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My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
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    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
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    "The MV Malabar has an identical sistership in Port Moresby Harbour called MV Macdhui"
    2023 Hot Artesian Baths Trip - Part 2
    biClick here for the first part of this trip.

    Day 11 - Tuesday 30 May 2023 - Mungindi to Nindigully

    Weather: Fine, 4.0ÂșC minimum

    A lot warmer last night compared to the past week. I wake at 6:00 am and read the SMH from 6:45 am. I get up at 7:30 am and it is 8.5ÂșC already. After breakfast and packing up, I move to the toilet area. We leave at 9:15 am when it is 11ÂșC.

    We head back into town before taking the Caloona Boomi Road towards Boomi. We arrive there at the Boomi Artesian Baths at 10:08 am, 70 km. There are lots of bad sections on this road, mostly flood damage. It is 16ÂșC when we go into the baths, $5 concession but I think that it was not meant for Seniors, but Pension Card Holders. The water is 37ÂșC in the smallish bath. There is also a 25 metre pool which is not heated.

    MungindiMungindi
    The Boomi Artsian BathsThe Pioneer Hotel in Boomi

    After the spa, I have morning tea and we head off at 11:15 am. We head north to North Talwood on Boonangar Road. There is a nice hotel here that I would have liked to visit, but we have plans for a couple later today. Just after leaving town, we take Mungindi Street which goes back to Mungindi on the Queensland side of the Barwon River. This is a very good road.

    We go down this road for 41 km and then turn onto South Daymar Road which is dirt. It is a pretty good road and after 23 km we come to the Daymar Thallon Road. Here we turn left and at 12:47 pm we arrive at Thallon, 180 km travelled today. It is a nice 22ÂșC and we have lunch in the park opposite the Thallon Francis Hotel.

    ThallonThallon
    The hairy nose wombat climbing sculpture in the rest areaThe old Thallon Railway Station

    After lunch we do a walk to the silo art viewing area (the reason for our roundabout route today). There is a free camping area near here which appears to be undergoing some major upgrades. We are actually following a sculpture trail. There is also a giant hairy-nosed wombat sculpture in the park. We are back at the cars at 1:50 pm.

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    One of the sculptures The Thallon Silos Art
    ThallonThallon
    Showing the railway importance to the townAboriginal canoe

    The publican of the Francis Hotel is outside and tells us about some more murals on the old railway bridge across the Moonie River. We drive down there and park. There are a series of five artworks on the concrete pylons of the bridge. The much older timber bridge is next to it too.

    ThallonThallon
    The very old timber railway bridgeTwo of the murals on the columns of the newer railway bridge

    We go back to the hotel and have a beer, the least we can do considering the publican's assistance to us. We have a schooner. Next time I am going to stay in the free camping area and visit the hotel for a few at night. The publican is new to the pub, only two years. He is hilarious. His dog jumps up onto the bar without assistance! We leave at 2:32 pm and head up the Carnarvon Highway.

    ThallonThallon
    The Thallon Francis HotelHaving a beer, Sharon, Ian and I and the publican and his dog

    We arrive at Nindigully at 3:00 pm. The only thing here is the Nindigully Hotel and a free camping area. The area is huge, all the land between the hotel and a waterhole. We drive around and find a nice spot at the northern end. We setup camp and I have a cuppa. I then fly my drone.

    Nindigully
    A photograph from my drone looking north, the Nindigully Hotel right and our campsite far left
    Nindigully
    Another drone photograph, this time looking south-east. We are camped on the left

    At 4:10 pm we walk along the waterhole to the other end. It is only 1.3 km for the return walk. There is some nice birdlife too.

