OCTOBER 2009 BORE BATH TRIP part 5

Bingara  is a wonderful country town. Exceptionally clean and with very friendly natives that welcome we grey nomads.

It sits right on the picturesque   Gwydir River and at the time we were there the Jacaranda and Silky Oaks were in full and magnificent bloom.

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We turned right after crossing the first bridge out of town off the Fossickers way tourist route to get to our camp spot.

Must say that this has got to be the most camper friendly place that we have ever experienced.

For about 10kms out of town you can free camp along the Gwydir River.

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Our site was about 5kms from town with plenty of room for all of us to have a water front only stumbling distance from our awnings. What an absolutely magic place this is.

Bob was the first to wet a line after setting up camp and also the first to catch a fish followed by Glen with two. All the fish were Murray Cod that are stocked by the local fish stocking club. Unfortunately they were too small and the season was closed. Consequently brag pics were taken then the fish released back to the river.

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Judy got full marks for trying but unfortunately like the rest of us didn’t catch a fish.

It was a great place non the less.

The kayaks were launched here and the peaceful surroundings enjoyed to the full.

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Our itinery called for a run to Coolmunda Dam for a few days on the water and then home,but after this wonderful spot we could not bring ourselves to return to the land of the prickles and burrs, so Glen and Deb suggested we move on to Girraween National Park for the rest of our adventure. The suggestion was unanimously agreed to 🙂

The run to Girraween took us through Tenterfield where we had a break for lunch at the pub. As can be seen from the picture it was a morbid bunch that ate there 🙂CRW_4570A  It seems that we ate out for most meals on this trip. I am sure that we took home more food in the fridge than we left home with,but it was all great.

Girraween was great. Our camp spot was great with water available nearby and fantastic walks to be done.image

We did manage to do some walking and were rewarded by the sites of this great place.

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The only unfortunate thing about Girraween was that it was way too close to the wonderful wineries of Stanthorpe. Suffice to say that many wine tastings, much stocking up of cellars and sampling the cuisine of the area occurred during the few days spent here. It was very fortunate that no one was put over a weigh bridge on the way home as I am sure that we all would have been over (weight that is 🙂 )

And that my friends is the story of our October Bore bath trip. We hope that you enjoyed hearing about it as much as we did experiencing it.

As usual there was a lot more to tell and I apologise to those that came along for missing any important stuff but as we know what happens in camp stays in camp hehehehe.

Again a huge thank you to Deb & Glen, Judy& Greg, Lynda& Nev and Beryl & Bob (Greg’s brother from another Mother 🙂 for helping us to have a great time.

Must say that it is good to be home (for hopefully only a short time) to dry out a little.

Thanks to everyone for contributing pictures. If you claim copy write just try and find me grin.

Heaps more pictures are on the way soon.

Love to all.

Mavis and Rod.

OCTOBER 2009 BORE BATH TRIP part 4

A fond farewell was said to Lightning Ridge.

Burren Junction Bore was to be our next stop, to spend a couple of days in the refreshing waters.

When we arrived at the Junction we found that the baths had been closed for renovation. Should be great when they are finished with the incorporation of new toilets and showers facilities. Really did need it with the number of travellers that take advantage of the great baths.

Non the less it was a bugger. So it was decided to travel to Piliga baths about 40 kilometres away.

This could not have been planned better.

Piliga baths had been renovated to include toilets and a cold/ bore water shower,with camping right next to the baths.

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We all had a ball here with a lot of laughs and some refreshing dunking.

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The added bonus was the drain from the baths was heavily populated with blue claw crayfish. Yummmeee. Just had to suffer a couple of feeds of this superb crustaceans.

Thanks to Bob, Mavis and Glen for being the hunter gatherers.

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We experienced a big Willy Willy during our stay at Piliga.

Fortunately not too much damage. One of Bob and Beryl’s open windows was blown hard open and the struts separated. With a group effort a temporary repair was carried out. Lots of gear had to be searched for after the blow. But that was not all the drama. Neville lost his full stubby and cooler. Fortunately the cooler was retrieved later some distance away but we had to hear about the stubby contents for some time after the event 🙂

We left Piliga Bore on Sunday the 25th heading for Bingara.

It was a fairly short run of about 200 kms stopping at Narrabri for smoko and a top up of provisions and draining of the black water storage at the most inhospitable Country town show grounds that we had ever experienced. The Manager was not the best bloke that we had ever met but the job was done so to speak.  Then we climbed the mountains to get to Bingara.

