Posted by: tangararama | June 27, 2008

Day 21: Goulburn to Gosford

Today I reach the end of this memorable 3-week journey after driving the last leg back to my home in Gosford on the NSW Central Coast.

Goulburn to Gosford 261km

Day 21: Goulburn to Gosford 261km

This should be an easy drive, being freeway most of the way – but having to contend with Sydney’s morning peak hour traffic (which lasts most of the morning) is always a low point.

From a personal perspective it was great to get home. I start on an exciting new phase of my life when I get back home, and three weeks of holiday memories to reflect on. I’ll be compiling my photos and movies into a DVD to share with my friends and family. 

The highlight of this trip was definitely experience on The Ghan – I highly recommend anyone who can go does it. You MUST travel Gold Class – in comfort. There are generous concessions for older people – which probably explains why the abundance of older people on the train.  We even dined with someone in his 90’s. So no matter how young or old – you really should try to experience this trip at least once in your lifetime.

It was also great to experience the sites of the top end – Darwin, Litchfield National Park, Katherine Gorge, Alice Springs. Great places – highly recommend everyone gets up to the Northern Territory to see a part of Australia that is so beautiful and unique.

And whatever you do – avoid the food at the Mobil Narrandera roadhouse if driving between Sydney and Adelaide!

 

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Posted by: tangararama | June 26, 2008

Day 20: Hay to Goulburn

We’re nearing the end of this eventful 3 week holiday.

Hay to Goulburn 529km

Day 20: Hay to Goulburn 529km

At sunrise we were at the old Hay Railway station – no longer used as a railway station, but is a station of a different kind – it is the home of RADIO station 2-HAY FM.

Hay Railway station

Hay Railway Station – no longer a train station, but a radio station.

For breakfast we decided to head 170km down the highway to the town of Narrandera – the idea being that truckies (truck drivers) always know the best places to eat… so we looked for a truck stop with lots of trucks and figured this would be where we eat.  At Narrandera this place was to be the Mobil Narrandera Roadhouse.  We each ordered the “Big Breakfast” – thinking this would get us through the whole day – but the Big Breakfast turned out to be a BIG MISTAKE.

It consisted of a deep-fried Hash Brown, some pieces of deep-fried Bacon, two deep-fried Sausages that were so badly overcooked they had burst and curled over in the process of being cooked, burnt tomato, two pieces of burnt toast, and three things that tasted like bits of old tyres that resembled 3 eggs.

Deep Fried Truckie Sausage

Deep Fried Crap at Mobil Narrandera

I haven’t eaten in the 9 hours since we had that disgusting food.  I left most of mine on the plate (the above pic is my mate’s plate with the warped sausage). What little of it I was brave enough to eat left a bad taste in my mouth most of the day. Worst food ever.

We pushed on to Goulburn, the temperature plummeted down to 9c and it’s cold and windy. I miss Darwin’s weather, but I can’t wait to get back home to Gosford tomorrow.

 

Posted by: tangararama | June 26, 2008

Day 19: Adelaide SA to Hay NSW

 

The day got off to an interesting and noisy start. The Mt Lofty Railway Station Lodge  had a fireplace and firewood – it had been a cold night so we had the fire burning overnight, but had mostly gone out by the morning. At about 7am we tried to revive the fire, and all seemed to be going well until a smoldering pine cone let out a puff of smoke which set off the smoke detector.

The smoke detectors at the lodge are connected to an external alarm system, so within seconds we had sirens going off outside the building, in addition to the ear piercing noise of the internal smoke detector. Thankfully the owner had already prepared us for such an event – apparently this has happened to other guests from time to time. We had to punch in a special code on the door panel in order to turn off the external alarms and then call a phone number to verify the false alarm – failure to do so would mean the fire services would soon be turning up!

The internal smoke detector alarm continued, however…  we were supposed to then open some doors and windows to vent the smoke out of the room and hence stop the internal smoke detector alarm. This failed to happen and the internal smoke alarm (hard wired and mounted on a very high ceiling) continued to operate. After about 15 mins the owner of the lodge turned up with a tall ladder and was able to examine the unit and clear out the smoke particles which had lodged in the detector, and finally the unbearable noise stopped!

That was a nice peaceful start to the day.

Adelaide to Hay - 683km

Day 19: Adelaide SA to Hay NSW, 683km

After making our way through the eastern and northern suburbs of Adelaide we head out into the country on the Sturt Highway toward the SA-Victorian border towns of Renmark and Mildura. The Sturt Highway is the most direct route between Adelaide and Sydney.

Sturt Hwy, Renmark SA near Victorian border

Sturt Hwy, Renmark SA – near Victorian border

Around lunch time we crossed two state borders in the space of about 30 minutes – given the Sturt Highway has a short run into the northern tip of Victoria and through the town of Mildura before crossing the Murray River into New South Wales.

Sturt Highway river crossing at Mildura

Sturt Hwy crossing Murray River, Mildura VIC at NSW border

After leaving Mildura and crossing the river into New South Wales the countryside again gets drier and flatter which is typical of western NSW. The Sturt Highway is an important truck route between Adelaide and Sydney, as is evident by a large number of heavy vehicles on this highway.

Sturt Hwy near Balranald NSW

Truck passes windmill on Sturt Hwy near Balranald – outback NSW

Between the towns of Balranald and Hay in south-west NSW is an area known as “The Hay Plains”. This stretch of road goes for some 150km (90 miles) of the absolute flattest, dullest, un-interesting landscape from horizon to horizon. It’s the un-interestingness of it all that makes the Hay Plains noteworthy.

Hay Plains, NSW

Hay Plains – outback NSW

The Hay Plains is not without its dangers – especially at sunset which is the time when kangaroos start coming out to feed and are notorious for being the stuff of roadkill on highways all over Australia. And the kangaroos out here are quite BIG – we actually spotted a large Red Kanagroo next to the highway grazing on the grass, he would have been about 1.5m (or 5′) in height.

We spend the night in Hay before continuing on to Goulburn tomorrow.

 

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