Adelaide to Sydney highlights continued

Bairnsdale to Eden 

After the very informative and enjoyable tour of St Mary’s Church and visiting the information centre nextdoor, we started our journey to Eden – as in the town, not the ‘Garden of …’.

This was one of the most enjoyable day’s drive. The misty mountain roads made driving enchanting without being too dangerous and the walk in the Drummer Rainforest after lunch was just magical.



I love Eden. We stayed there once before. Again, the only accommodation the information centre  could find us was a motel. No kitchen facilities meant we had to eat out. First we checked out the views from a couple of lookouts before having dinner at a lovely Chinese restaurant, the Golden Ocean, where the food and service were excellent. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and nothing was too much to ask. It even said on the menu that if there was something you wanted that wasn’t on there, they’d do their best to make it for you.

Eden to Batemans Bay

Before we left Eden. We drove down to the very popular Aslinn Beach, the beachfront of the local tourist park.

From Eden we went to Merimbula and the Blue Pool, though it wasn’t very blue due to an algae outbreak. From there we drove to the beautiful Bermagui where we stopped for lunch.

At Batemans Bay we checked into the tourist park, shopped for groceries, then went for a drive to the beautiful beaches nearby, before going for a walk along the seafront.DSC07366

On our second day at Batemans Bay we finally had the big breakfast we’d been carrying with us since Broken Hill!  We walked that off at Eurobodella Botanic Gardens on our way to Mogo, a picturesque little town we’d been to quite a few times, the main attraction for us being the cheese tasting, although many go for the fudge, ice cream and pies. Overall it’s a very tasty place.




Community Building Mogo

We went back to the cabin for lunch, then drove across the bridge to Nelligen, another historic little township.


Batemans Bay to Sydney

We started the last day of our Adelaide to Sydney roadtrip around 9.00 am, stopped for lunch and a visit to the craft shop at Berry, then at Bald Hill Lookout, before arriving at our destination around 4.15 pm.





Adelaide to Sydney highlights continued

Broken Hill to Mildura

Before leaving Broken Hill we did a quick tour of the Pro Hart Gallery which was fascinating and we wished we had more time to spend there but we had to press on. We were going to lose half an hour when we crossed into Victoria later that day.


We stopped by the river in Pooncarie for lunch.

Then it was on to Mildura where we appreciated the airconditioning of the Information Centre while they found us accommodation – it was 44ºC outside. The only cabin was a fair bit out of town, expensive and we had to make the bed ourselves. Not impressed!

It was too hot for us to even go for our walk so we just drove back into town, had a drive down by the river, then shopped for dinner before heading back to the airconditioning.

Mildura to Echuca

We drove to Swan Hill on the Murray River and ate lunch there before heading to Echuca where the only available accommodation was even more expensive but it was a beautiful fully equipped apartment with a spa and laundry.


We had a look at the waterfront area where we were going to go on a river cruise the next morning and did the usual drive around town before shopping for dinner then heading home.

The lamb chops with baked potatoes and green beans went down a treat.

After dinner I decided to take advantage of having a laundry and did a load of washing, but when I went to get the clothes out of the dryer before going to bed I realised that the dryer had just been turning but not drying! I rang the host first thing the next morning and she offered me the use of the dryer nextdoor as there was nobody staying there that day. Needless to say, I took her up on that offer but it put our departure back by about an hour. We would have missed the river cruise but, as it turned out, the cruise wasn’t running that day and in any case it was raining  so we just got back on the road.

Echuca to Bairnsdale

Our first stop was Glenrowan, the site of Ned Kelly’s last stand.


Myrtleford was our lunch stop when there was a break in the drizzling rain.


Then we headed to Bairnsdale via the Great Alpine Way, a long twisting climb through the mountains and some astounding scenery.


When we checked in at the tourist park in Bairnsdale,  I thought Brian had found religion because he asked if the local Catholic church was open. Then he reminded me that it was no ordinary church and we had visited it with our girls and my mother years earlier.

We visited St Mary’s the next morning. Its reason for fame is its frescoes painted by an Italian artist with a sense of humour, for example he painted some cherubs with their heads on back to front and modelled some of his subjects on locals.




















