Australian Travel · National Parks · New South Wales · Travel Photography · Words of Wisdom

Guest Post: Must sees in rural NSW

Guest post brought to you by Destination NSW

 

Australia’s New South Wales is known for its beautiful beaches and coastlines to die for. However the state has so much more to offer than laid back beach towns, with a gorgeous coastline, white covered snowfields and a winery or two in between.

 

Regardless if you are after a quick trip away or setting off on a two week long adventure, there are a bunch of things to do in the state of New South Wales, and rather than guide you to places you’ve heard of a million times; here a few of my favourite rural destinations.

 

Mudgee

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Photo Credit: Pexels

 

The town of Mudgee boats local produce, fine dining and delicious wine! Located just north-west of Sydney, the area is made up of gorgeous greenery, farmlands and rolling hills.

 

You can always find something to do here in Mudgee, but some of our favourite things are bushwalking by Dunns Swamp, going wine tasting at one of the 40 family owned wineries, or spending a night under the stars at Goulburn River National Park.

 

Morpeth

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Photo Credit: Foundry

Just two hours North of Sydney, situated in the infamous Hunter Valley lies the historic town of Morpeth. The colonial buildings in the main street are filled with amazing restaurants, eclectic stores selling a bunch of local products and delicious food outlets.

 

There is a lot to do in Morpeth that embraces the history and culture of the town like eating lunch riverside, enjoying a heritage walk and tasting a slice or two of the famous Morpeth Sourdough. Go back in time and explore just how popular the river port was in colonial times with a trip through the Morpeth museum.

 

Armidale

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Photo Credit: Melent

 

Located smack bang in the middle of Sydney and Brisbane, the stunning Armidale has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike. Being the home to Australia’s second highest waterfall, World Heritage national parks and scenic landscapes, Armidale is one to add to the travel bucket list.

 

If you are one for walking amongst nature, you will be thrilled with all the walking trail options in Armidale, like the Oxley Walking Track or the Chandler View Circuit Walk. However if hiking isn’t really your thing then you can take a leisurely stroll through the Armidales Farmers Markets. This is held on the first and third Sunday of each month so make sure you check your calendar and pick yourself some local produce.

Bellingen

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Photo Credit: PattyJansen

On the banks of Bellinger River, just half an hour from Coffs Harbour sits the rural town of Bellingen. If you are a fan of kayaking, canoeing and rainforest walks then this might be your new favourite place. Bellingen is a great place to base yourself while you immerse yourself amongst the nature that surrounds the local area, like the Bangalore Falls or the World Heritage listed Dorrigo National Park.

 

Kangaroo Valley

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Photo Credit: Giraphic Design

 

The Kangaroo Valley is one of Australia’s most hidden gems, located in between Canberra and Sydney along the Kangaroo River. With the river flowing throughout the valley, the whole area has become very popular to go camping, and enjoy a variety of watersports like canoeing and kayaking.

 

To make sure you’re experiencing all Kangaroo Valley has to offer, make sure you stop in to the Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop. This heritage listed shop is home to the ‘World’s Best Pies’, however if you’d rather something else they also offer great local treats as well.

 

 

 

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Attractions · Australian Travel · Camping · Caravan Parks · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · Home on the Road · National Parks · New South Wales · Travel Photography

oh my darling

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The Darling River has been a long time bucket list dream item. I have traced my finger down the map so many times in anticipation of one day driving along the edge of this beautiful watercourse. The Darling River and the river systems of Australia have always fascinated me!

Why!?!

No idea!

It could be the natural beauty and wonder that comes from the ebb and flow of the Darling. Or it could be the amazing connections the Darling has with our Australian history; the majestic river boat trade, our explorers or our nomadic natives.

Times would of be tough along the Darling, but there is a nostalgia that puts a rose-coloured tint on the river’s past.

As usual we wish we could of taken more time to traverse the river’s edge but when you have limited time you make the most of the time you do have.

