Tuesday July 12, 2016
This morning dawned cold but dry and we departed Forbes under light cloud. Throughout the drive from Forbes, N.S.W. to Shepparton in Victoria, the roadsides were lined with water and water was evident across the farmlands. In some areas the farmlands were still inundated with water as far as the eye could see. The soil must be totally saturated as water lies everywhere. Roads along our route are badly damaged by rain and floodwaters and road repairs are being undertaken along the way.
The countryside is looking fantastic and green is the colour of the season. Fat lambs by the thousands are grazing the lush pastures which is promising for “spring lamb” – the Sunday roast is assured! Canola crops are looking amazing and the coming season should be a bumper one – hopefully the rains will ease so the crop can flourish.
Thankfully we encountered little rain today as the forecast led us to believe that we would be driving directly into the low pressure system. Our approach to Shepparton (tonight’s stop) is heralded by a beautiful rainbow and more amazing cloud formations. Tomorrow will see us in Melbourne where we board the Spirit of Tasmania for the final leg of our journey home.
Monday July 11, 2016
Yesterday we departed Brisbane and headed for Armidale, New South Wales. There was a feeling of home as we took the highway which led us from Brisbane.
Once we drove up through Cunningham’s Gap we felt we were certainly on our way.On Saturday, the day before our departure, we had the most lovely day at Australia Zoo, Beerwah celebrating our grandson Tynan’s 4th birthday. The crocodile show was the highlight of the day, although the animals and the variety of exhibits was fantastic.
This morning, Monday, we left Armidale and drove toward heavy cloud which was our first sight of the heavy weather front coming across Australia from the west.
Driving down from the New England Tableland, the clouds were growing darker and heavier.
As we approached Dubbo, the rain began to fall and visibility on the road once again became difficult.
Thankfully as the town of Parkes drew near, the skies cleared and we had a clear view of “The Dish”.
The country is looking amazingly green and plentiful following the flooding rains which we drove through on our journey north nearly three weeks ago. There has been follow-up rain and many paddocks and low lying areas are still covered in water. The sheep are happily grazing on lush new grass and all looked well with the world as we drove into Forbes under magic skies to rest for the night.
Toowoomba to Hervey Bay (Sunday July 26, 2016)
Departed Toowoomba on Thursday morning (23rd) in more heavy rain – visibility was very low, especially as we came down off the Toowoomba Range.
Within forty minutes we drove out of the rains and into our first glimpses of sunshine since we left from Lachlan. We had arranged to pick up grandson Aidan at Karalee and felt a little nostalgic to see the area in which we lived for 29 years although I can not imagine living there now as the area has become so built up and looks nothing like the beautiful rural area we once knew.
Arrival in Hervey Bay many hours later brought us into clear blue skies and magic sunshine with a temp of 19 degrees – the first touch of warmth since leaving home.
Today has been a special day with our grand-daughter’s 7th birthday celebrated in Queens Park on the Mary River, Maryborough. The monthly run of steam trains, large and small was in full swing and the children and adults had great fun in the most ideal weather conditions possible. Hours flash by in the company of four little grand-darlings but we have much to pack into just a week here on the Bay.
Coonabarabran – Toowoomba (Thursday, July 23, 2016)
Departed Coonabarabran under overcast skies but dry conditions. However, just south of Moree the skies opened again and the drive from Moree to Goondiwindi was tedious and difficult with visibility severely limited with rain and road spray from car and truck tyres. Rain came to an end at Goondiwindi and the journey onward to Toowoomba was at least in dry conditions albeit heavily overcast with the maximum temp remaining around 12-13 deg.
Highlights of the day were a magnificent old eucalypt tree in Coonabarabran, the sign indicating that Toowoomba was close at hand and the familiar sight of black soil country of the Darling Downs which is so intrinsically a part of our Queensland psyche. You know you have crossed the border into Queensland when your hair begins to frizz and the Prickly Pear is waving at you from the roadside!
Wagga Wagga – Coonabarabran (Wednesday, July 22, 2016)
Rain, rain, rain – we departed Wagga Wagga in bleak conditions en route to Coonabarabran. South of West Wyalong we drove on roads which had just been opened following flooding.
As we drove further north through Forbes and Parks, we passed paddocks and crop pastures which were inundated by flood waters – farm dams were overflowing and stock were looking very wet.
Our drive took us through the town of Temora – always think of Gwen and Larissa when I see this sign.
North of Dubbo, on the road north to Coonabarabran the weather began to lift – we stopped for a coffee break and viewed some interesting signage.
Today’s journey came to an end in sunny (finally) Coonabarabran – so lovely to be out of the rain at last.
Lachlan – Devonport – Wagga Wagga
Departed a cold and foggy Lachlan Valley on Monday 20th where the temperature was 2 deg C at noon. The view up the Derwent River was quite mystic.
The temperature up the Midland Highway did not rise until we reached the town of Perth where it was 4 deg C. Just south of the township of Ross we encountered heavy roadworks – looks like the continuation of the double lane highway.
Evidence of the very recent and devastating flooding across the north of Tasmania was still evident with flooded paddocks near La Trobe.
Thankfully the crossing of Bass Strait on The Spirit of Tasmania was calm and the drive out of Melbourne brought no hold-ups in peak hour traffic. Our drive north through Victoria brought intermittent showers and from Albury to Wagga Wagga we drove through general rain. However, the Riverina District is looking strikingly green and there is the promise of a great harvest later this year.