Adelaide to Sydney highlights

Yorke Peninsula was our first destination. The landscape on the way was vast, beige and pretty barren, with only stubble left where the crops had already been harvested.

However Coobowie, where we spent our first night, is a bird haven especially popular with pelicans and quite pretty.

Next day, not far from Coobowie, we passed through Wattle Point Wind Farm, the largest one we’ve ever come across.

At Innes National Park we walked to the lighthouse at Stenhouse Bay and around Inneston Historic Township.

That night we stayed in Wallaroo at a lovely heritage-style motel, the Sonbern Lodge, opposite the old train station.

Next day we stopped to eat lunch by the river at Jamestown.

Later we got to Broken Hill, checked into a tourist park, then did enough shopping for three days before having a drive around town. It was too hot to do anything outside, with the temperature around 40 degrees and forecast to get even hotter. Back at the cabin, trying to deal with a black ant invasion, we got a text message informing us the power company was cutting off supply from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm the next day. Not good.

True to their word, the power went off at 8.08 am before we had time to cook the big breakfast we’d bought the ingredients for. Brian had to put them and the rest of the food that had to be kept refrigerated into the car fridge and take them all with us for the day.

First we went to Silverton, another historic town, and had a look around the remaining buildings, the John Dynon Gallery and the Mad Max Museum before having a refreshing beer at the Silverton Hotel.

The power was still out when we got back to Broken Hill so we went to see the Broken Hill Sculptures and the Miners Memorial lookout.

DSC07279 DSC07280 DSC07271 DSC07262 DSC07261 DSC07282




DSC07246 DSC07248 DSC07250

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 2  Mataranka to Tennant Creek

Checked out at 9.35 am and fuelled up.

Along the way we started seeing what looked like small people by the side of the road. They were in fact dressed termite mounds. Some of them are quite realistic. I believe it’s something started some years ago by backpackers. 

We passed the smouldering remnants of a few bushfires – not what you’d expect with the place looking so green and lush – then the Pink Panther hotel at Larrimah, then through Daly Waters and Dunmarra. 

Had a pitstop at the George Todd Memorial. Hot water came out of the cold tap in the toilet, quite hygienic!

It was 12.30 pm as we got to Newcastle Waters and we were going to stop for lunch but there was no shade so we continued on to Elliott where we found enough shade to cover us and the vehicle. After fuelling up at the supermarket we hit the road again heading for Tennant Creek. We went through Renner Springs at 2.00 pm, then on to the Telegraph Station, stopping briefly at the Three Ways to see the memorial to the Rev John Flynn, Royal Flying Doctor founder.

Telegraph Station

Fighting off flies makes it hard to pose for photos!

The Rev John Flynn Memorial

Dressed termite mounds

The long unwinding road

Lunch at Elliott

Our hosts at the Tennant Creek Caravan Park while welcoming, advised us that it was 42 degrees and those cabins were like hot boxes – they hadn’t turned on the airconditioning in advance – and then handed Joshua his bedding, telling him he could make his bed himself. 

They were right, the cabin was like an oven and it took both the old and new aircon units to eventually cool the place down. There was no cold water in the fridge and the glasses were hot. 

Again, there was no microwave-safe bowl and, in terms of crockery and cutlery, there was exactly three of everything.  So miserly! 
All this for just $150 a night.

There was a shaded swimming pool which we all took advantage of while we waited for the hot box to become habitable.

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Left Darwin around 11.45 am, off on our first roadtrip with our 9-year-old grandson Joshua.

The last time we did this trip was in 1994 with his mother Tara and her sister Aisling, then aged 7 and 10-and-a-half respectively, and my mother Phyllis, who was visiting from Ireland. We were on our way to Tasmania for Christmas.

After fuelling up we stopped at Tara’s workplace to say our goodbyes. It wasn’t long before we were on the open road and passing a herd of Brahman being loaded onto a roadtrain at Coomalie Creek cattleyards.

Our first pitstop was Adelaide River where we ate a hurried lunch of chicken rolls. Besides the heat and the flies, it’s hard to relax when roadtrains you know you’re going to get stuck behind are constantly rolling past.

It was 1.40 pm before the radio reception ran out. Yay! Time for Bob Seger, always the first CD on our roadtrips. Radio reception has improved – we used to be halfway through the CD by Adelaide River.

