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    2023 Hot Artesian Baths Trip - Part 1

    This year I again planned a camping trip to coincide with one of the NRL State of Origin matches. Since 2018 I have watched at least one of the three matches in a country hotel. I also decided to link it in with a visit to a bunch of hot artesian baths in northern NSW and southern Queensland as well as visiting a couple of national parks which my normal travelling companions Ron and Donna had not visited. They were in their Toyota Land Cruiser 200. This time they were taking their camper trailer as was I.

    Unfortunately, a latish change where Donna had to be back home after a week meant they were only coming on the first week and a bit of the trip. Towards the end of the first week we were to be joined by Ian and Sharon in their Land Cruiser 79 with their new caravan.

    In addition, Ron needed to be in Port Macquarie for the first night of the trip for a family birthday, so the plan was they would meet me on the second night.

    Murray River
    My route as recorded by my GPS uploaded to Google Earth
    Left home in Sydney then north to the Queensland border. Then a ziz-zag trip to the west (an anti-clockwise trip) and back home.

    Day 1 - Saturday 20 May 2023- Sydney to Ben Lomond

    I get up at 6:15 am and after a shower, I head off at 7:00 am. I have to drop off my dog Veto to my ex-wife, so we have arranged to meet at a convenient spot at Roseville. I hand her over to Kelly and leave at 8:00 am, however, I have forgotten to give Kelly four scuba tanks I have in the back of the Cruiser. We have to meet again further up the Pacific Highway! I am back underway at 8:50 am.

    I head up the M1 and then the Pacific Highway past Raymond Terrace. I have decided to not go via the New England Highway but via Thunderbolts Way. I stop at 12 Mile Rest Area which is past Raymond Terrace. It is 207 kilometres from home and the time is 10:35 am. I have morning tea here and use the facilities.

    I leave at 10:48 am and a short distance along I turn onto Bucketts Way towards Gloucester. While this is not as good a road as the New England Highway, it is a fair bit shorter and Google Maps says it is quicker. I stop at Bretti Reserve at 12:28 pm. This is 328 kilometres from home. It is sunny and a very nice 19ÂșC. This is a nice camping area with tables and toilets. I stop at one of the tables and have lunch.

    UrallaBen Lomond
    A nice pale ale in the New England Brewery at UrallaSunset at my campsite at Ben Lomond

    I leave at 12:48 pm and continue up Thunderbolts Way through Walcha to Uralla. The road is pretty high for a great deal of the way, 1100 to 1200 metres. The road is fairly windy and also there are some steep descents and ascents. I stop at Uralla when I see the New England Brewery. I arrive here at 2:40 pm, 476 kilometres from home.

    I have a middy of a nice pale ale and buy a four pack to take home. I then go to a fuel station on the southern side of the town as the diesel here is 10 cents a litre cheaper than any other place up this way. I take 75.1 litres at $1.775 a litre, $133.36, average of 15.7 litres per 100 kilometres. I head off at 3:10 pm along the New England Highway.

    After Guyra the altitude increases to over 1400 metres. I arrive at Ben Lomond at 4:12 pm. This is off the highway and a very small village which has a free/donation camping area at the recreation reserve. There are also toilets and barbecues here. It is a very nice spot, grass but it is now freezing cold as there is a strong south-westerly wind blowing and the temperature is only 9ÂșC.

    Ben LomondBen Lomond
    An interesting and old sign (at least before 1966) in the tennis shedMy firepit is nice and warm

    I am the only vehicle here and I set up, placing the car and camper trailer so as to give me some protection from the wind. I set up my portable firepit as I don't want to ruin the grass. At 5:10 pm I have a fire going, using small pieces of timber from a pile in the corner of the grassed area. At 5:35 pm when I check, it is only 3.9ÂșC! The wind has finally dropped a fair bit.

    I sit at the fire and enjoy my beer and nibblies. I heat up some satay chicken and rice I have previously put together. At 7:00 pm I listen to the NRL on ABC Radio (the Tigers kill the Cowboys, a huge upset). I have some ice cream afterwards too. At 8:40 pm it is only 0.6ÂșC! I go to bed at 9:35 pm and it is a tiny bit warmer at 0.9ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 19ÂșC Arrived: Ben Lomond Time: 4:12 pm Distance: 562 kilometres

    Day 2 - Sunday 21 May 2023 - Ben Lomond to Bald Rock NP

    Weather: Overcast, -2.4ÂșC minimum

    While it was very cold during the night, by the time I am awake at 7:00 am, it has come over cloudy and the temperature has increased to 4.4ÂșC. I get up at 7:30 am and it is now mostly sunny, but with some cloud. It is very windy, so it is quite cold. I have breakfast and by 8:30 am it has again come over cloudy. It is freezing cold as the wind is stronger.

