Whilst I was in Gunnedah I had the very kind offer to stop with Stuart an his family in Tamworth. The hour ride from Gunnedah was a good chance to get to know Stuart and his wife Linda better.
We arrived at their spectacular home with pool out back where I met their daughter Julia (unfortunately Stephanie was away at the time). After picking up some supplies we had an awesome evening full of laughter and anecdotes in the garden. It was bizarre sitting out in a warm evening in December. Yet again the Brandon hospitality was fantastic and I really enjoyed getting to know them all (including my favourite family member Millie the dog - sorry guys!)
The next day we set out to see the sights of Tamworth. This is where I learnt of the wonderfully bizarre Australian habit of building "big things". We went to see the big guitar as Tamworth is the home of country music. I found it hilarious that this craze was all over Oz. They have some bizarre big things dotted around (more on this in later posts). We went up to the lookout point for some stunning views over Tamworth before setting out for the Marsupial park.
Being a lover of wildlife I struggled to contain my excitement. Despite mine and Stuarts expert roo tracking and Linda and Julia's koala spotting shenanigans we found neither. We were probably the first people ever to go to a marsupial park and see no marsupials. All was not lost however, we still saw some emus, birds galore ("Hello Mary") and Linda even spotted me a decent sized skink.
After a quick walk around the botanical gardens and a glimpse at the impressive equine centre we returned home for a BBQ (in December - what the fff) and a swim. After a great day we topped it off with one of my favourite nights in Australia. We put the world to right and watched some of youtubes finest spectacles. I found I had a lot in common with them all and they were so easy to get on with. We had a great laugh and stopped up until the early hours having a few beers (although the crowd dispersed once me and Stuart got into Jimmy Barnes mode).
I awoke early next morning and said goodbye to undoubtedly one of the coolest families I have had the pleasure to meet. I look forward to spending some more time with them all in the not to distant future in Oz or the UK.
The drive back to Gumnedah with Linda was funny. We missed the flood signs and had to detour to get back to Gunnedah. This is Australia though so your detours add an hour to your journey. This was actually pretty cool though as it gave me chance to see some more countryside and go through towns with populations not topping 20 haha. Tamworth is an awesome blend of countryside and city. I was just gutted I couldn't sneak Millie out with me!