We’ve just been on a five day road trip, in a dinky campervan, to see country NSW. All in all we do about 1500 km on our trip and we are not 10 minutes into our journey before Arabella pipes up: “How many minutes until we get there?”
My learning about road trips – and actually its a pretty good life lesson too – is that it needs to be about the journey, not just the destination. Key to everyone having a good time is flexibility and frequent stops!
Our initial destination is Dubbo, home to the world famous Western Plains zoo. It’s about a 6 hour drive west over the Blue Mountains and into the heart of NSW farmland. I am totally surprised by the beauty of the countryside we drive through. For some reason I was expecting more browns and reds in the colour scheme, but this part of Australia is fertile and green, utterly gorgeous and peaceful. It’s laid out before us as we navigate the steep pass at Mount Victoria, and descend into Hartley Valley. Behind us the sheer, red stone cliffs glow in the sunlight while the dense Eucalyptus forests, guardians of the Blue Mountains, seem to stare back at us, dark and foreboding. From this viewpoint it is easy to see why it took early settlers over half a century to get through the mountains and discover this fertile soil.
It is spring in the country and all around us are signs of new life. Hills are covered with lambs, fields of cows are speckled with calves and foals nuzzle near their mums. It does start me thinking about being a vegetarian, but only briefly. We have enough to think about diet wise in our house, without any additional complications.
We’ve already stopped at Katoomba for lunch, but we take another break in Orange to let the kids out and run around. Here we stumble across the most amazing adventure park, which keeps the kids amused for ages. Its expansive, with swings and turrets, walk way bridges and twirly slides. Next door, three sheep lazily keep the grass under control.
Energy released we head back into the van and strap in for the last 90 minutes of our drive to Dubbo. In the east the sun is setting and the clear blue sky turns orange and pink. While the miles tick past I stare out the window and watch the landscape that feeds us blur past and I think how important it is that we appreciate our agricultural heritage and lands, and work to keep them safe from mining exploitation and greed.