Tuesday, 26 January 2010
It was just as hot the next day, so an hour-long lunch break at Singleton was very much appreciated by all. Even better, there was a resident flying fox colony in the park to provide considerable entertainment.
|What a difference the tripod would have made!|
It was very hot the day we were driving home (close to 40 degrees) and our tolerance for old-fashioned traveling had expired by the time we reached Tamworth (aka "cowboy town"). The first caravan park we tried was not Keegan-friendly but happily Austin Tourist Park was happy to have him (and us) in an overnight cabin. http://www.austintouristpark.com.au/
Erin, Nick and I all enjoyed a shower - while Vaughan had a soak in the mini-bath shower recess. Erin asked him afterward if he was squeaky clean - he rubbed his singlet and jamies before responding that he didn't squeak!
|Ta-dah! One shower enclosure!|
|The smile says it all!|
My Kwiambal open-air(ish) shower was wonderful! I did keep an eye on the wandering goanna though, just in case he/she was our soap-swiping culprit!
|Bakery: hot pies, salad rolls, drinks, cakes, friendly chats!|
Scotty the "would-be mechanic" rocked up as we were siting outside the bakery, sampling their pies/sausage rolls and milkshakes. He apologised firstly for not being able to fix our tyre and recommended we drive further to Inverell (another 56kms) for assistance. Seemingly he had sold off much of his equipment - and many of the town's businesses had also closed in the past two years. In fact, the only signs of life in Ashford were the pub, bakery, Rural Transaction Centre and agricultural supplies store.
|Cinema closed "since Jesus played fullback for Jerusalem"|
You would think a Dungeon would be down-low - yes?! I guess this one was but you had to climb high (and walk far) to view it. We set off reasonably early one morning on an extended bushwalk. It was very scenic walking through the boulder country along the river, though very hot and we rested often along the way. The pics above are from one of our stops, making best use of the little shade available. Vaughan was whingey at various points but overall managed the 1.7km walk with his boots on the wrong feet!
After we reached the main lookout and admired the view, it was another 2km walk back to our car. We walked along a road for the return trip, easier in some ways (for all but Nick, who carried Vaughan at points) though there was far less shade.
|The Dungeon Lookout|
|Beer, BBQ (and tomato sauce)!|
There was a very bushy stretch of main road from the Kwiambal turn-off back to Ashford where all the properties had funky letterboxes - in most cases the houses were well out of sight, so the driveways and letterboxes were the only clue that someone lived close.
|Dressed up for Australia Day!|
|Population about three times that of Wallangra!|
We went to Texas - and Keegan came too! We caused a bit of a stir in the main street. A man came out to investigate our scurrying about in front of his shop. He was distinctly unimpressed that a gecko had caused such excitement! It was too hot to leave Keegan in the car, so Erin carried him along with her - and various people came up to admire him and tell bird stories.
Nick had consulted the map the previous night and was hopeful of obtaining Pepsi Max (aka "black death") at Wallangra. I had my doubts but it was a bit of a giggle to witness his expression as we passed through the small township of six houses! (I have checked just now and it seems the recorded population is 228, so I am wondering where all the people were hiding)!
Fortunately Texas offered a choice of two shops (and a butcher), so we took the opportunity to stock up on a few items including ice and "black death". I visited the butcher too, who was a bit surprised to be featuring in Nick's holiday DVD but coped reasonably well with his few minutes of fame!
|It was so hot that ice-creams were very welcome!|
It is far better not to know. I'm not kidding. Ignorance is bliss! (I wish I was still ignorant)!
|It a little while to realise this had been a shearing shed.|
We investigated most of them - speculating about what the structures were, who had lived or worked there, what their life had been like, when and why they had left etc. We startled a few roos as we poked about!
"The vulnerable and rare Large Bent-wing Bat (minio-terus schreibersii) depends on the caves as a nursery and roosting site. The Eastern Horse-shoe Bat is also recorded in these caves. These bats are protected species, and as such the caves will be closed during their breeding season."Erin is a big bat fan (and she likes small bats too!), so visiting the Limestone Caves was a compulsory outing, which we all appreciated. As much as we enjoyed exploring, seeing the bats and fairy martens (small birds), it was at least 10 degrees cooler within the caves so a very pleasant contrast to the outside.
There is some information regarding the history of Kwiambal National park generally (and the Limestone Caves specifically) at the link below:-
|Just checking - any in here?|
|There they are!|
|Showing Erin one of his finds|
So says the official blurb for the Park but they obviously hadn't counted on Vaughan's eagle eyes. He spotted several while swimming. They were so small I found them difficult to see even after they were captured!
Erin spied a frog near our gazebo soon after arrival. We discovered another slightly larger (fortunately un-squashed) one under the foam matting when we were packing!
|Our swimming "beach" - about 200m from camp|
|Much giggling when Nick got nipped!!|
|Erin engrossed in yabby catching!|
|Looking down river toward our campsite|
|Looking up river to unexplored territory!|