1 July 2019
We finally hit the road this morning at 10am. We had planned on leaving Sunday morning, but last minute checks identified a leak in the gas line straight out of the bottle. Not a standard part that any hardware store sells, with the gas places not open today, we eventually tracked one down at Carac.
The only additions we've added to our set up are a diesel heater and a dash cam recorder. Looks like we will need the heater on these cold nights. If we had of had a diesel heater last trip, we would have stayed away a little longer.
We made it to Wagga Wagga just before dark, staying on the river a few kms east out at Oura Beach. We were able to gather some firewood and enjoy sitting around our first campfire.
2 July 2019
We spent the first part of Tuesday exploring around Wagga. I was keen to revisit the town as this is where I completed my army recruit training some years back. Being a recruit, we had little free time and access to town, but there were bits that I remembered. We went to the gates of Kapooka, Blamey Barracks, as I expected we could go no further. We visited the RAAF heritage centre, it was small but very detailed about military life, recruit training and they also had a number of ex-service planes on display. What was interesting is that the RAAF base, behind the heritage centre was fully fenced, yet the army barracks had none. Kapooka is that bit more remote and off the main road.
We continued north via the Junee chocolate and liquorice factory, it operated out of an old flour mill. The building and surrounds were very picturesque.
We found another tranquil spot to camp the night at Bethungra Dam, collecting firewood on the way in. The boys wet their lines whilst Brad and I went for a walk.
3 July 2019
Continuing north today, stopped in at Cootamundra, the birth place of Sir Donald Bradman. Saw the place of his birth, the giant sized cricket stumps and bat. We took the walk of the captains, which are bronzed head carvings of all the previous Australian Cricket Captains.
Then onto Young and Grenfell, the birth place of Sir Henry Lawson. At the monument for Lawson, we ran into a woman holding a very young Kangaroo. Cam got a quick hold, she had rescued him a week earlier, he was a little sick from having gotten so cold after his mum passed away, he was estimated to be about 1 month old, but was on the mend. The lady also had a 6 month old that was more used to cuddles and people. The lady rescues wildlife, home was near Albury, as they are quiet companions; she has travelled and stayed at many a place with rescue animals.
Also in Grenfell were painted silo's, as this painting depicted the natural surrounds and the wildlife, we found them to be far more interesting design that the ones we had seen out in Western Victoria. Interestingly a local payed for the paintings, council were not interested.
As we departed Grenfell, the lush green pastures and rolling hills gave way to the wide open plains and desert looking lands. We had really enjoyed the driving prior to this. The towns all had amazing architecture, which we all appreciated. The towns were also supporting the local traveller with great facilities.
At Forbes we joined the Newell Hwy and all the traffic and trucksL.
We made camp at Dubbo, another camp a few kms west, on the edge of the river.
4 July 2019
We were up early this morning so we could make the most of the day at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Unlike other zoo's we had been to, this was full of active animals and the displays were all so close, enabling us to be within meters of most of these wild animals. We were able to see some great keeper talks and feedings. Our favourite animals were the mother cheetahs and her 3 cubs, the Hippo's, the Sumatran Tigers, the Lions and Giraffes. The animals all looked so healthy; the dingo's coat was a thick woolly dark orange and white colour, unlike any other dingo we've seen before. We choose to walk the 5-6kms of the park as opposed to driving or hiring bikes or buggies, there were very few other walkers.
We've found another river camp north of Dubbo, this was a better location than the night before.
5 July 2019
This morning we went to the cattle show at the Dubbo show grounds. These cattle were more groomed than all of us; they were getting blow waves before head to show themselves off. This was a high school event, we knew about this from the Kangaroo rescue lady we met earlier on as she and her crew were off to this.
After we restocked on water and fresh supplies, we continued north. Spending the night in a farm stay donation camp, Coonamble Nakadoo Farm. There's goats, chickens, ducks, a donkey, a pony, a alpaca and cats. There's also lots of old collected bits and pieces. There's a machinery shed tour that we are partaking in later today.