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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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Our Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about our yacht, Catlypso and our Our Yachting Adventures:
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  • Our Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael and Kelly's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of our Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Current Kareela Weather
    A summary of the current weather conditions at our house at Kareela, Sydney, is below. Click here for more Detailed Diving Weather and Conditions. Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station


    Conditions at
    23:49 on 23/1/17

     
    Temperature 25.6°C
    Humidity 65.0%
    Barometer 1003.4hPa
    Rate -0.3hPa/hr
    Wind Speed: 0 km/hr
    Wind Direction S
    Rainfall for Today 0.0mm
    Rainfall last hour 0.0 mm
    Rainfall last 24 hours 0.0 mm
    Rainfall at Start of Month 814.6 mm
    Rainfall this Year 827.0 mm
    Today's Extremes
    High Temperature 31.2°C at 15:48
    Low Temperature 20.9°C at 6:27
    Peak Wind Gust 0km/hr at 0:00
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Kirrawee Weather Station
    Yesterday's Extremes
    High Temperature 27.5°C at 17:11
    Low Temperature 19.8°C at 6:29
    Rainfall at Start of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Rainfall at End of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station
    Astronomical Data
    Sunrise 5:06
    Sunset 19:05
    Moonrise 1:09
    Moonset 15:04

    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Lilli Pilli Baths has lots of White's sea horses on the net"
    Hill End Sofala Trip June Long Weekend 2005 by Kelly McFadyen
    Ray, Liz and Heinz were digging into a big hot breakfast at the truck stop past Lithgow by the time Michael and I arrived. It was raining, cold and grey outside with the prediction of rain, rain, and rain for the weekend.

    We were off on another Drought Breaking Trip to Sofala and Hill End via the Mt Horrible/Upper Turon Road and the Bridle Track.

    After a little kafuffle with my navigation skills we left Yetholme and made our way through Winburndale Nature Reserve to Mt Horrible. There are a number of pine plantations in the area with plenty of clear felling in progress. It was here that we stopped for morning tea, still raining.

    Down off the mountain we arrived at Palmers Oakey a popular area for gold panning in the late 1800s. The riverbeds were dry with mullock heaps and erosion prevalent. Once we reached the Upper Turon closer to Sofala the water started to flow again. Still raining.

    Sofala HotelA fence at Hill End
    The Sofala HotelA fence at Hill End

    Sofala, it's the oldest surviving gold mining town and it looks it; if the big bad wolf huffed and puffed he could possibly blow all the buildings down. We had a beer or two at the Royal Hotel and then visited the old jail. This is now operating as a Museum and Coffee Shop. There were plenty of interesting nick knacks to see and some yummy lollies.

    We stopped briefly to look at the Lucky Point Diversion Tunnel just north of Sofala. This was built to redirect the water around the point lowering the water level to give miners access to the river gravel around the bends where gold was often deposited. There wasn't much to see and it smelt badly from animal dung. Still raining.

    After spending the night camped next to the river we visited the Turon Technology Museum, a Museum of Steam. This is a few kilometres north of the town. The tour lasted two hours and if the owner had his way could have gone on and on and on indefinitely. In saying this the museum contained some very interesting and very old steam engines and well worth the visit.

    Hill End HotelTuron River Valley
    The Royal Hotel at Hill EndA view as you drop into the Turon River valley - a bit foggy on this day

    The next stop was Hill End. Many of the buildings no longer existed but plaques put in place told their story. In its heyday Hill End had 28 hotels, so it was only fitting that we stopped at the Royal the last remaining hotel for another beer or two. Surprisingly sunny, for a while.

    Time was getting away from us with the sun about to set, so we headed off along the Bridle Track where we were going to camp for the night. The passing traffic (many 2wds) was heavy and we often had to stop which was terrifying for me as the cliffs on the side of the road dropped away to the valley 5000 metres below.

    As expected many of the campsites along the river were full but we found a nice spot for our group at the Cave Hole Reserve. The chilly evening air got down to 6 degrees, but Ray's dessert cooked in the camp oven with cream and custard warmed us up.

    Turon River Camp SiteCornish Roasting Pits
    The Cave Hole Reserve Camping AreaKelly with Heinz Bendinger at the Cornish Roasting Pits

    By daybreak we made an executive decision to give the Bridle Track a miss and go home via Dixon's Long Plain and Ophir. The first stop was at the cemetery where headstones told tales of mining accidents, then on to Valentines Mine. The site looked more like a jail than a mine site, with a huge fence all around. We finally located the open mine shaft which seemed to be bottomless.

    Minor tracks around the back of the mine possibly lead to the Cornish Roasting Pits, but we chose to follow the main track instead. They used these Pits to roast the quartz to extract the gold. Unfortunately there was none left over for us.

    Crossing the Macquarie River we stopped on the riverbank for lunch. Hopping around were some Superb Blue Wrens and goats grazing on the surrounding slopes. Raining again.

    Arriving in Ophir it was pouring with rain so we only stopped for a loo break.

    Before we knew it we were back on the tar again heading for Bathurst. Just after Bathurst there was a car accident which slowed the traffic down considerably and from there to Lawson it was bumper to bumper. Michael and I decided to stop at the RSL's Chinese Restaurant for dinner in the hope that the traffic would pass (unfortunately our theory wasn't quite right).

    Yet another great weekend away!

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