|Travelling Australia - Journal 2010|
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|11 October 2010 - Gunnedah to Narrabri|
The day began bright and sunny but cloud increased as the day progressed. We connected the Eurostar and Pathfinder and left Gunnedah on the Kamilaroi Highway bound for Narrabri nearly 100 kilometres to the north-west. Traffic was light and the road generally of reasonable quality, two lanes all the way.
Between Gunnedah and Narrabri the Kamilaroi Highway mostly runs across the Namoi River flood plain, this is remarkably flat agricultural land characterised by sheep, mainly cattle and some cropping with a few mobile overhead sprays in paddocks. We passed one collection of bee-hives. Around Boggabri was not quite as flat; the original township of Boggabri was washed away in a flood and the town was rebuilt in the present, higher, location which does not flood making Boggabri the only town on the Namoi River which is not flooded by the river. Just north of Boggabri, beside a rest area named Gins Leap, is a massive vertical rock face rising 160 metres above the road. From this rock an aboriginal girl promised to an elder of her tribe jumped with her lover to get away from pursuers.
Bits of cotton along the side of the road reminded us that cotton is a major product in the Namoi Valley, especially Narrabri and nearby Wee Waa. Pieces of raw cotton blow off bales being transported from paddock to cotton gin and a border of cotton pieces along the road side is a sure sign of a cotton growing region. At this time of the year cotton is being planted so we didn't see the masses of white flowers the plants put out at harvest time (beginning in April).
The flat land of the floodplain near the highway contrasted with the mountain ranges in the distance in several directions. North of Boggabri the picturesque jagged peaks of the Nandewar Range dominated the horizon. Many of these mountains are included in Mount Kaputar National Park but visibility had deteriorated badly in mist and drizzle and we couldn't see them clearly.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos were often seen along the road; corellas seem to have faded away since we left Coonabarabran. Crows and coughs were often seen and even a few groups of apostle birds which we expect to see in drier parts of the continent than this well-watered region.
About 25 kilometres south of Narrabri we were reminded of the coal underneath the floodplain when we passed the Narrabri Coal Operation with a large pile of coal visible from the highway.
Arriving at Narrabri we found the selected caravan park, checked in for a week and set up on top of a slope down to the Namoi River. But the Namoi is a non-flowing waterhole at this point and dries up completely a few metres away where vehicles have driven across the grassed river-bed. According to the Information Centre this is the usual condition of the Namoi River at Narrabri in dry weather; the Namoi here is part of a braided river network with adjacent "creeks" carrying volumes of water normally associated with rivers.