|Travelling Australia - Journal 2010|
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|1 June - Mudgee to Coonamble|
There had been some rain during the cold night but the rain gauge had only two millimetres of water in it. The morning was a bit foggy but with increasing sunshine
and a heavy dew. The caravan park was reasonably well patronised and many vans were getting ready to leave. We drove out onto the Castlereagh Highway bound
initially for Gulgong then Dunedoo for a meat pie.
The land north of Mudgee is pretty much pastoral with horses, sheep and cattle in evidence; there were also a number of vineyards. The terrain to Gulgong remains fairly hilly with elevations up to 500 metres. Once past Gulgong the land becomes less hilly with cropping more widespread but cattle grazing still prominent. At Birriwa we came to the first large concrete grain silo we have seen since leaving Sydney, confirming this was a significant grain-growing region. We stopped in the heavy vehicle parking area in Dunedoo while we went to the bakery for a Dunedoo Pie.
From Dunedoo we continued on the Castlereagh Highway northward to join the Castlereagh River. The land was now very flat indeed; we had entered the floodplain of the Castlereagh River. Cropping was widespread and patches of trees along the road were now cypress and gums with several patches of pure cypress visible. Approaching Mendooran we passed beehives, olive and fruit trees close to the township. After passing through Gilgandra, and crossing the Newell Highway, we continued on the Castlereagh Highway over flat land with no hills in sight in any direction. In fact, the land sloped gently down to the north towards the Darling River; very roughly 12 metres reduction in elevation for 10 road kilometres travelled.
Gulargambone advertises itself with galvanised iron galahs mounted on poles beside the highway approaching the town. First there is a single bird, then two, then three at the edge of the township. Gulargambone has adopted the pink galah as its logo so it seems appropriate to have these eye-catching items along the road.
North of Gulargambone we saw a couple of alpacas grazing with a herd of sheep. We had heard about this practice but had not seen it before; apparently alpacas become protective of the sheep they live with and will take on foxes and wild dogs attacking the sheep.
In Coonamble we checked in at the sole caravan park, set up on a grassy site, then went to look at the town which is the service centre for a large shire and offers many businesses supporting agricultural activity.