Yesterday was a beautiful day in the part of Australia we traveled, not a cloud in the sky. We finally left Port Stephens and drove all day out to Dubbo – about 500 km away. We took some back roads during part of the trip and really enjoyed seeing more genuine – non-touristy – parts of Australia. We started out in the east coastal regions, went through some of the hilly/mountain areas, and then experienced a gradual transition to a much flatter plains area where Dubbo is located.
We got this cool car when we went to Hertz in New Castle. We were supposed to get something like a Toyota Corolla, but it smelled like an ashtray. So, they gave us this nice little sports car (a foreign car: a Ford). It’s truly a nice ride especially on the curvy mountain roads.
Here is a map of the route we took. You can zoom into the map to see details of the areas we visited.
View Road trip to Dubbo in a larger map
A short while after getting on the Golden Highway, we got to Mount Thorley which is home to a huge area of coal strip mining. We went on back roads from there and got some glimpses of the ugly mines and the huge trucks of ore running around full of coal. We also saw hundreds of train cars full of coal getting ready for their ride down to the busy port of New Castle which sends the coal to other ports.
We stopped at a little mining town called Bulga for lunch. At a pub called Cockfighter Creek Tavern. This pub had nice little bench seats with tables at the front wall of the building where you could watch the road and the awesome view of the valley below (thankfully without the strip mines in sight). They also had grapes vines growing from the front roof that you could reach out and eat.
Along the way, we saw lots and lots of horses in the fields. Nice looking thoroughbred horses. We noticed a road called Horse Race Road too. Later, we stopped at a roadside pub. Inside they had several TVs, and all kinds of computer screens all having to do with horse racing. So, we asked the woman at the bar, and she told us horse racing and horse race betting is a very big thing in this part of Australia. No wonder we saw so many horses!
The terrain was beautiful, and I took some other photos along the way which I’ll upload later. We finally arrived in Dubbo about 6 PM. And, after securing a tent spot in the local holiday park, we went to the Hog’s Breath Cafe – a chain restaurant we’ve eaten at before. This one had license plates from nearly every state in the US hanging around the dining rooms.
During the day, we ran into a couple of problems with technology. I was relying on my smart phone to pick our routes, and we got to some places with no cell phone coverage. It was amazing how lost we felt since we had no map and no way to get information. I actually drove several kms out of our way to get us back to a place with a connection! Then, it appeared we had no coverage with our phone provider when we got to Dubbo. So, we bought a voucher for Karen’s phone. But, that one wouldn’t give us 3G service for her particular phone. Fortunately, after I re-connected my phone, it turns out it was working fine. Our reliance on good Internet is amazing.