New England High Country Tourist Drives

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August 6th 2019
Published: August 6th 2019
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Today we started at the Visitor Information Centre before making our way to the Museum of Antiquities at the University of New England. At the Visitor Information Centre we picked up the brochures for the tourist drives that we had already downloaded from the Internet and printed out, but then left in Melbourne! Another useful tip from the staff was that the northern part of Tourist Drive 17 is ‘just a nice country drive’ so we think we might be deleting that from our itinerary. At the university we were impressed with the remarkable amount of material they have managed to fit into a single room ... and a small portion of the corridor outside!

Next on the agenda for today was Tourist Drive 19. After a bit of a false start (wrong turn ... or two?) we made our first stop at the Dangarsleigh War Memorial. This is a privately built monument raised in 1921 by Alfred Haroldston Perrott in memory of his eldest son who was killed in the First World War. Other families in the district were able to add the names of their loved ones to the memorial ... at the cost of sixpence per letter.

After the memorial we drove out to Dangars Gorge. Weather permitting Dangars Falls plunges 120 metres into the gorge below. Unfortunately there has been no rain here since March 2017 so the Salisbury Waters that feed the falls have dried up. Putting a positive spin on this, it did enable us to observe the way the falls have smoothed out the section of the gorge that they flow over. Ordinarily this aspect of the gorge would be covered with the water coming over the falls.

We headed next to Gostwyck where we saw the unusual octagonal woolshed at Deeargee Station and the quaint little All Saints Chapel. Hmmn, this whole tourist caper is all about the timing. The brochures show the chapel covered in red Virginia Creeper and surrounded by magnificent elm trees. At the moment the elms and the creeper are bare!! Nevertheless the chapel is still quite quaint.

With no eating options in Gostwyck we made our way into Uralla for lunch. After we had eaten we visited the McCrossin's Mill Museum. Housed in the old McCrossin’s Flour Mill it was filled with an eclectic collection of memorabilia from the early days of Uralla and the nearby Rocky River goldfields. A considerable amount of the collection was devoted to the notorious local bush ranger, Captain Thunderbolt.

Next we went on one of the wild goose chases that Bernie and I are renowned for! Oh look, Tourist Drive 21 takes us on a loop south of Uralla so we might as well do that, or at least some of that loop, before we head back to Armidale. First point of interest, Dangar’s Lagoon a protected wetlands reserve for the local bird life. Unfortunately, as with all else that involves water in this region at the moment, the lagoon was completely dry and looked pretty much like a paddock rather than a lagoon. Hopefully all of the birds have been able to fly away to are more hospitable place.

Second point of interest, the remains of Irish Town. Hmmn, we have no idea where that was as we certainly didn’t see any sign posts along Thunderbolts Way to Walcha. The closest we saw was an Irish Town Bridge, but there was no evidence of any settlement, old or new, near the bridge.

We continued into Walcha hoping the Pioneer Cottage and Museum Complex might be of interest. When we arrived there it was to see a building that looked fairly newly built in a pioneer style so that was also disappointing.

Alrighty, let’s continue on to Kentucky Road and head north through Kentucky, rather than go all the way to Bendemeer which we drove through on Sunday. We did at least manage to find the Walcha Road Hotel and, while it is sort of quaint, it only dates to the mid-2000s ... and it is closed on a Tuesday! The original hotel was built way back in 1860, but it burnt down in 2004! Oh well, I guess we enjoyed a scenic drive back to Uralla but, on the whole, we felt that Tourist Drive 21 was pretty disappointing.

Back in Armidale we made a couple of purchases at Dan’s and at Woolies and then headed back to the apartment to relax for an hour or so before some dinner. We enjoyed the White Bull so much last night that we returned there for dinner tonight. They must be doing something right as it was packed on both Monday and Tuesday night which are not traditionally the most popular evenings for eating out.

The card playing tonight resulted in one game each for the boys and the girls.

Steps: 12,084 (9.12km)

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


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