    NindigullyNindigully
    The waterhole at NindigullyThe Nindigully Hotel

    I finish the SMH and at 5:30 pm we walk the very short distance to the hotel. A XXXX Bitter is a very rich $8.50 but the food is not badly priced. I get a meat lovers pizza which is huge, $29. I only eat half of it and take the rest back after for lunch in the coming days. We are back at the cars at 7:30 pm. It is a very early night to bed, 7:45 pm! I am asleep by 8:30 pm. It is only 8ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 22ÂșC Arrived: Nindigully Time: 3:00 pm Distance: 217 kilometres

    Day 12 - Wednesday 31 May 2023 - Nindigully to Hebel

    Weather: Fine, 3.3ÂșC minimum

    I sleep really well again, what is it about camping and sleeping compared to sleeping at home? I have no idea. It was a warmer night for most of the time and I got hot and had to take off my t-shirt and tracksuit pants. it got cooler near dawn and when I get up at 7:30 am it is still only 4.8ÂșC. I have breakfast and then pack up. We leave at 9:32 am, it is now 16ÂșC.

    We are heading to St George and we arrive there at 10:05 am, it is only 46 kilometres. We go straight to the aquatic centre as we are visiting another artesian bath. The cost is $8, no concessions. The water was not as hot as most baths, only 33-34ÂșC. However, it is still nice. It is a very nice setup. After the spa we have showers and then a cuppa.

    St GeorgeDirranbandi
    The St George Artesian BathsAn eagle sculpture at Dirranbandi

    We leave at 11:03 and head up the main street. We need to go to the supermarket, there are two to pick from, IGA and Foodworks. I need yoghurt and bread, but there is no fresh bread yet in either. I get bread from the bakery as well as a very nice sausage roll. I also go to a couple of clothing stores as I want to buy a couple more short-sleeved shirts like those I got two years ago. However, they have very few, but many long-sleeved ones.

    We the go to the fuel station where I take 75.04 litres at $1.859 (it is 14 cents less than the other stations in town). I have averaged 13.5 l/100 km. We leave town at 11:42 am and just outside we turn right onto the St George Dirranbandi Road. This later becomes the Castlereagh Highway. We stop at Noondoo Rest Area at 12:35 pm. This is a very nice spot but the toilet stinks, it is almost full. I have left-over pizza from last night.

    St GeorgeDirranbandi
    The Dirranbandi HotelSharon, Ian and I having a beer in the Dirran Hotel

    We head off at 1:00 pm and at 1:15 pm we arrive in Dirranbandi. There is a nice park here, so we could have had lunch here too (also a nice bakery apparently). We have a look around at some artworks and then go to the pub for a beer. Once more, I have a XXXX Bitter, I cannot believe that on this trip there are plenty of places selling it, I cannot remember seeing many on previous trips in Queensland.

    We leave town at 2:00 pm and a few kilometres out of town I see three kangaroos bounding along heading towards the road a few hundred metres ahead of me. Another hundred metres on is a huge road train coming towards me. The first kangaroo crosses the road about 30 metres in front of the truck, the second about five metres in front but the last one hits the righthand wheel and is run over by all of the 16 or so wheels. When I get to it, it is totally flat. Although I have it on my dashcam, I decide I do not need to watch it again.

    HebelHebel
    Our campsite at HebelThe Hebel Store

    At 2:45 pm we arrive in Hebel which is four kilometres from the New South Wales border. There are free camping areas behind the hotel and also behind the general store. The area behind the hotel is much smaller now as they have put six new cabins there. Okay for campervans, but a bit cramped for caravans. We setup behind the store. There are free showers and toilets here. I later learn that the Hebel Store used to be owned by a bloke called Owen Davies who walked from Camooweal to Birdsville with his dingo Beau and some goats (in 2011 and 2012) and in 2012 and 2013 through the Victorian High Country. This is where we met him. Click here to read.

    HebelHebel
    A Coob & Co coach at the Hebel HotelThe Hebel Hotel, has not changed much from the photo at left
    HebelHebel
    Interesting signs on the mens and womens toilet doorsSome emus at Hebel

    Once set up, I go for a walk. It is not a big town, I go to the pub and have a look since we are planning to watch the first State of Origin match tonight between NSW and Queensland. I also go to the small park where there are some information panels. I head back and have a cuppa and then fly my drone.

