What to expect on your road Trip – Brisbane to Oberon NSW (Bathurst)

When reside in, or visit Australia, road tripping is mandatory. It can be a mere hour, or days from point A to point B. With 6 States, all differing in what they have to offer, this huge continent filled with everything from red dirt and desert, to rain forests and snow, has so much to offer, more of which you will see when you road trip.

We started our trip in Brisbane, heading through the Great Dividing Range to our first stop Stanthorpe. Even this sector has a myriad of landscape changes. Red dirt proudly dominating cliff faces through Cunningham’s Gap, whilst rich newly turned soil amongst green pasture, leads to a long flat vista, ending in a mere handful of hills.Road tripping requires frequent breaks. Our trip had been split into roughly 2 hour driving sectors with a stop at iconic Australian towns along the way.

After leaving the horticultural area of Stanthorpe, we headed over the border into NSW. I didn’t take any photos, but simply have to note, Tenterfield is an incredibly pretty area. With tree lined main road, and gorgeous buildings, it really is very appealing to the eye. Our goal for stopping tonight was in Tamworth. Prior to this though, we had a couple of breaks along the way.

Next stop, Glenn Innes. A township and surrounding area, originally owned by the Ngarabal people, marking the intersecting New England and Gwydir Highways. Glenn Innes has a population at last census, of around 6 000, with some beautiful heritage styled buildings throughout the township. Watch out along the roads you travel, just never know what might be around the next corner!120kms after Glenn Innes, we stopped briefly in the township of Uralla. The local Anaiwan people’s dialect was where the European Settlers derived the name for the town. Meaning Meeting Place, Uralla is located at the meeting of the New England highway and the historic Thunderbolt Way.

Captain Thunderbolt (aka Frederick Wordsworth Ward), was the last of the NSW bushrangers , who during the 1860’s, ruled the highways and byways of this New England high country and surrounding areas. Again, the history behind this area is fascinating, much to learn!

Our final stop for the first night was Tamworth. And yes, I wasnt visiting here without stopping at the iconic Golden Guitar!Our overnight stay at the Golf Links Motel, was clean and comfortable. Located a short stroll from the Golf Course, our band of weary travellers was pleased to head up to the Golf Clubs “The View” restaurant, where we enjoyed hearty meals, good service, and a relaxing drink.

Next morning, after a visit to the Golden Guitar, we left the sprawling city of Tamworth, an area seeped in country history, which is also the major regional centre of this New England area, and headed towards Scone. Here, the delightfully detailed Gabriel Sterk bronze mare and foal sculpture commemorating horses and their considerable contribution to history, graces local Elizabeth park. At an original cost of $65 000.00, the sculpture is now fixed to a 6 tonne foundation, after the first prototype was stolen. Wonnarua & Gamilaroi People were the first in this area, with Scone being named after Scone in Scotland, by Jason Kent Toth in 1831.

Landscapes had been ever changing on our road trip, and we had seen so much dry in the surrounding areas, but the worst part of the drought was sill to come.

Merriwa was out next brief stop. Fascinating to see this group practicing their moves on horse back. Not sure what they were training for, but, it certainly brightened an otherwise overcast, dull day. This charming little rural township, is located in the upper reaches of the Hunter Valley. The rural feel, is definitely fighting the history for dominance. Unfortunately the rest of our journey was still ahead. Next stop, Mudgee.

Now the true extent of the drought in the area, was laid bare. So much of this area was bare soil, too dry for grass to even grow. We were grateful to endure the wet conditions, knowing it was helping these farmers in need.

You could literally see the line between drought and rich viticulture/horticulture area. Not long after this we were surrounded by the lushness of Mudgee, sporting vineyards, orchards and looking prosperous.

Mudgee’s development has been into a wine growing region, and is also heavily dependant on the local mines. Many boutique wineries offer their chosen varietals to the interested wine taster. If only there had been time for a few visits! But, today was a quick stop for lunch before heading to our final stop Oberon.

And what better way to fill the belly than with a stop at Kelly’s Irish Pub for some homestyle hearty meals.

As you continue on the road to Oberon, Wallerawang boasts a huge reservoir, which is part of the local power station. Reasonably new on the Australian map, Wallerawang only came to be in the 1950’s when the power station was under construction. The Wiradjuri name for the town means “place near wood or water’.

A short 45 minutes from Wallerawang, and you arrive in Oberon. My previous article, covers Oberon, Bathurst 1000 and the surrounding area. I hope you’ve enjoyed this road trip as much as we did!

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Oberon, NSW

Oberon is a delightful area, a couple of hours West of Sydney, and close enough to Bathurst’s famous Mt Panorama, for the rev heads. Our group was fortunate enough to stay in Oberon, taking over a huge house, Frogspark, for the duration of the big Bathurst race. Location wise, it was superb!

