Friday, September 21, 2012

Jackadgery - Lollback Rest Area

We crossed 'The Range' today on the Gwydir Highway. This is not a real challenge, other crossings e.g. on The Oxley Highway are far more challenging. The road surface is not too bad either for most of the 111 km from Glen Innis to Jackadgery (pronounced Jack-adj-er-ee), unlike the the very bumpy Bruxner Highway further north. There is a good caravan park on the west side of The Mann River Bridge but we crossed over and camped at The Lollback Rest Area on the east side, four other campers joined us there. The name of the RA is taken from the Surname of two German brothers who came to the area in 1853. The son of one of the brothers took up land in 1896, named it Mossgrove Homestead. The descendants of the original brothers remain on that land holding today. At the 'Happy Hour' (or two) we met Tony and Sue who take Christmas Holidays at Brunswick Heads each year and know our friends Bruce and Julie from Hervey Bay very well. Isn't this a very small world.

Looking westwards over The Mann River valley from Lollback RA with the Gwydir Highway Bridge to the right of frame.

Lollback is not a vast area but we had 4 other camps in with us for the night.

The shelter is OK for a kitchen area but also contains historical material posted on the walls.

Glen Innis - Celtic Country

Soon after we left Swan Brook we found ourselves at Glen Innis. It was only a 32 km drive. We found ample parking for big rigs behind the Tourist Information Centre and went for a stroll around the CBD. On one side of the main street it was quite sunny but the other side, well, it felt 10 deg cooler in the shade. We came across an elderly local who was on for a chat at a sunny street corner, we learned much about the City from him. He seemed proud of the fact that Glen Innis was colder than Tenterfield. One gets hungry while walking so we headed 5 km south on the New England Hwy to Balancing Rocks Rest Area. We had lunch there but decided camping was too close to the hwy with many noisy trucks passing. On the move again we travelled 9 km north of G.I., still on the New England Hwy to Heritage Park Rest Area. This is a large grassed area well off the hwy and beside Beardy Creek. Some areas were extremely wet and boggy after the storm but any of the high areas were fine. So that was our day and ready for the night with four other campers. Following a very cold night we drove back into Glen Innis and visited The Australian Standing Stones. These form an immense solar calendar, rather like Stonehenge.

The sign to look for to find The Tourist Information Centre.

The Tourist Information Centre also doubles as a bus terminal. At the rear of the building is a very large parking area suitable for large caravans.

The CBD area is mostly contained along one main street. It was about 14 deg on the sunny side but felt considerably cooler on the shaded side.

Balancing Rock Rest Area is a large area beside the New England Hwy 5 km south of G.I. We had lunch here but the Rest Area was too close to the traffic noise. They are pretty big on slabs of basalt around these parts.

Another basalt arch at the entrance to Heritage Park Rest Area 9 km north of G.I. I didn't have thigh high rubber boots so couldn't get the correct angle for the shot. That's us way down the back, as usual.

The area experienced a thunder storm two days prior that left a lot of laying water in all the low areas. We are sitting high and dry up the back.

The Australian Standing Stones is a large Solar Calendar, rather similar to "Stonehenge". During May each year G.I. has a Celtic Festival that is conducted around the Standing Stones Park area.

These are the centre stones, looking to the East.

Of course Excalibur is here as well.

The Crofters Cottage looks over the Standing Stones and is the ideal place to enjoy a Celtic Tea and Ploughmans' Cake with butter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Swan Brook Rest Area, NSW

Inverell was our lunch stop and a shopping stop. Once the pantry was restocked we left town amidst a thunder storm. We only had to travel 35 km along the Gwydir Highway to our first choice of camp sites. Swan Brook RA turned out to be a clean flat area alongside the highway bridge. The RA consisted mainly of a bitumen sealed area with a well grassed area furtherest from the road. One needs a book to read here as there is no television reception, 3G phone or Internet Connection to spend the time with. We could hear the rumble of thunder and the patter of rain as a storm front left Inverell and passed over our camp. We noticed in the morning that the other camper alongside us had left one of the windows in his car down and open to the elements.

Swan Brook Rest Area. We are way down the back, furtherest away from the highway as we could get and on a great grassed area. The brook is to the right and parallel with the rest area. I am standing on the approach to the highway bridge.

Wells Crossing Rest Area, NSW

Woo Hoo. On the road again. Seems like forever since we left the van, about 8 weeks in fact.We pulled into Wells Crossing for our lunch break, began talking to campers already there and decided to stay the night as well. This is a large area beside the Severn River and only 7 km from Ashford on the Pindari Dam Road. It is a very quiet at Wells Crossing, not much happens there but one highlight we noticed while having a cup of tea and watching the water flow past was an object swiftly swimming down stream. We only saw a small black head above water until a very large black snake emerged and began to sun itself on the opposite river bank. The snake would have been over one and a half metres and as thick as a mans wrist. Fortunately it eventually moved on.

This is our camp area from the opposite side of the Severn River, our van is the first from the right. A really magic setting for free camping.

On leaving Wells Crossing we drove the further 14 kms out to Pindari Dam to have a look at the camp site there. This is the view from the camp site back towards the dam wall, obviously the water level is far below the peak level. We could have parked our 6 m van, there was one site that could have accommodated us but the camp in general is for small vehicles only.