Not long after passing the Pine Creek turnoff we spotted a goods-train travelling alongside us. This was a first for us. We haven’t even seen the Ghan yet and I think that’s been running north of Alice Springs for over twenty years.

We got to Katherine at 2.55 pm and fuelled up at the first petrol station over the bridge, United. It wasn’t there last time we went through and that really threw us out – it was being rebuilt! 

Then it was on to Mataranka Homestead for our first overnight stop.

We really appreciated the airconditioning having been turned on before our arrival and the jug of cold water and chilled glasses in the fridge, but it didn’t take long before we were soaking in the thermal springs.

Preparing dinner proved to be a bit tricky between having to wash the cutlery and use our own bowl in the microwave, which doesn’t seem like much but when you’ve paid $124.50 you expect a bit better.

Watching TV was another challenge without a remote control. I tried looking for it in one of the drawers:

These cabins have seen better days!

Should have been time to get a good night’s sleep, but the insects that had managed to get inside had other ideas, they even got under the topsheet! But while we tossed and turned and fought off insects, Joshua slept like a log. He said it was because he had to sleep in complete darkness instead of having a night light. 

Darwin to Sydney Roadtrip – Day 8

Gunnedah – Sydney

This was the last day of our roadtrip, so since we had the luxury of a kitchen, we started the day with a big fryup for breakfast: bacon, fried egg, baked beans and toast.

While he was packing the truck, Brian saw the owner who told him that the resident Koala, which had gone missing, had been spotted that morning and he was going to keep an eye out for it on his rounds, but he hadn’t spotted it by the time we were ready to leave.

Gunnedah is a koala-friendly town and it is often possible to spot them, but we didn’t. We went to the lookout where there were some great views but no koalas.

We fuelled up at Woolies – 46 L @ $1.329 per litre $61 less 4 cpl discount $58.29. Odometer reading 62802.

10.45 Left Gunnedah.

11.50 Arrived at Willow Tree and turned onto the New England Highway.

12.25 Took the Burning Mountain turnoff. Had lunch in the carpark. The walk was too long to do.

13.05 Drove through Scone, into the Upper Hunter wine-growing region.

13.35 Muswellbrook

14.05 Singleton

15.25 Went through Cessnock on the B82 and kept going straight along Freeman’s Drive instead of turning right onto the M1 to Cooranbong.

16.00 Left Cooranbong and drove towards Morrisett where we took the turnoff for the M1 to Sydney. We missed the exit for Hornsby because it was the same exit as the one for the Pacific Highway South but we took the next one and eventually made our way back to Mona Vale Road and arrived at our destination, Belrose, in time for dinner.

View from Gunnedah

Darwin to Sydney Roadtrip – Day 7

St George – Gunnedah

10.25 Left St George

11.15 Drove through Thalon.

11.40 Fuelled up at Mungindi border town on the Barwon River: 59 L @ $1.319 per litre – $77.82

11.55 Crossed the QLD / NSW border into New England.

12.40 Passed through Garah; 13.00 Ashley; to Moree where we stopped and ate lunch. at 13.10. The weather was cold although the sun was shining.

13.40 Left Moree and drove on through Gurley at 14.05.

14.59 Narrabri and the Kalmilaroi Highway where we took the Kaputar Road turnoff.

15.15 Reached the base of Mt Kaputar and engaged four-wheel drive for the 20 km dirt and bitumen track to the summit. We were greeted at the top by a large grey kangaroo which was still there when we returned from climbing the stairs to the lookout – nice view but a bit dull at that time of the afternoon. The rest of his family came to check us out. A female with a joey in her pouch and a juvenile in tow came right up to the vehicle. Cyclists were using the track for racing and we passed a few on the way back down.

Roo Mt Kaputar
Roo family

16.40 Got to the base and disengaged the four-wheel drive.

18.00 Arrived at Gunnedah and checked into a cabin at the Top Tourist Park – $89 – too cold to camp.

Had a choice of three major supermarkets to shop for dinner: Aldi, Coles and Woolies, where we got some pork with native spices and had that with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans for dinner.

The cabin we stayed in was clean, warm and spacious and adequately equipped for our needs.

