Travelling Australia - Journal 2015c
|14 May 2015
Glen Innes to Bingara
The night was bitterly cold; the low temperature was partly because of our altitude (Glen Innes is a little over 1000 metres above sea level) and partly because of a cold outbreak sweeping up south-east Australia from the Southern Ocean. For several years we have carried a couple of heavy duty sleeping bags in case we were caught in a cold snap and both of these were added to the considerable number of blankets we had on the bed. They were just adequate to keep the worst of the cold away. By 6:30 in the morning, when the sun began brightening the eastern horizon, the outside air temperature was minus 5°C and it was zero inside the caravan.
The sky was clear and the sun soon warmed up the outside. The gas heater worked hard to warm up the interior; we stayed in bed while the heater warmed up the van and the water heater did the same for the hot water tank. Fortunately, water pipes under the caravan floor had not frozen.
From the rest area we drove into Glen Innes for some shopping and a cup of coffee at the bakery before setting off along the Gwyder Highway heading inland. Initially this highway remains between 1000 and about 1100 metres elevation, then goes down a long descent to remain between 700 and 800 metres elevation through grazing (sheep and cattle) and cropping paddocks on the North Western Slopes famous for agriculture. The weather remained good for travelling with a blue sky, bright sun and little wind; the wind remained bitterly cold but we couldn't feel it inside the Pathfinder. There was very little traffic.
Along the Gwyder Highway we came upon a major highway resurfacing project with traffic restricted to a single lane. Here we saw the increasingly common practice of an "Escort Vehicle" leading each group of vehicles along the single traffic lane; whether the escort vehicle is intended to ensure passing traffic doesn't go too fast or get lost we couldn't work out.
We stopped for lunch at Swan Brook rest area then continued along the Gwyder Highway, through Inverell to Delungra. We were now on the North Western Slopes with the elevation gently, and irregularly, sloping down towards the Darling River many kilometres inland from here. Swan Brook was at 751 metres elevation, Inverell 600 (but higher to the east and the west), and Delungra about 600 metres again. From Delungra to Bingara the road steadily descended another 300 metres into the valley of the Gwyder River. This was all wide open agricultural country; apparently flat but really sloping down towards the south. The road was mostly reasonable with a few degraded sections but with many kilometres of recently renewed road; the surrounding land was generally nearly flat with some gentle hills and the overall downhill trend already noted.
In Bingara we followed signage to the caravan park and checked in for a couple of nights on a comfortable drive-through site. Tonight was forecast to be cold but not as cold as last night.
14 April 2015 - page 2