    Hebel
    A photo of Hebel from my drone of the Hebel Hotel. Note the new accommodation at the back and smaller camping area now

    Later we have nibblies and a cuppa and then dinner, curry beef and rice. At 7:25 pm we go to the hotel. What we did not realise till we got there was that they had a free sausage sizzle as well as half price beers till the first try is scored. The first beers are $3.50 a schooner! The hotel is packed with locals, workers on the properties (mostly there for three or four months for the cotton harvest) and some tourists. There are also people from Goodooga (in NSW) and Dirranbandi.

    Hebel
    Another photo of Hebel, the hotel at right and the main camping area is obvious. The road to Goodooga is straight ahead, the one to Dirranbandi at bottom and off to the left.

    They have three TVs instead of the normal one. I end up speaking to some locals, one turns out to be Frank, the publican. He owns a cotton farm and 18 months ago he purchased the hotel when the previous one had to sell out because of personal problems. These blokes are so funny, especially Frank. I end up with a bruise on my arm as every time he makes a point (or Queensland scores), he raps my upper arm.

    The two girls behind the bar, backpackers from Germany and Ireland, are flat out the whole night. They are two of the best barmaids I have seen. I end up giving them a good tip at the end. Most here are Queenslanders, but there are a few Aboriginals from Goodooga who obviously support the Blues. They have come here as the hotel and club down there have both closed down. There is also a fire outside, at half time I spend some time out there.

    HebelHebel
    A photograph of the Hebel Hotel at nightMyself, Sharon and Ian inside the Hebel Hotel. Frank the publican has his back to us.

    The match is very mixed, with both teams in front at times. However, as usual, Queensland wins. After the game, everyone got a free drink from Frank to celebrate the win. It is a fantastic night, I have not laughed so much for many years. I am back in bed at 11:25 pm. It is quite warm.

    Weather: Fine, max 23ÂșC Arrived: Hebel Time: 2:45 pm Distance: 215 kilometres

    Day 13 - Thursday 1 June 2023 - Hebel to Goodooga

    Weather: High overcast, 5.0ÂșC minimum

    I wake at 7:10 am, missing the news. My phone is flat as I did not plug it in properly when I got home. I get up at 7:30 am and make a bacon sandwich. I cannot pick up any radio here, either AM or FM, so I cannot hear the news. We leave at 9:30 am and it is now 15ÂșC. It is only 40 kilometres to Goodooga on the Castlereagh Highway and we arrive there at 10:05 am.

    GoodoogaGoodooga
    Our campsite at Goodooga Artesian BathsThe Goodooga Hot Artesian Baths

    There are plenty of vehicles here, but also a lot of room. We go right down the far end of the Goodooga Artesian Spa and setup camp. We later discover there are lots of burrs, we should have looked at a different spot. I have a cuppa and then fly my drone, best to do it early as if the wind picks up I cannot do it.

    Goodooga
    A photograph from my drone of Goodooga and the baths

    At 11:10 am we go to the spa and find it is a very warm 40ÂșC in the water. We can only spend about 10 minutes at a time in there before getting out to cool down for a bit. After, I have a cold shower to totally cool down. We are back at the campers at 11:50 am.

    Goodooga
    Another photograph from my drone of the baths and camping area. We are left of the water tower.

    I read the paper and then have lunch. It is quite warm, perhaps 24ÂșC. At 1:35 pm I walk to town. I confirm the pub is closed and then past the bowling club, also closed. I get back to the camping area then then walk east for a bit before returning. I walk 3.9 kilometres and am back at 2:40 pm. Ten minutes later I go to the spa again.

