Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Inland NSW to Brisbane-via Tom Tom GPS

We had been wandering around the Southern Highlands in NSW, when we decided to let our Tom Tom GPS decide how to get from there to Brisbane via an inland route....and did it give us an alternate route, which added many km and hours to the trip, but fun all the same.
Belmore Falls-Robertson

I had wanted to see Crookwell in particular, so put that as an add on for the trip. Initially the route took us to Goulburn. The countryside from Goulburn to Crookwell was beautiful and green with lovely rolling hills and odd rock outcrops. Crookwell itself is only small, but with wide streets, tidy, and picturesque. There is a park in the town with the cleanest toilets we have ever seen and the park has a dedication to the inventor of the Rotary Hoe, Arthur Clifford Howard who was born in the town.

Now the GPS played the first of a number of tricks and sent us S.W. on the Grabben Gullen Road (Grabben Gullen hamlet simply couldn't be called anything else!) to the Hume Highway and the town of Yass, before turning us north on the B81 to Cowra via Boorowa on the Lachlan Valley Way. There was a number of shorter routes, but Tom Tom was given its head. The road was good and again the scenery was easy on the eye with many sheep and some winter crops to add to the landscape.

From Cowra through Canowindra to Molong where our trusty GPS once again decided to depart from what would normally be called a common sense route. It diverted us onto the Obley Road. An almost empty not overly wide back road via the Toronga Western Plains Zoo meeting the Newell Highway just outside Dubbo.

Dubbo is a big country town and we thought it would be a good place to stop...but GPS did it again leading us around Dubbo, bypassing 99% of Motels and short cut us to finally meet up with the A39 Newell Highway again well out of town. So OK we might find a place on the way to Gilgandra.....except we were diverted again onto the Mendooran Road that hits the Newell/Oxley Highway just out of Coonabarabran. This last stretch in the dark on empty road with long straights and through Goonoo State Forest dodging roo's and wombats.

By this time we are tired and went into the first motel we saw, which happened to be the Wagon Wheel Motel and what a good choice it was. A$78 a double which was clean, comfortable and friendly.
Eastern Warrumbungles

By this time the topography is mostly flat, but 30k from town are the Warrumbungles, which rise out of the landscape like some giant prehistoric monster. Especially so as they had suffered extreme fires in 2013 and the spars burnt trees looked like black bristles on the monsters back. Doesn't matter, they are spectacular and well worth the whole trip. As an added bonus nestled in the mountains is Siding Springs Astronomical Observatory, which is a must do visit. Not only a fascinating place, but the view of the Warrumbungles from there is almost as good as it gets.
Siding Spring

The GPS behaved itself and kept us on the Newell Highway through the real sheep wheat country of Narrabri (had excellent fish and chips) and Moree toward cotton country  near Goondiwindi, where we started to lose the light and had to complete the trip to Brisbane via Toowoomba in the dark. The only notable thing is the dreadful road down the range at Toowoomba and equally dreadful, never to be finished it seems, road all the way to Brisbane. Its a nightmare and one hopes one day will be fixed properly and for good.

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