Wee Waa…Home Sweet Home

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Having thoroughly enjoyed our time in Lightning Ridge it was once again time to move on and so we rejoined the Great Inland Way and headed south. As we drove into Walgett we couldn't help but smile as we passed two drovers moving a herd of cattle on the outskirts of town, a quintessential outback scene of days gone by. 

We were bound for Wee Waa, however having only recently found out that Rod’s father was born in Pilliga (which could have meant Pilliga the town or in any of the old saw milling villages in The Pilliga which were around at that time) we were keen to take the long way round and call in there on our way through.  There really isn’t a lot to Pilliga and so after a brief look around we stopped in at the Artesian Bore and were delighted to find that the water temperature was only 37 degrees (compared to over 40 at Lightning Ridge) and so we took the plunge and went for a dip.

Revitalised, we continued our journey and in no time we were rising up and over the levee bank, arriving in Wee Waa.  With a population of 1800, Wee Waa is the Cotton Capital of Australia and was my home for the first sixteen years of my life.  Excited to be back in such familiar territory we did a lap of the main street before pulling up out the front of my dear friend Jen’s house.  We had given Jen just ten minutes notice that we were a day early… we also said we would probably stay for a few days and stayed a week!

It was so nice to see Jen, BJ and their two delightful daughters, Amber and Zoe.  Having known Jen since kindergarten, it is always great to catch up and whilst we don’t get the chance to do it often enough we picked up conversation like we’d seen each other last week!

Our time in Wee Waa seemed to pass so quickly.  We delighted in catching up with friends; Denise and Alan, Norm and Nina along with Andrew, Cath and Jim.  Rod joined the Sunday afternoon social touch football game in the nearby park.  Whilst the seasoned players no longer put their body on the line Rod managed a summersault or two, most impressive

We visited the Namoi Echo Museum and were privileged to have one of the committee members give us a guided tour.  The museum is housed in the old Horden Pavillion building which would be familiar for those of you who may have visited the old Sydney Showgrounds.  The building was bought, dismantled, transported and reassembled here in Wee Waa, quite a coup for such a little town.  The local Historical Society is responsible for this fantastic glimpse back in time and they have managed to put together a very interesting collection of wares.  A photo of my mother sits proudly on one of the shelves in memory of her contribution, for this was one of the projects of which she was most passionate.

We wondered along the main street of Wee Waa, graced at one end by the majestic Imperial Hotel and at the other by the obligatory town clock.  At three storeys high the Imperial Hotel dominates the streetscape, with its exterior adorned with sweeping wrought iron lace verandahs it brings the street to life.  Having seen Wee Waa advertised in an area brochure as a good place for retail therapy I was wondering what had changed… I must say I was impressed… there are a couple of really nice shops, with the newsagent having a dedicated giftware section with some real gems, however it was the 'Little House on Rose’ which stole the show.  This little shop was packed full of delightful items, from accessories, crèmes and lotions to glassware they had it all… whilst the floor space is tiny it is choc a bloc with tasteful and delightful wares.  Having exhausted the shopping it was off to the Wee Waa Bakery which had oddly enough been recommended to us by one of our Melbourne neighbours (thanks Patrick and Anya), serving great coffee and delicious treats I only wish it had been there in my day!!!   

Amber and Zoe were great hosts during the day and kept us company whilst we explored the surrounding areas.  Our first drive was out to Yarrie Lake where we enjoyed a picnic lunch along the water’s edge.  A large round lake, Yarrie Lake is thought to have been formed by a meteor which dropped to ground thousands of years ago.  Today the area has been beautified with picnic grounds and camping sites set atop lush green lawns.   The water is still the same murky brown (not unlike that of the Yarra) and with the water level sitting higher than normal it paints a very different picture from a few years ago when I am told it was stone dry… hard to imagine.

Having watched some entertaining attempts at waterskiing, we left Wee Waa’s aquatic playground behind us and continued on a little further to the CSIRO Australia Telescope Compact Array.  The what..?  ‘A world leading radio astronomy research facility’.  In short, if you have seen the Australian movie ‘The Dish’, this site is home to six of those massive dishes.  We took a look through the visitors centre and solved some puzzles before making our way home along the edge of the Pilliga Scrub. 

Amber and Zoe, surprisingly undeterred from our last outing together joined us for another day trip, this time a little further afield and up into the Nandewar Ranges to Mount Kaputar National Park.  In my youth this was a home away from home… we spent so many weekends camped up at Dawsons Spring enjoying the surrounding bush land and variety of bush walks.

The drive was even prettier than I remember.  As we started our ascent along the narrow gravel road, the sunlight flickered through the eucalypt trees and danced across the windscreen.  A couple of small crimson birds darted across our path escorting us along the winding track.  As we rounded bends we were captivated by the rocky outcrops which filled our view, Mount Yulludunida being one of the first and most dominant with its rich yellow rock face.

We were pleased to find that some sections of the road were now bitumen making for a more enjoyable drive along the upper stretches of this narrow winding road.  Our first walk was out to the Mount Kaputar summit which at over 1500 metres afforded us spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.  Standing on the summit, the scent of the bush was heavy in the air, a slight breeze rustled the branches of the nearby trees and birds sang as we drank in the scene before us.

Dawsons Spring was our next stop, this area was still as gorgeous as I remembered it and we took a lovely walk along the Nature Trail which looped through sub-alpine woodlands, over a tranquil waterfall and back to the picnic area.

Back at the camp ground I was delighted when a kangaroo and her joey were nearby.  When we set about having our picnic however, they were a little too keen to join us and Zoe had us in raptures of laughter as she did her best to avoid them, eventually resorting to sitting on the table!

Our highlight walk of the day was The Governor.  With Zoe and Amber having recently completed this walk they made for fantastic guides.  The walk started gently with a gravel track leading onto a boardwalk which wound its way through the woodlands and out to a couple of ladder stair cases.  From here we followed the trail across a little plateau and then had to scamper up a rock crevice competing against a little waterfall.

Atop this large volcanic plug the view was simply breathtaking, with a bright clear day we could see for miles.  We sat and drank in the scenery, the farmed fields of the plain looking like a patchwork quilt of yellows, greens and browns.  In the foreground, the dark green foliage of the Nandewar Range sat peacefully below us, broken only occasionally by a rocky outcrop.  It was simply stunning, the spectacular views, the clean mountain air blended with the scents and sounds of the park had us all pleased we had made the trip.

With Wee Waa a distant speck on the horizon we turned and started our trek back to the car and down the mountain through Narrabri, out across the plains and home to Wee Waa all ready for a good night’s sleep.

With our tans faded and our waistlines expanded it was time to say goodbye having enjoyed spending time with our dear friends and rediscovering Wee Waa.  Thank you so much to Jen, BJ, Amber and Zoe for your warm and generous hospitality (along with your great cooking!).

Highlights of Wee Waa:

-          Spending rare quality time with Jen, BJ, Amber and Zoe (… and Red Dog)

-          Catching up with Denise and Alan, Norm and Nina, Andrew, Cath and Jim

-          A day at Mount Kaputar with sensational bushwalks and friendly roos

-          Yarrie Lake

-          Endless games of bowls…
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Louise on


Paddy and Anja on

God love Wee Waa...hope its going okay during the rains

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