    GoodoogaGoodooga
    Goodooga Hotel in 2010Goodooga Hotel in 2023, closed

    I get back at 3:40 pm and discover that my fridge is off. Somehow the battery setting on the fridge is now at medium. It has to be at low as even with lots of voltage, it shuts it down. I have a can of Coke to cool down as I am still hot from the spa. Sharon starts the fire at 4:00 pm as we are having roast dinners tonight. At 4:30 pm we have drinks and nibblies.

    GoodoogaGoodooga
    I think this tyre has seen better daysA wind vane
    GoodoogaGoodooga
    Goodooga Post OfficeI think this was a petrol station/mechanics

    At 5:00 pm we put Sharon's chicken on and then 15 minutes later my lamb and all the vegetables. It is all cooked at 6:30 pm, excellent! Later I heat three small apple pies I purchased in Moree. We have with ice cream. We go to the spa again at 8:15 pm and are back at 8:50 pm. It is still warm, 12ÂșC. I go to bed at 9:35 pm.

    Weather: Fine, max 24ÂșC Arrived: Hebel Time: 10:05 am Distance: 40 kilometres

    Day 14 - Friday 2 June 2023 - Goodooga to Lightning Ridge

    Weather: Fine, 6.0ÂșC minimum

    Once again I have not needed to use the diesel heater, either going to bed or getting up. I have slept very well and am awake at 6:30 am. I read my Kindle and then the SMH, I get up at 7:40 am. I have breakfast and then at 9:15 am I go to the spa.

    After this I pack up and then have a cuppa. There is no point leaving early as we cannot book into the caravan park at Lightning Ridge till noon. I read the rest of the newspaper. I also discover that rain is forecast for Sunday afternoon till Monday night. We leave at 11:00 am, it is a nice 24ÂșC.

    Lightning RidgeLightning Ridge
    One of the mines at Lightning RidgeThe Can House on the Lightning Ridge

    Once again we are on the Castlereagh Highway. We arrive at Lightning Ridge at noon. There is a bit of a queue to get in the Big 4 Opal Caravan Park but we are inside and on our sites by 12:10 pm. I put a load of washing on and then setup and have lunch. The washing is finished at 1:10 pm so I put it on the line.

    I read for a while and at 2:00 pm I head off on a couple of the "Car Door" tours. I have previously done a few, so I am doing the rest. You can download the directions off the web and follow them to some strange and interesting sights. I do the Yellow and Green tours.

    Lightning RidgeLightning Ridge
    A close up of the can HouseInside the Can House

    On the Yellow one there are some very, very expensive underground tours. I cannot see the value at all in doing either of them. There is also an abandoned site that is supposed to be some sort of museum, but all that is there is a hole in the ground. It was supposed to be built by now according to the signage.

    The Green tour is more interesting. There is a nice lookout at the end of the Green one and nearby there is a strange house built out of beer cans. It is abandoned and you can enter it and have a look. Quite a good recycling effort really. It is a short drive back to the caravan park.

    Lightning Ridge
    A panoramic photograph of the view from teh lookout at the end of the Green Car Door Tour

    I am back at 3:18 pm. I have a cuppa and then walk to the artesian baths which are not too far away. It is a nice 39ÂșC. At 4:30 pm we go to a free comedy show in the Willy Pavillion in the caravan park. This stars Mel and Susie. We have a beer and some nibblies while watching them. It is quite entertaining, some songs and a lot of jokes. After they pass the hat around but we have no money to put in.

    Lightning RidgeLightning Ridge
    A stone circle at the lookoutSusie and Mel during part of their show

    We are back at our campers at 5:50 pm. We have another beer and at 6:30 pm I cook chicken Kyiv balls and chicken rice for dinner. After dinner, Ian has some cornetto ice creams which he gives out. We watch the NRL on Ian's TV. I go to bed at 10:00 pm.

