Our journey on Wednesday to Armidale passed without issue. The city is set in the heart of the New England Tablelands on the New England Highway. We noticed a significant drop in temperature as we climbed the 980 metres above sea level to the city and the end of their winter. Daytime temperatures were around 25 Deg C but at night time it dropped to 10 Deg C.
Armidale is the highest city (as opposed to highest town) in Australia.
As usual we hadn’t settled on a place to park but when we arrived in the city we drove passed the local showground and noticed a number of motorhomes and caravans parked up. So we took the bull by the horns, drove in and enquired about staying. The caretaker said we could stay for $10 per night. Perfik! Our initial plan was to spend one night in the Armidale area and then move on northwards toward Glen Innes but we found city so intriguing that we ended up staying two days.
Many of the cities buildings, commercial, churches and residential, were constructed in the late 1800’s with the arrival of the railway and the discovery of gold at Hillgrove near Armidale. The people of the city have taken great pride in maintaining the buildings in near to their original condition as possible.
Again we are glad we took the time to stop a while.
This morning we continued on our way north through the Ben Lomond Range and along the New England Highway towards Glen Innes and Tenderfield. The landscape (apart from the gum trees) reminded us very much of travelling the Canterbury Plains at the same time of the year.
While we could have carried on to Tenderfield tonight we decided to stop over at the Bluff Rock Rest Area for the night. There is a bit of history to Bluff Rock. It is said that in 1842, the local aborigines had made several attacks on local shepherds and their sheep. Men from the Bolivia sheep station were armed and tracked the aborigines from Pyes Creek to Bluff Rock. Once cornered, the aborigines were thrown from the top of the rock killing or seriously injuring most of them. It is reported that they were never seen in the area again.
As with many rest areas around Australia there is not too much to see or do when you get there. Most travellers arrive late in the day and they are simply a place to stop for the night. We arrived at Bluff Rock at around 3pm and with a bit of time to kill Dearne spent it relaxing on the bed watching a movie on her laptop. In case you are wondering what the ‘green thing’ is on the ceiling, it is our new battery powered fan we use to circulate the air when we cannot run our air conditioning. We have had no problems adjusting to our new lifestyle!!!
This is a one-night stay and we will continue our way north on Saturday. It is a long weekend in Australia this weekend so we are expecting a big increase in traffic on the road this weekend. We will probably find a quiet side road area and stay put for the weekend.