Awestraya

From Mudgee to Lightning Ridge – ‘Darling River Run’ just around the corner!!

Whilst staying in Mudgee we did some sight seeing at the nearby ‘Hands on Rock’ and the ‘The Drip’.

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Hands on rock was an important ceremonial site for the women and children of the Wiradjuri people. With a long sandstone wall covered with hundreds of ancient hand prints and emu tracks.

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A grass tree beside the path up to the aboriginal site.

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A few kilometres down the road from “Hands on Rock” is “The Drip” Gorge.

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Millions of years of water and wind erosion has resulted in deep sandstone gullies and overhangs.

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Natural springs flow down paths worn in the sandstone to meet the Goulburn River.

After 4 days visiting great friends in Mudgee, it was then officially time to start our trip!!

Travelling North-Northwest from Mudgee, we went to Warrumbungles National Park via Coonabarabran (don’t you love this name?)… cutest town. The name Warrumbungles comes from the local Gamilaroi people and means ‘crooked mountains’. The mountain range is also home to the Siding Spring Observatory giving the nearby town of Coonabarabran the title of the ‘Astronomy Capital of Australia’.

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Third planet from the Sun!!

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As you approach Coonabrarabran, you start seeing outdoor signs… firstly we saw Neptune in Dunedoo, followed by Uranus and as we moved along, you realise that they represent our solar system!! Very clever way to build up expectations and give you a great incentive for a visit!

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AAO – Australian Astronomical Observatory – The dome of the Observatory also doubles as the sun at the centre of the Virtual Solar System Drive.

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Selfy at the AAO – Scruffy Anthony – 2  weeks without shaving  😉

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The Warrumbungle National Park: Amazingly beautiful National Park with the best and most organised camping sites!! I remember seeing the park on TV but after visiting, I am reminded that in January 2013 major bushfire destroyed most of the national park. I’m stunned as to how Mother Nature recovers from harsh conditions… the Warrumbungles are just breathtaking!!

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Country driving = HUGE insect death toll

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Camping: 2 nights, $20 per night, $8 National Park fee + $12 Camping fee. Options where you can camp near all amenities in Blackman camp site or limited amenities in Camp Wambelong, with pit toilet bathrooms (surprisingly not smelly!!)… Camp Wambelong more private so, yeah… that’s where we stayed!!

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Morning and afternoon visitors come to enjoy the camp facilities by the dozens!!

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A couple of big roos grazing on the grass…

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Hiking: Since we were near, we’ve done ‘Belougery Split Rock Circuit Hiking’ – I’m in no way that fit and I must agree with description ” 4.6km return on steep to very steep and rough in sections’ sums up the hike!! We’ve done it but hell, I was recked after the hike!! Awesome views and great feeling after the hike and bringing water – it is essential!!

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Shady resting spot… lots of (feral) mountain goat poo leads us to believe it’s their fave sleeping area too!!

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We were THAT high up on our way back to our camp site!!

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Views we were gifted to by climbing high up!! No pain, no gain!! 😉

We say our goodbye to the Warrumbungles and head closer to QLD border…

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It starts to look more and more like we are heading to the Australian Outback… redder and redder soil!! Due to some much needed rain, some green too 🙂

Passing by Walgett – Fun fact: The Aboriginal meaning of ‘Walgett’ is ‘meeting of two waters’ as the town is located by the junction of the Namoi and Barwon Rivers…

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As we drive North out of town, we cross the Namoi River…

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and Barwon River, which both will later join and become the ‘Darling River’!!

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Slight change to original plan… passed by Walgett and headed to the home of the Black Opal – Lightning Ridge!!

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Rush hour at the Opal Caravan Park!! We were the fourth in line to check in!! Great caravan park with all amenities, everything you need (We spent there 2 nights, $27 unpowered site)!! Very clean kitchen, bathroom and refreshing swimming pool!!

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The cherry on top of the cake about this Caravan Camp?? 200 metres from the (free) hot spring pool!!

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Natural hot water, part of the Artesian Basin!!

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Very relaxing sunset swim… But don’t be fooled… 42 degrees water is HOT!! More than 8 minutes in the pool and you will get very dehydrated!!

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Still… Awesome big bath!! Aaahhhh….

Lightning Ridge is quite an interesting town… heavily engaged in Opal mining but not only dependant on mining… it teaches you all about mining process and history. But it also reinvented itself to attract tourism with great creative artistic locations and buildings around the town!!

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Lightning Ridge has four self-driven tours, named ‘Car Door Tours’… and it’s just brilliant!! Clever way to showcase the town!!

Fun fact, locals use painted car doors to identify houses and properties rather than street numbers!!

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Los Amigos castle on the ‘Red Car Door Tour’…

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With sassy, funny and eccentric attitude to life!!

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Locals say this castle was originally owned by an italian guy… and yet, we have a mexican theme ??? First impressions, I guess…

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Just a bit more sass!! ;p

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Fred Bodel’s Camp, oldest miner’s camp in Lightning Ridge… Fred died in 1973 and his simple mining camp still in its original state for visitors to see how miners lived in the past…

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More of Lightning Ridge…

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Time to say goodbye to Lightning Ridge and head West!! NSW Outback, here we come!!

 

 

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