The objective of this trip was to be in Wagga Wagga New South Wales on the 15th May 2009 to see the March Out Parade of Grandson Tim. He has been in the Army Recruit Training Centre Kapooka for 80 days doing the hard slog of learning to be a soldier.
We are off again.
We spent Sunday morning the 10th of May having Mothers day brunch with Rod’s mum and son Ashley at Mum’s favorite café. Have to say that I didn’t know that I could eat soooooo much. Mavis and Ashley had eggs benedict Ashley with bacon Mavis with salmon, both huge meals. Mum just had a chicken mayonnaise and egg sandwich, which she loved. Muggins ordered a big breakfast without eggs, as I don’t like them. The meal that appeared as a big breakfast was ridiculous, consisting of masses of bacon two hash browns a whole tomato grilled a bowl of mushrooms and a bowl of baked beans, all topped of with two hugely thick slices of toast. Knew I wouldn’t get through it but put in a valiant effort and completed the task much to Mums amazement.
After our brunch break Mavis and I departed for Coolmunda dam as our first night stop over on the way South after saying farewell to Rod’s Mum and Ashley.
It was quite a long haul after the big brekkie but we made it by 4 pm and managed a couple of quiet wines as we watched the sun go down beside the lake.
View of Coolmunda dam the water was quite low
Our campsite at Coolmunda Dam
There was another Kedron van camped about 100 meters from us but as it was a bit late, we waited until morning to say g-day. It was a couple that we met at our Christmas Kedron gathering in Crows Nest Stewart and his wife were on their way to Darwin with some friends. We had a chat for about 30 minutes and then said farewell and pushed on to Goondiwindi where we did some grocery shopping picked up the last of the cheap Diesel and off again heading to Burren Junction via Moree, Narrabri and Wee Waa. We got to Burren Junction at about 3pm.
What a huge surprise. There were 30 other vans and campers already there so it looked like a huge caravan park.
Last time that we were here we were on our own until a young guy turned up for a swim. He had an opal-mining lease at Lightning Ridge and was on his way back there. He didn’t camp just had a swim and took off for home leaving us on our own for the night. What a difference this time, unbelievable.
We parked stripped off and lowered ourselves into the beautiful warm water of the bore baths for a warming soak.
Completely refreshed we managed to consume a few feta stuffed olives and other nibbles with a small glass of wine before retiring for the night.
Next morning dictated that we again check out the bore bath just to make sure that it really was as good as we remembered and it was.
Then we were off to our next overnight at Forbes via dirt road to Pilliga then Coonamble, Gulargambone, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Parkes and finally Forbes.
Some members of the Kedron group had recommended a free camp at Forbes beside the Lachlan River. It was not hard to find and was fantastic. We pulled up right by the water and spent a fairly restful night. There were about 6 other campers there. The only down side was a barking guard dog in an Engineering yard about 100 meters from where we camped. Had we carried on further around the waterway we would have been ok. Oh well can’t have everything can we.
Next morning it was off again heading for Wagga Wagga.
Have to say that the towns and scenery from Forbes to Wagga Wagga were absolutely fantastic. Grenfell, Young, Cootamundra and Junee were all gorgeous old towns with the most beautiful old buildings most dating from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Likewise the farms were all the stuff of picture post cards, again with old stone houses and out buildings. The countryside was beautiful quite green and lush for the most parts
We both vowed to return and see the lot at our leisure (maybe when the weather gets a bit warmer grin (or after Rod installs the Webasto diesel heater to the van perhaps).
Wagga Wagga is one huge town with a population of around 57,000 and is the largest inland city in New South Wales sitting 450 kms South West of Sydney.
We found our way to the Wagga Beach Caravan Park and picked a site near the water.
The Murrumbidge River was flowing beautifully past the van park and was a great sight.
At dusk a profusion of parrots, Sulfur Crested Cockatoos, Gallahs and Rosellas noisily made the huge trees in the caravan park and by the river their roosting spots for the night. Oh well we did need to get up early in the morning (but not that bl..dy early :-/ )
View of the Murrumbidge behind our camp sit at Wagga Wagga beach caravan park
Next day saw us doing the tourist thing with our family after a recy run out to the Kapooka training center. Had to be sure that we would get there on time the next day for the Parade.
