On the road. Thargomindah to Charleville

Why take the short route when you can take the long way and explore this big country of ours.

First stop Noccundra for the second oldest pub in Qld. The Noccundra Hotel is smaller than the Nindagully Pub and much more remote.

A coffee for me. Yes, even out this far you can get a good coffee. AND believe it or not a beer for Steve. At 10.30 in the morning simply because it is the second oldest pub!

There were some campers and fishers enjoying the waterhole. Again it’s very muddy. No blue water here despite the beautiful blue sky.

The landscape here is flat and red

I chatted to the lady at the bar. One of a population of 3! She’s been in Noccundra for 9 years. How on earth I wonder. You’d have to have a hobby that didn’t involve drinking. I think I’d write. Perhaps paint. What would you do?

Actually, it would be like living in lockdown. All the time! With a few visitors a day allowed in.

Next stop Eromanga. Slightly bigger population. Also home to a beautiful metal dinosaur named Knot-o-saurus. It was gifted to this town by former Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Campbell Newman after it was centrepiece for the G20.

Eromanga is also famous for being the town in Australia furthest from the sea. Who would have thought ! So I got my map out and was looking at distances.

Down the road – about another 2.5hrs is Quilpie. Slightly bigger with people having a bit of a bowls carnival. So we saw some people. Sunday in small towns you don’t see a lot of people around. Everything is closed.

Arrived in Charleville at around 5pm and it was getting very cool. We chose the Rocks Motel as they have a restaurant and we thought that would be a good option.

When we checked in the young girl, Phoneix at reception told us her family had only taken ownership of the motel a week ago. They found the restaurant staff has been stealing. Cash, meat and alcohol. So they had to let them go. Restaurant closed! Now they need a chef and staff. So hard in small towns

So it was off to the RSL for dinner. All tables seemed to have travellers and workers in high vis vests.

We waved to the motel owners as we left. Even they needed a feed!

It was a quiet and cool walk home.

Australia’s Oldest Pub & Western Sunsets

We had the heaviest rain last night in Goondiwindi. I’m thinking of buying gum boots for the boot scooting at Thargomindah on Saturday.

We had a lovely coffee to start the day at The Larder in the main shopping street. It’s a popular place and with lots of tourists and road workers in town we had to wait to get a little table.

You may have heard of Goondiwindi Cotton. It’s a family business with a great story.

https://goondiwindicotton.com.au/pages/our-story-1

Their clothes are great quality and timeless in design. We both managed to spend up. The sale had started so we couldn’t resist.

I was popping in and out of the change room selecting when I noticed a woman admiring my jumper. I persuaded her to try a few things. She bought ! She suggested the owners employ me!

We took their brochure about the art sculpture trail and went to find it.

Nungwai
On the outskirts of town, we explore the unique and eclectic collection from local artists, Angus & Sandie Wilson. Wonderful

I could continue posting images. There were so many wonderful funny, quirky, sculptures. If you’re in this area don’t miss it.

Then it was off to Bowen Lane. It’s not just the big cities that make use of it lanes. Goondiwindi is up to the minute in style.

This great shop is in Bowen Lane

It would have been easy to stay longer in Gundi but the Nindagully Pub was waiting for us.

We were here a few years ago and loved it. Today after the rain the car park and camp ground was a muddy sight.

We dodged the mud puddles and made for the bar. The oldest pub in Queensland still attracts a crowd. It is quite eccentric but so much fun and easy to spend time wandering the pubs rooms or sitting in the garden under a shelter sporting a chandelier! Shabby chic for sure.

Note the chandelier
A fire pit for the chilly evenings.

Feeling full and relaxed we headed west to St George. A small town making an effort to welcome tourists. Sadly due to rain their special picnic races this Saturday have cancelled. No not covid. Rain. The track is too muddy.

There is a local winery where we did our best to boost the economy. The charming young man who gave us a tasting of their range of wines turned out to be the owners son.

Jock Blacket

Riversands Winery is 2 out of town – out along the Balonne River. it’s a small set up but has some pretty tasty wines. We bought a mixed dozen – and decided to sit in the garden and enjoy the sunshine with some cheese and wine. It may have rained a lot last night but today is now warm and sunny.

Jock advised us not to miss the sunset over the river so we moved back to town. We checked into the motel along with the local road workers in their big Utes and dirty boots.

Heading for the river we took the well planned riverwalk and enjoyed the sunset through the trees.

