OVER THE FOLLOWING MONTHS…
We have been planning another adventure in Australia for quiet some time and are incredibly lucky to have friends staying in our home and looking after the cats while we are away.
When all is packed and ready our plan is to leave Melbourne in May driving up the East Coast to Sydney then inland to Darwin. After this we hope to cross the Northern Western part of Australia and down the West Coast to Perth. From there along the South Coast back into Melbourne and home again in late December.
As the days unfold I will update, make changes as our adventures take place.
3rd of May
Arrived and were ready to head off down the Princess Highway for a trail run in our Pop-up caravan. Leaving latter than planned, we hit peak hour traffic on the Monash Highway but this eased once past Pakenham. We drove through the night arriving in Lakes Entrance to stay at our friend’s place for the night. This is our first experience of towing a caravan and were greatly relieved it all went well.
The following day found us traveling to Mallacoota to set up camp for the weekend. Such a peaceful place at this time of the year.
6th of May
Leaving Mallacoota on Monday we headed back along the winding Princess Highway through the Croajingolong National Park to Lakes Entrance. Next morning we woke to a classic May autumn day.
We left Lakes after lunch to pick up our caravan from Bairnsdale. Hitched up again and drove into the setting sun to arrive safely home that night.
While some slept we planned and packed and repacked…and caught up with family and friends over lunch or dinner before leaving.
20th of May
The long autumn sleeps are truly here…we are going to miss our cats when we do leave. We are held up due to car issues but hey I would rather it happen here and not on the road. In the meantime I have been working in the workshop making steel bollards which I then delivered to Stonehouse Gallery today.
With artwork delivered, house reorganized and ready for our friends to move and us packed it was time to leave Melbourne.
21st of may
On Tuesday, two weeks latter then planned…we left home arriving at our friend’s place in Murrumbatem NSW, to spend a week with them. It is one our favourite places to spend time at in any season.
26th of May
Today was a perfect day to stay in. I had promised myself I would painted or draw a picture a day. And today was the start of that. The Brindabella Mountains completely dominate this landscape and you can not help but be drawn to them so what a perfect topic to paint. The following day was a view out the western side of the house through the banksia-rose home to hundreds of sparrows.
28th of May
On Tuesday we bid farewell to our friends after spending a wonderful week there and headed for Sydney to stay with family until the next leg of this journey.
30th of May
WOW where has the year gone? With winter just around the corner. I finished this portrait of Barry the little rooster ‘ Dreaming of Greener Fields’. I am really enjoying painting again. While I did this Ivan and his sister had lots of time to catch up and bought a fruit tree for planting tomorrow.
31st of May
Another glorious day, perfect for planting the mandarin tree and a hair-cut.
At dusk we went to Kyle Bay for a toe-dip.
1st of June
Today we had lunch together at Carss Cafe & Grill which was a delightful way to spend the first day of winter.
2nd of June
After spending a relaxing four days with the family in Sydney it was time to pack up again and begin the next leg of our trip.
Travelling along the Mitchell Highway just outside Wellington and near the Wellington Caves there is this extraordinary, wonderful 15 metre sculpture Wellington Gateway Project, that looms out of the ground. It took the artist Frances Freguson (1962-2003) and others involved in the Landmark Project (1993-1995) two years to complete. I was totally blown away by it…
Today’s drive ended in Dubbo where we have set up for the next couple of days. Here’s to a warm night’s sleep.
We have been here several days now just enjoying the slow pace of it all. Nights are very cold as are the mornings but turn into crisp clear days.
5th of June
We ventured further a field today and drove out to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. There we walked the 6km trail looking and learning about the animals that live there. The Meerkats being my favourites and Ivan the Cheetahs.
We then decided to drive to Dundullimal Homestead not far from the Zoo. Dundullimal Homestead is a 1840s pioneer homestead that was built on the traditional lands of the people of the Wiradjuri Nation. Dundullimal is a Wiradjuri word meaning “thunderstorm” or “hailstorm”. I found it a particularly beautiful place to visit which is now owned by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).
6th of June
Early morning rise to frosty surrounds we head down the Newell Highway passing many small towns and flat dry country.