We started catching glimpses of wildflowers after we left Blackall yesterday: small patches of purple clumps, paler smaller purples forming roadside carpets in places, yellow sprays, thicker yellow bunches and prickly pear – not an infestation, just individual stands – and bottle-shaped trees like the boab trees in Western Australia.

Small purpleClose-up

Today, as well as the purples, yellows and prickly pear, we saw yellow daisies, wild cotton and canola that had escaped from the fields, sunflowers around Moree, a little white flower and lots of yellow wattle.

Small white
Yellow daisy

Yellow wattle

Darwin to Sydney Roadtrip – Day 6

Blackall – St George

Condensation had saturated the tent overnight. Brian tried spreading it out to dry while I made breakfast in the camp kitchen. Not enough bread to make lunch so we’ll get something along the way.

10.00 Left Blackall.

11.05 Drove through Tambo, oldest town in the Central West and says it’s the site of the first Qantas crash.

12.20 Fuelled up at Augathella BP: 55.01 L @ $1.399 per litre – $76.96 – odometer 61834. Got a couple of pies from the cafe there and took them to Meat Ant Park to have for lunch. The park has a giant meat ant sculpture, shaded picnic tables and a modern shaded playground. Toilets are nearby. After lunch we drove around the town taking photos of the murals on some of the shops and the toilet block.

Mural Augathella

Mural - front

Smiley mural

13.20 Left Augathella. Passed the Matilda Highway turnoff just outside town.
14.10 Passed the Charleville turnoff, then five minutes later the Morven Warego Highway.
14.45 Passed through Mungallala.

There had been a lot of kangaroos darting across the road all afternoon but Brian always spotted them in time and slowed down. But, after we’d slowed to let two cross, we were just getting up speed again when one of them decided to turn back and it went under us. It took off into the bush and there was no damage to the ute so we continued on our way.

15.10 At Mitchell we took a right turn for St George.
17.20 Turned left onto the Balone Highway 5 km before St George.
17.30 Checked into St George Caravan Park – $22.

We had our choice of campsites and picked a spot down by the back fence near the river.

Went into town to shop, then had dinner at the Boomerang Cafe: Barra and Chips $12.00 and a Works Burger $10 which came with chips and was enormous. We had to get a doggy bag for the chips. Great food, great service and value for money.

I don’t know what the temperature was but I was freezing by the time we got back to the campsite and I had to get out the cold weather gear. Tried to write my blog but my iPad Mini doesn’t like me wearing gloves and it was too cold to take them off for long, but I did get my diary up to date for today: how we’d  noticed a change in the cattle we were passing – Santa Gertrudis I think instead of Brahmans; the different animals we’d seen – horses, goats, kangaroos, a possible dingo and Brian saw a blue-tongued lizard but I missed it.

All rugged up

The camp kitchen is in the laundry. It has a jug, toaster, sandwich press and a microwave without a turntable – don’t know how that works.
The amenities block looks very new. It’s clean and the water is hot but the design is crazy. Two of the three showers are just cubicles with a hook on the back of the door, so you have to leave most of your belongings outside. Secure though, you have to enter a code on a keypad to get into the block.


Darwin to Sydney Roadtrip – Day 5

Winton – Blackall

A rainstorm during the night had turned the grounds into a quagmire, making it tricky getting to and from the amenities block.

Couldn’t make toast for breakfast without a camp kitchen so made cheese and Vegemite sandwiches instead. Made lunch as well.

10.20 Left and drove 12 km on the Landsborough Highway to the right-hand turnoff for the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum. Saw a flock of brolgas on the way. Did two tours there: the Collection Room which is unique in that it is open to the public rather than being under lock and key in the backroom of a museum; and the Laboratory, commonly known as ‘The shed’, where volunteers painstakingly clean the dinosaur bones using pneumatic scribes that look and sound like dentist drills. It’s an experience not to be missed! Fee $30 each concession. Ate lunch there before leaving.

11.10 Left there.

15.10 Fuelled up at Longreach BP: 68.02 L @ $1.399 per litre – $95.16. Odometer reading 61388 km.

Thought we should take the lasagne out for dinner tonight, only to realise we’d left it in the freezer at home! Had to settle for pea and ham soup.

