Published: February 8th 2011February 8th 2011
Sitting here in our second week in Coolangatta, Dubbo seems so long ago…what happened to the past 10 months? The only way to get rid of this terrible feeling is to do it all again, but permanently! At least we have our jaunt to UK and USA to look forward to!
Anyway, back to Dubbo, and the zoo in particular. What a great zoo, called The Western Plains and this is because all the animals are found in the western plains of Africa. You can walk round (but it is a long way, over 6km), cycle round on your own, or hired bike, hire a six seater buggy or, as we did, drive your own car. The entrance fee, which at first seems expensive, allows you to go round as many times as you like over two consecutive days. We found one full day was plenty and managed to catch the feeding times for the giraffes and hippos, yup, the hippos were eating the giraffes, they’d got fed up of being vegetarian. It was great to see the animals in large enclosures and so many of them, think maybe the pics can say it better. Whilst in Dubbo we also
popped down the road to Wellington and did a short walk, not the best scenery and it was stinking hot!
Our journey to Coolangatta took a little longer than anticipated. Our first stop, Coonabarabran, (what a mouthful) was so we could visit the Warrumbungle National Park and the Siding Spring Observatory. Due to the hot weather we headed off early (well early for us) to the National Park and a 6.3km walk up the Gould’s Circuit. This was a pretty strenuous walk which included a bit of rock climbing to get to the peak, but well worth the view of the Breadknife. After another picnic, this one including everything (ask Debby) we visited the Observatory. WOW! This is amazing, what we would have given to get a closer look!! Well, we started by trying to bribe our way in before we realised the guy was only the cleaner and we had already seen the toilet block in all it’s glory.
Due to the incoming bad weather we decided Tamworth, Armidale, Casino would be the best route to Coolangatta. An overnight stop at Tamworth was out of the question as it was right in the middle of the Country
& Western music festival, and packed! But we thought we would have a quick gander especially as Jo (a friend from Brissie) was there to show us round. We couldn’t believe it! On the mall there was a busker every10m and this was in the middle of the day. We had lunch and made a miraculous escape just before the line dancing started.
We headed towards Armidale by way of the longest and steepest hill we had ever encountered in all the 10 months and having just praised Lucy (Land Rover) for getting so far, disaster strikes. We over heat, manage to pull off the road, let her cool down and top the water up – all 8 litres of it! On our way again but only 4km down the road we are in the red zone. We pull onto the hard shoulder on a downhill stretch and we call RACQ and retreat to a safe distance (road trains are hurtling down the road at over 100km per hour) The RACQ man puts in another 8 litres of water but unable to find a leak, and suggests he gets his tow truck to take us back to Tamworth. Whilst
he is gone we rang the RACQ back and explain (or was it complain) that we don’t want to go backwards, we have already seen Tamworth, so please can we get towed to Armidale. To bring this story to an end we arrive Armidale on tow at 8.30pm,. the following day we found a local mechanic (eventually) who discovered a leaking hose, repairs it within a couple of hours, all for $106, not bad after being told by the nice RACQ man that we most likely had a split in the cylinder head which would be very expensive (over $2000), we enjoyed ringing him to tell him!!!!
Heaving a huge sigh of relief, we leave Armidale (which, by the way, is a very nice spot) and travel the most winding and pot-holed road we have been on and arrive at the biggest caravan park we think in all of Australia. As the ad goes, Casino is not famous for casinos, in fact, we don’t think it’s famous for anything!
After a two night stop-over it’s just a hop, skip and jump to South Tweed and our home for the next few weeks at least. So if there’s anyone
out there feeling like a day out on the coast, just give us a call.
Some facts and figures of the past 10 months you might like:
We have travelled a total of 32211km
We towed the van 19051km
We put in 4701 litres of diesel
We stayed in 98 different places
We visited 35 wineries and 5 breweries
See you all soon!!
There are more photos below