After catching up with a fellow traveller in Newcastle overnight, I headed down to near the Hawkesbury River to spend a week “off the road” over Christmas and then returned to Newcastle to meet up with my friend from Queensland and we did the trip to Narrabri together.
My original plan was to spend some time on the Central Coast before going over the Blue Mountains to Bathurst but with Covid19 being a moving feast in Sydney I decided to head up the Hunter Valley instead.
Coming out of Newcastle we called into Braxton but found the town closed except for one shop. Right through the Hunter Valley we found most shops had the “closed” sign up between Christmas and New Year. I know everyone needs a break, especially those in the hospitality industry but when so many tourists are about I just wonder on the timing.
See Bucket List #44 for the section from Muswellbrook to Scone.
After leaving Scone we stopped at Burning Mountain and walked up to the top. Burning Mountain is an old coal seam that has been burming for probably thousands of years. The mountain is not “on fire” as such but you can see the haze just above the ground from the viewing platform at the top. It is a steep climb up in parts but very doable with a number of bench seats placed strategically along the path. Well worth a 2 hour stop.
There a number of small villages and towns as you get right up into the Upper Hunter. Murrurundi was a lovely town with a surprisingly long shopping precinct. Although of course a number of empty shops, the town has been kept neat and tidy and most buildings appear to be in very good condition.
Stayed overnight at an old schoolmates place in Willow Tree, before heading up to Qurindi, Werris Creek and then to Tamworth and then across to Gunnedah.
At Werris Creek we stopped to check out the Railway Station which still operates today. It was once home to over 700 workers as a major train interchange. It is now a bit of a train graveyard. Unfortunately the Railway Museum was not open.
Tamworth was one of the towns I worked at and so did a walk around the CBD. It is such a large place but again many empty shops. It was too crowded for me and we found a roadside stop between there and Gunnedah to overnight. After catching up with my friends relatives in Gunnedah, we headed to Narrabri. Because it looked like Queensland would close it’s border to New South Wales any day, we decided to “hang around” Narrabri in case a quick trip to Goondawindi was necessary. We stopped at a campsite about 20km out of Narrabri and a fellow traveller offered to take my friend back to Brisbane with him. I stayed a few more days before heading off to see The Australian Telescope on the way to Wee Waa.
The CSIRO Paul Wild Observatory is free to visit and open every day. There are a total of 6 radio telescopes mounted on railway tracks, 5 of which can be moved to point to different positions. I am not a science buff (I hated science at school) but I found the information here most interesting. There is a building there which you can access that gives a lot of information about the place. Well worth a trip there, especially if you have children.