Long weekend in Dubbo

Trip Start Mar 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 2006

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Friday, June 10, 2005

It's been a strange two weeks. Stephen has been working during the week in Malaysia, so Maddie and I have been on our own in Oz, which, though we're used to being on our own whilst Stephen is working overseas, seems weird when you're on the other side of the world on your own, if that makes sense. Probably weirder for Stephen though, returning to Kuala Lumpar after all these years away after living there for a couple of years.

During the long weekend in the middle of his KL working trips, we spent 3 nights over in Dubbo, which is in rural New South Wales. It took us over 6 hours to drive there from Sydney, thankfully Maddie is a very good, and obviously seasoned, traveller. On Saturday, our first day there, we drove north from Dubbo to Warrumbungle National Park. We'd done some research on the internet and it seemed that the rocky features here were amazing, especially a sheer rocky outcrop jutting out of the ground called the Breadknife. We were really looking forward to a couple of hours of walking and the scenery. What we got, however, was fog!! As we climbed into the hills, there was a fog hanging over the scenery and the Breadknife was hidden from view!! So with the fog and rain, we never did get our walk. What made up for all of this, though, was the sheer number of kangaroos we saw. Everywhere we looked there were grey kangaroos hopping about. There is a down side to seeing loads of kangaroos and that is the danger of them hopping in front of your car. A couple of emergency stops later for roos hopping in front of us, we then we're really pleased to also see a couple of emus next to us at the side of the road and a bit further along..... a field with about 15 emus!!! They are absolutely huge birds and just look so strange and unreal.

Sunday was spent at Western Plains Zoo. This is the sister zoo of Taronga zoo in Sydney, so with our annual membership we could get in free. We had a great day as the weather was sunny and warm - yes, and its winter!!! The zoo is laid out in a circuit with lakes in the centre. You can choose how you travel around the site (car, foot, etc) but we chose to cycle around. It's a bit like a safari park, but the animals aren't running around completely free. Well, obviously we're not going to cycle through the lion enclosure!!! The sheer size of the place though in the middle of relative nowhere, means that the animals have loads of space and seem way happier for it. Seeing large groups of giraffes, rhinos and elephants in bushland means you feel like you're in Africa. The lakes all had islands and on these they kept all the monkeys, which could "island hop" as they pleased through using ropes. It really was the best zoo I'd been to.

That night we headed to an observatory. This area of New South Wales is heralded for its perfect star spotting possibilities. Now I'm no star spotting expert, but standing in pitch black looking up at millions of stars in the Milky Way and seeing shooting stars zoom past was incredible. The star-spotter man in charge (complete with beard and anorak - you know the type!) then focused the telescopes on various parts of the sky, so we saw various stars (brighter and bigger) and also planets, including Jupiter and its moons. There my understanding and interest ends............. but a good night!

On Monday we had to head back to Sydney, but on the way stopping off at various places of interest. We drove to the wine region of Mudgee for lunch (and have decided to head back here in the future for a weekend) followed by a walk to a spot called The Drip. This is a huge rock outcrop by the side of a river where water falls (not when we were there, but maybe when its wetter) like curtains. Then we headed to "Hand on Rock" where another rocky outcrop has some Aboriginal hand paintings. The place was obviously used as a settlement and thousands of years ago, the resident Aborigines stencilled their hand prints using ochre sprayed onto the rocks. They obviously liked their stencilling because they had decorated huge patterns and borders over the cliff - reminiscent of 1980's Laura Ashley I thought!!!!

After a great weekend, Stephen headed straight out of Sydney to Malaysia the next morning. So this weekend we're enjoyed being in the city, taking the ferry to the Botanic Gardens and a stroll on Balmoral Beach, our local seaside spot in Mosman.
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