Gilgandra, Parkes to Temora

This part of the trip is basically caravan touring because I have had waitlist success and will be on the Ferry to Tasmania on the 21st August.  This means getting to Melbourne by then.  Of course I could just hit the road and drive long distances each day  – but given the timeframe there is no need.

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I have found some pictures I meant to share earlier so I will start with those :

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Fuzzy pic but you get the idea.  Seen in Armidale.  What would this do to a cyclist?

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In the Amenity block, Gunnedah.  What sort of place is this !!

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Chickens Cross Here – Coffs Harbour

Finally – a catch-up video of riding with my shadow at Shoal Bay, Port Stephens – Click Here


To the journey.  On the way from Gunnedah to Gilgandra (201 kilometers) I passed first Neptune and then Uranus and then Saturn.  And then Saturn again.  What?  Why?

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Well the Coonabarabran district hosts the Siding Springs Observatory which is Australia’s premier optical and infra-red astronomical observatory.  To give kids (and adults) an idea of how far apart things are in the Solar System, there is a series of roadside “planets” each separated by the appropriate scaled down distances,  Starting at the Observatory  Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter all occur before the road from Siding Springs joins the Oxley Highway at Coonabarabran.  On the Oxley I passed Neptune, Uranus and Saturn on the highway heading towards Coonabarabran from the north and Saturn was passed again, this time on the Newell Highway south of Coonabarabran.  I expect to “fly by” Uranus and then Neptune tomorrow.

Sue and I visited the Observatory just after the 2013 bush fires that actually swept over the top of the mountain on which the main observatory dome sits.  Luck and preventative maintenance stopped damage to the dome.   A number of the Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter planet signs were just burnt, twisted rubbish after the blaze and I hope they have been replaced as it’s a neat idea.

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The firestorm cleared the bush.  Some regrowth was showing a couple of months later

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The main dome housing the 3.9 meter Anglo-Australian telescope.  Something like 50+ telescopes from a number of countries are also housed up here in their own buildings with the whole lot being worth in excess of $100 mil. or so Wikipedia says.


Another sight on the road for the three days of my trip was a large number of trucks hauling hay/fodder north and west.

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It was mostly on prime movers plus two trailers loaded high but some were smaller like this one.  The southern states are helping farmers in the NSW drought areas.  I heard that several truck loads have left Tasmania with everyone involved cutting the costs to a minimum, including the TT Line providing cheap Ferry space.  I wonder if the above truck will get there with the rear bales still on!

Apparently a schoolboy from  Longford began a money raising drive two weeks ago to fund bales for northern farmers and he has raised $2,500 with $5 donations so far.

The trucks are plentiful for the entire trip and the Newell is narrow with a 110 kph speed limit.  Passing trucks going the other way, I get over and almost run inside tyres onto the rumble strip to get away from the air that blast off the trucks.  It was a pleasure to leave the Newell and turn onto Goldfields Way.  BTW: The Newell would be a poor cycle – not much hard shoulder or emergency lane and too close to passing traffic.  Goldfields would be much nicer if access was better.

I was welcomed to Temora by a tractor pull ad.

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As I drove to the Airfield Caravan Park I noticed a cycleway that headed into town.  After parking up I and B headed for the cycle path and into Temora for some supplies.

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It turned out to be a pleasant cycle and although the surface was made of concrete slabs they have been placed well and give none of that “thump, thump” as you cross the joins.  The path also leads out to the Centenary Lake complex which has been developed for water skiing and power boat racing.

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The Airstrip is a left-over from WWII when it was a training base for Australian pilots, navigators etc.  There is a Museum which has 2 flying Spitfires (a VIII and an XVI), a Tiger Moth, Vampire, Meteor and Camberra and other interesting (old) planes.  It is also a working airstrip and has a growing number of people who live around it.  The front of the house faces the street.  In the “back garden” is a hanger from which light planes can access the taxiway out to the runway.  That’s what is being sold in the above ad.

Not your usual caravan park.  From ones seat by ones caravan one can watch planes being pushed around in and out of hangers, being worked on, taxiing to the runway, taking off, landing and flying around.   This I did this afternoon in the company of a school mate, Ted.  We did some catching up while watching the activity on field.  A great way to spend an arvo.

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Tomorrow I head for Wangaratta – the last stop before the Ferry.  After cycling a bit at Wang I will update my distance cycled for the past 3 weeks and the year.  I think I will have passed the 3,000k mark.

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but, who knows, an electric bicycle may make an appearance down the track

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