We met Australia’s third longest river, the Darling on the drive between Brewarrina and Bourke, where the Culgoa and Barwon Rivers meet in Western, NSW.

We had only planned to stay in Bourke for two nights and ended up staying three. If time was limitless we could of spent a much longer time exploring Bourke and surrounds.

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Our base camp was made at Kidman’s Camp, North Bourke and we have to say it is has crept into one of our top 10 caravan parks ever! That is a big call but we are sticking by it. Great amenities, beautiful grounds, close enough to town but far enough out.

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Our time in Bourke;

  • Back O Bourke Exhibition Centre – 5 stars, friendly staff, excellent exhibits and crammed packed with history! They even let you go back the next day for free! 17880153_10154649571094538_6505065834052485120_o
  • PV Jandra Paddle Cruise down the Darling – a wonderfully relaxing cruise down the Darling on a Paddle Boat. 100% worth it!
  • A day trip to Gundabooka – this is a trip in itself, the majestic ranges and rock art, we will be back for sure and we might even spend a night or two.17833970_10154653155604538_6036086099208362436_o17880256_10154653021809538_4559082656587085622_o
  • Exploring the history of the town including the old wharf, the weir, the Crossley engine – the Darling really was a life-blood, without the Darling towns like Bourke would simply not exist.

 

We headed off from Bourke and meandered our way down the Darling River, West-side, East-side, whatever direction took our fancy at each bridge cross-over. As so many before us we made a slight pub-crawl of it with a stop at both Tilpa and Louth (both iconic outback pubs in their own right). We passed through Wilcannia, unfortunately the town was battered and bruised; I’m sure only a shadow of it’s former self and we made our way to a little patch of paradise back on the Darling.

The Paroo-Darling National Park is approximately 40km south of Wilcannia and an absolute world away. The Coach and Horses Campground is complete perfection. Great effort by NSW National Parks! They have provided BBQ’s, toilets and picnic tables with designated camp-sites along the Darling River.

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From Paroo Darling we moved on down the river towards Menindee. As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to visit Menindee. I don’t know why exactly, it could be the photographs that we all associate with the Menindee Lakes. You know the ones, the ghostly trees emerging from the lake’s bottom reaching up into a wonderfully painted sky. Whatever the reason, it lived up to and exceeded my expectations. We were lucky to see the lakes with a far amount of water in them and even luckier to score what is one of the best free camps we have ever stumbled across, and I do mean stumbled. 17966451_10154659803264538_3977871532047791994_o

Picture this! Wake up, step out of the caravan and onto the soft and sandy loam, the birds are already singing but no other noises meet your ears. You walk several metres and dip your toes into the silky water of Lake Pamamaroo. This was one of those spots where we stayed an extra few days and well thank goodness because it is one of those magic spots, that I will dream about for years to come.

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What did we do while in Menindee?

  • Kinchenga National Park; we explored the Darling River drive, so many more wonderful campsites tucked away in there, the old woolshed and Kinchenga ruins, the woolshed especially was amazing 17972124_10154662352029538_1455704605374242059_o
  • Had a drink in the pub where explorers Burke and Wills stayed in 1860
  • Walked around the historic township Heritage Trail
  • found the boiler from the Paddle Steamer Providence disaster back in 1872

Our only disappointment at Menindee was the lack of information about the Burke and Wills Depot camp and survey tree a short way out of town. We are not sure if the signage was washed away or stolen but it was a real shame to miss such an historical marker. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time this trip but would love to take one of the boat trips on the Lakes. We just have to save that one for next time.

From Menindee, our original plan was to head to Mungo National Park but we weren’t feeling it and we had spent a few of our extra nights along the Darling so we decided to head to Wentworth. Mungo NP will be added to the next trip when we have more time to enjoy and take our time.

