|Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
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|13 April 2011 - Casino to Cunningham rest area|
After a busy morning getting tyre pressures correct we connected caravan and Eurostar and drove out of the Village just after 11 o'clock in the morning and set off along the Bruxner Highway. Our destination for today was the village of Texas just off the Bruxner Highway between Tenterfield and Gondawindi where a rest area on the Dumaresque River was well-reported; we wanted to see what the village and the rest area were like.
We stopped at the rest area at the Bonalbo turnoff just before Tabulam taking our time over lunch because roadside signs said the narrow bridge over the Clarence River at Tabulam was closed to traffic between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m for bridgework; but we arrived at the bridge five minutes before one and saw no sign of any works or of any workers. After waiting for one oncoming car we carefully drove across the long, single lane bridge over the Clarence River.
After Tabulam the Bruxner Highway climbs steadily past the village of Drake, the only settlement before Tenterfield. There is some cleared land around Drake but most of the land along the road is timbered and much of the land above Drake is national park. The road is mostly reasonable quality bitumen but there are frequent turns and bends. Several overtaking lanes on hills past Drake help keep the traffic flowing as it climbs up the face of the Great Dividing Range to an elevation of about 900 metres a few kilometres before entering Tenterfield.
At Tenterfield we turned north onto the New England Highway which would take us to the Bruxner Highway turn-off a few kilometres north of Tenterfield. But when we turned onto the Bruxner Highway we were faced with a road closed sign with no information indicating where the obstruction was or how many there were. There were alternative ways to get to Texas (most obviously via Stanthorpe) but there was no indication that these alternatives were open for traffic. So we decided to stick to the main roads and remain on the New England Highway to Warwick then take the Cunningham Highway towards Goondiwindi with the intention of stopping for the night at one of the several rest areas along the Cunningham Highway.
The New England Highway is a better quality road than the Bruxner Highway, and was carrying much more traffic, particularly semi-trailers. Enroute to Warwick the highway passed through Stanthorpe which is the centre for agricultural activities, especially grapes and wineries as well as fruit, vegetables and juices. Agricultural business appears to be taken seriously, roadside signs warned that keeping pet rabbits could incur a penalty of $30,000 (presumably because of the risk of pet rabbits escaping and feasting on vegetable crops). The area around Stanthorpe is quite high and elevations of 900 metres and above are commonly seen.
Weather today had been pleasant for travelling, with no cloud, little wind and a comfortable temperature. Stanthorpe is so high that it has a reputation for low overnight temperatures and reports of 2 degrees last night at Stanthorpe were typical.
In Warwick we turned from the New England Highway onto the Cunningham Highway without going into the town centre. Then began a gradual descent towards the interior of Queensland. By this time the road was passing through cattle country; mainly scattered woodland with occasional groves of eucalyptus and she-oak. The rest area is along both sides of the Highway which carries quite a few heavy transports.