Thursday, 18 November 2010

Out and Back

The Warrumbungles provided a couple of excellent walks around the ridges left by an old volcano and ascending the remnants of lava domes with the distant views of the outback plains encouraging us to head that way.

A full day's drive brought us to the remarkable www.willieretreatmacquariemarshes.com.au miles from anywhere run by a remarkable couple ably assisted by a friend from Sydney who provide a lovely campsite on the edge of the marshes which provide significant and varied bird habitats. The area was looking unusually gren and verdant after the breaking of a 10 year drought and we spent a hot and humid evening listening to the nocturnal birdsong. Unfortunately heavy rain was forecast and as the access roads soon turn to mud we left early the next morning.
Hill End was a remarkable place to spend a couple of nights as it used to be a substantial gold mining town but now has only around 100 residents, many old buildings and masses of history.
In a similar vein (ha ha) the old oil shale mining town of Newnes provided a memorable two nights camping beneath the lofty plateaux of the Wollemi National Park with a fascinating walk to explore the old industrial ruins, a long chat with the enthusiastic owner of the unfortunately dry hotel and an evening climb up the Pipeline Track to a viewpoint a thousand feet above the valley floor.
Today we set off early to follow the Glow Worm Tunnel walk that follows the former railway which with luck and a lot of effort will one day be a cycle track. This gave us time to visit a family friend in Katoomba who last saw me almost 50 years ago - sadly similar hair and rotund even then apparently!
We are now at Lake Lyell prior to heading down to Jenolan caves and the Kanagra Boyd NP both of which should return us to the wilds.
At some stage I will have to remove the splash guard from the rear brake disc as it is rattling - the other was removed in NZ not 3 months ago, otherwise we are in good shape despite some long stretches of unmade road and various fords and rough sections. Pics here and SPOT here.

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