This blog entry has taken some time to put together and write up as other things have been keeping me occupied and enough time for reflective thoughts and writing has been proving elusive.
Drove out of Sydney heading out into regional New South Wales with a mission to get to Parkes in one day. This is only 400 or so kilometres. On WA roads, it would be easily achievable and quickly. I managed it however, but NSW does have a different idea of what a highway is.
Passed through Bathurst, on the way to Parkes, indulged my inner motor head and drove around the Mt Panorama circuit. Head onwards to Orange and then continued to Parkes.
My GPS decided to take me the dirt track way to get to the telescope and managed to arrive about fifteen minutes before closing at the gift shop. Took some photos, bought some merchandise and indulged the geek in me. Collected some geeky telecommunications photos too. I’m a bit sad that I arrived there several days early, I think it would have been a much more exciting time as the Curiousity Rover was landing.
Returned to Orange for the evening and caught up with J and her band of ringers at Holy Trinity. A very fun ring with some practice of call changes. J and her husband put me up overnight which I was thankful for.
It would have been remiss of me to visit Orange without going and seeing B M OAM. Had a lovely cuppa with him and chatted about all things choral and IV, and then let him return to his home renovations.
Drove onwards and arrived just after dusk in Tamworth. Found a motel to stay in, after some confusion with the GPS, and settled for the night. The meal at the restaurant attached was notable for its blandness.
The next day started with a visit to the Big Guitar and was then onwards through Armidale, down the side of the mountain at Dorrigo to Bellinen, a cut across inland to Varley and then onwards to Coffs Harbour.
The motel at Coffs Harbour felt like something out of survivor, but it had a stove and I took the opportunity to cook for myself for a change whilst travelling. In the morning, the Big Banana was visited and then onwards to Bryon Bay.
Byron Bay reminded me very much of Margaret River, however with something mildly wrong and much more exploitative of the tourist. In quaint country town style I had arrived on the day of the Coffs Cup and some stores that I wished to use were closed. Egads!
At K’s suggestion, went and wandered up to the lighthouse and looked out into the Pacific Ocean. Wandered down the hill to the most easterly point of the Australian continent. I then head back into town and found a nice BnB with the most blue room ever to stay for the night.
The next day was the final major driving leg of this trip to Brisbane, and crossing the border into Queensland.
Returning back to the topic of this post, one of my favourite bits of trivia about the east cost of Australia (as opposed to Western Australia) is that Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT were all part of New South Wales at some point in their history.
Driving around the east coast of Australia you can see this influence, both current and historic, of Sydney and New South Wales pervade the built environment and culture.
As I crossed the mountains outside of Sydney and got back onto the plane, the areas there felt like a completely different state. Victoria, now in comparison, seems lost elsewhere in time. Canberra and ACT seem schizophrenic, not knowing if they want to be New South Wales or Victoria.
I’ve enjoyed seeing the bits of Australia in between and may go and visit there again.