We leave the Castlereagh highway at the tumbledown town of Ilford, NSW and head off through the hills on what is unromantically named Tourist Drive 4.

TD4 is a hilly road winding through brown farmland with sheep and the gum trees are adorned with mistletoe. We drop down a steep hill and find ourselves in the village of Sofala, it is Australia’s oldest surviving occupied gold mining town and there is still a little prospecting done here. It was also used in the 1974 movie “The Cars That Ate Paris”. We park the rig and walk as the street is far too narrow to take the van through. There are a few dozen decaying houses, a cafe, the obligatory pub and a gaol. In the short main street there are young lambs bleating on a trailer and outside the cafe, three old guys with long scruffy beards sitting on kitchen chairs on the roadway drinking gourmet coffee. It’s cold, icy cold even in the weak sunshine. The town seems to be waging a losing battle to preserve its old buildings, but I doubt that things move all that fast here. Bright red japonicas ramble along the fence lines. The hills above are golden with wattle. What a charming little spot that just begs to be explored.


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