    Ben Lomond
    A panoramic shot of my campsite

    I pack up but I have to reopen the camper trailer again as I left some things on the seats and this has stopped me closing the trailer fully. I am packed by 9:05 am. I decide to go for a walk around the town. I walk to the railway station (1884), the station master's house (also 1884) and the community hall built 1908 and 1919. There are also a few other things to see. I walk 2.2 kilometres.

    Ben LomondBen Lomond
    The war memorial community hallThe station master's house

    I have not seen a single car or person in the over two hours I have been awake! I have a look at the shed which has barbecues and the old tennis court. The tennis club sign in the shed is funny, it is still in pounds, shillings and pence, meaning it is almost 60 years old. We changed to decimal currency on 14 February 1966! I leave at 9:50 am and it is a cold 5ÂșC.

    Ben LomondBen Lomond
    The Ben Lomond Railway StationLooking from the tennis club shed across the tennis court to the campsite

    I arrive at Glen Innes at 10:2 am, 40 kilometres away. I park and go for a walk. There is a very nice Catholic church, school and nun's monastery. They are all very beautiful buildings, especially the monastery. I then walk to the main street where there is the old town hall. Another brilliant building is the Kwong Sings Chinese emporium building, so luxurious for a small town. There is also an art deco Commonwealth Bank and adjacent buildings and the Great Central Hotel.

    Glen InnesGlen Innes
    The Catholic Church at Glen InnesThe nuns' monastery at Glen Innes
    Glen InnesGlen Innes
    The Kwong Sings Emporium at Glen InnesThe former Town Hall at Glen Innes

    At 10:53 am I drive to the Australian Standing Stones where I have morning tea. I walk around, there are some large stones placed sort of like Stonehenge. There is a solar clock built into the structure which shows midday at various times of the year. There is also a stone with a large stainless steel broad sword planted in it, a copy of the famous Excalibur from King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Of course, I try to remove it but do not succeed!

    Glen InnesGlen Innes
    The Commonwealth Bank and adjacent buildings in Glen InnesThe Great Central Hotel
    Glen InnesGlen Innes
    I'm trying to extract Excalibur

    I head off at 11:17 am and continue up the New England Highway. I see another brewery at Deepwater but when I turn back to go there, I find it is not open, even though it is a Sunday lunch time. I continue on to Tenterfield and arrive there at 12:27 pm (136 kilometres). My fuel economy for this section is a much better 13.0 l/100 kms. I go to Coles to buy something I forgot and then move to the local park to have lunch.

    At 12:57 pm I move to a street off the main street. I go for a walk to the famous Tenterfield Saddler, made famous in the song by Peter Allen about his grandfather. It is a nice old building. I walk down the main street, there is a nice Post Office and School of Arts. I leave at 1:15 pm. It is still only 13ÂșC, but at least it is sunny.

    The old Tenterfield Town HallThe Hall of Arts, Tenterfield

    I head towards Bald Rock National Park. I stop at Thunderbolts Hideout which is only 12 kilometres out of town. The famous bushranger, Thunderbolt, apparently hid in the rocks here at times and also used them to look for stage coaches to rob. I also stop at the tank traps, built during World War II to stop any invasion by the Japanese. More about this in two days time.

    The famous Tenterfield SaddlerThunderbolts Hideout

    I leave at 1:40 pm and at 2:10 pm I arrive at the Bald Rock Camping Area in Bald Rock National Park. It is 11ÂșC and I am at 1100 metres. I setup camp in my spot and at 3:00 pm Ron and Donna arrive. They are next to me. You need to book camping sites but at least this park has a decent map that shows where they are located.

    TenterfieldBald Rock NP
    Some of the tank trapsMy campsite at Bald Rock NP

    I make a cup of tea and at 4:00 pm we have showers as I have set my system up. At 4:30 pm we start the fire in Ron and Donna's firepit as it is a bit better than the one on my site. We have drinks and nibblies. Later Donna heats up some pea and ham soup that she made and I provide some garlic bread. It is very windy and cold, 7.5ÂșC. I go to bed at 8:20 pm and read the paper and my Kindle.

    Weather: Fine, max 13ÂșC Arrived: Bald Rock NP Time: 3:10 pm Distance: 170 kilometres

    Day 3 - Monday 22 May 2023 - Bald Rock NP

    Weather: Fine, 2.1ÂșC minimum

    I slept very well last night and wake at 6:30 am. After I listen to the 7:00 am news, I start reading the SMH and put the diesel heater on. It has been a cold 2.1ÂșC but it is 4.7ÂșC when I get up. It is fine but windy. I have breakfast and put the solar blanket out as there are so many trees. I have to move the blanket many times to follow the sun.

