Port Macquarie 2017, Days 10 to 11: And we’re home

In the past we have always returned home from Port Macquarie via Sydney, partly because it’s the quickest route but also because it gave us an opportunity to overnight there and catch up with my aunt. But, as she died in 2015, we decided that this year we’d come home the (or, should I say, a) long way, and take three days rather than the usual two…

It was a pleasant, if uneventful trip that took us through secondary roads, mixed farms, and many interesting country towns, small and large. We enjoyed the rolling-hill-dominated country-side, particularly as it seemed to have a decent amount of green, although the constant (well, it felt like it) roadworks got a bit irritating at times. (Especially on Sunday when no roadwork was happening!)

Our route was (for those who know the area):

  • Day 1 (actually Day 9 of our holiday): Port Macquarie, through Wauchope, Comboyne, Walcha, and Tamworth, to Willow Tree.
  • Day 2: Willow Tree through several tiny towns to Mudgee for lunch, and then on through the historic gold-mining area of Sofala to Bathurst.
  • Day 3: Bathurst, through Crookwell and then small towns like Tuena and Binda, and on to Gunning and Gundaroo (for lunch), before arriving home.

There were some surprises, such as Walcha with its Open Air Sculpture program, and Willow Tree, a town of 400 or so people that has a stylish Inn (pub), and three cafes along the short stretch of highway through town. Three cafes! I visited two and they were stylishly modern, and friendly. These were not your traditional Paragon Cafes. Do that many people stop in Willow Tree we wondered? Lucky local residents is all I can say.

Not so surprising, but distressing, was the huge amount of roadkill, mostly of the kangaroo variety. We saw a few live kangaroos and wallabies along the roadside (and managed to keep them that way) but oh so many dead ones.

The highlight of the return trip, though, has to be our lunch at the Pipeclay Pumphouse, at the Robert Stein Winery, just out of Mudgee. The view from our table was gorgeous, the food was beautifully presented and very tasty, and the service friendly – and it was delightful walking around the whimsical sculptures afterwards. Perfect as the last special meal of our holiday.

And the pics …

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2 Responses to Port Macquarie 2017, Days 10 to 11: And we’re home

  1. Mary 2 November 2017 at 7:34 am #

    The inland journey home looks interesting and refreshing! So many of your pics from around Mudgee highlight how elegant, stylish and welcoming it must be… the sculptures are clever with their clean cut lines, celebration of local life and use of what seems to be local corrugated iron…and I do like the image of the five star wine being poured at the Robert Steiner Winery. It’s a smart advertisement! The cuisine looks delicious and beautifully presented too. Thirty-something years ago Mudgee, in addition to its wineries and pretty countryside, offered wonderful honey based products. Did you come across any on this trip? Many thanks for sharing your journey, experiences, reflections and pics from this holiday. It’s been most enjoyable.

    • Len and Sue WHERRY 2 November 2017 at 9:58 am #

      Haha, yes, Mary, you’re right about the honey. I remember that from thirty years ago too – I remember going to a meadery (is that what they are called) and buying mead. Unfortunately this trip we didn’t have time to spend in Mudgee proper because “there was no room at the inn”! We therefore had to move on to Bathurst after our long lunch! We plan to go back. It’s such a lovely region isn’t it.

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