We left Oberon on Wednesday morning about 9am and headed west along the O’Connell Road to Bathurst. We drove through the city turning off the Great Western Highway and switching to the Mid-Western Highway to take us on to Blayney where we filled the vehicle then travelled out of town to have a coffee break at a roadside stop near the Golf Club.
Driving on we reached Cowra then turned on to the Olympic Highway to take us southward towards Young. Lunch was at a rest area about 25kilometres from the city where we shared the stop with a timber truck and a b-double stock transport. Young “the Cherry Capital of Australia” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young,_New_South_Wales) was reached around 1:00pm and we checked in to the Young Tourist Park (http://www.youngcaravanpark.com.au/) where we stayed until Friday morning.
After setting up the caravan we drove south to Wombat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wombat,_New_South_Wales) in search of the Grog Shed (http://www.wombatheights.com.au/) where we sampled and then purchased some of their products. Back to Young and a visit to the Information centre (http://www.visityoung.com.au/) to see what else might be interesting. Next a visit to the Art of Espresso (http://www.artofespresso.com.au/) for a beaut coffee complimented by a slice of brownie then a stroll through the main street and a quick trip to the local IGA for a few supplies.
The caravan park here at Young is home to many Currajong magpies and we were awoken by their melodious calls on Thursday morning. After a late breakfast we took a walk through the commercial area of Young. Since it was a cold day with a sneaky westerly wind we visited a number of shops in search of warmth and other items. There is a lot more to Young than the casual traveler may observe when driving along the Olympic Highway through the town and we discovered a lot more commercial area and a lot more large retail establishments than we had known existed.
Before we returned to the caravan for lunch we discovered Poppa’s Fudge & Jam Factory (http://www.poppasfudgeandjamfactory.com/) in Lovell Street and spent quite a while browsing their extensive range of goodies – we bought a few things and returned to base for lunch.
After lunch we visited the Bluestill (http://www.bluestill.com.au/) a distillery, gallery and café overlooking Young on the Henry Lawson Way. This is a very interesting establishment with a large range of jams, pickles and other preserves and a good range of distilled products including Blue Heeler Rum; I like rum and after sampling a small drop decided to buy a bottle for Ron (lateron). There is an Aldi store near the caravan park so we had a little wander through here as well.
On Friday morning we headed south following the Olympic Highway with our final destination to be Wagga Wagga where we would stay for two nights. We drove through Cootamundra taking the heavy vehicle bypass rather than driving through the business centre and hurried on through a number of small settlements until we reached Illabo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illabo) where we pulled into a rest area for morning coffee. The Illabo Hotel (http://www.visitjunee.com.au/visit/food/illabo-hotel-general-store.aspx) seems to be a multifaceted business encompassing not only the hotel but the local post office and roadhouse/general store as well.
About twenty kilometres along we reached Junee (http://www.visitjunee.com.au/) and again travelled along the heavy vehicle bypass avoiding the town centre and headed for Wagga Wagga (population around 50,000) which we reached at about 11:15am.
Checking in to our chosen caravan park (http://www.big4.com.au/caravan-parks/nsw/riverina/wagga-wagga-holiday-park) we were advised that a junior rugby league carnival was being staged in town over the weekend and many of the young participants were staying at the park. Consequently we have had lots of school boys running footy drills on the grassed areas behind our van – they haven’t been too noisy though and hopefully will be tired out after several games on Saturday. The park was affected by floods a few years back and is certainly not back to its best yet.
Wagga Wagga is a large city and there is plenty of shopping available, plenty to see and do and is generally a nice place (in our opinion). We have visited Wagga Wagga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagga_Wagga) before and, on this occasion, our stop was just about breaking the journey rather than to see the sights. We did a little shopping and under very cloudy dreary skies managed a couple of loads of washing. The car (and the van) could do with a wash but that would be a lost cause with the current showery weather.
Sunday is Mothers’ Day and we will cross the border into Victoria by the end of the day with our ultimate destination being the town of Beechworth.