We travelled through the town of Pooncarrie which I might add was delightful with beautifully manicured, green lawns and neat gardens. It is always so nice to see towns that the locals take pride in even out there, way outback. We made it to Wentworth where the Darling meets the mighty Murray.  17972388_10154665537934538_3015918485766752436_o

We made a lovely free camp on the edge of the Murray and explored Wentworth;

  • Old Wentworth Gaol; in such wonderful condition, interesting and eerie, so many stories of times gone by 17991572_10154668420319538_1841414843296520947_o.jpg
  • Wentworth Pioneer Museum; absolutely crammed pack of history, highlight for me was the historical photograph collection of all the old paddle steamers.
  • We took a drive out to the Perry Sandhills, attempted sand boarding on cardboard no real success but lots of laughs. On a side note; was horrified by the amount of rubbish floating around! 17973727_10154669342389538_6467889000138221445_o
  • The walk out to the junction of the two rivers was highlight, the colour difference is very clearly defined.

We would definitely complete the Darling River Run again and again as there were things we missed and we would love to spend more time there, Plus it is one of those places that would be different each time your visited.

>>>>>Coming soon our Flinders Ranges trip note<<<<<<<

S & S

Attractions · Australian Travel · New South Wales · Travel Photography

life is a zoo

Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings.
– Evan Esar

We have passed the Taronga Western Plains Zoo so many times over the past few years and we thought now was the time to finally visit.

We weren’t 100% impressed to be honest. The zoo is quite spread out which is great and we thought the enclosures were going to be quite large and open however, that wasn’t always the case. Some enclosures were well disguised by natural elements such as lowered ground level, trees, water moats however, some were quite concrete jungle-esque.

The zoo is so large that you can chose to either drive your own vehicle around, hire and electric cart or ride bicycles. I personally think they should stop people driving their own vehicles around and everyone should either ride bikes or use electric carts. The vehicles create an unnatural and flurry of craziness.

The electric carts are only able to be hired for three hours which is not enough to get around and see everything. We paid $69 for the three hours but would of quite happily paid up to $100 to have the cart for the entire day (there was not option to do this). Further to this, the set up to purchase zoo tickets and then hire the cart was quite long-winded and required attending two locations, two line-ups before then waiting to enter the zoo in another line-up. When purchasing the tickets the customer service member handed the map with no mention of what was on, the entry location or where to hire the cart from?

We made the most of our three hour time limit and saw everything we wanted too. While we wouldn’t necessarily rush back we would recommended others to go and visit the zoo for themselves. The animals make it worth the visit.

Have you been to Dubbo Zoo? We would love to know what you thought?

S & S

 

Attractions · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · New South Wales · South Australia · Travel Photography

rivers and ranges

Oh my!

What an absolutely brilliant trip we had.

This country never fails to amaze me. It’s beauty is splendid and varied.

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short due to the passing of a close family friend. The last portion of our trip was cancelled and we will add it to another adventure at later date. While it was a sad way to end this trip, it reminds us again how life is short and so precious. We aim to treasure every moment and live a life worth living. Our passion is travel and inspiring others to travel, we will continue to do so as long as we are able.

We titled this particular adventure; rivers and ranges. It saw us follow the Darling River Run in Western NSW where we met up with Murray River and crossed over the border into South Australia. From the Riverland we headed into the Flinders Ranges; one of our favourite places to visit in Australia. We spent a wonderful 8 nights in the mountains even with some rainy days thrown in. We then headed for Outback South Australia and the Strezlecki and spent a wonderful night in Farina. As we were about to embark on the Strez to head up to Innamincka we heard from home and it was time to head South again to the Riverina to be with family. We tried to make the most of the long trip back to Griffith and stopped in at Burra, the most beautiful little town and a few river towns along the Murray.

We gave the drone a work out and look forward to sharing some footage with you. In fact there is a link to a teaser posted below so stay tuned.

https://www.facebook.com/norrisaroundaustralia

S & S

Attractions · Australian Travel · National Parks · New South Wales

Long live the Sunday drive

Who loves a Sunday drive? You know we do!

Exploring the back roads around your own region is the perfect way to spend a Sunday. You don’t have to go far or spend too much cash. You can even pack a picnic and make a day of it.