As the day got warmer we turned onto the Castlereagh Highway to Lightning Ridge where we would spend the long weekend.
That night it was 4.6 degrees and felt like 1.3 degrees especially in our Pop-up caravan. Lots of bedding tonight, sleep well all.
7th of June
Blue skies warm days and cold nights with bougainvilleas of all colours in flower now. Today was my birthday and we celebrated it with a pair of opal earrings and a fine dinner at Bruno’s.
9th of June
Sunday found us at the local market then exploring some the attractions around town. Namely the Bottle House and Collectables, Kangaroo Hill and the vastness beyond then to ‘A Quiet Man’s Place’ – Art Gallery. This gallery shows the artwork of local artist John Weeronga Bartoo. He no longer practices his artwork but the gallery is run by his wife for all us to see. The scarf you see in the photo below is one of his designs.
10th of June
Monday was a glorious sunny day. The first of the scandal weather. We followed the map above out the this opal mining community in the scrub. One can’t but admire the tenacity of these people that life out here all year round. As you can see the Club is full of character and is a true Club so you have to sign in as you do for all Clubs. The meal was great and served by friendly people. I think that’s what I will go away with most from here as to how friendly and easy going everyone is here and at Lightning Ridge.
Happy Hour that night put on by our hosts at Lightning Ridge Holiday Park, is a great way to catch up with others and their recommendations for our trip we leave here. We then went to the Artesian Bore Baths for a hot dip before bed.
11th of June
Spent the last day in camp painting then a late night at dip under the Milky-way.
12th of June
Packed and ready by 10.00am we headed for St George. A town we had spent a week at waiting for parts to come from Brisbane and Sydney for my car. This thankfully it was only a lunch stop. The country is so dry between Lightning Ridge and Roma as is much of what we have already seen since crossing the Blue Mountains. And the road-kill is horrifying so many dead kangaroos and even an emu.
13th of June
Home is now Roma with delightfully weather and cool nights. Today we set out to explore Roma’s sights first stopping at Roma’s Largest Bottle-tree which towered over Ivan. Possibly originating from the 19th century. It was relocated from a property to its present place 1927. With a girth of 9.5m a height of 6m and a crown of 20m it certainly is an impressive tree.
The architecture of old Queenslanders always impresses me and that afternoon I spent painting one.
17th of June
Some of the country we saw while traveling along the Landsborough Highway to Blackall.
We have been in Blackall Caravan Park for the last three nights. It comes up out of nowhere this green oasis only because of the Great Artesian Basin that the town has drilled into for its regular water supply. On Sunday we went out to Blackall Woolscour which is now heritage-listed. It was built 1908 and operating until 1978. It was left derelict and twenty years later was restored to what it is now the last remaining steam driven wool washing plant which is open to the public.
19th to 26th June LARA HOMESTEAD WETLANDS
We spent over week at Lara Wetlands Bush Camping Grounds. The property is a 15,000 acre station-stay 28 kms south of Barcaldine and 78 kms north of Blackall in Queensland. It was an idyllic bush camp-spot for relaxing, painting, walking, bathing in the artesian spa pool that fed the wetlands and watching the birdlife of the surrounding area. The video shows…hundreds of budgerigars and cockatiels that flew together while a family of noisy plovers cared for their chicks below.
Home for the next week.
The Homestead Tour of the 1912 six bedroom is a great insight into the history of this beautiful property if not tragic story.
Campfires and night skies were a very special part of this stay.
It was also the perfect place to paint and draw for there was inspiration where you looked and a time to reflect over the last year gone.
This series of small paintings have been done on canvas panels using acrylic paint.
28th of June
1,843.6kms finds us now in Barcaldine the ‘Garden City of the West’ or perhaps better known for the Great Shearers Strike in 1891 and the ghost gum they meet under which is now known as the Tree of Knowledge. It was here that many of the shearers leaders were arrested but their efforts laid the foundation of the Australian labor Party.
WOW so many sights and so many kilometers since I last checked in here. Hope you are all well wherever you are. We are now in Mount Isa.