Over the last week there has been heavy rain right across the state and a lot of Australia. Locally, we received about six inches, with the worst being on Wednesday and Thursday.
On Friday, Mick suggested we go for a little drive. Remember that pretty waterfall we visited early last month. Well, Mick had been giving a mate a hand with some work out that way on Wednesday and Thursday and he said they had received quite a bit more rain than in town, so he thought it might be worth going and having a look.
Bathurst gets flooding from several different directions. This time it was the Vale Creek that was the main culprit, impacting the village of Perthville. There was water over the road heading out that way, but still passable.
Just to recap, here's Grove Creek Falls last month, when they were running quite nicely.
And on Friday!! Bloomin' heck!! You could hear the roar of the water as soon as you hopped out of the car. It was rather mesmerising watching it. We couldn't get over the power of that water.
What is normally a small babbling brook was a raging torrent. No wonder the falls were so impressive.
After that, we thought we may as well take a drive to Blayney for a late morning tea. We were half way there when we came to a road closed sign due to flooding, so were directed to take a detour. No worries, we weren't in any hurry to be anywhere.
The detour took us down a little dirt road past Carcoar Dam. We hadn't been on this road for a while, so a nice little interlude.
And over the dam wall. This would be one of the very few water storages in the area which is not full. It was rather strange seeing the creek trickle downstream from the dam, whereas every other watercourse, even just normally a dry gully, was running rather fast.
Due to the detour, once we reached Blayney it was time for lunch. We had in mind a coffee shop, but it was closed. So, the bakery it was, and surprisingly, they were still takeaway only. No worries, pies eaten in the park, and they weren't too bad either. Inadvertently, our day had turned into another "Friday Pie Day".
What to do next? Go home or keep exploring? You can guess the answer.
Mick had another place he thought might be interesting to visit - Junction Reefs.
Junction Reefs is somewhere I have never been to. When I was a teenager it was a popular swimming hole at the base of the waterfalls, but I never had the opportunity to go out there. Mick had been out there a couple of times. It was closed to the public over thirty years ago, as a mining company closed it off.
We had heard on the radio that the reserve had been reopened to the public just a couple of months ago.
We headed to Mandurama and then towards Burnt Yards, only to come across another road closure, so back we went towards Carcoar and across another little road. We are lucky that there is a veritable labyrinth of minor roads in our area. This time we had more luck.
Now we are on the right track.
Not far in, we came to a fork in the road. Which way to go? This was the only signage, obviously from all those years ago. We figured we go straight ahead.
Further down we came across a new sign pointing to the Schulze Dam and Waterfall. We found a carpark and little picnic shelter. You then followed a very roughly wipper snipped track in the long grass to the dam. Once again you could hear the roar of the water as soon as you hopped out of the car.
What a sight? However, this wasn't the waterfall. Mick hadn't been to the dam before. A little google search tells me that the dam was built in the mid 1890s to provide a secure water source for the gold mine. The engineer was a German fellow named Oscar Schulze and this was the first multiple arch dam built in Australia, being the only one in NSW and housed the first hydro power plant in Australia. It was added to the NSW State Heritage List in 1999. All that significant history in our own back yard, relatively speaking, and I'd never heard of it.
There had been scatty showers blowing across all day, but this was the only place that we were caught in one. We were pretty lucky.
After checking out the dam we went to look at the waterfall..........but we couldn't find how to get to it. The sign at the start of the road said waterfall and had a walking trail symbol, but there was no further signage. Due to the wet season, there was lots of grass, but no walking track could be found. We worked out where the waterfall would be, further downstream than the dam. We hopped back in the car and followed the main road further down, but came to a locked gate to the mine area. We were a bit disappointed. I know they have only just reopened the area, but some better signage would be very helpful. We'll try to get out here again in "normal" weather and try to find the waterfall then.
By now it was time to start to head home, via some more minor roads.
At one point there were lots of emergency services at a causeway.
A vehicle must have driven into deep water earlier. There was very little over the road when we went through. Mick was tempted to drive fast and splash the people there, but common sense prevailed.
We ended up by driving through Millthorpe. Another detour took us past the pretty railway station.
Finally, once back in Bathurst, we went and checked out the low level bridge, which is always affected by flooding. It was well up. This was taken at about 4pm and it peaked at about 10pm.
This morning the bridge is still closed, but water levels are dropping. Fortunately, the flooding didn't affect homes.
The weather has now turned back to winter, with yesterday only reaching 11 degrees C. Today will be a bit warmer and hopefully it will be back to low to mid 20s by the end of the week.
This turned out to be a Friday Fun Day that was very unplanned, so a bit of a bonus.
To make a bit more sense of where we went, here is a little map. The pink is before lunch. The green is after lunch. The orange crosses are the two waterfalls.