We are so lucky that we currently live in such a beautiful area of Australia. The Northern Rivers region of NSW has such a varied and diverse landscape and there are so many pockets to explore.

This morning was spent chasing waterfalls at Killen Falls, Tintenbar and having some “dam fun” out at Rocky Creek Dam near Lismore. It isn’t as hot as it was a few weeks back but it is still pretty humid.

It’s not long till our big trip for 2017 and we are in a flurry of getting everything prepared. However, it is always nice to take some time out for some localised exploring.

I believe at this point we are 4 weeks and counting.

S & S

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Attractions · Australian Travel · Destinations · Motivation · New South Wales · Random Thoughts

Our answer is Australia’s natural beauty

It may have come out of left field to some but our sea-change is sitting really well with us. For us it didn’t come out of nowhere it was really years in the making and something that has always been on the cards but still to actually take the plunge…. well let’s say it has been an adventure.

The other day I was walking through the sand-dunes following the tyre tracks which had been carved out by 4WD’s making their way onto the long stretch of white sandy beach and I had a break-through.

Since telling everyone of our sea-change and then successfully moving to our little sea town we have had lots of support but also lots of haters. Now, this bound to occur when you put yourself out there on social media and the world wide web in general and I am okay with that. But it does make you question what if the haters are right? What if it is not the move for us? What if it doesn’t work out? What if it goes against what we are all about…… and SO ON and SO ON……

 

BUT…..

As I walked over the sand-dunes, my thongs kicked up the fine grains of sand onto my calves, memories came flooding back. As I peaked the dune and saw the ocean, it took my breath away and I sat down and listened to the waves crash, just me and no-one else.  Over the last several years this exact thing has occurred many times. I have walked over sand-dunes in the Simpson Desert, in the Pilbara and in Territory and have felt whole-heartedly at peace. I have listened to the stillness, to nature and the silence in countless locations.

What does all this mean? What is it that I am getting at?

My epiphany is that I LOVE nature. It is the natural beauty of Australia we continue to love. Yes, most of the Eastern Sea-board is densely populated but not all. If you head away from the masses and follow nature you will find tranquillity and beauty beyond belief.  Our sea-change is exploring another aspect of Australia’s beauty and I have to say after years of travelling and dwelling in the inland it is a sight for sore eyes.

We love the desert country, we love the outback, we love rural Australia, we love the hinterland and we love the epic Australian coast line.

So we will let the haters hate, the lovers love, while we immerse ourselves in the stillness and the beauty of the sun, surf and sand and everything in between.

S & S

 

Australian Travel · Home on the Road · Motivation · New South Wales · Random Thoughts · Travel Photography

sea-change, life-change and new beginnings

Well we have taken the plunge and dived right in. Excuse the pun, or don’t, it is up to you. 

Our sea-change has finally taken place and we are slowly finding our stroke. No floundering has occurred as yet and we are hopeful it won’t occur at all…. but we never say never here at Norris Around Australia and neither should you. Life is a wild and crazy ride and anything can happen.

We are hoping this is our place…..after travelling all over Australia we always keep coming back to the Northern Rivers of NSW. If you keep coming back somewhere and you can feel it inside you, you should at least give it try. This little coastal village combines all our loves;  water, small-town feel, a sense of community and close to a world of exploring.

Don’t fret our dear and loyal readers, we still have nomadic blood flowing through our veins and are still the travellers you have grown to love. Although we are trying to build a nest here in the Northern Rivers of NSW, there will plenty of travels now and in the future. These may be big trips, short trip or weekend gallivants but they will be worth sharing and worth reading about.

After years on the road exploring this great country we are under-taking a massive life-change. Change is good. It challenges you and stretches you.

 

Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life. Robin Sharma

 

As I look back over the past several years, we have done exactly that. We have not done so without fear mind you. Some of the best decisions we have made have left me frozen stiff but these have turned out to be the best years of our life so far. We will continue to design our own life and live a life worth living. We hope you do to. Here is to new beginnings.

S & S