Where has time gone? I can’t believe it has been almost two weeks since I last posted and hopefully we haven’t caused anyone to worry. Today we have a nice Comfort Inn motel room overlooking a harbor along with good internet and a comfortable table and chair and although I want to be outside exploring, this is the day to catch up on internet tasks.
The last you heard we were in Orange, New South Wales. To tell you what a nice town it is, our Airbnb hostess was from Scotland. She graduated from university and traveled the world for a few years looking for the perfect place to live. Orange it was. It’s a nice size – about 35,000 population, with an attractive downtown. Since it is spring, the city is in bloom everywhere and strangely enough we have not seen that much blooming since. Without looking, we found a botanical garden, a wildlife preserve, and beautiful city garden and many parks everywhere. What we haven’t found (even until today) is a kangaroo. Our hostess, Pamela, sent us to the golf course where we were assured we would see some but didn’t. Unfortunately, we have seen plenty of roadkill in our approximately 1500+ miles of driving so far.
The botanical garden is free to enter
It is obvious that just about anything grows in this area. Our hostess had every fruit tree imaginable in her yard. It was colder than I thought it would be though. The weather, even now, changes everyday from comfortably warm to quite chilly.
We found this lake and nature preserve while looking for kangaroos
While in Orange we had to decide where to go next and kept going back and forth between the warmer Sunshine Coast around Brisbane in the east or Adelaide to the south and west. Even though we really wanted to go to the warmth, we figured a beach is a beach is a beach that we have seen plenty of and we should go somewhere different. The first 100 miles or so of driving west the landscape was fertile rolling hills and since our latitude wasn’t going to change much I thought it would look this way most of the 750 miles drive.
It didn’t take long and we were in pretty rugged country seeing maybe one car every 10 minutes. However, no matter how far off the beaten track we have gotten, the roads are excellent and well maintained. There are plenty of signs warning drivers to Rest, Revive, and Survive and as a result there are many rest areas with bathrooms. The vast majority of towns, no matter how small and deserted looking has a park with restrooms too. I should also add that every single town, small and large, is very tidy and clean.
The few towns we passed through looked very similar to towns in the US west. The only difference in most of the buildings here is that they have large overhangs and porches to get shade from the strong sun. You can feel the sun burning here like it does in the US at high elevations. It is easier to get burned in a shorter time and we noticed that whole classes of school children wear hats when outside.
There are plenty of Coolibar trees everywhere and look most attractive in clumps. The road took us into cultivated landscapes with vineyards several times and each time when we thought we were back into civilization, the countryside became very desolate again.
About 60 miles from Adelaide, the landscape changed to big rolling hills with vineyards for miles. This was the area of the Barossa Valley that we should have stopped in had we known how famous and beautiful it was. But it was cold and we were in a hurry to get to the coast.