13.25 Left Longreach.

13.45 Drove through Illfracombe which had a display of old farm machinery along the side of the highway.

16.15 Passed an entrance to Tara Station.

16.30 Went through Barcaldine.

There was a detour 25 km out of Blackall which made us slow down to 60 kph.

17.45 Checked into Blackall Caravan Park – $27 – Our Pete Murray CD was drowned out by their live entertainer belting out Neil Diamond. We had arrived during Happy Hour. Happier than usual this evening due to two lots of rain having fallen in 24 hours after a four-year drought! Made for a pretty muddy campsite. Three-course roast dinner was available at the camp kitchen, but we set up camp and went there when they’d finished and heated up our soup. The young couple managing the park joined us and offered us free Anzac biscuits and to start a fire in the pit for us which we gratefully accepted. It gave me the chance to download some photos and work on this blog.

Blackall sunset

We also reflected on the day’s drive:

A lot of roadkill today; saw two flocks of green budgerigars in flight and a huge flock of ibis on the ground;  buffeted by roadtrains from Longreach to Barcaldine but OK once we turned south for Blackall; a lot of kangaroos crossing the road.


What I loved about this park was that they provided bath mats for use in the showers: you use them then pop them in the basket for washing. So considerate – if all parks did this I wouldn’t have to cart one with me all the time.

The amenities block was clean with warm artesian water.

The camp kitchen provided a jug, toaster and microwave.

Free WiFi is provided throughout the park.

Darwin to Sydney Roadtrip – Day 4

Mount Isa – Winton

Took the Madras curry and rice we’d cooked and frozen at home out of the Engel and put it into the cooler to defrost and keep the cooler contents cold at the same time.

10.05 Left Argylla Big 4/Discovery Caravan Village and fuelled up at Woolies: 55 L @ $1.399 per litre, less 10c discount $71.45; odometer reading 60 682 km – 1720 km since Darwin.

10.20 Drove to the lookout. The view was amazing with the enormity of the mining structure emphasised by the comparatively small size of the vehicles working on it. If you zoom in on the photo below, on the right-hand side you can see a triple-bogey road train that looks like a Matchbox toy.

Mount Isa Mine

10.45 Left the lookout.

11.40 Passed the turnoff for Mary Kathleen, once a thriving uranium mine.

12.10 Arrived at Cloncurry where we fuelled up at Woolies: 14.01 L @ $1.485 per litre $20.24 less 4 cpl discount $20.24; odometer reading 60806 – nice number, reads the same both ways, a palindrome.

12.20 We left Cloncurry and 10 minutes later turned right onto the Landsborough Highway.

13.30 Arrived at McKinley. Stopped to eat lunch at a very nice park with shaded tables and a modern childrens playground, plaques describing various historic buildings in the town, toilets, and a library/information centre said to be the smallest library in Australia and famous for being the office for Walkabout Tours in the Crocodile Dundee movies. The Walkabout Hotel is just around the corner too, so it’s an interesting town to take a break at.

McKinley park

14.10 Left McKinley and drove for three-quarters of an hour to Kyuna where we stopped briefly to take photos of the Blue Heeler Pub.

Blue Heeler Hotel
15.10 We turned off and drove 8 km to the carpark of the Combo Waterhole, the billabong Banjo Patterson wrote about in the song  Waltzing Matilda, then walked the rest of the way. We disturbed a few big grey kangaroos along the way. It was a bit hot and we were glad we wore our hats. There was some water in the billabong but as someone we passed on the track remarked, the jolly swagman would have had trouble drowning in it.

Waltzing Matilda billabong

16.15 Left Combo Waterhole.

17.10 Passed the Richmond T/O.

17.45 Passed the Boulia T/O 8 km before Winton.

17.50 Checked into the Matilda Caravan Park at Winton – $25


No camp kitchen, just a bbq, table and sink.

One-course roast meals were on offer at $15 per person.

It became very windy and the lack of windproof shelter made reheating our dinner on our gas cooker a bit of a challenge, but it was worth the effort.

There were two amenities blocks which were clean and the water from the artesian basin was hot but smellled a bit.

An animal enclosure at the entrance held an alpaca, sheep and chickens and opposite that was a pool.