As we have a problem with alcohol we decided to check out the Charles Sturt University wine and cheese factory. This is where our Aussie wine and cheese makers are trained in their chosen craft. Have to say that the wines were of a very high standard, but Rod was not so impressed with the cheeses. The others liked some of the cheeses.
We did visit another winery that shall remain nameless for fear of slander allegations against us should they read this, which was great on the eye but not so good on the pallet. There was not one good wine that was presented to us for tasting.
That night we all made our way to the Wagga Wagga RSL club for a Chinese dinner. (Returned and Services League for the benefit of our foreign friends, this organization is in existence to provide for the well-being, care, compensation and commemoration of serving and ex-serving Defence Force Personnel and their dependants a truly worthy organization.)
Friday the 15th May we were off early to watch Grandson Tim’s March out Parade at the Kapooka Army Recruit Training Centre just out of Wagga Wagga . We had lunch with Tim and the family at the base after the Parade. It was a very emotional time and a great day, we were all extremely proud.
Grandson Tim and proud Dad Mick
Equally Proud and emotional Mum Belinda
After lunch with the family at Kapooka Army training Center we said our farewells to them and headed for home via new and unseen places.
We dropped in to Ardlethen on the way to have a gander because one of our friends has some property there, lovely little town would love to go back stay and explore the area, no correction we will go back stay and explore the area grin.
First overnight stop was at Mirrool free camp opposite the Mirrool Hotel. A good spot with amenities and it is about 300 meters off the Newell Highway so not too noisy.
We had a couple of Rum and cokes at the pub before retiring to the van for the night, it was a little hard to leave the open fire in the pub because it was freeeeeezing outside but it had to be done so off we went to the van and climbed into our sleeping bags for a cozy nights sleep.
Next morning we were off to our next camp via West Wyalong, Condobolin,Trundle,Tullamore,Narromine,Eumungerie, Gilgandra,Coonabarabran and we stopped at a road side stop near Gunnedah where we pulled into the bush about 100 meters from the road for a good nights sleep. This day was a long drive and we decided not to do that many kilometers again in one day.
From Gunnedah we made our way along the Fossickers way to Manilla.This run along the Fossickers Way was great. All of the towns were very picturesque and well presented. This is another definite area to return to, maybe with gold pans for some fossicking and great camping. We had a small diversion into Split Rock Dam for a look. This dam is holding at less than 10% capacity a sad sight indeed. Then we traveled through Barraba, Bingara, Warialda, Yetman and on to Texas, which is just over the Queensland boarder. There was a good free campsite there by the river at Texas. We had the company of 8 other campers there for the night.
In the morning we decided to head for Stanthorpe, with a diversion to have a look at Glenlyon Dam. What a sad sight would guestimate that the dam was below 10% capacity. Still a few people camped there and boats on the water fishing.
Plan “B” was formulated on the way to Stanthorpe. The decision was made to spend a night at a great little winery at Maclagen. You have to appreciate that Stanthorpe is the wine capital of Queensland and we had decided to travel a further 100 plus kilometers to reach our destination. Terrible thing idle time you do some crazy things grin.
Non the less we headed for Rangemore Estate Winery at Mclagen after passing through Stanthorpe .
It was a long trip but worth every moment after we arrived.
Dave Allen is the proprietor. He grows the grapes on his 250 acre property overlooking the beautiful Bunya Mountains. The wine is made in Stanthorpe and marketed by Dave as Rangemore Estate Wines. He has a great little sideline with B&B accommodation in an old Queenslander house and is one of the only wineries that we have found that will accommodate caravans and camping at very reasonable prices.
This place is not 5 star but very homely and friendly with great wines and good food at non boutique prices.
His other sideline is the breeding of goat’s.These he has turned into the most superb Curry pies and meats.
We are not in the habit of plugging businesses but this one is worth it.
Tuesday morning we headed off for Home. It was only a short trip back to Brisbane normally about 3 hours. Today it was stretched out some by the fact that it was raining all the way home. After seeing the dams and rivers in New South Wales in such poor condition it was a pleasure to see the rivers full and running in South East Queensland.