Monday, 25 March 2013

March 2013 - Gwydir River to Bingara to Woolomin to Tamworth

After all the excitement on the Gwydir River, a week of calm and relaxation (not to mention DRYING) was called for.  Lots of clothes and linen needed to be washed and dried as a result of the wet and mud.  Having said that, the mud could have been way worse.  The banks of the river in that camp spot are primarily river stone with a dirt base, which cut down the amount of mud.
Bingara is a lovely little town on the banks of the Gwydir River.  The residents are very friendly and it has most services needed by the traveller.  Clicking on the following link will take you to the nicely descriptive web site - Bingara on the Gwydir.

Mal and Kerry were staying at the caravan park too.  Mal is very keen on fossicking, and the area is a treasure trove of locations where fossickers can play.  We took a drive out to Three Creeks Tourist Mine which is set up so the tourist can learn more about the history of the area as well as the ins and outs of fossicking.  Bush camping is also available for the really dedicated fossicker!  And apparently, if you find any gold – you get to keep it!!!  On the way back to Bingara from the mine, we came across an amazing sight – a whole paddock full of what looked like very old Giant Grass Trees.

Hantons Mine InformationHantons MineNeals MineNeals Mine InformationThree Creeks Tourist MineThree Creeks Tourist Mine
Giant Grass Trees

After a lovely week in Bingara doing little other than relax, we headed to Woolomin.  As this tiny town is on the other side of Tamworth, we took the opportunity to call into our next house-sit and meet our clients – Jenny and Kevin.  Jenny very generously made lunch for us all and we picked up the Telstra 4G Wi Fi Modem which we had organised to be sent whilst in Brisbane.  And then, oh joy! oh wonder! we went to Coles to stock up.  Have I mentioned that I hate shopping with a passion???

Bingara Caravan Park

We reached Woolomin Campground with a big sigh of relief.  Although the distance travelled wasn’t great, it had been a long day.  Mal and Kerry had arrived earlier, and selected a very nice site on the banks of the Peel River (operative word here is HIGH on the banks).  Very little chance of any flooding here!

Woolomin is a charming little town and the camp ground is great.  It is all nicely mown, with toilets and rubbish bins.  Very little in the way of phone or internet, but 8km up the road, there is a nice little lookout over Chaffey Dam where the locals all go to pick up a signal and check for messages.  Silly isn’t it!!

Peel River from Woolomin CampgroundWoolomin Campground with Mal & KerryWoolomin Campground, NSWGorgeous little neighboursPeel RiverHe fall down!!Flowers or weeds - doesn't matter, they are pretty!Flowers or weeds - doesn't matter, they are pretty!More neighboursPeel River Valley near WoolominChaffey DamCamping & Skiing @ Chaffey Dam

We stayed at Woolomin for 5 days, enjoying the local area, before packing up and heading into Tamworth to stay for a few days at the Austin Tourist Park.  This is an interesting caravan park as from the front entrance it looks more like it caters for cabins and permanent residents, but at the back of the park, on the banks of the Peel River (still HIGH banks!!) there is a beautiful camping area.  Full facilities, including dump point, power, water and sullage.  Most sites are grass, but there are a few concrete slabs.  The park is part of the Top Tourist chain and permits dogs.  It was here that we saw one of the largest caravans we’ve ever seen.  Owned by a young couple with 3-4 daughters (it was hard to count them OK?).  They were doing the travel, work and home school routine.

Looooong van @ Austin CP Tamworth.
Austin Caravan ParkPeel River behind Austin Caravan Park

While in Tamworth I ventured to the local Telstra shop.  I have to admit Rick just about had to drag me in there kicking and screaming.  I have had an intermittent problem with my Nokia smart phone since purchase last year.  It would perform all its functions quite nicely with the exception of actually connecting to a phone signal.    It’s been back to Nokia once, which fixed the problem for a while, but at Bingara it cacked itself again.  So, to Telstra we went.  Amazingly, when I explained the problem and the happenings at the time of purchase, the consultant gave a beaming smile and said that oh! Telstra had had an ongoing problem with the micro SD cards and she could replace mine with a good one.  Guess what??  It worked!!!  I’ve never been so surprised!!!  I’d expected the old story of “it’s got to go back to the manufacturer” or “sorry, it’s not our problem!!”  Touch wood the phone has been good ever since!

And then it was 18 March and time to move into the house-sit and look after 2 cats – Binky and Bianca.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Gwydir River Campground – BY THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH!!!!

The weather gods were not kind to us at Sommerville Valley Tourist Park – wet and windy!  And they were no better the day we departed and headed for Bingara, NSW.  We came close to getting flooded in by Quart Pot Creek at Stanthorpe on our way to Texas (taking the scenic route), and it rained most of the way to Bingara.

Quart Pot Creek, Stanthorpe - and the river is still coming up

Quart Pot Creek

Things were good though by the time we reached the Gwydir River Campground, on Copeton Dam Road near Bingara.  The rain had stopped and skies were clearing.  We arrived on 27 Feb, and the plan was to meet up with Kerry & Mal (fellow Kedron owners) and stay maybe a week?  Plenty of time yet before needing to arrive in Tamworth.  The Gwydir River Campground is a free camp, and there are plenty of spots to choose from.  A very pretty spot with both shady and sunny sites.  No facilities there, but as we are self-contained, it was not a problem.


And then the rain arrived AGAIN!!!  We now believe that it’s our fault.  Every place we’ve gone since we left Lake Eacham, the rain has been just behind us.  It caught up briefly in Six Mile Creek Campground (Toowoomba) and then Sommerville Valley, but we hoped we’d left it behind.  Afraid not!  The rain fell steadily all day and most of the night on 28 Feb.  The generator was running well, so power not a problem.  Cabin fever was starting to set in though.  And then it became apparent at about mid-afternoon on 1 Mar that the river was starting to rise – and rise – and rise some more.


One of our fellow campers, who said he was local, told us all that we were safe, the river would not come up high and that nobody would be in any danger.  Apparently the chap didn’t know his arse from his elbow.  The following pictures tell the tale.  Short story is that everyone got out safely.  It was a tight run for a couple of campers – one had to hook up with his vehicle and van already sitting in the water, and another, with a camper trailer had to abandon some property so they wouldn’t get trapped.  Said property then ended up somewhere further down the river!!  We had camped back from the river so as to get the sun.  It was also coincidentally one of the higher spots.  However, as Rick has pointed out on the photos – our rig would have been sitting in about 3 metres of water if we’d stayed where we were.

And then, to add insult to injury, a new sign was added at the entrance to the Campground!!  Check out the last photo in the slide show!!  NOT IMPRESSED AT ALL!!!!!

Gwydir River Campground - before the river started risingGwydir River Campground - natural river levelGwydir River Campground - beautiful but dangerousGwydir River Campground -lovely spotGwydir River CampgroundGwydir River Campground - and still the rain comesGwydir River, coming up fast!  Time to moveGwydir river Campground - keep packing!!Gwydir River 4.45pm - rising fastGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Campground - the flood develops - Taken by Mal & KerryGwydir River Bridge near Bingara Caravan ParkBanks of the Gwydir River in Bingara.  This mob were too mean to pay for the caravan parkGwydir River Bridge at Bingara, the water level has dropped quicklyInstalled AFTER the Gwydir River went down