On a fine winter’s Sunday we assembled at our friends house and planned our route to Inverell in NSW. Why Inverell I hear you ask? As it turns out Inverell is home to a rather large car museum. We’ve been wanting to go there for a while and we finally got some time to get away.
After map reading it was ‘Gentlemen, start your engines’ and away we went.
We prefer the more minor roads to avoid trucks and to be able to enjoy some scenery along the way, so we headed to Rathdowney and onto Woodenbong for our first coffee stop.
The breeze had sprung up and it was quite cool in the open topped car. Lucky the sun was shining to provide some warmth.
The coffee was good and hot, so refreshed we headed off along the back road to Bonalbo then the Bruxner Highway to Tenterfield.
It was getting late for lunch and our favourite Willow Tree Cafe was closed on Sundays so we went into the hotel with its warm fires and tasty soups.
Back in the car it was definitely getting cooler, so another layer of clothes was added before an unscheduled stop. Chris pulled over to check something. We pulled in behind, turned off the motor, then when we wanted to head off the engine wouldn’t start. Not good being two small green cars on the side of a busy stretch of road for we were now on the New England Highway. Eventually we all push-started the MG and off we headed -grateful not to have to call for help.
We arrived in Glen Innes and turned west towards Inverell and now it was very chilly and we were driving into the western sun. I had two hats , gloves, a rug on my knees and two scarves. And I was still cold.
After a beautiful day’s drive the last half hour wasn’t quite so great. We were pleased to arrive at Inverell and get into our warm rooms at Top of the Town Motel with its covered car spaces and and warm rooms.
I love country towns. Having grown up with a father who loved driving and many relatives scattered throughout the NSW countryside we had lots of holidays driving and visiting relatives.
Warmed up, we headed to the restaurant recommended by Margaret from the motel. We asked her about the club in town. “No, don’t go” there she answered, quickly followed by “or to the Chinese”. We settled on the Thai and it was good.
Monday morning Steve was up and ready to sort out the starter problem with his car. He called the NRMA, the motoring body who comes to your rescue when there are car problems. I was comfortably still in my warm bed and I could hear voices outside. Men and their cars! Steve along with Chris and Andrew were huddled under the raised hood discussing things until the NRMA man joined them. Then there were lengthy discussions and laughter and advice given until half an hour later Steve appeared quite thrilled to report it was a minor problem, and the car was across the road from the motel at the conviently located auto electrician!
A morning to inspect a small country town is very revealing. Inverell, I’m pleased to say, is a great little centre. After a super breakfast at the Bridge Cafe we parted with the boys. They headed off to the car museum and we decided to walk the heritage trail of the town’s main streets.
There are some beautiful old buildings lining the streets which have undergone some restoration work and are quite lovely.
The Inverell Art Gallery located in Street has a beautiful mosaic walkway leading to it. The Gallery is well used and was setting up for a local Kindergarten art show.
We called into Berlinger’s Art Gallery a most attractive place with some really good art on the walls and some beautiful craft works including lovely quilts and cushions. It looked prosperous which is a good sign for a country town. As we walked along the main streets we went into several gift homewares shops , one with a coffee shop inside. Another one was a combination of gifts, knit wear and art supplies. The owner Melissa Simmons was lovely to chat to and said things were doing well in Inverell despite the drought.
Along from there we went into Magnolias, a very large gift, clothes and furniture shop. There is lots of money tied up in this really lovely shop. I bought a jacket so will feel I’ve contributed to the local economy.
In fact we all bought an assortment of gifts, clothes, craft items and Jann topped the purchases with a lovely cream wool throw.
Back with the boys we enjoyed coffee at yet another cafe and then back into the cars for the next run. The weather was warm and much more comfortable. We stopped in Texas – no, not Texas USA but a small country town in Queensland. We chatted to a lovely lady at the CWA – the Country Women’s Association (though sometimes its known as the Cranky Women’s Association) before heading off to try and beat the dangerous driving time. Kangaroos hop with no fear or sense across the road. There are lots of dead bodies littered along the highways and roads. Little furry legs in the air. It’s quite scary driving along thinking they’ll run out in front of you. I’d hate to hit one.
We drove into Stanthorpe around 4.30 and found the Apple and Grape Motel in the Main Street. For those overseas readers a motel is a type of hotel. They are usually one or two stories high with parking outside the rooms.
Our motel was conveniently located next to a pub! Or hotel to be more correct. And we were ready for a drink. Surprisingly though located in the wine area we didn’t have much choice of bubbles or wine. But we managed to find something wet and bubbly and in front of the warm crackling fire settled in.
We followed up with dinner – nothing special. Just the usual steak and chips! Lamb shanks, lasagne , chicken parmigiana. As I said nothing too exciting. But it filled us and warmed us and we had some fun.
Jann our champagne queen didn’t drink the rather inferior bubbles. So after dinner she sent Andrew to a bottle shop and he came back with a lovely bottle of Tattinger. Such posh friends I have. And aren’t I lucky!
So to sleep