Barrington Range: Road Trip No.1 for 2024


Road Trip No 1 for 2024

Our trip encompasses the Worimami and Biripi/Birpai people and country of the Eastern side of the Barrington Range and into the Wonaruah and Gaewegal people of the Western Country. For tens of thousands of years  they cared for country as a living holistic cultural landscape .  Spiritual beliefs and traditional practice encompassing the elements of Land, Law  and Language  to mother earth  and father sky and the ancestral beings.

Coming home after Christmas /New Year  break we decided to catch up with a friend in Scone for lunch. This can mean we have three options

 1. Going north over the Gwydir Highway into Glen Innes and down the New England Highway to Scone, which is a journey we enjoy as we both lived and worked in Glen Ines and Armidale in our courting days and we love to revisit and remember special places and special times. We have a favourite motel called Abbey Motel near everything especially dinner outlets for staying over night.

  2. Crossing via the Waterfall Way which is a journey we enjoy with a stop at a vortex place for its – Ebor Falls .  This is tricky in finding a place to stay and timing is out a bit for lunch , well lunch is not possible– the best we can do is 2pm and that was pushing it making it about the destination rather than the journey too rushed.

3. However for a first adventurous road trip of 2024 we decided to make the journey from Gloucester  over the  Barrington Tops through the Barrington National Park and down the western side through farm land into Gundy and Moonan Flat and into Scone . For this we needed to stay in Scone( nothing reasonable available so took the extra kilometres to Aberdeen  for the evening and perfect timing for early  leisurely lunch with our friend in Scone and wild chatter that picks up where we we left on last visit.  and time to get back to Sydney. 

Road Trip 

We set off from Coffs Harbour at 8am in the cool of the morning, travelled south for about three hours and tuned off the Pacific Freeway to Gloucester. 

A wonderful second-hand book shop along the way  on the outskirts of Gloucester  near the turn off for the mountain. This was a rest period and stop and we bought a few poetry books and a pictorial book for Michael on the Lakes area.  

Then we left civilisation and it was dirt, dirt and more dirt. The clouds were textures white light and promising of good weather. We would not like to be doing this in boggy conditions.  We love the the bubbling brooks we pass as we got higher into the hills. 

Higher we came to the Eucalypt Forest. We had a break at Thunderbolt Lookout  and very fascinating stop at  The Firs. The main sounds were like reevng of bikes which actually is the prolific cacophony of Lyre Birds  calling . One came out and danced for is in the stream of light striking a clearing and as we left another  lyre bird ran across the road . We stopped to watch it but it had quickly blended in with the vegetation.

Another stop at Cobark Lookout . and across the famous Dingo Fence and we wound down the steep western mountain side with glorious vistas of farm land and more mountains and crossed  many bridges over the Hunter, Isis, Stewart Brook . and through Gundy, not surprised at the number of groups camped  along the river.   Stopped at Moonan Flats which has been done up but was closed to our surprise. and to  finally into Aberdeen  to the motel. This meant a relaxed morning and to have lunch with our friend .


Canberra road trip day 1 by Colleen Keating


The Ngunnawal Peoples  on whose lands we stand
welcome you to this special place,
and ask that you acknowledge, respect and appreciate
its story and sacred beauty.

Saturday 27th March 2021

Our road trip to Canberra

As the mist lifts
we see such blue sky
and the air so clean after the wash of rain.

Autumn gnaws at the edges
summer wilts
giving way like one accepts
the turn of age
when one can no longer fight it.

Expansive open country –
gentled nodding brûlée tones of grass
trees, cattle, green hills round and soft
birds, billabongs all brimming full now.

Lake George its waters a shimmering mirage
in the distance the wind-farms green and clean
once called an eyesore.

Our picnic break –
a postcard country scene
the magpies still with us
and chirping of tiny birds
dozens of them
flitting from tree to tree
my research calls them Eastern Yellow Robins
and their flitting about
is on the wing for insects.


Standing before the portrait of Julia Gillard
I know I have arrived in Canberra
and excitedly
walking freely around
Parliament House
for me the centre of of my greatest ideals.

The fun frame is gone
set up with the sign . . .
‘Future first female Prime Minister’
now times have moved on. . . the ceiling broken
but in such a harsh and tormented way.

Hospitality at The House
freiendly and helpful at every turn.
made our walk relaxed
over the glass bridge to the senate chambers
over the glass bridge to the the lower house
looking out over into the court yards
checked the red maple –
the ‘budget tree’
which has a while to go to turn a flaming red.
and stopped at the Terrace cafe
for coffee and lunch.

A ritual visit to the Aboriginal Embassy
its sacred fire that always burns
stirs our  hearts
with the cleansing aroma of its smoke
are the cries
on signs and banners.

And into Old Parliament House
for an exhibition –
best political cartoons of 2020
hawaiian shirts and hoses
blackened trees, orphaned koalas
give way to spiky balls and masks
masks of many types!
cartoons of fires,Trump, pandemic, closing the gap
black lives matter
I can’t breath
iso, sano, toilet paper frenzies.
masks and not masks
sport rorts, pork barreling, dirty coal or not
Cathy Wilcox the Cartoonist of the year
with the year of a dog’s breakfast –
dog eats dog,  top dogs, sly dogs, people thrown to the dogs
panic buying, curves on graphs and on ourselves
finishing with sending 2020 firmly back
to the dog house where it belongs.


Then to our booked motel
in the treey suburb of Forrest
where the summer is gripping to hold on
as the fierce maiden of autumn
determidly shows her face.

We relax after an awesome
reassuring day in our nation’s capital.


Love Gough Whitlams’s  hands open.                                                                                                 Lego
He is the only one with a free and open stance.