At Frogspark, you could head off for the day, down the tree lined driveway, immerse yourself in the local area, including the delightful Mayfield Gardens or the local Saturday Farmers market, then drift back to the beautifully secluded property for some well earned R & R.

Sleeping up to about 16, Frogspark is well equipped to handle a large group, even providing a pool table and bar area downstairs. Add in the 3 bedrooms and full bathroom also downstairs, additional to the main house above, and you have an awesome space.

But its the wildlife that will keep on giving you that country feel. We had a kangaroo bouncing past the house, a fox at the end of nearby driveway, with visitors to the house including cats and birds.

There’s plenty of room in the house for everyone to spread out. The huge hewn timber dining room table makes for an awesome central hub for everyone. Comforts of home are provided here, including a wonderful welcome basket containing some treats, left for us from our hosts.

Drive the local country roads and explore the area. There’s a lot to see and do here, with Oberon making a very good base for your explorations. The township itself has everything you need for your stay. The local IGA caters for the grocery needs, a selection of shops including cafes, clothes, bakery etc, also line the Main Street.

We can highly recommend DJ’s cafe if you are looking for a tasty hearty meal, served quickly and efficiently. Great way to start the day! Scenic world, Jenolan Caves, Bathurst, all are within an easy 30-45 minute drive from this location. Next time you’re heading this way, consider Oberon as your central point, and definitely check if Frogspark is available!

Jenolan Caves, NSW

Picturesque, depicting a bygone era, Jenolan Caves House is one of Australia’s historic relics. Maintenance plus considerable changes over past years, has kept this interesting building retaining its grandeur from the early days as well as remaining modernly functional. Originally designed and built n 1897, this “wilderness” resort was designed with high society Sydney siders in mind. They would travel out here for rest, relaxation and to rub shoulders with the elite of their era.

This building replaced the privately owned small original accommodation which was ravaged by fire. Unfortunately the owner at the time, Jeremiah Wilson, could not afford to replace, which resulted in the NSW government resuming the land, employing English architect Walter Vernon to design and construct a wilderness retreat for the elite.

Ceiling heights within are huge, chandeliers and antique lighting still hang in some places, stairs take you to many nooks and crannies, with lounges dotted closely around the building. Between our room and the lift, there were two original decor lounges. You can visualise socialites in their finery, stopping to rest and converse in these lounges. Maybe discussing the events of the day, perhaps forming ideas on the expected progression of the state of NSW or Australia itself.To cater for the financially elite of society, The Caves House featured a grand dining room, billiards and a coffee room. Built using limestone from the nearby caves complex, the first stage of this building cost the NSW government at the time 30 000 pounds. Today this would equate in excess of 4 million dollars.

Located in a gully, close to to the Grand Archway of the main caves complex, the hills behind rise up to around 1700ft above the buildings.

The caves complex is an incredible mix of limestone caves, formed centuries ago. Aborigines found the caves, prior to the Europeans who first discovered the area in 1838. The entrance on each side of the caves complex is impressively huge. There are a number of different caves within. Some require higher levels of fitness, whilst others may only have a moderate few hundred steps included in the tour.

We chose the Imperial Cave tour on this day. One of the options of this tour is an additional 66 steps down and then back up again. I should probably mention these steps for the main part are steep and narrow. But, to do so, is well worth while. Check out the incredibly clear water flowing through the bottom of the cave.You can drink this water, there are taps around the shop and complex where you can fill our water bottle with this clear, natural H2O. Guides on the tours are informative, have a sense of humour and are ready to reply to any question you may have.

Natural rock formations are incredible. They change throughout every cave.

Should you be visiting the Blue Mountains of NSW, you need to include a nights stopover here and give yourself time to immerse your soul in the grandeur as well as the incredible wow factor of the area. Don’t forget to enjoy a pre dinner drink in the bar, as well as dinner in the grand dining room. It’s all part of the experience and very worthwhile.

If you haven’t yet visited, I highly recommend you do so. It can be incredible what experiences nature has provided on our own door step, don’t ignore it.

More photos are displayed on facebook/dinelivetravel, instagram/dinelivetravel as well as other platforms. Enjoy your caves experience, it is quite soul reviving.

Bathurst – Supercheap auto 1000

The air is filled with the smell of high octane fuel, the roar of high powered V8’s fills the air. Such an assault on your senses fills you with the thrill of anticipation. The intensness of this race is increased with drivers mannipulating their powerful sleek machines, at incredible speeds, around this most challenging Motorsport track, Mt Panorama.

Every year Motorsport fans flock to the mecca of Supercar racing. All with one aim in mind, to support their chosen driver or team and have them crowned, King of the Mountain. Hold over 4 days, there is so much to see and do, you will wear yourself out with excitement. Shootouts for grid placements, all different types of races, eventually culminating on the Sunday with the gruelling 1000km race.