On the way we stopped for a short walk in Mt Kaputar National Park for a look at Sawn Rocks. This was an amazing natural feature check out the write up and the pics that follow.

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This looked like a giant crystal formation only it was not crystal.

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Moving over the mountain range we experienced some spectacular scenery on the way to Bingara. Flowing creeks and great rural landscapes were everywhere.

The next instalment is the last of the October Bore bath trip Our next stop Bingara then Girraween National Park.

OCTOBER 2009 BORE BATH TRIP part 3

After this most relaxing experience at Rose hill Aviaries we packed up to move on to Lightning Ridge in New South Wales for an Opal experience.

For our over seas friends Lightning Ridge produces the only black opals in the world and they are gorgeous beyond belief.

We had to stop at the little town of Hebal for a beer in the little pub, What a gem grin.

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image The inside of this Pub was a typically great little outback licensed establishment, providing a little light relief and refreshments for the travelling public as well as the few locals that frequent it.image

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After refreshing the weary bodies we left Hebal and crossed into New South Wales from Queensland.

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This town my friends is one of the great attractions of the west.

There is a hot bore bath here but most found it too hot and crowded so we just enjoyed the rest of the town.

Our original plan was to book for 3 nights in case we needed a bit more time here. We only paid for 2 nights in case their was not enough to keep us there any longer.

Gotta tell you that this place has some of the best tourist attractions that we have ever seen. So much so that we stayed for 4 nights and left reluctantly on the 5th day vowing to return to see more of the area.

Staying at the Lightning Ridge Hotel Motel Caravan Park we booked a tour with the Black Opal Tour company. This cost us $25 each for a 3 hour tour of the Ridge. Money very well spent.

Margaret our tour guide treated us to a great first hand knowledge of life on the Ridge and some of the attractions, culminating with coffee and scones at the Tour companies old train carriages where they had a great opal shop (revisited by some later on :-).

As a result of the tour we decided to visit two of the famous attractions in the Ridge the next day. They were booked that evening

The first was “The Black Queen” in the morning with the

Chambers of the Black Hand “ mine tour in the afternoon.

Both of these attractions were first class. “The Black Queen” being our favourite while the Chambers ran a close second. It is hard to compare the two as they offer a completely different experience but both never to be forgotten.

Gale and Roger Collins own and operate this magnificent establishment that is “The Black Queen”.

Gail being the orator to a magnificent story concerning Joan Andrews the original occupant and builder of this not to be missed attraction.

The “Black Queen” was the most moving theatrical experience that we have seen and included a priceless museum collections of oil lamps, some absolutely priceless.

We were treated to a display of the lamps during the performance by Gale.

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This display of lamps dated back to 200bc. We were allowed to not only view but hold some of the lamps and some were alight for our viewing.

Gale Collins.

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The lamp on the right dates to 200BC.

We won’t go into this great attraction too far as we think it would spoil the experience for those that subsequently visit. Suffice to say it must be seen as one of the true wonders of Australia.

“Chambers of the Black Hand “ mine tour was fantastic.

It is a display of over 400 carvings in the sandstone walls of an opal mine and display of how the mining was done before mechanisation in a 100 year old mine shaft.

This is an ongoing work of art with some of the carvings having been painted.

Absolutely fantastic display and presentation.

I was very proud of Mavis who overcame her fear of confined spaces ( thanks to the compassionate guide) to view the carvings.

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A great effort and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

The themes ranged from movie s, religion to an Egyptian room where he had carved and painted Tutankhamen s tomb. Wonderful viewing.image

It is hard to imagine that this is all done in sandstone 40 feet underground.

The next day was a bit of a rest day,although we did visit Bevins cactus nursery. Another great experience in the Ridge,consisting a garden filled with cacti from all over the world

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It is probably a good time to say that Lynda and Neville had adopted a pee wee in Surat. This bird was fascinated with their windows and mirrors on the car. We know it is a long shot but we think that they smuggled the bird into Lightning Ridge, because this  bird was seen behaving exactly the same in the Ridge. Terrible mess on the glass grin. It even managed to remove shopping bags that were placed to deter its amorous advances to the mirrors.

