After our visit to the dog on the tuckerbox, we hit the road for Newcastle, north of Sydney. At first it was a leisurely drive towards the New England hills. We passed areas where wind turbines had taken over from the sheep and cows. I hates them, I does. They’re a blight on the landscape and although they generate cheap electricity when they’re running, nobody seems to take into account the cost of building the things, transporting them, putting them up and then what do you do with them when they finally fail? Landfill? Meanwhile, they’re made in China where the Chinese generate their power with HELE power stations that burn our Australian coal…
Better get off the soapbox.
Further down the road mist lay in the valleys and hung around the hills. Service centres along the road were scarce as thylocenes. We got all excited when we saw a sign for an Oliver’s (a food chain which hadn’t impressed us) at a service centre. But the site was a work in progress and the toilets were temporary long drop affairs which stunk. We certainly weren’t the only ones who took that turn-off. When the GPS told us about another servo we took the exit to a town a few klicks off the road. After a while we turned around, parked the car at the side of the road, and settled for bottled water and cheese slices with biscuits which we’d bought in Echuca. We weren’t the only people who’d stopped there. They’d left paper and plastic evidence. How hard is it to take your rubbish with you? Back on the road, we decided to get off the highway and drive through the picturesque New England towns of Bowral and Mittagong and ended up with a snarl of Sydney-siders wanting to do the same thing. Sigh.
The Hume goes through some lovely country through the Blue Mountains. The paddocks were mere memories. Now, temperate rain forest crowded the verges. Fences had been erected to keep the wildlife away from the road.
We encountered a number of wildlife bridges across the road, much more substantial than the rope ladders we’d seen for possums and the like out in the countryside. This bridge would allow larger animals like kangaroos and wombats to cross, as well as little critters that don’t like heights.
The highway skirted the edges of Sydney around Liverpool and Blacktown. A toll road took us through a tunnel and on to join the Pacific Highway north of Sydney. The highway has been carved through the hills and lifted onto bridges.
Newcastle is New South Wales’s second largest city and Google took us on a winding route through the suburbs to our motel which was a good distance from the city centre. I think Newcastle would be a good place to base yourself to look around some lovely coastal and bushland scenery but there’s not much to do on a Sunday afternoon after a long drive. We found the local Aldi to stock up on some more bottled water. Once again, dinner was at the bowls club, a short walk away.
Tomorrow we’d be back in the countryside (more or less).