27/12/2014 – written by Nancy
105 k – Orange to Wellington (no, not the one in NZ, the other one)
Cool temps overnight with some wind meant we woke up after a good night’s sleep to a dry tent and tarp. It was still cool and windy in the morning, so we hustled around to pack things up in an effort to get on the road early and to keep warm.
I ventured down to the kitchen area to use the tea kettle to make hot water for our oatmeal and (gasp) instant coffee. I wasn’t game to take our food down there so I took one of our Nalgene bottles, filled it with hot water from the kettle and took it back to our campsite where we sat in our chairs and ate breakfast.
We were on the road by 7:30, and though it was cloudy we had tailwinds for the first 35k or so, and even a bit of downhill! Good way to start the day! We stopped and took some pictures of some old houses in Orange, and then were quickly out in the countryside. Lots of long vistas, sparsely populated with trees (and people, it seemed). It looked quite dry – I am sure the rain from the last couple of days helped but much more is needed to green the area up.
We stopped for morning tea at a great little town called Molong. I think we were the first customers at the cafe there – lovely folks who run the place, just what you expect from the country towns out here. Dave couldn’t go past an egg and bacon roll, but I was too full still from breakfast so I stuck with a piece of banana bread. It was a bit chilly, so a couple of strong flat whites took the edge off.
After leaving Molong we unfortunately made a turn so that we had a pretty strong side wind. Dave says that he pulled for 45k and he was exhausted, blah blah blah. (junior editor’s note: Hmmm, one should really get credit when being gallant…) Actually, I think we split it evenly. We stopped at one rest area for a break (the last of the scones), and chatted with a motorcyclist who was heading to Dubbo from Sydney – about 400k – all in one day! Ah, for a motor… We put our head down and just tried to make it the last 30k to Wellington in the wind.
About 10k out from Wellington we came to the turnoff to the Wellington Caves. There is a caravan park up that way, but we were looking forward to seeing town so decided to keep going into town. But right at the turnoff there is a big sculpture ‘park’, I guess you’d call it – I think its formal name is the Wellington Gateway Sculpture. Quite amazing, with a big sculpture made out of the trestle from the old Wellington Bridge that collapsed in 1989, and lots of tile work around it, including a rock fence with tiles made by kids from the local schools. It was pretty amazing – out there in the middle of nowhere.
After that artistic stop we made our way into Wellington. Looks like a big town, but of course we couldn’t find any cafes open. We did locate the Woolies, which is far bigger than any store we shop at in Sydney! Dave grabbed some lunch supplies and after stopping at the tourist information centre (we hit it at 2:02, it closed at 2:00 but Dave went and pressed his face against the window and the nice lady opened back up for him) we made our way to the Riverside Caravan Park, where we have a massive grassy area to ourselves right next to the river. We had a cuppa with the owners and watched all the neighbourhood parrots come by for their afternoon snack of sunflower seeds.
Should be a quiet night tonight, if the squawking birds get to bed at a reasonable hour. We are debating the destination for tomorrow – lots of little historic towns out here to see. We may go all the way to Mudgee, for some good food and wine, or we may stop off in Gulong, another interesting town along the way. We head off of the main highway, so we may be back in hilly country again which may make the decision for us.