    We head off to walk to the top of Bald Rock at 9:25 am. The walk starts a short distance away in the picnic area. We are going up the long but easier way. This is also the more scenic route. The walk goes through a lot of large boulders, some of which make tunnels.

    Bald Rock NPBald Rock NP
    Donna with one of the interesting stone features on the walkDonna coming out of a tunnel
    Bald Rock NPBald Rock NP
    Another of the interesting sections of the walkThe view from near the top towards the main section of Bald Rock

    Eventually you come out on the rock itself where it meets the short but harder way up. The views from the top are fantastic. As you approach the summit, there are also excellent views of the main part of the rock itself. It is sort of like Uluru in some ways.

    Bald Rock NP
    Bald Rock from my drone, looking west or south-west

    When we get to the summit there is a trig station which is the actual peak of the rock. From here you have 360 degree views, including out over into Queensland. In fact, the border is right at the bottom of Bald Rock on the western side. We stop here and have a snack and drink and soak in the views.

    Bald Rock NP
    A panoramic photograph from the top of Bald Rock looking towards the north-east

    There is not a breath of wind so I also fly my drone to get some photographs of the rock as there is no way to see it like this from the ground due to the trees. We head back and go down the steeper but shorter way. We are back at our campsite at 12:15 pm.

    Bald Rock NPBald Rock NP
    A photograph of us on the summit from my droneRon and Donna coming down the steep section of the track

    The 5.2 kilometre walk has taken us just under three hours, although we did stop at the top for a while.

    When we get back we discover that there is free firewood so we collect some for tonight's fire. We have lunch and I then put my hammock up between two trees. For the rest of the afternoon I read the SMH and then my Kindle. Again, I have to keep moving the solar blanket. During the afternoon a bus with 35 students comes in. They set up camp a little way from us but do not make much noise at all.

    At 3:00 pm we have showers (I had left it up from yesterday) and then Ron starts the fire as it is cold. I have a cup of tea at the fire and then pack up the solar and the shower. We have drinks and nibblies at 4:30 pm. We cook dinner on the fire, I use my cast iron skillet. I have lamb and beef kebabs with pasta. We then sit around the fire. I go to bed at 9:00 pm, it is 6ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 12ÂșC Arrived: N/A Time: N/A Distance: 0 kilometres

    Day 4 - Tuesday 23 May 2023 - Bald Rock NP to Boonoo Boonoo NP

    Weather: Fine, 6.7ÂșC minimum

    I had another great sleep last night. It was a lot warmer and when I wake at 7:00 am it is 8ÂșC. I read the SMH and get up by 8:00 am. I have breakfast and then pack up. While I do this, I take the tropical cover off the camper trailer canvas. I do not see the point of it as it really only takes up space when I pack and keeps moisture on the canvas. I am ready to go at 9:15 am.

    Apparently last night, Donna and Ron had an eastern quoll get into their rubbish bag, wow! Before we leave, I write the directions to enable us to travel from Basket Swamp Falls to Boonoo Boonoo Falls without going back to the main road. I also download today's newspaper as there is no phone coverage in Boonoo Boonoo NP.

    We go to head off but Ron's car won't start, a flat battery. I have to jump him using my portable jump starter. We leave at 9:35 am. We go to Thunderbolts Hideout and then to the Tank traps as yesterday they did not stop at either. At 10:45 we go to the turnoff to Basket Swamp NP and stop to cut some timber (26.2 km). We need some good stuff as we are having a roast dinner in our camp ovens tonight for Ron's birthday. The national park provided timber is not great for that.

    The signs to Basket Swamp Falls are pretty hopeless, with only one sign from memory. It seems that the falls are not actually in Basket Swamp NP, but in Boonoo State Forest, but I am not really sure as the signs are pathetic. To find the falls, you enter via Lindrook Road, then 4.0 km along turn right into Woollool Woolloolni Road, then after 2.0 km left into Basket Swamp Road and then 2.4 km along right into Basket Swamp Trail. This last road is very rough and not all that suitable for 2WD.

