2 March 2006 - Penrith to Wagga Wagga
We left Penrith in pleasant weather with bright sun, not too hot and little wind. We drove along the M4/M7/M5 around the edge of Sydney with no hassle at all and ended up on the Hume Highway passing Campbelltown. After passing Campbelltown at an elevation of 108 metres (Penrith is at 30 metres) the Hume Highway climbs intermittently up onto the higher, eastern edge, of the Southern Tableland. Elevation of 625 metres is reached at the Mittagong turnoff and 734 metres another 15 kilometres further on; passing Goulburn the road is at 676 and 673 metres elevation at the exits to that city. By then we had crossed over from the catchments of the coastal rivers into the Murray-Darling catchment. The terrain was now quite open and less hilly. The grass was summer dry but the vegetation didn't look drought-stricken. Past the turnoff to Canberra elevation was generally between 710 and 740 metres but beginning to trend downward as we moved west onto the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range.
Traffic on the Hume Highway was variable, a bit heavy nearer Sydney but declining in volume as we moved south west from Sydney. At a cruise control speed of 95 we were usually overtaken by semi-trailers and B-doubles but often then overtook them on the longer hills where most of the big transports could not maintain their speed. Not many sedans were on the road and very few caravans or motor-homes. When we turned off the Hume highway onto the Sturt Highway bound for Wagga Wagga traffic dwindled further which was just as well as this was no longer a dual carriageway. The Hume had been a dual carriageway from Sydney until just before Gundagai then had entered a sequence of sections of single carriageway alternating with dual carriageway. The Sturt Highway had been recently re-surfaced and was quite pleasant to drive on but was all single carriageway.
I found the booked caravan park without difficulty and we set up for a brief stay. The evening was quite warm - 26° in the van at 9 p.m. - but calm and reasonably pleasant.
||Paddocks beside the Hume Highway between Yass and Bookham|