    Weather: Fine, max 24ÂșC Arrived: Lightning Ridge Time: 12:10 pm Distance: 76 kilometres plus 25 local

    Day 15 - Saturday 3 June 2023 - Lightning Ridge

    Weather: Fine, 10.2ÂșC minimum

    An even warmer night and I wake at 6:30 am. I get up at 7:45 am when it is 12ÂșC but there is a cool easterly wind. I have breakfast, read the paper and at 9:30 am we go to the artesian baths. We are back at 10:00 am and I have a cuppa and read.

    I then get the car ready by removing some things from the back seat so Sharon can sit there as we are going for a drive to the Grawin Opal Fields. We leave at 10:55 am. At 11:50 am we arrive at the Club in the Scrub which has a small golf course and a bar/bistro. We only stop for a few minutes so Ian and Sharon can have a look (I was here in 2020). We leave five minutes later and at 12:10 pm we arrive at the Glengarry Hilton (hotel).

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    The Club in the ScrubThe Glengarry Hilton

    It is 67 kilometres to here. We have lunch here and a beer. I have pumpkin soup and roll for $10 and some chips for $4 which we share. My lunch comes quickly but Ian's order gets lost and he has to go and complain. My soup is nice.

    We leave at 1:13 pm. I have put the return into Google Maps as I want to go back a certain way. However, it takes me a very stupid direction. I try to get back on track by taking a side track but it comes to an end. It is also very narrow and I scratch the side of the Cruiser on some vegetation. I head back to the better track and then take another track. This leads via another track back to where I want to end up, but I miss the Shipyard Inn.

    Lightning RidgeLightning Ridge
    Me with Sharon and Ian at the Glengarry HiltonThe Shipyard Inn War Memorial

    We stop at the war memorial for a few minutes before continuing. We get back to the caravan park at 2:35 pm. It is a warm 26ÂșC now. I have afternoon tea and then we go to the baths again. After this a shower and at 4:55 pm we walk to the bowling club. It takes 25 minutes.

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    These faces are on the telegraph poles between the caravan park and the artesian bathsA mural inside the bowling club

    We are having dinner here and also watch two matches of NRL. The first one is on at 5:30 pm which is South Sydney versus Gold Coast. Souths win. For dinner I have a half kilogram of chicken winglets, very nice. We then watch Cronulla play Brisbane, but Ian's team Cronulla loses. I walk back but Ian and Sharon take the courtesy bus. I am back at 9:55 pm. A good night, at least for me.

    Weather: Fine, max 26ÂșC Arrived: Lightning Ridge Time: 2:35 pm Distance: 87 kilometres

    Day 16 - Sunday 4 June 2023 - Lightning Ridge to Burren Junction

    Weather: High cloud, 12.1ÂșC minimum

    Another warm night. I am awake as usual at 6:30 am and get up at 7:30 am. I have pizza for breakfast and then pack up. We leave and drive to the IGA supermarket in town. We leave here at 9:20 am. We stop at a small village called Cryon for morning tea at 10:46 am. There are no rest areas at all along the way and nothing here really. It is now 22ÂșC and sunny.

    CryonCryon
    Stoppped at CryonThe train track at Cryon

    We leave here at 11:07 am and arrive at the Burren Junction Artesian Baths at 11:40 am. There are two sections to the camping area here. We check out both and decide that the back one is better. It also has some trees to give a little protection from the southerly wind that is blowing.

    Burren JunctionBurren Junction
    Our campsite at Burren JunctionThe Burren Junction Artesian Baths

    We setup camp and then go to the baths, only 50 metres away. The baths have a bit of algae growing on the bottom, but it is safe. The water is 37-38ÂșC. At 12:45 pm we are back and I have lunch, lamb sandwich. I listen to the NRL on the ABC and read the paper. At 2:00 pm Ian and I go in his car to the Junction City Hotel where we have one beer ($7).