    Basket Swamp FallsBasket Swamp Falls
    A photograph of the upper section of Basket Swamp FallsThe two jets of water coming out of the rock at the bottom of the upper falls

    We arrive at Basket Swamp Falls (2.6 km from intersection) at 11:28 am. It is a nice 17ÂșC now. There is a very poor parking area with a rotten table. There is sign saying the track is closed further ahead but it is open. When writing this, I look at the NPWS website and it shows using the road ahead of us to get to the falls, not the way we came. We have a look at the upper falls area, it is quite interesting, but do not go to the bottom as you need to walk down the steep road and from memory from my last time here, it was still hard to access the view. There are two jets of water that squirt out from the rock in the upper section. On the way in I see a lyrebird on the road.

    We leave at noon. As I go up the (not that steep) hill, my transmission overheats and the engine computer limits the revs dramatically. This has never happened before, even going up very steep hills in 4WD. I think that coming down has also heated the transmission as I was in first gear all the way. It is about 90 metres back up in altitude. Once at the top, the error message finally disappears and all is well. The temperature hit over 115ÂșC but is now back to 70ÂșC or so.

    We go back to Basket Swamp Road and turn right. There is a camping area here that looks okay. A further 2.3 km on we turn left into Lindrook Road (the same road we started on) and then 1.7 km on we turn right into SE Boundary Trail. Here we come across a sign that says the area is closed due to bridge work. However, the time period for this closure expired 18 days ago. We head down this trail.

    This is the road where last time I had to cut a tree that had fallen across the road. It is a good track. After 6.0 km we turn left into Colongon Road and follow this till we see Link Road after 2.3 km. We turn left into it and shortly after (1.9 km) we come to Boonoo Boonoo Falls Road and turn right. This takes us to Boonoo Boonoo Falls. When we get there it is obvious that some work is being done and there is nowhere to stop for lunch as the parking spots are full of work cars and building materials.

    We head back the way we came and past Link Road to the Cypress Pines Camping Ground where we have booked sites for the next two nights. As we get to the camping ground, we see a road closed sign which says the whole area towards Boonoo Boonoo Falls is closed from today till Friday. However, there was no sign on the road we came in on!

    When we get to the camping ground at 1:03 pm, we look for our sites and see that someone is in my spot. I stop just near the sites and walk over. There is a female sitting next to the caravan and I tell her that she is in my site and will need to move. She says I will have to wait till her husband comes back. I go back to the car and move around the loop so Ron can go into his site. I wait at the top for the husband.

    Boonoo Boonoo NPBoonoo Boonoo NP
    Our camp sites at Boonoo Boonoo NPThe gold mining area at Morgans Gully

    When he comes back, Ron talks to him and it is obvious he is not happy. I go and tell him that you have to book all national park sites as well as in Queensland. It is obvious he knows this from his reactions and comments (he is from Victoria). He is very rude and says he may not move at all. I tell him I will go get the ranger from the ranger station back down the road (there is not actually one, just a house that is rented out). He very slowly packs up, taking as long as he can just to annoy us.

    While I wait, I have lunch. Finally he drives out at 1:50 pm, having taken 47 minutes to pack up. I move into my spot. He totally leaves as even if he moved to another site, it is possible he would have to move again. I setup camp.

    Boonoo Boonoo NP
    Some man-made work on the side of the creek at Morgans Gully

    At 1:35 pm we go for a walk to Morgans Gully. This is the site of a gold-mining operation in the 1800s. There are some modifications to the creek leading into the Boonoo Boonoo River and also two boilers (did not see them this trip). We get back at 3:40 pm, it was 3.8 km return. On the way back, Ron says he is going to have a swim in the river for his birthday. I tell him I will join him if he does.

    Once back, we get ready for the swim. Ron finds a spot where we can get in and out, but it is not very deep. We step in and the water is up to my waist. I quickly duck dive under the water and get straight out. The water was a freezing 11ÂșC and it takes about 10 minutes for my legs to warm up, even though the sun is out.

    We put the fire on at 4:05 pm as we need coals for the roasts and also to warm us up. Earlier when I took my beef out of the fridge, I discovered that one end of the roast is frozen. Stupid fridge, sometimes it gets colder in spots. I put the beef near the fire to try to defrost it.

    While we get the coals ready, I make up my apple crumble pudding which we are having for dessert. At 5:15 pm we put the meats on. Ron is doing a pork roast. At 6:00 pm we add the vegetables to both our camp ovens. The timber we collected is not fantastic and the coals do not hold their heat as long as we had hoped and it is much colder than last night. The food is cooked at 7:15 pm and is excellent, even my beef is totally cooked. We have the meats and vegies with a nice Grant Burge sparkling wine.

    I later put the pudding on and it takes about 30 minutes to cook. We have it with ice cream. A great meal. We have a few ports around the fire and go to bed at 9:35 pm. It is only 4ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 18ÂșC Arrived: Boonoo Boonoo NP Time: 1:03 pm Distance: 64 kilometres

    Day 5 - Wednesday 24 May 2023 - Boonoo Boonoo NP

    Weather: Fine, -1.9ÂșC minimum

    A very cold night and it was still -0.8ÂșC at 8:00 am when I get up. Again I slept very well last night, so different to when I am at home. It is sunny again and it starts to warm up a bit. I have breakfast and while doing this I hear a helicopter. Earlier a semi-trailer went down the road towards the Boonoo Boonoo Falls. I suspect that the helicopter is lifting items off the semi and moving them to the spot where they are to be installed.

    At 9:40. am, we go for a walk. We plan to walk towards Boonoo Boonoo Falls but there is another sign on the walking track saying that the track is closed. This is ridiculous, as it is over 7.5 km away and the only work going on is right at the falls. We decide to ignore the sign and go anyway as we don't intend going all the way in any case. The walk roughly follows the Boonoo Boonoo River for part of the way, but at times it moves away. There are some nice views in spots.

    Boonoo Boonoo NP
    The Boonoo Boonoo River on our walk

    After 4.0 km we stop and have a break. We decide to turn around here and head back. We arrive back at 12:20 pm. I have lunch and then set up my hammock again. I read a new book and have a cuppa. I then fly my drone and take some photographs of the camping area. I then set up the shower and at 5:35 pm we have showers. After this I have another cup of tea.

    Boonoo Boonoo NPBoonoo Boonoo NP
    Drone photograph of campsite looking southA vertical photograph of our campsite from my drone

    At 4:30 pm we take some drinks to the nearby Platypus Hole Picnic Area. This is a small lake-like part of the river and is not far from the camping area. There is a small platform/viewing area here and we sit there. As Ron and Donna approached the platform, they see a platypus very close. While we are having our drinks, we see at least two platypus, perhaps more, but they are all over the other side of the hole. We see them multiple times.

    Boonoo Boonoo NPBoonoo Boonoo NP
    A mirror like Platypus PoolOne of the platypus in the pool

    When it gets too dark to see any more, we head back to the campsite. We are back at 5:25 pm and put the fire on. I later cook a chorizo pasta, using a packet pasta, very nice. For dessert, Donna has some custard tarts and we then have some of her Galway port and my chocolate. It is cold again, only 4.5ÂșC at 8:30 pm. The fire is very nice to sit beside. I go to bed at about 9:30 pm.

    Weather: Fine, max 18ÂșC Arrived: N/A Time: N/A Distance: 0 kilometres

    Day 6 - Thursday 25 May 2023 - Boonoo Boonoo NP to Texas

    Weather: Fine, -2.7ÂșC minimum

    A very cold night, but a great night's sleep. I wake at 6:30 am and after the 7:00 am news I put the diesel heater on so I can read my book (no internet here so cannot read the SMH). My water bottle in the camper trailer is partly frozen and I have had trouble during the night having a sip of water! There is also ice on the inside of the tent and the bonnet of the car.

    I get up at 7:50 am. It is nice in the sun as I have breakfast. We pack up and I am ready at 9:15 am. However, once again, Ron's Cruiser will not start. There is obviously something wrong with the battery. I have to jump start him and due to the cold, it takes a few goes to get it started. We leave at 9:35 am. It is only 4ÂșC.

    The Stanthorpe Post OfficeOrnate coat of arms on Post Office
    O'Maras Hotel, StanthorpeThe old Commercial Hotel, now a cafe in part

    We head back to the main road and then towards Bald Rock NP. We go past the entrance. The road is tar to here and then it is gravel, but there are a few sections of roadworks where they are tarring the road. We arrive in Stanthorpe in Queensland at 10:30 am. It is 50 km to here and it is now 16ÂșC. We park and go to the Woolworths to get some things. I need bread, mandarins and orange juice.

    Emergency services mural in StanthorpeAnother mural in Stanthorpe

    We then walk around the town. Donna wants to get something from a bargain shop so we visit three (yes, three). There is a very nice looking Post Office and a couple of old hotels, including the Commercial, where we have a coffee/tea (it now seems to only be a cafe). We leave town at 12:23 pm. We decide to head west towards Texas but then take the Glenlyon Dam Road as we have decided to look at the dam.

    StanthorpeGlenlyon Dam
    Interesting labels on toilets for men and womenLunch at the Glenlyon Dam boat ramp

    We arrive at the dam at 1:33 pm, 141 km and averaging 13.0 l/100 km. It is now a nice 23ÂșC. We have lunch in a shelter shed near the boat ramp. We then go to the dam wall and then to a lookout above the wall. This has very good views of the dam and the lake.

    Glenlyon DamGlenlyon Dam
    The Glenlyon Dam wallA panoramic photograph from the lookout at Glenlyon Dam

    We leave at 2:42 pm and head south back into New South Wales. We are now on the Bruxner Highway (which comes from Ballina on the coast. This is a good road and we follow it all the way to the turn off to Texas.

    We are back in Queensland again. We arrive at 3:52 pm and go to the Stockman Hotel and have a beer. I have a XXXX Bitter which I reckon is the first one I have had since about 1980 or so. The hotel has been done up and is very nice.

    The Stockman Hotel in TexasRon and I having a beer in the hotel

    We drive the short distance to the free camping area on the Dumaresq River. We drive around and find a spot at the end of the first section. It has nice grass and is pretty good. It is 4:35 pm. There are no toilets but there are ones back towards the town and also some in town with showers.

    Our campsite in Texas

    Once we are set up, Ron pulls out his firepit and we start a fire and at 5:15 pm we have drinks and nibblies. I cook chicken pops (a spicy chicken dish) with leftover vegies from the roast. I listen to the NRL match on the ABC. It is cold, only 3.7ÂșC at 9:35 pm when I go to bed.

    Weather: Fine, max 23ÂșC Arrived:Texas Time: 4:35 pm Distance: 242 kilometres

    Day 7 - Friday 26 May 2023 - Texas to Ezzys Crossing, Warialda

    Weather: Fine, 1.9ÂșC minimum

    It was a lot warmer than the past few nights as we are now over 500 metres lower in altitude. The lowest temperature was at about 2:00 am, as it was 5ÂșC at 7:00 am and 6.9ÂșC at 8:00 am when I get up. I have breakfast and then pack up. I fly my drone (it was too late yesterday). We leave at 9:37 am.

    A drone shot of our campsite at TexasTank art at Texas

    We head to the toilets and leave there at 9:47 am. It is now 10ÂșC. We head to a lookout on the eastern side of town but it is not very good, you get hardly any view. On the way back we stop at some water tanks which have art on the side. We leave at 10:15 am.

    A house in Warialda, GGTSSThe Yallaroo Shire Council building in Warialda

    We head back to the Bruxner Highway and head west. We stop at 10:50 am at Yetman next to the McIntyre River. We have morning tea in a nice rest area. It is 53 km to here and it is 18ÂșC. We leave at 11:06 am and just out of town we head down Warialda Road. We arrive in Warialda at 12:07 pm. We go to the petrol station and refuel. I take 104.38 litres at $1.819, $189.87, an average of 15.0 l/100 km.

    The Warialda Post OfficeThe Warialda Soldiers Institute

    We move to the Information Centre and we get some brochures. We go to Apex Park and have lunch. At 1:00 pm we drive to the main street and park here. On the way we pass a house that is painted red and green and has a white rabbit on it. Obviously a fanatical Rabbitoh supporter! We go for a walk around town, looking at the buildings. There are a lot of very nice historic buildings, including hotels, old shire buildings, the post office and soldiers memorial hall. Most of the historic buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1927.

    A house in WarialdaThe Royal Hotel in Warialda

    It is now freezing cold as there is a strong south-westerly wind and lots of cloud. We leave at 1:25 pm. We head west on the Gwydir Highway. At 1:47 pm we arrive at Ezzys Crossing on the Gwydir River. There is a free camping area here, about 1.5 km off the highway. There are lots of spots, but the best one is a fenced area away from the river. Ian and Sharon are already here, having arrived a few hours ago.

    Our campsite at Ezzys CrossingA vertical drone shot of our campsite
    On the river looking at the railway bridgeThe rotten section of the railway bridge

    There is a large shed here but the place is filthy. Obviously pigs have camped here recently. There is rubbish everywhere, a destroyed large screen TV and a dozen or so broken bottles. We pick up the glass which is all over the place. I later pick up all the rubbish and we move the TV to next to the garbage bins (which are very empty). Once I have set up, I have a cuppa and read the paper.

    At 3:00 pm we walk to the river and then along towards the railway bridge and then to the road bridge. Both bridges are off the same design, but the railway bridge is in very poor condition. We are back at 4:15 pm, we walked 3.0 km. Ron puts a fire on in his firepit as there is mostly grass on the ground. Ian sets up his outdoor shower and we all have nice hot showers.

    A drone photograph of our campsite at Ezzys Crossing

    By now the wind has dropped a lot so I fly my drone. We then have drinks and nibblies around the fire. Later I cook a sirloin steak (and Ian's steak) on Ian's barbecue plate over the firepit. We have it with cuscus that Sharon makes. After dinner we have the rest of the apple pudding and ice cream, and then port. Ian and I listen to and watch parts of the NRL games that are on. We also watch some of the AFL. We go to bed at 10:00 pm, it is not too bad at 10ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 18ÂșC Arrived: Ezzys Crossing Time: 3:47 pm Distance: 162 kilometres

    Day 8 - Saturday 27 May 2023 - Ezzys Crossing to Moree

    Weather: Fine, -1.9ÂșC minimum

    It was very cold once the cloud lifted but when I get up at 7:55 am it was up to 4ÂșC. It was nice having breakfast in the sun. After this I packed up and then I split some of the wood that Ian had collected yesterday and which we had not burnt last night. I took some of it in a bag on my camper trailer boat rack and Ian took the rest.

    As I mentioned, I picked up all the rest of the rubbish and then we moved the TV to next to the garbage bins so hopefully the garbage collectors would take it. We then drove to the end of the track and looked at the camping possibilities there. Not too bad, in summer would be nice. However, there is only a small area for a few rooftop tents or one camper trailer, not really suitable for caravans.

    At 10:30 am we leave, it is now 14ÂșC. We arrive in Moree and go to the Information Centre. I collect some brochures about Moree and the towns we are going to visit in the coming week. We book into the Gwydir Carapark at 11:15 am (60 km) and go to our sites. We are in three different spots, but relatively near each other.

    My campsite in MoreeThe thermal baths in the Moree Carapark

    This morning I took the sheets off my bed and collected all my dirty clothes. The first thing I do here is go to the laundry and put on a load of washing ($4). When I go to make my bed, the spare sheets I have are a bit damp. It looks like water has leaked from the outlet for the shower and wet them. I lay them out to dry the small bits that are damp.

    I listen to Bludging on the Blind Side with Roy and HG on ABC radio while I have lunch and read the paper. I then put the washing on the line and go to the hot artesian baths. The caravan park has five pools. Two are hot 37-38ÂșC, two are 34-35ÂșC and one is a 25 metre pool at 25ÂșC. I go into the hottest for a while, but you need to get out after about 15 minutes and cool down a bit. It is really nice.

    After the artesian baths, I go and check on the washing, some is dry. I then walk to the hotel which is just up the road. However, I discover that the place is fully booked with a party and the remaining tables also booked. Looks like we will need to go elsewhere for dinner.

    I decide to try the RSL Club but I need to phone back after 5:00 pm to book a table and to organise the courtesy bus. I read some more, have a cuppa, check the washing and then go for another hot spa. After 5:00 pm I book the table and the bus for 6:15 pm. I have a shower and then read till time to meet the bus.

    However, the bus did not come till 6:45 pm. The club is very nice, with Chinese meals as well as normal bistro meals. We end up eating in the main bar area as they have a big TV there and I want to watch South Sydney play Canberra. Ian, Sharon and I order dim sims, chicken satay, honey king prawns and fried rice, only $20 each. It was very good.

    The drinks are also well priced, I have Tooheys Extra Dry for $5.80 a bottle. Unfortunately, Souths play poorly and they lose. We are back at the caravan park by 10:00 pm. It is a cool 8ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 18ÂșC Arrived: Moree Time: 11:15 am Distance: 63 kilometres

    Day 9 - Sunday 28 May 2023 - Moree

    Weather: Fine, -0.6ÂșC minimum

    Another very cold night, I used my electric heater to warm up a bit before I get up at 8:05 am. I have been reading yesterday's paper which I have not yet finished. Ron and Donna head off as I get up, they should be home tonight (they were).

    I then go to the artesian baths with Ian and Sharon. There are heaps of Chinese in there, they seem to be on a bus trip. They are in the hottest bath, so I go in the next one till they leave and there is room in the hot one. I come back and have breakfast.

    A mural in the main street of MoreeAnother mural, this time in a laneway

    At 10:00 am I leave for town and park in the main street. I then do the Heritage Walk using the brochure I got yesterday. It gives a good description of the main buildings. Some of the more interesting ones are the Moree War Memorial Hall built 1921-3, Reids Emporium (1904), the Imperial Hotel (1929), the Bank Art Museum (1910) and the Moree TAFE (former council chambers - 1902 and later).

    The old CBC Bank building in MoreeThe Moree War Memorial Hall, built 1923
    The Harvey Norman store is in the former Greigs & Co buildingThe Moree Lands Department building, very similar to the one at Bourke

    There is also the old Lands Department building (1893) which looks identical to the one in Bourke where I worked for a few days in 1980, and the Moree Court House (1903). The walk takes me about an hour. I then go to the Moree Aquatic Centre so I can have a dip in their artesian baths. The cost is $5. One of their heated pools is getting rebuilt so there is only one. It is a nice 38ÂșC. It is now very cool as a breeze has some up, only 13ÂșC.

    The former Imperial Hotel, MoreeThe Moree Aquatic Centre, including artesian baths

    While in the hot water, I hear some people talk about the Pallamallawarra Hotel (Pally Pub). We passed the turn-off to there yesterday. I decide to go there for lunch. I leave at 12:07 pm and arrive there at 12:30 pm. It is 31 km from Moree. I order a hamburger with the lot and chips ($25) and a beer (Coopers Dry $5.50). As it is a bit warmer at 17ÂșC now, I sit in the beer garden.

    The Pallamallawarra Hotel, better known as the Pally PubHaving a schooner in the beer garden

    The burger was very good and quite large, I won't need too much for dinner. I leave at 1:15 pm and arrive back in Moree at 1:40 pm. I go to Woolies and buy a few things. I am back in the caravan park at 2:00 pm. I go to the artesian baths again, the read the paper and listen to the NRL on the ABC.

    At 4:30 pm, Ian and Sharon come over and we have drinks at the table next to my site. We watch the NRL on my tablet. At 6:00 pm I heat up some of the chorizo and pasta I made a few days ago and Ian and Sharon bring their dinner over too.

    We watch the football and have a few drinks. Later I go to the artesian baths and am back at my site at 9:00 pm and then go to bed. It is 7ÂșC.

    Weather: Fine, max 16ÂșC Arrived: N/A Time: N/A Distance: 64 kilometres

    Day 10 - Monday 29 May 2023 - Moree to Mungindi

    Weather: Fine, 0.6ÂșC minimum

    A cold night again, just above zero. I wake at 6:50 am, I am sleeping so well on this trip. I get up at 7:10 am when the ABC news finishes as we need to leave fairly early as the Mugindi Artesian Baths close at noon. I have breakfast and then pack up.

    We leave at 9:05 am, it is a much warmer 7ÂșC now. We arrive in Mungindi at 10:35 am. It is 122 km to here. On the way I speak to Les and Elly who I used to do a lot of camping trips with and who are also life members of the dive club of which I am president. The road has cotton farms all the way and one of the larger ones just before Mungindi was owned by the family of a member of our club.

    The Mungindi Artesian BathsThe new Mungindi Rest Area
    Our campsite at MungindiThe Mungindi Weir

    We go to the artesian baths, it is $5 to enter. There is one small hot pool and a 25 metre pool. The water is 38ÂșC, very nice. We leave at 11:35 am and drive to the free camping area on the Queensland side of the Barwon River. There is a very nice and new rest area with toilets and showers here, funded by Queensland, NSW and the Federal Government.

    A drone photograph of our campsite at Mungindi at bottom and the town

    We drive along the track that follows the river and find a nice spot right at the weir. We set up camp at 11:53 am. We then have lunch and I fly my drone. It is nice and warm and there is only a slight breeze. At 1:35 pm, Sharon and I walk to the toilets and then do the sculptures walk. This consists of ten small sculptures made from left over farm and other materials and tools.

    A wild bore sculpture at MungindiA tortoise sculpture at Mungindi and Police Station across road
    A sculpture of a Chinese "cooli" at MungindiA ant pest man sculture at Mungindi

    We walk 3.8 km and get back at 2:10 pm. We actually miss seeing two, one of which I still cannot find when we drive past twice! At 3:00 pm Ian and I drive in his Cruiser to get fuel and then to the Two Mile Hotel which is further along the road we came in on. This is a very nice hotel and we have a XXXX Bitter ($7.50). We are back at 3:55 pm.

    The Two Mile Hotel at MungindiIan and I having a beer at the Two Mile Hotel

    Sharon has the fire going when we get back. I am cooking Alabama BBQ ribs for dinner in my camp oven for Ian and myself. I put them on just after 4:00 pm. We have early drinks and nibblies. Sharon makes up some potatoes in foil and we cook these on the coals. We eat at 5:45 pm, the ribs are so tender, cooked slowly. Later we have Corneto ice creams that they have and a port.

    I go to bed at 8:55 pm when it is 7ÂșC. I read and then go to sleep about 10:05 pm.

    Weather: Fine, max 18ÂșC Arrived: Mungindi Time: 11:53 am Distance: 124 kilometres

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