Travel Stories

Day Five: Pilliga Pottery to Coonabarabran to Warrumbungles to Gilgandra to Dubbo. 2 hours 39 minutes, 179 km.

Hacky sack count: 3 – Has to be an anomalyOverall Grade: B+

Got up early to milk the cows - traditional farm life! Pilliga pottery takes on a number of travellers as employees or WOOFAs – Willing Workers on Organic Farms, who essentially help out with whatever interests them around the farm in a form which one WOOFA described as “organised chaos.”  We then explored the grounds of Pilliga Pottery and their resident store, where we indulged in a quick coffee before setting out in the drizzling rain. I wonder what the stinging nettles my mate uses in his hatted Sydney restaurant would fetch per bunch? Would they travel? Perhaps not...

Jethro Batts, Jethro Clayton, Park My Van, PMV, Caravan, Caravanning, Camping, Backpackers, Travel, Australia, Road Trip, Campervanning, Pilliga Pottery, Siding Spring, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Observatory, Warrumbungles, Newell Highway
Diprotodon Remains

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We arrive in Coonabarabran and witness a Diprotodon skeleton found 46km outside of town. It has a massive skull - largest Marsupial to have roamed the earth way back when in fact! Then we continued on to Siding Spring Observatory to look at a dated astronomy museum atop a cold, windy, hail-pelted, and misty mountain; minutes later as we're walking to White Point lookout the sun's back out. That's the Warrumbungles for you.

Jethro Batts, Jethro Clayton, Park My Van, PMV, Caravan, Caravanning, Camping, Backpackers, Travel, Australia, Road Trip, Campervanning, Pilliga Pottery, Siding Spring, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Observatory, Warrumbungles, Newell Highway
Siding Spring Observatory
Jethro Batts, Jethro Clayton, Park My Van, PMV, Caravan, Caravanning, Camping, Backpackers, Travel, Australia, Road Trip, Campervanning, Pilliga Pottery, Siding Spring, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Observatory, Warrumbungles, Newell Highway
Warrumbungles

Definitely recommend continuing the drive through the national park and linking back up with the Newell a few km's south of Coonabarabran. It breaks up the monotony of dealing with the huge serpentine road-trains and long straight stretches of road, while providing lovely scenery to drink in. We also managed to take a short respite in a small Tooraweenah pub populated by a half-dozen locals sitting by the fire and having a good yarn. Food’s your standard deep fried pub fare at reasonable prices but the beer is cold and the locals are chatty and amusing. Lunch occurs within a fairly tight window though - most places have well and truly wound up by two, so plan accordingly.

Jethro Batts, Jethro Clayton, Park My Van, PMV, Caravan, Caravanning, Camping, Backpackers, Travel, Australia, Road Trip, Campervanning, Pilliga Pottery, Siding Spring, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Observatory, Warrumbungles, Newell Highway
Warrumbungles

After lunch the road took us a little further East to hook back up with the Newell and further South for Dubbo and the Western Plains zoo. We tried to get a nights stay in the Zoo which ranges from $165 for a Safari tent and up to $399 for a lodge that sleeps four. To book visit taronga.org.au

It’s best to book ahead, as the experience seems to be very popular. Hence, we settled for the Big 4 Dubbo Parklands Caravan Park up the road – Priced from $35 for an unpowered site up to $303 for a 7 berth cabin. Lamentably, we didn't have a BMX for their in house BMX track and unfortunately they don’t have them available for rent, so remember to bring your own, as the course looks like a whole heap of VANtastic fun!

Accommodation sorted, having the clean clothes box ticked became our next primary concern. Thank goodness for washing faculties, also aided by a little cotton-bud/washing-machine shifty to get it for free - one of the many essential skills of any learned backpacker, best not divulged here.


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