|Travelling Australia - Journal 2010|
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|21 October 2010 - Narrabri to Inverell|
Traffic was moderate as we drove out of Narrabri on the Newell Highway bound for Moree where we would turn onto the Gwydir Highway to Inverell. Rain began falling soon after we left Narrabri and continued until we reached Moree. There was so much water on the side of the road that it appeared the rain had been falling in Moree for some time and we were moving into that rain area. On the outskirts of Moree the Newell Highway passes a cotton gin which would be interesting at cotton harvest time; now the cotton has just been planted so the cotton paddocks appear to be large patches of bare soil. The Moree area is heavily devoted to cotton and to grain and a number of large grain silos lined the Newell Highway and railway line near the cotton gin.
In Moree we turned off the Newell Highway onto the Gwydir Highway; this carried fewer heavy transports than the Newell but we were certainly not free of them. Unfortunately the Gwydir, especially near Moree, has sections with degraded and narrow bitumen where passing an oncoming semi-trailer was a bit tense. Overall, the Gwydir Highway was variable; some parts had degraded bitumen, other had a comfortable surface with a metre or so of bitumen outside the kerb white line to give some leeway for pulling over. There were no passing lanes.
We passed through a few towns including Warialda and Delungra. Near Delungra we passed the first winery and cellar door we have seen for a while but it was the only one until we got close to Inverell.
The rain eased as we drew away from Moree but resumed so we had lunch in a rest area near Warialda in continuous rain (with a clap of thunder close overhead). The land was getting higher as we went east away from Moree (about 200 metres elevation on the North West Slopes) to Inverell with elevation 600 metres and onto the Great Dividing Range. As the elevation increased there were more hills visible from the road, the land remained lightly timbered and mainly pastoral; there were some hilly sections on the road but the increase was gradual overall with higher than usual fuel consumption the strongest clue.
We checked into a caravan park in Inverell for one night then drove into the shopping centre to have a look around. Inverell was far larger than we had anticipated with a wide range of services available. While looking around we came upon a weir on the Macintyre River which was overflowing with water; we still haven't got used to seeing overflowing weirs after years of drought. After we returned to the caravan I connected caravan and Pathfinder during a break in the rain to be ready for departure tomorrow.