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PLANNING A TRIP? GET THE BEST WORLD LONG RANGE CITY WEATHER FORECASTS [2022 UPDATED]

World Weather Forecast – Know Before You Plan, Pack, and Go.   The weather plays a crucial role in your enjoyment of your trip. Planning is essential and knowing the…

World Weather Forecast – Know Before You Plan, Pack, and Go.

 

The weather plays a crucial role in your enjoyment of your trip. Planning is essential and knowing the city weather forecasts informs your trip planning and packing.

 

Do you want to avoid, as much as possible, torrential downpours like this in southern India (below)? Read on to learn how.

A photo of heavy rain with trees in the foreground and a pool and building in the background.

Are you planning a trip but unsure what to pack because you don’t know the expected weather?

OR

Do you ask yourself which month will give you the best weather for that holiday at the beach?

OR

Do you want to go to Asia, missing the monsoon season, but don’t know which months have the highest rainfall?

I learned the hard way about this last question, travelling to Vietnam on two occasions in November and October, respectively. Vietnam’s monsoon season is May to November. On both trips, I found myself in Hoi An walking the streets in calf-deep water because the Thu Bon River had broken its banks. I’m obviously a slow learner! My third trip to Vietnam was at the end of December. No rain!

A photo of rain falling on a river that has flooded the street. People are transporting a motor bike in a boat along the flooded street.

The Thu Bon River breaks its banks and floods the streets of Hoi An during the monsoon season

 

My go-to resource to answer these and similar questions is the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) World Weather Information Service.

Here you can access reliable weather forecasts and conditions for most world cities. Specifically, you will find:

  • current temperature;
  • 5/6-day weather forecast;
  • time of sunrise and sunset;
  • average minimum and maximum temperatures per month gathered over 30 years; and
  • average rainfall and rain days per month gathered over 30 years.
A map of Australia and a table of monthly temperature and rain forecasts

The World Meteorological Organisation’s long-range city weather forecasts for Broome in Western Australia (screenshot)

 

I am someone who loves the heat and hates the cold and rain. As such, my trip planning revolves around escaping my hometown’s cold, wet winter and seeking holidays in hot, dry places. The WMO’s long-range city weather forecast is a great asset in my decision making.

Having decided where and when I am going, the WMO’s World Weather Information Service then informs me as to what I pack, depending on the average temperature (minimum and maximum) and rainfall (how much and how often). I like to pack light, so I will not take a coat if the temperature at my destination does not drop below 25 degrees Celsius day or night. If the long-range forecast for the months I am travelling predicts no rain, I won’t take a rain jacket but will take a travel umbrella as mother nature can be a fickle mistress.

The “MyWorldWeather” is the mobile application of the World Weather Information Service and is available from the App Store and Google Play.

On a final note, I would like to leave you with the following image.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle crossing a flooded river.

It’s the dry season in the Kimberley, Western Australia, and this car (above) crosses the flooded Pentecost River. During the wet season, the river and much of the Kimberley is impassable.

Knowing long-range city weather forecasts before you go, you will likely avoid disappointment! Make the World Meteorological Organisation’s World Weather Information Service your new best friend.

 

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. All photos are my own and remain the copyright of Just Me Travel.

© Just Me Travel 2018-2022.

 

Have you, or would you find this travel tip on city weather forecasts useful? Are there other weather tips you would like to share? Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

 

Like this post? PIN it for later!

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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WYMAH FERRY BORDER CROSSING, LOCAL HISTORY, VALLEY VIEWS – the best day trip guide

Explore Both Sides of the Border on a Day Trip from Albury.   The New South Wales-Victoria border crossing on the Wymah Ferry is a unique experience. Combined with several…

Explore Both Sides of the Border on a Day Trip from Albury.

 

The New South Wales-Victoria border crossing on the Wymah Ferry is a unique experience. Combined with several lookouts delivering magnificent valley views, learning some local history, and eating the best ice cream in town, you have the perfect day trip from Albury. Use my detailed guide for planning your day trip across the border on a ferry with things to do around Lake Hume. Or save it for future reference when looking for a special day out with friends, family, or just on your own.

A picture of two images. One is of a car on a car ferry crossing a river. The other is views of a lake surrounded by hills.

 

Albury is a major regional city situated on the mighty Murray River in southern New South Wales. The Murray River is Australia’s longest river (flowing for 2,530 kilometres) and forms the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria before flowing into South Australia.

Albury is strategically located for some of the best day trips in New South Wales and Victoria. A massive lake and river system, historic towns, mountains, national parks are just some of the adventures waiting for you on Albury’s doorstep.

