TEXAS TO DUBBO(550km 7.5hr)
As the daylight started to edge out of the night, I found the kids in the tightest foetal position on record. Hence the blankets were out from then on.
Tip-toeing around the campsite was somewhat of a novelty with the crunching rocks setting off a domino of growls and yaps into the darkness as we passed other campsites.
Once out of range of the dogs a strange silence hangs over the countryside. It may be due to the dogs or the unseasonal heat to come, but this was quickly forgotten as the sun silhouetted the countryside against its outback glory.
Not far down the road a strangled yelp escapes from the back seat as LR’s head impacts the car window on a surprise dip. Bizarrely, as the Landscape begins to level, the actual road rebels and turns into a cross between a bronco and rollercoaster ride. The resulting slight sea sick feeling was in line with the unusual “Gravesend” town just past “Slaughter house creek”???? on further research Slaughterhouse Creek massacre refers to a clash between mounted police and indigenous Australians in January 1838………….
The monotony of this section of road takes an upward turn as we spy the scattered sunflowers to either side of the road, in our hunt for the Sandstone caves road entrance. Sunflowers aren’t much you say, well you gotta take what you can get when armed with nothing but vague mileage distances for a location. You see, you are allowed to view the caves but in a strange twist….they(indigenous Australians) just don’t want you to, so they purposely leave the road entrance relatively un-marked. Let me give you a little help as we ended up making our long day even longer doubling back…the entrance is marked YAMINBA TRAIL and it is approximately 85.4km from Narrabri on the Newell Hwy. It is absolutely worth the extra 30km hunt (in the kids eyes anyway, H spent the time snoozing in the van).
Sweat began to appear on B’s brow early and the tell-tale reddening of his face pre-empted the “it’s too hot, I can’t go on” (so dramatic) but before he could even finish his wail we were there, and all was forgotten. We even got the “Best place ever” thumbs up from B. It is like a maze of shallow caves all the way around the cliff face. On first contact the walls move and LR lets out a squeal as the loud hum of motion is unnerving at first. Masses of blowfly’s shelter from the heat in the darkest crevices as you would, but the little ick feeling was quickly pushed aside as the fun begins. LRB climbed through and over almost every inch of the area, claiming areas as their bedroom, lounge room and even toilet. Let me reassure you that it was never used as such, as LR explains, it was just too small to be anything else.
Keep an eye out for huge butterflies and pretty Lizards
B sat with a pleased smirk on his face as we drove away, we were only allowed to leave the caves on the promise that we would return. We reached Dubbo even later than expected…bloody day light savings.
Texas to Narrabri (172km 3.5hr)
R onto Old texas rd
R onto Bruxner Hwy, through Yetman
L onto Warialda rd
R onto Gwydir Hwy to Moree
L onto Tcannah st
R Bullus Dr
R Newell Hwy
– 18.7km from Bellata stop Edgeroi Sheep Station (R side of road) just after intersection Caroona Ln/Hwy
Sandstone caves 85.4km from Narrabri (1.5hr)on Newell Hwy
L onto Sandstone Caves Track (not sign posted) for 1.1km, on R
Walk 1.7km return – Caves are an Aboriginal site for the local Gamilaroi people
Sandstone caves to Dubbo 192km (2.5hr)
NEXT: Behind the scenes at the Weasturn planes zoo