Campers fill the camping spots, some have family traditions of attending every year. Others decorate their camping site with signs, banners or anything they can find.

We were lucky to secure a house for our group a mere half hour from the track. Bathurst Tickets for our group included the paddock pass. If you’re a fan, be sure to make the trip worthwhile and add on the paddock pass. You never know who you will rub shoulders with!Bring in your own deck chairs and set up your camp for the day wherever suits. This year the return trip up to the top of the mountain on the continuous bus service was a mere $5. It’s worth it. You haven’t really been to the mountain unless you have been up the top. The atmosphere is surreal up here, staunch supporters have their own generators and TV’s to keep up with commentary.

The views from up here, back down the mountain, are phenomenal. Watching the race year in and out not the TV, does not do it justice. If you’re a fan, you need to schedule at least one trip to the mecca of Motorsport.So many view points to watch this epic race. Helicopters constantly circle, some TV crews, others give you a birds eye view of this incredible experience. In between the first and last two laps, you could score a trip in the chopper covering two laps for a fairly reasonable $90.00. Each lap covering a touch over 6km. Quite the experience. For me though, the top of the mountain was enough for the view.

Marvel at how the drivers handle those corners at such impressive speeds. Not only that their distances between each other are so close. They complete each lap in around 2.5 minutes. Pretty amazing when you see this track in real time.

Souvenirs, food, drinks, everything is available here. Sometimes those lines are long, but pick your moment and you can be served quickly. A little note here regarding the Red Rooster food van inside the Coopers Complex. The staff in here were amongst many at this venue, under the pump, yet held it together in noteworthy style. Well done to all the staff on the Bathurst site. Without your dedication to the cause this great event would come to a standstill.

Cleaners are constantly circulating the huge number of portable bathrooms, to ensure they remain at a reasonable standard of hygiene. Not sure what their schedule is, but these guys need a medal. Seriously, I saw some of the bathrooms they would have to deal with.

So many photos so many stories, yet this was the last year of Ford Falcons, the last year for Craig Lowndes driving as the main driver and possibly the last of the V8’s only. To witness Lowndes win this race was a truely heart pumping experience, no matter which team you follow. After 25 years, he deserved to go out as The King of the Mountain. Don’t forget the F18 who puts on the most impressive flying display, pre race. I was sooo lucky to be right place right time!

Would love to hear your feedback! Are you now keen to visit this Australian annual epic experience?

And for the record if you visit Mt Panorama during the off season, the speed limit is 60km. With around 40 residences on this mountain, I’m sure they dont want to have any of you chasing stars in your eyes and exceeding their speed limit and peace. Please respect that.

Scenic World – Blue Mountains NSW

The day may be dull, with fog and rain circulating through. But, nothing can dampen the sheer impressive beauty of this stunning scenery. No matter what the weather, take the time to stop in and explore the incredibly breathtaking scenes the Blue Mountain area has to offer.

At Scenic World, you can experience three heart stopping rides. The skyway has you suspended 270 metres above the ravine below. A glass bottom through the middle as well as the glass encased box gives you 360 degree WOW moment views.

Glide past the Katoomba Falls, check out the Three Sisters standing proudly near the cliffs edge.

Rides here are unlimited. Pay your entry fee then enjoy as any trips as you like on the worlds steepest railway, the cable car, or this suspended skyway.

Book tickets online or pay at the gate, around $43 per adult giving you that unlimited ride and experience.

Check out the angle of these seats on the worlds steepest railway! And yes thats the front of the seat pictured! Once seated on here, you are transported out over the edge of the cliff to roll down the rails into the enticing valley below.

Turn around and look at where you came from. That incline is unreal, and it is the steepest passenger train incline in this entire world. I’m not a heights or steep incline person, so for me, its a pretty big deal to do these things. In hindsight, I would have left this ride until last. Why? Just because the heights and steep slopes down are a big ask for me. I did feel if I had done both skyride and cable car, I would have dealt with the train much better, but, thats only my opinion.

Based on the recommendation of the entry staff, we took the railway down to the bottom of the gully, followed by the interesting and informative walk through to the forest to the cable car.

Not going to give away all the secrets here, as you really do need to experience this railway for yourself. Take some time here, go on the rides as many times as you like in the day. There is no limit and you don’t pay per ride. just scan your bar coded wrist bandThe area is seeping in history. As you make your way from train to worlds steepest cable car or vice versa, take a moment to check out all the historic features dotted along your walk.

Walk to the exquisite Katoomba Falls, its not too far from where the Skyway delivers you to the other side of the Jamison Valley. The incredible height of this flowing water will simply impress and amaze.

Just a brief touch on this incredibly breathtaking area of the world. Only because you need to go and experience this. The totally Jurassic feel of this forest and surrounds will have you checking out every corner for an approaching dinosaur. Enjoy!