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After relieving some of the opal dealers of some of their heavy burden we reluctantly although excitedly said farewell to the Ridge and headed for Burren Junction.

Part 4 soon.

October Bore Bath trip part 2

From Surat we travelled to Mitchell which was to be our first Bore bath experience.

On the way Roma was the lunch stop even though it was a bit early. This is one really great town, it has absolutely everything.

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We all could not believe the haberdashery shop in Roma. Their was everything imaginable sold here from kitchen wear to fabrics and it was piled to the ceiling and spilled out to the front of the shop. Nothing had a price marked but the owner could come up with a reasonable price when you finally found the front door and the cash register.

The Camping shop was raided for the purchase of the inevitable last minute forgotten or newly required items.

The cake shop was also raided to fill up on the luxury items such as pies, sausage rolls,creamy cakes and yummy coffee’s that we so crave while roughing it in the wild untamed outback then off we went to the next adventure.

A short photo stop to capture a beautiful Prickly Pear cactus,This one would have to be THE most photographed noxious weed in the west

🙂

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We arrived at Mitchell and camp was set up at Neil Turner Weir after a riotous trip from Surat. The conversation over the CB on this trip had to be heard to be appreciated. Mavis was in tears for most of the way thanks to Greg and Glen.

Neil Turner Weir was pretty sad. The water level was almost non existent. Their was a few small bodies of water that held some bird life and the weir wall was fully exposed concrete.

The camp site was good but on dirt with toilets and water available. A nice green grassy area was available for picnics or just to walk on green grass. We ringed up into a circle comprising the 5 vans and had a ball for two nights. Great food and even greater company.

Colin and Gayleen and their two poodles Cherie and Moet turned up for an overnight with a brand new Kedron van. They were on their third day out of Brisbane on the way back to Cairns. What a coincidence to bump into our intrepid little group.

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Had we explored a little further and had a look at the other free camp at “Fishermans Rest “ we could have been on water and used the Kayaks, but this was not discovered until later.

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The spar in Mitchell was in the swimming pool area. It was a pay experience but we all thought that it was worth the expenditure.

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The water was at about 39.0 degrees and regulated by the pool staff. The second day we were told that the bore had heated up to 52 degrees so they were recycling the water to bring the temp down to the required 39 ish degrees. Absolutely wonderful. Their was a cold pool beside the hot bore pool for those brave souls that could leave the warm pool and venture into the cold and a full size Olympic pool next door.

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Our only gripe here was with the showers (on the second day) the cold tap was from the bore and it was so hot that it was not refreshing. But hey it was a shower.

After two great days in Mitchell we packed up to head off to the Rosehill Aviaries about 56 km west of St George. This part of the trip was on the first dirt road that we had experienced on this run. About 120 kms of dirt mostly well maintained dirt but with the last 20 kms were fairly corrugated.

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This gave a great proving ground for Linda and Nev (first trip in their new van on dirt )and Judy and Greg first time on dusty conditions to see how the new Kedron’s held up to their reputations. Linda and Nev had traded an older Kedron for this new baby and had done a lot of happy off road travelling in the old one.

Both new vans had some dust ingestion but not a great amount.

Unfortunately as is usual our Kedron manage to become completely filled with dust.

It would seem that no matter how we tape windows and vents we always manage to become filled with dust. Have to do some serious homework on this problem.

Rosehill Aviaries is a great property run by John and Elaine Beardmore.

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The Aviaries (still) have the greatest display of Australian native birds in Australia although they closed the doors on the aviaries after the September school holidays 2009 for a well earned retirement.

I had called at the start of September and spoken to Elaine and asked if we could still camp on the beautiful bore drain on the property and was told that we could.

Arriving at the property we found Elaine entertaining family that had come from all points around the Brisbane area to celebrate a 21st and 18th birthdays.

John came out and we were charged the grand sum of $6.50 each to view the great bird collection. For this princely sum we could also camp at the bore for as long as we liked. Money very well spent.

The bore drain is one great place, with plenty of firewood available on the ground to collect.

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The bore water is hot and fresh with no smell (unless you disturb the mud on the bottom as we found out on a previous trip) and so soft that to shower in it is a real treat.

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Glen had completed the design and assembly of his portable 12volt pump before leaving Brisbane and this was the place for the proving run.

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It was a huge success with him hooking it onto their van and supplying pressurised water for the shower etc. A hose was later run to Judy and Greg’s van so they also had pressure. (Life is pretty hard and rough out here in the bush :-).