I could keep posting pictures. It was so stunning.

We walked back to our motel and decided to finish the wine and cheese and not eat out. We had definitely had enough for lunch at Nindagully.

We are now relaxing & watching the news hoping we are far away from covid spreaders. Though looking at the number of NSW number plates were beginning to wonder if people are escaping to Queensland.

Every town has a Memorial This one was very special.

South Coast NSW. Tripping along

Breakfast with a view is always a good idea. It sets you up for the day.

We picked up a car and headed off – south past the airport.

Down towards Cronulla , an area referred to as ‘The Shire’. It’s a beach area with comfortable bungalow style houses and access to the beach via a long Boulevard.

Onto the road through the National Park and then we wound down towards the Sea Bridge Cliff drive. This road is an engineering feat. It’s about 700mt long and goes out over the water. It’s not attached at the bottom of the steep rock cliffs as there are the dangerous boulders will break loose and roll onto the road.

It’s a cameramans delight! The clouds in the sky made it more dramatic.

We had to stop at the Scarborough Hotel for a reviving coffee and were tempted to share the gorgeous home baked carrot cake. Definitely no lunch needed.

Then the trip took us past little seaside places of our childhood. My parents had their honeymoon at Kiama and our family had holidays at Gerringong, Steve’s family at Austinmer, Erowal Bay and Huskinson. So we had a little trip down memory lane.

We continued south past Berry, Molleymook, Batemans Bay. Then into Moruya, took a left turn and onto Bingi. There’s no town there. It’s a National Park with some acreage land with home. Built in secluded spots. Jan & Stuart live there in a house designed by Stuart.

The floor of the outdoor terrace is actually the top of an enormous water tank. The mosaic floor has been designed as a map of the area with their house shown as the white pebble circle in the photo above. Quite stunning.

There are big kangaroos grazing just outside and if you ignore them they’ll ignore you. You don’t want them coming over and boxing you!

We walked through the trees to the beach. It’s secluded and very special.

Home to many birds, you have to respect their habitat. We climbed up the hill to the side and spotted The Pinnacles sitting in isolation on a small beach.

Dinner was prepared by Stuart a man of many talents. He’s an architect but paints wonderful scenes of the area and designed built and ran The Rivers at Moruya, a great restaurant- the first to get one hat on the South Coast.

The night was dark, the frogs croaked the kangaroos stood on hind legs boxing and we slept in peace.

Opals: Fossicking in Lightening Ridge.

A little nightcap last night gave us s reason to have a sleep in so we wandered to breakfast around 8.30.

The town was waking and the sun was shining. Breakfast was at the Green Gecko 🦎. Another success! Delicious and served with a country smile.

We made our plans for the day and started with the Art Gallery across the road. The John Murray Gallery is a popular stop on the tourist trail. And with good reason.

The building itself screams outback. The paintings on the shed wall capture the outback in a humorous way.

Inside was just as interesting. We watched a movie with John Murray talking about his arrival in the Ridge and starting an art gallery. We saw his home with its natural materials. His art is colourful and fun and I couldn’t resist buying one or two small pieces.

No photo inside. 😫

We crossed the road walked past the emus on the wall and went into the opal cave. A renowned shop selling the famous black opal.

The shop is done out like a cave full of treasures. I spotted a beautiful black opal reflecting the most gorgeous colours. Not in any setting. A single opal for $12,000. Wow.

The sales people patiently explained how to spot a good quality opal let us look, examine and try various pieces of jewellery and good naturally farewelled us after we didn’t buy anything.

We tossed up over the next stop and decided on the underground mine. It was a few km out of town.

We hatted up and down we went. It was cool and a little claustrophobic. But fun. Another little movie explaining how to fossick. I think you’d have to be determined!

And you’d have to like being underground!

The owner of the mine was from Shorncliffe Qld. He told us if you worked hard mining you would make a good living. There are opals to be found. Perhaps a career change?

Above ground we decided it was beer o’clock. Michael promised us a tour of the 3 pubs in the scrub via the underground sculptures.

Today we could see the yellow car doors so followed them to the sculpture underground. Sadly closed for lunch. For 3 hours! So we continued heading out of town. Past the big emu.

A quick stop at the great church and then we spotted a sign. Yes it was the pub. Well one of them.

We drove across dusty, unpaved stony roads until finally The Club in the Scrub.