    Burren JunctionBurren Junction
    The Junction City Hotel at Burren JunctionMe and Ian having a beer in the pub
    Burren JunctionBurren Junction
    Drone photo of Burren Junction Baths showing both camping areasA drone shot of the Burren Junction Artesian Baths

    We are back at 2:50 pm and have another spa soon after. We stay in there a little over 35 minutes. I have afternoon tea and fly my drone as the wind has dropped a little. It is now high overcast. We watch the NRL and then have drinks. Later I have chicken pops (spicy chicken balls) with rice. We watch more NRL and at 8:15 pm go to the baths again.

    We are back at 8:40 pm as it starts to rain but it soon stops. Remember, the forecast from a few days ago is for rain tonight and tomorrow. I go to bed at 9:05 pm. It is still a warm 20ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 23ÂșC Arrived: Burren Junction Time: 11:40 am Distance: 165 kilometres

    Day 17 - Monday 5 June 2023 - Burren Junction to Pilliga

    Weather: High overcast, 15.3ÂșC minimum

    The artesian water must really be very good for me, I again sleep well. I wake at 5:30 am when it rains a little. I wake at the normal time and read the SMH and listen to the ABC news. I get up at 7:30 am and there is a cool southerly wind blowing. After breakfast I pack up and at 9:00 we go to the baths.

    We leave at 9:20 am and drive to the fuel outlet next to the pub. This is like that in a few towns. There are large above ground tanks and you swipe your credit card, nominate a maximum amount and then fill your car. Once you finish, the money is debited to the card. Works well. The fuel here is also heaps cheaper than other places we are going to in coming days and means I can make it all the way home without refuelling again.

    PilligaPilliga
    Our campsite at Pilliga BathsThe actual Pilliga Baths

    We depart town at 9:40 am and at 9:55 am we stop to collect some firewood. We are back on the road by 10:02 am. We arrive at the Pilliga Artesian Baths at 10:24 am. It is now sunny and the wind has dropped a lot. We setup camp just inside the huge camping area near the baths. I am finished by 10:45 am. There are quite a few people camped here and more will come in during the day.

    After morning tea, we go to the baths. These are a cooler 36ÂșC but nice. Then I read some more and have lunch at 12:40 pm. At 1:00 pm we do the Wetland Walk which follows the creek to the other end of town. There are some birdlife and we see a reasonable sized tortoise. We walk back along the road, getting back at 2:00 pm. We walked 4.3 kilometres.

    PilligaPilliga
    A car chassis on the walkThis tortoise was heading towards the creek
    PilligaPilliga
    A steam engine on the main roadAn old shed with an anti-gas mining sign

    After a cuppa we go to the baths again at 2:30 pm and stay there 45 minutes. Some people have come in a park really close to Ian as their friends are on the other side. Very rude! Ian makes it known that he is not happy so they move. If the people had told us when we arrived that they had more friends coming, we could have setup camp a lot further away from them and all would have been good. We think they were some sort of religious group or perhaps AA, as no-one drank at all.

    More tea and reading. At 4:25 pm the fire is on and we have drinks and nibblies. I cook a sirloin steak and some sausages on Ian's grill over the fire. Sharon makes some potatoes in foil on the fire coals. We have another cornetto ice cream for dessert. Ian and I go to the baths again at 8:00 pm and we are back 25 minutes later. I go to bed at 9:35 pm and it is still 19ÂșC and cloudy.

    Weather: Fine, max 20ÂșC Arrived: Pilliga Time: 10:24 am Distance: 43 kilometres

    Day 18 - Tuesday 6 June 2023 - Pilliga to Coolah

    Weather: Overcast, 12.1ÂșC minimum

    The fourth very warm night in a row. It rained at 4:30 am for less than 10 minutes but not very heavy. I wake at 6:20 am and read my Kindle and then the newspaper. I get up at 7:10 am as Ian and Sharon are leaving early. They are off to Brisbane as they have some warranty matters to be fixed relating to their car and caravan. They leave at 7:20 am.

