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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