015Barcaldine - morven 018Barcaldine - morven 060Barcaldine - morven 071Barcaldine - morven 043

After the woolscour tour we went back to the van for some lunch and then for another trip to the aquatic centre.

This concludes our time at Blackall and we thought it was a magical little town with really friendly people and the IGA supermarket was the best country town supermarket we have been too.  I could imagine stopping somewhere like here on a more permanent basis we just loved it.

This concludes our time at Blackall next destination we really aren’t sure.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Barcaldine

Friday 7 September

After saying our farewell to the Newton family we headed into the Longreach showgrounds to fill up the water tank in the caravan and use the dump point.

My biggest warning to anybody travelling and using public toilets where ever they may be “BEWARE OF FROGS” they scare the hell out of me and seem to stalk me.  This is what I found in the loo at the showgrounds once I flushed (there were actually 3 of the ugly little critters)

Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 005

Our first stop of the day was a gorgeous little town called Ilfracombe.  Ilfracombe is a little town with a lot of charm and character.  We stopped and looked at the Magic Mile of Machinery now this is fabulous has a great selection of historical tractors, trucks etc as well as some unique collections of days gone by memorabilia in the little museums  all of these are free of charge.  We had intended on stopping for a swim in the Artesian spa but unfortunately it was closed and not due to open until 2pm so we headed on our way.

Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 009Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 010Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 013Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 015Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 017Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 019Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 031

From here we headed through to Barcaldine another great little town.  We decided we would check out the free camp out at Lloyd-Jones Weir which turned out to be great so here we set up for 2 nights a place for the kids to run around, and fish.

Lloyd-Jones Weir (Camps 6, QLD 346) pet friendly, telstra coverage, great clean toilets well maintained.  No powered sites and fits all vehicle size you do have about 1 km of sandy dirt road at the end to get through.

Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 051

Saturday 8 September

We took a trip into Barcaldine to have a look around.  Its such a lovely little town.  We visited the Tree of Knowledge, walked around the main street, checked out the information centre with the big working windmill out the front.  You are able to have a free hot shower at the showgrounds or the Choice petrol station we went to the showgrounds and they were lovely and clean.  You are able to camp at the showgrounds but it is discouraged and they charge the same as the caravan parks $27 per night.

Barcaldine has a population of approximately 1600 people (very friendly people) and the town runs solely on bore water.  The water from the bore is the purest water in Queensland and can be consumed straight from the bore.

The Tree of Knowledge  is a Ghost Gum which was over 180 years old and was the inspiration for the striking of shearers during the Great Shearers Strike and had a significant role in the formation of the Australian Labour and Political movement.

It is such a shame that in 2006 some disrespectful individual or individuals took it upon themselves to poison the tree.

Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 036Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 038

The windmill which is situated next to the information centre was built in 1917 and was originally erected at the site of the first flowing bore in Queensland.

Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 045

The main Street

Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 047

Sunday 9 September

Today was spent relaxing at our campsite while the kids enjoyed fishing.  We really loved the camp spot at Lloyd Jones Weir and is only 14km out of Barcaldine.

Lloyd Jones Weir Barcaldine and Ilfracombe 049

This concludes our time at Lloyd-Jones Weir/Barcaldine next stop we think will be Blackall.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Longreach

Monday 3 September

As we were driving along we came across some cattle being rounded up by stockman on horses and using their whips, now the kids were thrilled as we stopped as the cattle crossed the road the kids watched in absolute awe.  Its amazing the small things that bring such joy and this was certainly one of those moments.

winton to longreach 023winton to longreach 024

We arrived at Longreach and headed into town to check out what was on offer we had decided we would stay at the Apex Park just north of town which would allow us to do some of the great tours on offer.

Our first stop was the information centre a nice little building with helpful staff before heading into the One Zero shop we so need to get a Telstra internet plan prepaid is costing us a fortune.

We called into the Kinnon & Co office to book one of their packages as we had heard such good things about them.

We bought some hot chips for lunch and who should we bump into but the lovely Newton Family, Trent, Linda, Hayden, Amber & Ebony.  We first met these guys as Clem Walton Park they also have a Windsor Rapid just the bigger version with bunks and a shower and toilet.  They told us they were also going to be staying out at the Free camp Apex Park.