    PilligaPilliga
    Pilliga Baths camping area, I am at the bottom middleLooking towards the town

    The wind has finally dropped so I fly my drone. I have breakfast and read the paper some more before packing up. At 9:00 am I walk the very short distance to the baths for one last soak for the trip. I leave at 9:40 am, it is 18ÂșC. I head south on Cypress Way towards Baradine. There is 30 kilometres of good dirt road and then tar. I arrive in Baradine at 10:35 am, 70 kilometres. It was sunny on the way but is overcast again and 19ÂșC.

    I have morning tea in a spot outside the council depot as I cannot find a proper rest area or park. I leave at 10:45 am and follow the Baradine Road to Coonabarabran. I do not stop here and a few kilometres out of town I take the Warrumbungles Way towards Coolah. A few days ago I revised my route again as rain is now forecast for Thursday and Friday and I want to get home without the canvas getting too wet.

    BinnawayBinnaway
    The main street of BinnawayThe Exchange Hotel at Binnaway

    At 11:45 am I arrive in Binnaway, 149 kilometres. There is a nice free camping area but the nicest looking hotel is closed. I go to the toilet and walk around the town. I also go to the supermarket and buy some milk and a fruitcake. The person who serves me tells me there is another hotel off the main road. I drive there and go inside the Exchange Hotel and have a beer.

    BinnawayCoolah
    Having a beer in the Exchange HotelMy campsite at Black Stump Rest Area, outside Coolah

    I leave at 12:25 pm and at 1:00 pm I arrive at the Black Stump Rest Area, 10 kilometres before Coolah township. This has a free camping area. I decide to stay here the night. There is a nice grassed area behind and to the right of the toilet block which is very clean. I have lunch and then setup camp. There are lots of cars driving past and many stop at the rest area.

    I fly the drone and have a cuppa. The sun is out and then gone, it gets cool at times. I get the fire ready and finish ready the SMH. Later Jamie from WA comes in a decides to stay the night. She is heading home after temporarily moving to the Sunshine Coast for three months. She is sleeping in her car. At 4:30 pm I start the fire and have a cuppa.

    CoolahCoolah
    Black Stump Rest Area looking towards CoolahA time lapse photograph of my campsite at Black Stump Rest Area

    At 5:00 pm I have a beer and invite Jamie over. She brings a wine and we sit chatting at the fire. Later I offer half the lamb curry and rice I have for dinner. We end up speaking till 8:30 pm when she goes to bed. I take some night photographs of my campsite, the first I have done this trip. While doing this I see either a glider or possum in the trees. It is a cold 7ÂșC. I put the diesel heater on and go to bed at 9:35 pm.

    Weather: Fine and overcast, max 19ÂșC Arrived: Coolah, Black Stump RA Time: 1:00 pm Distance: 190 kilometres

    Day 19 - Wednesday 7 June 2023 - Coolah to Jerrys Plains

    Weather: Fog/overcast, 3.8ÂșC minimum

    Much colder than all of the past week. I wake at 5:30 am and do not go back to sleep. I read the SMH from 6:30 am. There were a lot more cars than I thought there would be last night, but they basically stopped before I went to bed. This morning there are lots of cars and some trucks. I put the heater on at 7:10 am and get up at 7:30 am. Jamie has already left, I did not hear her go, I later find a note on my windscreen thanking me for dinner.

    I start reading the judgement on the failed defamation action by Ben Roberts-Smith, VC. Very damning of him and some others. Once I finish the SMH I read some more. I pack up and leave at 9:30 am, it is 13ÂșC. I arrive in Coolah at 9:40 am. I have been here twice before. I walk around and find a meat vending machine in the main street outside the closed butchery.

    CoolahCoolah
    The Coolah Valley HotelThe Coolah Post Office

    I leave 10 minutes later and at 10:23 am I stop at Cassilis Park Rest Area. This is huge and has good toilets and plenty of tables with shelter. You can camp on the tar area closer to the road or one some gravel behind the toilets. I leave at 10:36 am after having morning tea. I arrive in Merriwa at 11:12 am. There was a lot of fog on the way from Coolah.

