Day 109 Sunday 27/9/20 Uralla to Quirindi, -1 to 19 blue sky clouds
Of course, it’s an icy cold morning. The van smells different. It’s funny how a change of temperature or air or location changes the feel and smell of the van. Without looking out the window you know you are in a different place.
The day warms quickly. Cockies and ducks graze on the lawn beside us.
It’s downhill all the way to Tamworth, an 88km drive with a steeper drop down the Moonbi Hill. An ear popping drop with pleasant views of the valley below. This must be the first time that we’ve ever seen this view green.
We stretch our legs in the sun and walk tree lined Peel Street. Being a Sunday, most stores are closed but it is a chance to appreciate the grand buildings.
Taking another B road and avoiding the highway we head south through Carrabubula (there’s a name for you and what a ring to it) and Werris Creek. We had wondered why Werris Creek sounded familiar and it turns out to be a railway town and the site of a large coal mine. We’re impressed that the towns through here have large signs denoting local freedom camps.
Our destination today is Quirindi (pronounced Corindie). Hey didn’t we go to Corindi a few weeks back? Yep two towns with the same pronunciation and we later learn that the distinguishing factor is “The one near Tamworth” or “Corindi… beach”.
Now back to Quirindi, we pull up outside the Imperial Hotel and El Prado and I bound into the bar, Woody of course stays in the car as he still can’t hear very well. There’s a roaring open fire, a barman and two blokes by the fire. When we ask if we can stay the night in our two vans one cheeky bloke says there’s only room for one van! We’re shown outside to a large empty grassed area behind the pub and beside a horse paddock. Legs is the horse’s name. By the way, we soon learn that the cheeky bugger by the fire is the publican, Mick. Once set up we leave The Prado’s dozing and go for a long walk around the town.
She’s a grand old dame on a Zimmer frame is Quirindi. Many shops are empty and it appears that only one other pub is trading. Surrounded by low hills it has a charming setting and there are some attractive buildings but it does seem to have fallen on hard times. An interesting feature of the footpaths are the original stock brands of the Liverpool Plains region set into the pavement.
We head over to the pub for dinner. The fire is still blazing in the bar, a quick scout around and we find ourselves a seat in an area that is the cafe during the day and settle into comfy couches by another fireplace. Before dinner arrives we get a chance to explore this recently renovated pub. We find another three intimate sitting rooms, two with fireplaces. There’s a large bistro area and an outdoor covered beer garden that is also used for live entertainment as our host is a bit of a muso.
Another couple join us for dinner. They came in mid afternoon and are camped beside us, fellow Victorians wandering QLD and NSW. Dinner is excellent and I can vouch for the crumbed cutlets, gravy and mash. Mick the publican joins us for a chat and all in all it’s a thoroughly enjoyable evening of warm country comfort. If you’ve got a van and you’re in the area, do yourself a favour and pop in.
And back home? Well as we were setting up at 12:30 the Victorian Premier made his long-awaited announcement. We had expected that Melbourne would revert to Stage 3 restrictions. But no, they’ll be staying on Stage 4, the night time curfew will be dropped and some professions will return to work. People can now shop in pairs but the 5km limit still applies.
Accom: Free (if you don’t count dinner and drinks)
Travelling Kms: 153kms