So after lunch we headed over to see if we could get a spot at Apex Park and set up ready for a few days of fun.  Not long after we set up the Newton’s arrived and set up just opposite us.  Tom was very happy as a boy his age to play with most kids we have met along the way have been much younger and girls. 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Longreach means the long –reach or waterhole of the Thomson River
  • Longreach has a rich history with sheep shearing and farming
  • Longreach isn’t the origin of Qantas- Winton is, and it moved to Longreach in 1922 when the first hangar was built
  • Has a population of approximately 3500

Tuesday 4 September

Today we plan on going to The Stockman’s Hall of Fame.  We had been told to allow at least half a day to look through here but there is no way you can experience it all in half a day we spent almost the whole day there.  And i really need to commend the kids as it can be a bit boring looking around museums when your a kid but they were so well behaved and enjoyed it as much as we did.

We booked the Hall of Fame premium package which gives you access to the museum, live show and lunch at the Cattleman’s Bar & Grill.  At a cost of $160 for a family of 4.

Stockmans Hall of Fame 045

We started off just browsing the gallery, gift shop and book store, before starting on the first level of the museum which is dedicated to early pioneer explorers and indigenous cultures.  At 11am when the  cow bell rings is the signal to come outside to the live show.

Once we walked down the back and took our seats we were ready for the show.  Not really knowing what to expect we absolutely loved the show with good old fashioned outback humour.  With horse displays, bullock team demonstration, camels, dogs and chook we had a whole lot of belly laughs.  Luke the presenter of the show is fantastic so funny and talented.  Tom even managed to buy 3 mongrel bloody dogs (Lukes words) at the auction for $650 haha hilarious.  Everytime the dogs moved he would say to Tom control your mongrel bloody dogs.

Stockmans Hall of Fame 003Stockmans Hall of Fame 004Stockmans Hall of Fame 007Stockmans Hall of Fame 026

Can you believe Luke and I grew up in the same country town and figured out we went to the same school he was just a couple of grades lower was in the same year as my sister what a small world.

Stockmans Hall of Fame 031

After the show we walked over to the Cattleman’s Bar & Grill for our lunch of a cattleman’s beef burger and it was huge and was a real struggle to get through it all.  The restaurant is very nice and well kept there were kangaroos just roaming around along with a lone Brolga wandering around the grounds.

Stockmans Hall of Fame 042Stockmans Hall of Fame 043

After lunch we headed back to finish off the museum.

Statue of the Ringer

Stockmans Hall of Fame 037

One of the highlights of the museum for me was the new Royal Flying Doctors Display it was just so interesting the history and the current way in which the service operates.  They had a listening pod where you listened to 4 different call outs from isolated patients for me with my nursing studies I took away so much from listening to these and I was amazed to see that the isolated stations have a medical chest in these chests are vital medical supplies such as morphine, angonine, ventolin, paracetamol, bandages etc its like a miniature pharmacy its great to see the remote stations have these and the RFDS talk them step by step through everything.  Everything in the medical chest is numbered and the RFDS tells them what number item they need and how much and how to administer.  I really walked away with such admiration for this service.

If i could have one wish granted in life it would be that every person in Australia donated $1 to the RFDS imagine what that could achieve.  A truly amazing service.

Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame a brilliant place to visit for more information go to www.stockmanshalloffame.com.au

After the Hall of Fame I dropped Darrell and the kids back to the van and I went back into town to do some washing at the Laundromat and have a shower at the aquatic centre.  You can have a hot shower for $2 at the Longreach aquatic centre .

Wednesday 5 September

I think today was one of the best days we have had it was action packed from the moment we woke up right to the very end.  Today was our Kinnon & Co Package.  And we were really not sure what was in store for us but we were definitely not disappointed in fact we enjoyed it far more than what we hoped for.`

Kinnon & Co started  from the hard work and dedication of one family the Kinnon family they were local farmers who struggled hard through the drought a few years back and looked for other ways to survive with thier love of horses and history they started this great tourist attraction.