    MerriwaMerriwa
    The Royal Hotel, Merriwa, we had lunch here back in 2011The old CBC Bank, Merriwa

    There are some interesting buildings, the Royal Hotel, CBC Bank and more. There is also some silo art as well. I leave at 11:30 am and it is now sunny but only 13ÂșC. At Denman at 12:12 pm I stop (I was here in January) and buy a pepper pie from the bakery, $6. It was very nice. I continue on at 12:20 pm.

    MerriwaMerriwa
    Some art on a building in MerriwaThe silos at Merriwa

    I travel via Martindale Road and Bureen Road instead of the Golden Highway. I arrive in Jerrys Plains at 12:52 pm. I go to the free camping area and setup. It is a fully grassed area with nice toilets. At 1:45 pm I go for a walk around the town, a nice church and then go to the cemetery. I am back at 2:30 pm.

    Jerrys Plains
    Drone photograph of the Jerrys Plains Camping Area

    I phone my cousin Debbie who lives at Lochinvar which is further down the Hunter Valley. She is not there but my cousin John answers. He and his partner are temporarily living there and says to come at 10:00 am when they will be there. I have a cuppa and read.

    Jerrys PlainsJerrys Plains
    A very sad headstone in the Jerrys Plains CemeteryThe Jerrys Plains Uniting Church

    At 3:45 pm I have a shower and at 4:05 pm I go to the Robin Hood Hotel for a beer. Well, that is my intention, but things change. The pub has cheap Tooheys New at $5 a schooner. There are lots of locals there and the publican (another new one, third of the trip) is very entertaining. I decide as it is nice and warm in the hotel and you are not supposed to have fires in the camping area (but the locals say it is not a problem), I will stay here and have dinner.

    Jerrys PlainsJerrys Plains
    The Jerrys Plains Tavern

    The locals leave and are replaced by miners and people from the nearby horse studs. I order home made rissoles and mash for $16. It is really good. I am back at camp by 7:20 pm and go to bed 10 minutes later. The World Test Championship final is on in London so I watch it on my phone for a while before sleeping.

    Weather: Overcast/Fine, max 17ÂșC Arrived: Jerrys Plains Time: 12:52 pm Distance: 186 kilometres

    Day 20 - Thursday 8 June 2023 - Jerrys Plains to Home

    Weather: Foggy, 3.1ÂșC minimum

    I am awake at 6:30 am and read the SMH and get up at 7:25 am. I put the heater on around 7:10 am and leave it on trying to dry the canvas as the fog has put a lot of moisture on the outside and there is condensation on the inside. I pull the bed apart and take all the linen, towels and some other stuff out and put in the car. I move the car later to put it in the sun.

    I have a bacon sandwich for breakfast and pack up. The canvas is mostly dry. I leave at 9:10 am. I head down the Golden Highway to the New England Highway and then the Hunter Expressway and back to the New England. I arrive at 9:58 am and soon after Debbie arrives from her hair dressing appointment.

    We have morning tea and catch up on things. We have not seen each other since their Dad (my Dad's brother) died before Covid. I leave at 11:00 am and at 1:12 pm I arrive at my ex-wife's place at Collaroy Heights. I have to collect our dog Veto. I am home at 2:55 pm. It has rained the last hour or more.

    Tomorrow I open up the camper and dry the canvas, this does not take long.

    Weather: Overcast/rain, max 18ÂșC Arrived: Home Time: 2:55 pm Distance: 290 kilometres

    SUMMARY:

    Another great short holiday. You could easily spend a lot more time doing a variation on this trip.

  • Kilometres: 3,340
  • Fuel: 442 litres
  • Cost: $800
  • Average: 13.2 litres/100 kilometres
  • Camping: About $244
  • Food and drink: Similar to home
  • Total extra cost: $1044
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