Our holiday really started to get exciting once we crossed the border into NSW. There seemed to be learning opportunities everywhere.
Tenterfield was our first stop after Wallangarra and we experienced so much in this town.
1. Our youngest (Ethan) split his foot open in a creek and required the local hospital to pull it all back together. However the nurse and doctor handled the situation with great care and due to their happiness and jovial attitude, many tears were mixed with much laughter. So the memories of the situation now is positive.
2. Bald Rock National Park - here our eldest (Lachlan) and I faced our fears, well just me really, because he wasn't at all scared! The walk through the park was, like most National Parks, beautiful and full of signposted descriptions of surrounding plants and animals, so we stopped for each and the boys took turns reading. Upon reaching Bald Rock and seeing its enormity, Andrew and Ethan decided to stay at the base while Lachlan and I climbed. I'm afraid to say though that I could only get to half way before I froze in absolute fear and made Lachlan sit with me!
3. Thunderbolt's Hideout - LOVED this outing. Thunderbolt (Frederick Wordsworth Ward) was the longest roaming bush ranger in Australian History and his hideout was within the rock formations located not far from Tenterfield.
I mentioned that I would discuss budgeting while traveling. Definitely have some money put aside for emergencies, because it may just be something you had not even considered. While staying in Tenterfield, they received a cold snap that had not occurred for years. I mean snow nearby and we were completely unprepared when it came to this sort of weather, so thank goodness the local Target was well stocked in the area of warmth and we bought up big! When arriving back at the van, we dressed up in plenty of warm clothing, socks and ugg boots and hopped under the doona.
Beautiful little town where we enjoyed horse sales at the showgrounds, panning for gold and opals in a nearby creeek (no Luck), venturing to Glenn Innes and spending a day travelling to Bingara where the kids discovered an amazing tree that they could walk underneath (shown in pictures). On our trip from Bingara back to Inverell, we stopped at the site of the Myall Creek massacre, yet another opportunity to educate with a history lesson.
Lightning Ridge to Forbes
Lightning Ridge had some interesting buildings as I've shown in the photos, but I have to admit that stopping on the side of the road to check out a dead pig and hanging out of the window to see a huge lizard was more of a hit for the boys!
Before reaching Forbes, we stopped to enjoy a few hours at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory and we soaked up as much of the information as we could. Then on to the river in Forbes that we camped beside and used as our base from which to explore the surrounding towns. A day trip to and around Ootha uncovered the amazing artistic 'Utes in the Paddock' display. Where artists have come together to design and transform utes into works of art with a theme. Another day trip took us to Condobolin, where on the side of the road we found an amazing old, over grown tennis court (shown above) and had a great time trying to work out the history behind it.
Here we camped by the Murrumbidgee River and absorbed an abundant amount of information from the Dunera Museum at the Hay Railway Station and also the Hay Goal Museum. We learnt why Hay was chosen as one of the sites for the Internment and Prisoner Of War camps (check out what it says in the photos above) and with this knowledge we were encouraged to soak up a sunset on the Hay horizon.
Echuca Through to Maldon
We couldn't go past Echuca and not stay by the Murray River. Without a doubt, camping by this river has always been a joy and we will continue to return to its beauty. We moved on to Bendigo where, of course, we visited the Central Deborah Goldmine, enjoyed a fantastic adventure through the underground section and tried our hand at gold panning. The next day followed with a visit to the Science Center, which was heaps of learning...sorry, fun!!! Both boys were quite excited to give the Vertical Slide a go, but poor Ethan was unaware of the pure terror that he was about to endure. As we were in Bendigo for a week, we ventured around to Castlemaine which has a beautiful Botanic Garden, Lake Joanna and a wonderful farmers market on the weekend where we sampled many yummy morsels. Onto Maldon, camping in Butt's Reserve, which I know doesn't sound very appealing, but it was great as we had the place to ourselves and visits from the Ranger who gave us advice and tips about the surrounds. It doesn't show it in the photos as the kids are in t-shirts and shorts, but the temperature dropped to 2 degrees during our stay and so the fire pits were much loved.
Up until this point in our journey the boys had not opened any school books as there was simple no need. They were learning so much of each town that we visited and we were bonding and greatly enjoying each others company.