Two glorious days were spent here just relaxing and cooking great food with some walking thrown in.

Unfortunately for John, Elaine and the areas tourism, no one has stepped up to take on the birds to maintain this wonderful attraction.

More to follow soon.

October 2009 Bore bath trip

OCTOBER 2009 BORE BATH TRIP

A BIG THANKYOU TO DEB AND GLEN,BERYL AND BOB, JUDY AND GREG AND LAST BUT DEFINATELY NOT LEAST LYNDA AND NEV ALL GREAT TRAVELLING COMPANIONS AND GOOD SPORTS

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The planned trip began with everyone meeting at the Rangemore Estate Winery at Maclagan in Queensland. 4 couples in as many vans were to accompany Mavis and me on this journey.

Our personal journey began on Sunday the 11th Of October,when we set out from Narangba after enjoying a wine tasting and lunch with Mavis’s Daughter Terrie and her husband Glen.

Being that it was a fairly late start an not wanting to travel all the way to Rangemore,we decided to have an overnight at the free camp at Benarken near Blackbutt. This I can thoroughly recommend to fellow travellers as there are toilet facilities and free power and water if required. The shop opposite does great food as well.

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After a good nights rest we struck out for Rangemore Estate Winery at Maclagen and the start of our adventures with good friends.

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We were the first to arrive at the winery and set up camp before having a chat with Dave Allen our host and the owner of Rangemore.

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Deb and Glen were next to arrive with Greg and Judy in tow.

After they had set up we moved into the tasting area for a sample of the great product that Rangemore produces.

It was after the tasting that we all decided that it would be quite acceptable to have lunch on the verandah overlooking the Bunya Mountains with a few bottles of wine to wash it down.

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Dave prepared some of his goat pies with chips that were enjoyed by some of us and some seafood delights for others. It was a great afternoon but an early start for the consumption of alcohol resulting in all of us retiring to the vans for “Nana naps” afterwards :-).

Lynda and Nev arrived with their brand new van (first trip away) while the rest of us slept,it was a surprise to see them when we woke up. (Guess the wine with lunch must have had a bit of an effect grin).

Beryl and Bob were the last to turn up as they had to go to Kedron to have their reversing camera replaced before the trip to Rangemore.

The new arrivals (naturally) had to sample the wines while the rest of us contemplated having dinner. The decision was made to have a meal cooked by Dave. He volunteered to make a goat curry with some rice and BBQ some goat fillets to taste. This all went down well with some more bottles of wine.

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The day ended with us sitting around consuming copious quantities of Rangemore Estate Fortified Shiraz,one heck of a good drop.

What a great place this is.

Can’t thank Dave enough for his hospitality great food and wines.

Next morning saw us packing up and deciding as a group that a daily departure time of between 8:30 and 9:00 am was acceptable to all for the rest of our journey.

Surat was our objective this day, it was the longest planned day of travel apart from Rosehill to Lightning Ridge at about 285 kilometres

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Lunch stop on the way was at Glenmorgan. A great little town with a great car museum that was enjoyed by all.

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Arriving at Surat Fish stocking club free camp we decided to drive under the bridge and camp by the river.

A lovely spot but the ground was covered in prickles. At least these jobbies were not as bad as the ones at Rangemore. (The Rangemore spikes could have been use by the police as stingers to stop offending vehicles)

Their were toilets, water and a toilet dump at this spot. Fantastic place.

We stayed two nights at Surat and enjoyed the the towns hospitality and sites.

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A great lunch was taken at the Pub before a walk around the town.

The Museum is a must see,it was fantastic with a giant aquarium with samples of the native fish found in the Balonne River and display of old memorabilia including an operational replica Cobb and Co coach.

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The kayaks were launched into the river, in spite of being told there were no fish being caught.

Judy and Greg had purchased an inflatable two person kayak, which provided a degree of entertainment for all during the inaugural inflation ceremony.

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Much good advice was forthcoming. It was a great piece of kit and performed very well with Judy in the front providing most of the motive force while Greg relaxed in the stern :-).

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It was great just to paddle down to the weir and see the wild life along the banks. Birds and lizards everywhere. We all loved the experience.

After two relaxing nights and much healthy intake of fruit (fermented of course) we headed for Mitchell our first Spa experience.

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