Travelling Australia - Journal 2012b
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17 December 2012

Casino to Thunderbolts Rock
location map
This was planned to be a short trip (expected to be about ten days) to go to Canberra for a family Christmas get-together. It would also allow us to confirm some alterations made to the caravan.

This first day was planned to be along the Bruxner Highway to Tenterfield then south along the New England Highway to a rest area to be decided but somewhere south of Armidale. Bruxner Highway traffic was very light. This was a hot day with 37 degrees outside air temperature when we left Casino reducing to 32 degrees higher up near Tenterfield. There was no wind; pleasant for driving although in this hot weather the possibility of engine over-heating towing the caravan was a possibility. Tabulam, where we crossed the Clarence River, was at 135 metres elevation (100 metres higher than Casino). Drake was 500 metres elevation, the road climbed after Drake then descended to be about 565 metres briefly before serious climbing to peak at 917 metres ten miles before Tenterfield. Much of the steeper part is through bushland (with some beehives among the trees) but flatter ground at the top of the steep climb has been cleared and devoted to agriculture, including one vineyard with vines covered in green leaf and invitations to visit the cellar door.

We left Tenterfield on the New England Highway with a better surface than the Bruxner Highway. We stopped for fuel and food at Glen Innes which has become a regular stop for us when travelling the New England Highway.

Past Glen Innes we saw a line of large cumulo nimbus clouds ahead of us across the road running east-west. As we approached this line of cloud the outside temperature dropped from 33 to 23 in about ten kilometres, the cloud spread blocking the sun and several drops of rain fell on the windscreen with a few kilometres of wet road. This looked like we were entering a much cooler air mass but then the sun came out again, signs of rain disappeared and the temperature went up to 34.

Traffic was very light on the New England Highway from Tenterfield to Armidale but south of Armidale there was a noticeable increase; we have noticed this on previous trips and have put it down to more traffic between Armidale and Tamworth than north of Armidale. Most traffic was sedans, few trucks and very few caravans or motor-homes.

Past Uralla we pulled into a rest area behind a large boulder known as Thunderbolts Rock for the night Thunderbolt Rock is at an elevation of about a thousand metres, not that different to Tenterfield's elevation, so we were still on the higher land along the Great Divide, but the road between Tenterfield and Thunderbolt Rock was higher in parts. Glen Innes was at about 1400 metres elevation; the Ben Lomond Range reached 1410 metres.

Thunderbolts Rock Large boulder beside the New England Highway known as Thunderbolts Rock

train Passenger train from Sydney passing the rest area.

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