We headed off on an unexpected road trip on Wednesday morning.
Our route took us towards Mudgee and, as we didn't have the caravan in tow, I was able to stop and take a photo at my favourite spot.
It really was quite scenic.
As we had quite a distance to travel we only stopped briefly along the way. Our lunch stop was at Bingara, beside the Gwydir River.
I was rather taken with this big old tree. While we were marveling at it and commenting that it would be fun to play in as a kid, a man nearby told us to look around the other side.
What a tree. You can see right through the roots. An older couple were walking past and the lady commented that she used to play in the roots of the tree when she was a little girl, and I would be guessing she was in her 70s.
From here we travelled on a new to us road. We had been as far as Warialda before, but this time we then turned east towards the Queensland border. We had to complete travel declarations before being allowed into the state.
Ta Da! Texas! It is a tiny town on the border and we didn't even drive up the main street, as we still had quite a distance to drive and the day was marching on. Hopefully, we will drive this road again in the future and have a bit more of a look in this general area.
We finally arrived at our destination of Toowoomba after dark. It had been a twelve hour drive, covering over nine hundred kms.
The reason for our trip was to attend the funeral of my uncle. He was in his nineties, so it was a celebration of a life well lived. There are now only my Dad's baby sister and my Mum left in that generation.
Due to COVID restrictions several of his grandchildren were unable to attend the funeral, which was sad. However, it was live streamed for them.
On an upside, my generation turned out in force. There were 14 of us, with two sadly already gone, but of the remaining twelve, there were eleven of us there. Due to us growing up and living all over the place, that is the most that have ever been together in my lifetime.
I can't believe I took no other photos in Queensland.
Our next stop was to visit Mick's aunt and uncle before stopping for the night at Ballina, on the NSW north coast.
We had a delicious dinner at the RSL Club.
We had considered continuing our trip home via the coast, but due to the current COVID situation decided that we would head back inland. However, as we were at the coast during the winter, there was a slim chance that we may get to see a whale, which is something that we'd like to do, but have never been in the right place at the right time. Here was our chance.
I noticed there was a cafe overlooking the ocean at Lighthouse Beach, so we booked a table by the window for breakfast.
Before we went in we had a bit of time, so stopped at a car park overlooking the ocean to look for whales.
Guess what??!! We saw a couple of whales........They were way out to sea, and were just a big splash and flash of black, but they were whales. Definitely not something we could get a photo of, but better than nothing. We may have to take a whale watching tour one day.
There was even a lighthouse.
Built in 1866 the Richmond River Lighthouse is one of the oldest in Australia.
This was the view from our table at the cafe. Hard to take, isn't it.
And how's this for a yummy breakfast. It was so nice to have this little interlude that wasn't just driving. It was interesting that our waiter was the Customer Service Manager of Qantas, prior to the pandemic. How things change. Yes, the customer service was excellent.
Back on the road, we passed the Big Prawn. Aussies do love a big thing.
Last time we were up this way we were fascinated with the building of the new bridge over the Clarence River. Now it is all finished and towers over the old bridge, which is still in use as well.
We had a brief interlude in Maclean to stretch the legs.
It was good to see that the trees are starting to come back after the bush fires at the start of last year.
We always enjoy the view back towards to coast.
After breakfast at sea level, we were back in the high country and the temperature had plummeted. It was 18 degrees C at breakfast and 7 degrees at Guyra.
There had obviously been quite a bit of rain during the day as all the little streams were running well and the paddocks were very soggy. A perfect winter season.
We finished our day at the small town of Uralla, where we stayed in a nice motel and had a delicious meal at the pub.
Yesterday morning was rather fresh, but everything looked a picture in the golden light.
The Liverpool Plains were also looking wonderful. Such a contrast to a couple of years ago.
We enjoyed a late breakfast a local cafe at Gunnedah. Yummo!
It was good to see the silo mural. We had seen it while still being painted and briefly once completed, but in the rain. On Saturday it was looking lovely in the sunshine.
From there we just travelled the usual route home via Gulgong.
In summary, we travelled 2,200 kms in four days. It was the first time we have taken our little Honda HR-V on a longer trip, as we normally have the caravan behind the ute. We were impressed with how well it went and the fuel economy, using less than half of the ute and van.
While the reason for the trip was sad, it was good to catch up with family and we did enjoy the road trip.