Taking a road trip anywhere in Australia is a magical experience!
I’ve just got back from 2 days in Coonabarabran, the Astronomy capital of New South Wales, about six hours drive from Sydney and thought I’d share a bit of the journey with you all.
Beautiful clear skies…a shade of blue that absolutely dazzles the eye….fluffy clouds chugging along sedately in the sky…..
One could see luscious greenery showcased along the sides of the wide, long-winding roads.
We drove through tranquil, sleepy rural villages. Art galleries…quaint shops filled with artefacts…vintage clothing outlets…and old-fashioned coffee shops that absolutely implored you to stop and grab a cuppa!
The Blue Mountains region is absolutely breathtaking….we passed through the spectacular towns of Katoomba, Mount Victoria, Medlow Bath (with the majestic Hotel Hydro Magestic that looked like a castle plucked straight out of the heart of Europe. I could almost imagine lords and ladies from a bygone age enjoying high tea in its plush surrounds) and Blackheath, just to name a few.
The highways in Australia are dotted with ‘driver-reviver’ stops which offer free tea, coffee and biscuits to the commuters, to ensure there is no fatigue for drivers driving long stretches. Apparently, there are more than 1 million cuppas consumed in any given year. Amazing, right?
Wherever one looked there were rolling hills, and acres that stretched as far as the eye could see dotted with grazing cattle.
Everytime I saw a road-sign indicating kangaroos or koalas, we would look around excitedly, and sure enough we had occasional glimpses of kangaroos standing upright, staring intensely at the cars zooming past.
And lastly, what’s a drive through countryside New South Wales, without stopping at a local winery. We spent nearly two hours at a rustic, old fashioned winery in Mudgee. The winemaker was a friendly old man who recounted the history of the winery which started off long ago as a shearing shed for sheep. When I requested him to pose for a photo, he twirled his moustache like a medieval knight and grinned into the camera.
And what’s a visit to a vineyard without tasting the local wine! Many wineries in Australia also offer crackers and cheese along with the wine tasting. I had a few drops of a chilled sweet white wine which tickled my taste buds.
The vineyard cellar looked rustic, and was filled with artefacts and knick-knacks from long ago.
There were huge barrels on which were balanced the wines grown from local grapes and large glass containers filled with pickled lemons floating in a sea of oil, bay leaves, red chillies and cloves.
We had a lovely chat with the winemaker who ran us through the history of the little town we were in. He was most tickled to find out I’m an author and happily posed for photos and reminisced about the old era when life was so different.
As we were leaving, he tilted his cap and wished us ‘Gudday’….
As I said before, road trips in Australia have a touch of magic to them. Taking flights to and from major cities is all well and good. But the real Australia is only seen when one travels down its spectacular roads, uniting with nature and its many reflections.