Published: June 9th 2010June 9th 2010
It fun to people-watch when we're in a new town and it made me smile, when we drove into town to shop this morning, to see the local butcher, complete with striped apron and his belt with full knife box on it, walk into the bank. In the city it would have meant arrest for carrying a deadly weapon or perhaps several deadly weapons! Life is different in the country.
Driving along the Newell Highway towards Coonabarabran, we saw a turn off to the Warrumbungle National Park so took that road, one we'd never taken before .. and here we'd thought we'd been everywhere in New South Wales! It was very nice country with sheep and wheat growing and, surprisingly an emu farm - lots of inquisitive emus came to see us when we went over to take a photo. The Warrumbungles are very rugged and it was quite a climb up the mountains but we'd driven around Kosciusko so thought our little motor home could manage! There was a bit of damage to the edge of the road and there were many tree trunks piled along the edge of the creek which ran nearby - no doubt the result
of flooding not that long ago.
We could see the Siding Springs giant telescope in the distance so climbed that mountain to have a look. The very good centre there had quite a lot of information and photos. We sat through a film explaining all about stars, planets, the moon, sun and space - much to our confusion - we must have both failed astronomy at school! We left the information building and trecked up to the telescope in the bitterly cold wind. The telescope was huge - in fact there are something like 5 telescopes on the property but this was the biggest. There are quite a few towns with telescopes around this area - the clear air and distance from city lights no doubt making it popular.
Our drive back down the mountain was very steep and we were glad to be once more driving in the sunshine and warmth! We continued on the Newell, many trucks but it was all quite civilised - we'd pull over to let them pass and they'd flash lights to thank us. We had a look at the town of Coonabarabran as we drove through, but continued on until Narrabri
The Siding Springs Telescope
Australians will know of Fred Watson who is the astronomer here - he gives many talks over ABC radio
- and it was here where we'll stay overnight.
There are more photos below