Such a great place complete with its own library!

We ordered food in the nick of time from the rather unsmiling waitress.

Helen ordered a large chips to share and boy …….. was it large!

What a place.

We loved it.

After lunch we decided to ‘blow this fox hole ‘. A rather fun saying meaning ‘that we got to go’

Back along some more tough roads past miners houses of varying quality.

Past a memorial to those who had died

And past Nashy’s thong tree whoever Nashy is!

And then a few dusty kilometres later the next Pub.

Disabled parking is provided with a smile.

Even bus parking!

We loved it all. Especially the friendly blokes , the miners enjoying a Friday afternoon beer. We joined them and had fun.

Before the dusty road back.

Back to Ridge and dinner at the Bowling Club. . Or as it’s known. The Bowlo!

Another great day in the big dusty outback!

Lightening Ridge: one pub at a time.

The day started with a walk around the corner to a lovely country cafe with lashings of bacon and farm fresh eggs. Nothing like a country style breakfast.

After breakfast the team split! The boys went in the direction of Boomi in search of the pub. It’s about half an hour from Goondiwindi and is a tiny town but has a great pub.

The girls stayed behind to boost the economy. I had spied some lovely bamboo deck chairs in a lovely parrot print. I had to check them out!

Main Street browsing in a country town is always a treat. Everyone seems friendly, there are things you don’t see at other places – in the city, and it doesn’t take too long.

Like Inverell from a few weeks ago Gundi, as it’s known here has a good feeling. The shops are attractive, the street scape is well cared for and the Art Deco buildings add character.

We did our best to spend a $$$. Jill bought black pants, Helen a dress and I got those deck chairs. I bought the set. They are lovely !

The chairs squeezed into the boot and off we went. We headed towards Weengallon on h’way 85. We’d been told by the dress shop owner that the community had held a fundraiser lunch there for the 5th year in a row to raise funds for breast and prostrate cancer. Over 500 attended. It sounded like a wonderful community event.

Weengallon consists of a lovely church and hall and not much more. The ladies (and men I presume) travel from km away to attend. I’d love to go but apparently it sells out in an hour!

Along the 85 we drove, anticipating our arrival at the Nindigully Pub. It’s quite famous. In a recent episode of Back Roads it featured mostly because it’s an amazing outback pub which serves up the worlds biggest hamburger. It’s as big as a pizza, costs $60 and sadly for us takes 2hrs to prepare. We didn’t order ahead so no big burger.

We did enjoy the meals we had though. Smaller burgers! And steak sandwiches. And the atmosphere of the pub first serving drinks in 1864.

The indoor dining room.

We enjoyed a beer and explored the pub both indoors and out. It’s a fascinating part of Australian history. And obviously very popular with travellers and the grey Nomads (retired older people who travel Australia in caravans)

After lunch we headed into Thallon. It’s become a tourist stop – (again seen on Back Roads) for its big Wombat and it’s painted silos. The wombat is hugh and has footholds up one side to encourage climbers. Such fun.

The silos are beautiful. They stand proudly against a blue sky and are just so Australian.

I have to share this joke at Thallon’s expense. Our friend Helen’s daughter sent a message saying ‘Nice place you’re in – is there a beauty thallon, hair thallon or maybe a nail thallon! ‘ 😂

Back into the cars we drove in convoy to our next stop.

The Hebel Hotel. This journey is becoming a pub crawl. And why not. There are some excellent pubs! This one is again not really part of a town. It’s a destination.

We had a drink – —drivers not enjoying a beer 😢 but able to enjoy the challenge of a game of darts.

Aware that the afternoon was passing and wanting to avoid the kamikaze kangaroos we tackled the last half hour into Lightening Ridge.

Driving into the Ridge we faced the population sign. Instead of a number it just had a ?

Anybody’s guess. People definitely come and go from the town as they try their luck finding opals. Especially the Black Opal.

The art around town is fun

We checked into our motel and had a drink as we were so dry! Then decided to drive to the ‘Night Sky Spectacular. ‘

It was 3 km out of town following the yellow car doors. Only problem, it was dark, we couldn’t see the car doors in the trees (a substitute for arrows) it was pitch dark. So we were late. It had rained a little so the show was moved into a shed. We crept in and watched a 30 min film about Lightening Ridge and fossicking for opals. Sadly no Night Sky Spectacular tonight!

Looking forward to fossicking tomorrow.