Up early and start the packup and we’re out by about 9:30. 210km today.
As we are headed on the road to Dunedoo, we never actually go through the centre of Dubbo. About 50km out of Dubbo and we drive into this thick fog, up until now the skies have been pretty clear. After Goolma it clears again.
We make our way to Mudgee and stop at the local bakery. Only 85km more to go.
There are a few camp spots marked on Wikicamps, but I remember more as we drove this road from Hill End at the end of our big trip, I suspect not all the individual sites are listed.
We hit Sofala, which is on the left, but turn right on the Hill End road to try and find a spot. The main one listed on Wikicamps is about 4km up by a bridge over the Turon River. On the way I see one, maybe two sites that there seems to be a track down to the river and spots to camp. We arrive at the bridge, and realise the road down to the campground is before the bridge and too short notice to stop. A quick glance and I can see at least one van down there. We cross the bridge and drive up the road and finally find a spot to turn around. Back over the bridge and in the meantime three 4WD, one towing a quad bike on a trailer are all parked at the top of the road down, blocking it. Idiots!
As this forced us to drive past, again, I suggest we drive to one of the sites I saw on the way in. The first one seems OK to get into so we drive down. The initial site is pretty small and if we’d park up here we’d block the road. I walk a couple of hundred metres up the track and see a bigger spot, given we need to drive up there to turn around anyway we make our way up. Nice enough, just by the river, unlikely to get any neighbours so this will do.
A walk around to view the surrounds and while we’re not holding out too much hope, Justine throws the yabbie net into the river, you never know your luck.
We unhitch and take a drive into the township. I’m not sure if it is just Sunday afternoon, winter, Covid-19 or just the economy, but so much is closed. Given the age and condition of the buildings, it’s hard to tell if they’re closed permanently. We enquire at the Pub if they’re open for dinner, but are informed they’ll close at 6pm. The local community club appears to run a weekend BBQ from the pub and have Snags and Steak sangas for sale, so we have a late lunch. The kids enjoy patting the old, and very overweight local dog.
A walk around town, which just seems a lot more run down than I remember it. Then a drive out to the other side of town, this seems to be more regular houses and I guess where most of the actual people live.
Back to the van and while early at 4pm, we’re in a valley so the sun is going down. I still have quite a bit of firewood in the toolbox, so what the hell, let’s burn it.
We get a really good fire going and Justine bungs some potatoes in foil in the coals. Between these, which where yummy, and some toasted sandwiches we have a make-do dinner.
We retrieve the yabbie net, but as suspected no yabbies.
As it gets dark we get the sparklers out (that were meant to be for Liam’s birthday, but it just didn’t work out) and the kids go mad for a while.
It’s a great fire, probably the best of the trip, and while the kids are getting a bit bored, as it gets down to the coals, is when Justine and I think it is at its best.
Given we’ve had a few hours in front of the fire, and it’s still earlyish, we retreat to the van (with the heater going) and have one last movie.