|Eddie takes it easy in the back of the car|
|Blue Mountains bush land in the clouds|
On the Escort Way mid afternoon where we stopped to swap drivers Sha found a roadside stall selling freshly picked cherries, where she bought 2kg of them. Next to the stall stood a long shed: the Lucknow Skin Shop, with cow hides hanging the length of it, selling leather-wear, boots, mostly. We'd seen many herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, but the only kangaroos we noticed were road kill. In the 19th century this was a gold rush trail. A sign said Parkes, 67km, so we didn't have much further to go.
In the back of the car, to pass the time, I started a list of the Australian birds I have seen since arriving here:
|Eddie washing the car at the Station Motel in Parkes|
On the following day I spotted a pair of wild emus, too.
Parkes to Dubbo
|The Dish at Parkes, from the visitors' centre|
|Sha in the field of sunflowers|
|Abandoned cam-shaft at the Peak Hill goldmine|
Peak Hill proper, by the way, the largest of the hills in these parts, is apparently the highest elevation east of Africa!
|Christmas decorations, Dubbo|
|Barefoot youths on Macquarie Street in Dubbo|
|By the Macquarie River at Dubbo|
Next morning, after a leisurely full breakfast for us all at Mr. Bean's Coffee Emporium in the centre of Dubbo, we drove to the nearby Taronga Zoo, a safari park, where they sell 2-day entrance tickets. You can camp there and wake up to the sight of roaming giraffes, if you wish. It had elands, elephants, lions, monkeys, otters (Eddie's favourites) and giant tortoises. It was a very hot, sunny day and Chris' nose peeled. I'm not sure if the black swan was one of the exhibits or not; it is an Australian species. We drove from one viewing station to another and there was no time left in the day for Dubbo's Botanical Gardens or "Traintasia" or Old Gaol museum or the Flying Doctor museum. We'll just have to go back.
It was 195km from Dubbo to Merriwa, via Dunedoo and Uarby. Eddie slept for most of this leg, the road winding along near the Goulburn River National Park. We saw high hills ahead to the south and other, pointy ones to the north, the Goolah Tops. George liked driving under the "big sky" though the immediate scenery was same-ish. We crossed the Willy Wally Gully, Deep Creek and other gullies, mostly dry.
|Merriwa's main street|
|On the Golden Highway, approaching the Hunter Valley|
Our last drive of the day wound through the northern end of the Woollemi National Park, then we were on the Pacific Highway south, the M1, for the last 98km. Over Jigadee Creek, passing Toronto, Coorabong and Swansea on the way, and crossing the Hawkesbury River on a long bridge, we drove back home, through Epping, to Marsfield.