We’ve done a lot of things in the last 2 days but the most surprising was our encounter tonight with possums. We are in Wagga Wagga, in Murray River country, close to the border of Victoria and NSW. As we were stepping out of our camper this evening, ready to cook our steaks, 2 possums came down from the tree to see what I had for them. I walked over to the bbq and Leon found another possum waiting on the bbq awning, hoping for a treat. I didn’t feed them but a young boy came over with some crackers and I handed one up to Mr. Possum in the rafters. Pretty neat!!! As we arrived today at the campsite, it was past sunset and the kookaburra birds were just having a field day, laughing as they do in the trees. They are quite distinctive as they sound like monkeys. A flock of cockatoos were screeching along as well. Quite the symphony!
And as I was processing pictures earlier, I heard bagpipes. There is a local group here practising for Anzac day on Monday. As well as that, we met a nice man from Woodend who turned out to be an American teacher who came here back in 1976 for a teaching job and stayed. He told us there is a group of French archers here at the campsite just fresh from a local competition. There are also a huge number of “mokes”, those small dune buggy type cars here for a gathering of some sort. Busy place Wagga Wagga!
We left Glen Innes 2 days ago, bound for Mudgee. I had to stop to see the Celtic Standing Stones before we moved on. They are the only ones in Australasia, a tribute to the Celtic ancestors who settled the land.
We got to Mudgee around 4:30pm, having travelled through and over the Great Barrier Range. Our trusty GPS decided to take us over gravel roads to save a little time. The road was very high, overlooking gorges and going through free range cattle lands. I saw 6 dead wallabies on the side of the road and 2 live ones in the bush along the way. I seem to find a lot of wildlife as we drive and it turns out to be stumps. So now I am the official stump watcher! The terrain over to Mudgee was quite beautiful, exactly what we expected Australia would be like – dry, large grasslands with the odd hill. Not enough kangaroos and no emus in sight, but a few lorikeets, some galahs and some cockatoos along the way.
Mudgee is a pretty town amid vineyards. We stopped for a taster of the local beer at the brewery. I didn’t particularly like it, except for the chocolate they gave us to enhance the taste of the porter beer. We were thinking of having dinner at the restaurant but thought it would be just as good and probably more social to eat back at our campground. The camp kitchen had a firepit right in the middle of it which was very conducive to conversation. We ended up meeting some very nice people and talking late into the evening in front of the fire. Vicky and Peter were travelling on bicycles, about 60 to 80 km a day, just for the heck of it! These are people just a few years younger than us, and Vicky will admit that she is not in any shape, but here they are travelling these great distances, camping with only what they can carry on their bikes!! Wow!!! I don’t think I could ever do that but what an inspiration! We parted ways as they were heading north as we headed south this morning, but we hope to hear from them again.
By the way, there was a full moon in Mudgee that night. As we walked back from the brewery, we stopped into the pharmacy for me to buy a new pair of reading glasses. You see, I had stepped on my last pair. They were intact, the frame straight and still stylish, but the lenses are so scratched, I can no longer see with them. What a waste!! Anyway, as we walked back to the caravan park, we decided to stroll through the lovely park in the center of town. I was looking up at the stars, wondering what might be in the trees when I took a tumble over a low curb. Nothing broken and just a little scrape on the knee, not to worry. At any rate, we walked into the camp site and I heard screeching in the trees and looked up to see several large bats. They are the same fruit bats we have in the park here in Bendigo that I wrote about in an earlier post. How appropriate on a full moon!
Today, the travelling was through much of the back country of NSW. We got a chance to see what autumn is like in these parts. Many farmers are burning their fields with controlled fires so the air was thick with smoke as we arrived here. There were few animals to see on the way. We did pass through the cherry capital of Australia but most fruit stands were closed. And I think I spotted a kiwifruitgrove as we headed out of the fruit belt.
The plans for tomorrow are to slowly make our way to Victoria and drive up to what is supposed to be an alpine resort along the way to the Yarra Valley. We hope to sleep in that area tomorrow night before we have to return the camper on Thursday.