The Big Lap - Coonabarabran





Sadly we left Tamworth and the wonderful hospitality of Hubby's sister and family and headed towards Coonabarabran.

Originally we were going north along the coast however the floods and more rain being forecast for the next two months changed our plan, so we have put coastal New South Wales and Queensland on hold for the time being.  I was sad about that.

On the way to Coonabarabran, I had discovered some Silo Art at Gunnedah.  I was disappointed that there wasn't any parking here suitable for a car and caravan so had to be content with taking a quick photo from the car.  Dorathea Mackellar wrote one of my favourite childhood poems that I still remember - My Country.



Getaway Caravan Park on the southern side of Coonababran was a welcome retreat.  By this time I had a ton of clothes washing and was able to bring all of that up to date.  Plus they had a welcoming pool to cool down in every afternoon.  Drive through van parking is always a bonus and we were able to choose a site with nice shade.  We were welcomed warmly too which always goes well towards my google star ratings.  The only set back was the truck traffic on the highway which never stopped.  Thank goodness were were not too preturbed by it.  All in all a 4 star stay.



I have always loved rocks and gems.  So it's a no brainer that we had to give the Crystal Kingdom a look.  I am not into the airyfairy stuff that is connected to crystals.   I just like the lovely colours of the various stones.  

What a pleasant surprise.  The lovely lady here who looked a bit like granny from the Beverly Hillibilies was so beautiful and knowledgeable.  They have a phonominal collection of various crystals and stones collected by the family for many years in and around this volcanic area.  

Finally they want to sell to retire and downsize.  Sadly none of the family want to take on the place.  It would be remiss not to say that this would be a gem of a place to have.  



We had spent a full week in Tamworth in lockdown as one of the family got COVID from school.  Thank goodness only her dad came down with it so we were thankful about that.

It was good to settle into the Caravan Park and head back into town to the pub for lunch.  

My steak here was cooked to 'medium' perfection.  Hubby wasn't really impressed with his rissotto, too much rice and not enough prawns.  Anyway, it was good to relax and enjoy a couple of coldies.



Here we go again.  

In 2015 we did a big overseas trip to Hong Kong, Canada, USA and Belize.  We were invited by good friends of ours to spend a few days at their holiday apartment in Disney, Orlando.  Just 3 weeks before we left home I discovered that there was going to be a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral at the same time that we were going to be at Disney.  OMG, I was over the moon with excitement!  😁

My excitement swiftly turned to dismay when we arrived at NASA and were told that due to a small problem, the rocket wasn't going to be launched.  😞  

A childhood dream squashed!

Now, 7 years later, in Coonabarabran, another childhood dream devistated!  😡

Yes, I had booked us into Melroy Observatory, Coonabarabran with Donna the Astronomer to hopefully see some planets, stars and nebulae, but cloud and storms destroyed our planet viewing.  

I could fall into deep depression over this.....  no rocket launch, no visiting or swimming at beaches of north NSW or QLD, no planet viewing!   Is anything going to go right for me? ......  😢😭

Luckily for hubby, there were mountains here in Coonabarabran.  Hubby likes countryside and mountains whereas I am a water babe, loving anything water.



So we took a trip around the mountains. 



Just on the eastern side of the small village of Tooraweenah is the Warrambungle viewing platform.  It is worth a quick stop.  This was the best view that we got of the Warrambungles.  

There was a statue of the returned soldier here which aparently is in recoginition of a soldier that returned from World War I and renounced the war by stripping off his uniform and takes up a plough, looking forward to his new life on the land. 



Excuse my squiggles everywhere on the map above as I was trying to figure out the best places to visit the planets.

Ok, backtrack.....

  Hubby's sister Deb had mentioned something to us about a planet billboard thingy around Coona.  When I picked up this brocure at our Caravan Park, I realised what she was banging on about.  How cool!  Billboards of planets all over the country, leading to the Sun which is located at the huge Astronomy Observatory, Siding Spring, in the Warranbungles, Coonabarabran.

I was on a mission.

I figured out that the best route would be for us to go check out the planets on the way to the Sun, Jupitor, Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury.  Then, on the way to Dubbo, check out Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

The way I remembered them from school days is -  My Very Elderly Mother Just Sat Up Near Pluto.
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupitor, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

Mission accomplished.

Here they are.  Starting with the Sun.



Siding Spring Observatory is located high up in the range on a ridge line.  You can see it for miles.  We didn't bother with paying for the tour as I was more interested in actually seeing planets, stars and nebula.  You can't do that here.  They only have day tours of it.  Milroy Observatory is the place to do the night thingy, but unfortunately it was too cloudy.

So we just had to be content with viewing the huge Observatory here and from a distance.  We were not impressed either with the Visitor Center.  Yes, it had info on the big telescope and photos etc, but not much tourist gifts.  I was at the least wanting to pick up a 3D planet magnet or sticker or something like that as the Information Centre in town was closed for renos.  So such luck either way.  😔

There is a cafe here, but they were not going to get any money out of me by this time.  Instead we were looking forward to driving back to town for lunch.



As I was sad that we could not view the sky through a big Observatory Telescope, hubby wanted to take us out for some nice food.  He was feeling sad with me.

We chose the Bowling Club.  Honey House Restaurant is Chinese.  I am not a real fan of Chinese having eaten it a lot in our younger years when we used to commute from Sydney to the Central Coast every day for work.

Well I was pleasantly surprised.  Both the Plum Pork and Szechuan Chicken were delicious and the fried rice looked like special fried rice, including lots of prawns and chicken.


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