6 October 2016
Our aim today is to drive south from Dubbo to Parkes, about 124 kilometres. Again it was an almost cloudless sky and the weather became very warm, thank goodness for the air conditioned car.
We had heard about the Peak Hill Open Cut Experience that is about 70kms south of Dubbo, and had no trouble in finding this unusual place. Located near the centre of town on Mingelo Street, Peak Hill’s historic tourist gold mine features 5 spectacular open cuts, walking trails and viewing platform. Gold was discovered at Peak Hill in 1889. Peak Hill was described as a high hill of felspathic rock containing large masses of iron, ferruginous quartz and quartzite.
The mine ceased production and was closed 2002. A tour of the mine reveals eye-opening original gold working dating back to 1890s, several walking trails, easy and difficult with well constructed viewing areas to the open cut mining areas. Unfortunately we could not go on any of the walking trails, due to the recent rains it was obviously considered unsafe and the walking trails were blocked. There was an interesting collage of photographs of former miners (left)
So we set off again, driving through some spectacular countryside, and especially the golden fields of canola as far as the eye could see. Next stop was “The Dish” which is quite close to the city of Parkes. The Australia Telescope National Facility is one of the world’s most advanced radio astronomy facilities, and the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Parkes Observatory hosts the 64-metre Parkes radio telescope, one of the telescopes comprising CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility.
An icon of Australian science, the Parkes radio telescope has been in operation since 1961 and continues to be at the forefront of astronomical discovery thanks to regular upgrades. Astronomers from across Australia and around the world utilise the Parkes radio telescope to undertake world-class astronomical science. Affectionately known as ’the Dish’, the telescope operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
It is a truly fascinating place to visit, very popular for school excursions, and you could easily spend the whole day there seeing the exhibitions and watching the various videos throughout the facility. It also had a very nice cafe so we made good use of it and had some lunch.
After a short drive we arrived in Parkes and we had no trouble finding the Henry Parkes Centre which houses the Elvis Presley exhibition (brought back a few memories!), vintage cars and a wonderful museum showing some of the history of the area. The Elvis Presley weekend in January of each year is very popular, and thousands flock to enjoy the music and the Elvis impersonators.
A drive up to Memorial Hill gave us wonderful views of the country around Parkes, and the city itself (below left and right). It is certainly very flat and one can see for kilometres around the Hill. The city had experienced some heavy rain the previous week, and everything was nice and green.
It was time for us to make our way back to Dubbo, and we decided to take an alternate route to the road we had travelled and planned to drive through the Goobang National Park through Yeoval, Wellington and back on the highway to Dubbo. It wasn’t too long before we had to stop as a huge tree had fallen across the road (left), no doubt due to the torrential rain that had fallen in the area over the last week. Fortunately we were able to find a flat dry area on the side of the road and with Pete’s guidance I was able to drive around the tree. There were three or four cars behind us by this time, however all got through safely.
We shortly arrived at Yeoval, a quaint small village in the Central Western district of New South Wales, Australia. The town lies in Cabonne Shire, however a small part lies over Buckinbah Creek in Wellington Shire which is referred to as North Yeoval. A cute shop was open so we took advantage of a coffee before heading off for Dubbo (right).
After a very full day we were happy to stay in the Matilda Motel dining room tonight, and the meal was delicious.