Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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7 March 2012 - Casino to Inverell area
After closing up the house and connecting Pathfinder and caravan we set off along the Bruxner Highway in pleasant travelling weather - no rain, not much wind and nearly continuous sunshine. Traffic was fairly light in both directions, mostly sedans with a few transports and very few caravans as we made our way up out of the Richmond River Valley then down into the Clarence River Valley, crossing the Clarence at Tabulam on the old, single lane, iron bridge. The wooden decking has been repaired and replaced recently but it is still an old bridge. Then the road began the long climb up to the edge of the Great Dividing Range near Tenterfield which is at an elevation of nearly 900 metres. Much of the road passes through national park or state forest; most of the area is far too steep to have been developed. There are several overtaking lanes on some of the steepest parts of the road but there was no other traffic going our way while we were on that part of the road.

Arriving at Tenterfield we turned south along the New England Highway towards Glen Innes. Weather remained good for travelling and traffic very light. The road surface was considerably better than along the Bruxner Highway. This part of New South Wales has been devoted to pastoral activity since first European settlement and sheep and cattle are still grazed here in some numbers.

In Glen Innes we filled up with diesel fuel and had lunch at McDonalds. The low number of motor vehicles, of all kinds, was very obvious by now. McDonalds car park was nearly empty, as was the car park in the Information Centre next door, the latter car park was so empty that we were able to park the caravan across six car parking slots without inconveniencing other visitors.

We left Glen Innes heading inland on the Gwyder Highway. Glen Innes is at an elevation of about 1000 metres and the Gwyder Highway descends gently inland along the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. The road had a reasonably good surface with very light traffic. This remained primarily a grazing area but we passed several clusters of about a dozen bee-hives.

About 30 kilometres before the Gwyder Highway reached Inverell we turned into Swan Brook rest area which we had previously passed and wanted to try for a night. This was a small rest area set back a little from the road using a combined entry and exit so all vehicles have to turn around in the rest area - that makes it impossible for large trucks to use. There is a single toilet. This small rest area was pretty full when we arrived and we were working out where to stop when the driver of a van in the best spot came over and said he was leaving in a few minutes; as soon he drove off we reversed into a pleasant grassed spot beside the creek for the night.

While we were having a coffee outside the van we learnt that the creek was a magnet for a variety of birds and I spent some time with camera in hand. Later in the day another caravan reversed alongside us in about the other vacant spot. Four or five caravans or motorhomes fills this pleasant little rest area.

Rest area Caravans in Swan Brook rest area 34 kilometres east of Inverell on the Gwyder Highway.

Surroundings New England pastoral land across the Gwyder Highway from Swan Brook rest area.

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