Today we didn’t have a great start. The kids woke up grumpy but improved their mood by playing Frisbee with the freebies they were kindly given in Tenterfield. Uploading our previous reports and photo’s took me (Marjolein) more time than planned – sometimes it is hard to even glance at all the other weblogs of friends who are travelling far from the Netherlands for their holidays.
So we departed later than planned – and got thoroughly lost in (tiny) Armidale. Their University is nice, but the third time we, fruitlessly, tried one of the roads leading around it (it turned into a dirt track) we liked it a lot less. We were on a schedule because we planned to end the day 350 km away in Warrumbungle National Park.
Eventually we found the right highway and decided to sacrifice our espresso-stop at the Evil Empire in order to get back on track. However the cunning Evil Empire tempted us again in Tamworth (Australian Capital of Country Music; we are bombarded with Capitals these days) so we went for an efficient solution and got happy meals for the kids and nice espresso and focaccio sandwiches for us and ate them on the go, which meant we still had time for a stop-over in Koala-Capital Gunnedah.
Finding the Visitor Centre took quite some time and when we got there it was closed for half an hour. But again it paid off to persist, we took a little walk and where still there when the nice lady returned to her office. She recommended the Waterway Wildlife Park, which happened to be on the right highway for our final destination today. It had a similar intend as the Oakdale farm we visited three weeks ago, but was slightly more amateurish. It provided us with some great photo-opportunities though, as you can see in the new album on the photo page.
We than rushed to Coonabarabran, where we had to leave the highway for the Warrumbungle Park. The weather turned cloudy and dark, with a few spatters of rain, so by the time we where there (we entered the park a little after four) all dusk loving animals where up and about. Which meant we have to drive really carefully, to avoid hitting one of the crossing kangaroos. Till today we probably saw more wildlife splattered against the tarmac than walking around and we would really hate to kill one of the animals we came so far to see.
Driving (very slowly) into the park we saw mobs bounding away or surveying us with that curiously haughty look ‘roos seem to have. We rolled into the camp-site and the boys rushed off, elated at being able to stretch their legs at last. They were even more delighted with the boulder-strewn creek at the bottom of the camp-site and utterly ecstatic with the huge tree half embedded in the opposite shore, whose roots were woven into a ready-made elven fortress, which they busily improved with stone walls and windows. Meanwhile we walked quietly across to the other side, relishing the stunning scenery of rainforest and massive volcanic bluffs and moving quietly past mobs of grazing Eastern Grey kangaroos. There we found a vast meadow covered with grazing emus and just stopped to take it all in.
Nightfall came quickly, but with a strong afterglow, and the few Aussies also in on the site lit camp-fires and barbies. The boys stayed working on their hideout until it, and they, were almost pitch black. Then we dragged them away for Sphag Bol and bed. Final event of the evening was out group trek into the utter, moonless darkness in search of the toilet, navigated ably by Marjolein. There an Aussie trickster deity had hung a vast, leggy spider right in front of the ladies: another opportunity for me (Tim) to prove myself worthy of my “Manly” hoody… Tomorrow we plan to do all the walks we can manage with toads in tow and then trundle off to Dubbo, but I think we could easily spend a week here.