We purchased day package at a cost of $399 for a family of 4.  I know this is a lot of money and we dont usually spend this amount of money on a tour but it was worth every single cent.  And as we free camped in Longreach the money we saved on caravan park fees allowed us to spend more on tours.

Our package included:

  • Cobb & Co Gallop through the scrub tour
  • Starlight Spectacular show
  • Paddlewheeler sunset cruise with campfire dinner

For more information go to www.kinnonandco.com.au

First up we arrived at the gorgeous Station Store this store has an amazing variety of gifts, souvenirs and leather goods, we walked away with new hats each and Tom finally got that whip he has wanted for ages.

We were served up a beautiful smoko of scones with jam and cream and lovely hot billy tea.

longreach cobb 007longreach cobb 008

Whilst we were waiting for our replica Cobb & Co Stagecoach to arrive we were kept busy browsing all the memorabilia they have.

longreach cobb 006

Now as I have said this is a real family business Richard and Marisse have got all the kids involved to.  Morning tea is cooked and served by Marisse and their daughter and their daughter is a photographer so this has also been incorporated into the business where she does old time photos (just gorgeous).  As you get on to the stagecoach your photo is taken for a cost of $10 you get a lovely black and white family photo.  If you purchase the photo they are happy to take photos on your camera also.

Check out Rusty the dog on the back.

longreach cobb 009

This ride lasts just under an hour and you are taken down the dirt track of what was the old mail run.  You are supplied with headsets so you can hear all about the history and as your bouncing along and the dog is barking at the back you really get the feel for it.  He gets the horses up for a gallop but we learned the only time Cobb & Co drivers were allowed to gallop the horses was if they were racing the weather.

Tom & Taz were really happy they got to sit up front with the driver.

longreach cobb 017

On our return we collected our photo and were ushered into the movie theatre where we were shown an old Australian classic movie Smiley gets a gun, sitting in the old canvas seats (hmm was a bit hard to get out of them) and a bag of fresh popcorn it was great to watch this old movie the kids absolutely loved it.

Next up was Starlight’s Spectacular tent show.

Again this contained the family Richard and his two gorgeous sons (I want to keep them) I only know them as Uno Watt and Half Watt lol their names in the show.  This show is based on old bush legend Captain Starlight and the poetry and humour in this show is spectacular.

Tom’s favourite line from the show:-

Uno Watt – this is excruciating pain

Half Watt – what is e e e e xc

Uno Watt – dont try to say that word we will be here all day just say hurt

Haha we loved the humour.

From here we went back to the caravan and relaxed while watching the kids mainly Tom & Hayden cracking the whips.

At 4.45pm we were picked up by the bus and taken out to the river to the boat unfortunately the paddlesteamer was broken down but we were able to go on the cruise on a smaller boat.  We cruised down the river with wine and nibblies served by the delightful Uno Watt.

We had a lovely sunset and river cruise.

longreach river cruise 012

Following the river cruise we were shown off the boat and up to a lovely area where they had a nice campfire ready for us.  We were kept entertained by a lovely local gentleman (whose name I cannot remember) telling yarns and reciting poetry we were served the most delicious camp oven stew, apple pie and custard finished off with fresh hot billy tea with damper and golden syrup to say we left there pretty full is an understatement I personally felt like a beached whale in the outback lol.

longreach river cruise 020longreach river cruise 021

So this concludes our magical day hosted by the delightful Kinnon family.

Thursday 6 September

Today was a laze around camp day letting the kids have fun playing with the Newton kids as tomorrow we head in different directions.

Something I didn’t mention that was a highlight for Tom and Hayden was each night when the Kinnon and Co bus came to collect people Richard would call the boys over and get them to crack the whip for the people on the bus the boys were getting very good at it now.

So this concludes our fantastic stay in Longreach and will definately be back again as we still have the Qantas museum to see unfortunately this time round it didn’t fit in our budget.  One of the hardest things for us is choosing which tourist attractions we do and which we miss it usually comes down to what has the most benefit for the kids, a family vote and every now and then a bit of fun lol.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment