This road brings you straight to Jerome from Cherry. The beginning is a dirt road that is fairly easy. Once you bear left at the intersection of FR413 and FR493 (past the "road closed 6miles ahead" sign the trail gets very tight, and rocky. There are a couple spots where boulders have fallen and make navigating the trail more difficult. My Silverado 1500 barely fit through the brush and around some of the boulders. I completed most of the trail in 2wd, only turning 4wd on for the last section past the road closed sign.
A last-minute trip to find some lookout points up in the Bellthorpe SF and then explore some of the Kandanga Forest Reserve where I found another Fire Tower had been knocked down - damn shame, then return home via the West Branch Rd following the Brisbane River down to Moore.
We got away from Pilliga NP at 5:45 DST- not bad for our first day across the border away from real time.
Once again, not a lot of traffic. Maybe the trucks are having a week off. Having a 2-way radio paid off several times with warnings of "Flash for Cash" and "patrols"- not that we were wanting to exceed the 110km speed limit. That uses too much fuel.
The road quality is quite variable. I wondered again how they can justify a 110km speed limit- except to be pragmatic.
Had a look at the Coo-ee March Museum in Gilgandra, stopped at Dubbo for a cuppa, had a look at the Radio Telescope in Parkes, lunch in Forbes and checked out Ben Hall's grave.
Stopped for the night at a Truck Stop on the southern outskirts of Marsden.
We got away from Millmerran at 6:15 (Qld time). The drive down through Goondiwindi was quite uneventful. Not much traffic early. None of the shops were open in the towns we went through, even when we got down into NSW. Moree and Narrabri seemed to be celebrating another public holiday. The Newell Highway has a 110km speed limit, but beware of the NSW double demerit points at Christmas. In some places the road surface is quite rough with pot-hole repairs and general building roughness.
We were making good time so went into Dandry Gorge in the Pilliga Scrub to see the Sculptures in the Scrub. This is where we camped for the night.
Left home just before 4 o'clock to get a few k's under our belt. It felt so good to be on the road again- this time heading to Tasmania.
We came a different route to get to Goondiwindi. Rather than going through Warwick, we came up through Toowoomba then to Millmerran. There was a lot less traffic than
We stopped for the night in a small RV-friendly park called Walpole Park- courtesy of WikiCamps.
The houses in small German villages were much more colourful than in England. Each house was a different colour.
After a great night's sleep, we packed up and headed off. Nindigully will certainly be a future stop on trips to the west.
Just by coincidence we pulled off the highway to a very small town called Bungunya. There wasn't even a shop or service station to be seen. However, they did have free hot showers (donation box), toilets and an area where one could camp- probably only with a self-contained caravan. Might not have been so good with a tent. Philippa took advantage of the shower to wash her hair.
Again, this will go down on the list of future stops.
We had a fairly uneventful drive through to Goondiwindi then on to Coolmunda Dam.
Great trips to Bribie Island
After a reasonably early departure from home, we headed in the Ipswich Motorway and Logan Motorway to the Pacific Highway. We detoured through Byron Bay, Suffolk Beach for coffee at the surf club overlooking a beautiful beach, Broken Head Nature Reserve and Lennox Head for lunch. Philippa had a swim in the lagoon, but I couldn't be bothered. She said the water was just so warm.
We joined the Pacific Highway again at Ballina after taking the mandatory photo of the "Big Prawn". Another detour took us to Broadwater National Park, through Evans Head and back to the highway at Wardell. At this stage of the trip, we were not sure our timing was going to go, so we were trying to get as far as possible on this first day. At Broadwater, we walked from a carpark over the sand dunes to the beach. There was no one else around. While this was possibly due to us being there outside the school holidays, it was just beautiful. Beaches stretching as far as the eye could see. The Ranger Station and residence was perched on top of a hill with 270 degree views of the water and beaches.
Broadwater NP will definitely be a camping destination in its own right in the future.
We pulled up for the night in the first of many free overnight spots at New Italy. It is a tourist destination and truck stop on the Pacific Highway that resells the story of the early Italian settlers who ended up here following a series of disasters. They opened up the land, starting from nothing and built a thriving community. There was a display of some sections of the Italian Pavilion from Expo 88.
Unfortunately, the highway has a slight rise and a bend at this point, so all the trucks going past were either working hard up the incline, or were using their exhaust brakes to handle the downhill bend. All in all- quite noisy and therefore difficult to sleep. Still, it was free.