Getting There

a map of a route from Albury to Bowna to Wymah Ferry Terminal to Old Tallangatta Lookout to Mitta Valley Lookout to Tallangatta to Tallangatta Lookout to Lake Hume Village to Albury

Wymah Ferry day trip route map (Google maps)

 

The Wymah Ferry day trip is a route driven in a loop and can be travelled in either direction:

  • Albury –> Bowna –> Wymah –> Wymah Ferry Terminal –> Granya –> Old Tallangatta Lookout –> Mitta valley Lookout –> Tallangatta –> Tallangatta Lookout –> Lake Hume Village -> Albury.

OR IN REVERSE

  • Albury –> Lake Hume Village –> Tallangatta Lookout –> Tallangatta, and so forth.

The drive is approximately 2 hours 25 minutes without stopping (151 kilometres). However, this is a day trip because we make several stops at places of interest along the way, take the Wymah Ferry across the Murray River, and stop for the best ice cream in town.

Albury to Wymah Ferry, New South Wales

Albury is the start and endpoint for this day trip. Driving north on the Hume Highway, you leave the highway at the Bowna Road turnoff. With Lake Hume on your right, approximately 5 kilometres along Bowna Road, turn right onto Wymah Road, heading to Wymah Ferry Terminal.

A hidden gem on this section of the route is Wymah School Museum. Make time to visit.

Bowna – the village that was

Bowna was a small village of about 150 people, but the decision to build a dam across the Murray River would foretell its demise. Bowna village was flooded in 1933 by the rising waters of Lake Hume. By 1935, the village had disappeared entirely, with traces only seen when Lake Hume is very low.

All you will see of Bowna village today on your day trip to or from Wymah Ferry are the letterboxes on Wymah Road in the photo below.

Bowna really is a case of ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’!

A row of six large tin cans on poles used as letterboxes on the side of the road

Wymah School Museum

A brick and timber building with a red iron roof. The plaque on the building says, Wymah Public School, Est. 1873. The sign on the fence in from to the building says, Wymah Museum.

Wymah (formerly Wagra) was a pioneer settlement with a small thriving township until the early 20th century. It featured one of the earliest Murray River ferry crossings, transporting people and livestock. Nothing remains today of the original township except Wymah School (closed in 1983), now a museum, the schoolhouse, and Dora Dora Pub at Talmalmo.

The Wymah School Museum (formerly Wymah Museum) was established in 2013. It is a small, delightful museum located in the old Wymah School. When I entered the museum, the first thing I noticed was the beautifully polished original floorboards. Aesthetics aside, the museum presents the opportunity to learn about the history of the original pioneering families, Dora Dora Pub, Wymah Ferry, Wymah School, the local Wiradjuri people, and more.

Wymah School Museum hosts an uncluttered collection, engagingly arranged and focused on local history. Peter was the volunteer on duty the day I visited. He was a wealth of local information, which he willingly shared. His stories were made all the more interesting with his being a local. He was even a pupil at the one-room, single teacher Wymah School.

A picture of an old school wooden desk and chairs with books on the desk. There are photos behind the desk and a family history poster hanging on the wall near the desk.

A portion of the collection of artifacts and records in the Wymah Scool Museum

 

Wymah School Museum, at 2444 Wymah Road, Wymah, is open Sundays, 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm or by appointment. For an appointment, contact June 02 6020 2027 or Maree 02 6020 2005 or Judith 02 6020 2099.

Admission is $2.00 per person over five years.

Wymah School Museum is about a 30-minute drive from Albury. If looking for somewhere to go on a Sunday drive, you can’t go past a visit to this charming museum. Discover this hidden gem for yourself.

Wymah Ferry river crossing

A yellow car waits to drive onto a three-car cable ferry to cross a river.

Waiting to drive my car onto the Wymah Ferry at Wymah

 

The Wymah Ferry has a long history of service, beginning in the 1860s as a private ferry crossing the Murray River. According to local lore, a pub owner started the first ferry crossing to bring customers over the river to his hotel.

The first public ferry began operating in 1892. The current Wymah Ferry is the fourth public ferry, with two previous ferries sinking (one of which was re-floated) and another dismantled. The third public ferry was a two-car ferry decommissioned in 2013 to make way for the present-day, larger three-car ferry, the “Spirit of Wymah” (picture above).

The Wymah Ferry is a three-car cable ferry crossing the Murray River at Wymah in New South Wales and Granya in Victoria. Its carrying capacity is 35 tonnes – the equivalent of two fully laden fire trucks. Caravans and camper trailers are permitted if vehicle and caravan do not exceed 17 metres.

The Wymah Ferry is unique in several ways:

  • It is the only cable car ferry in the region.
  • It is an unusual and fun way to cross the Murray River between New South Wales and Victoria.
  • It is a heritage-listed cable ferry.

The only other cable ferry crossing the New South Wales-Victorian border is nearly 500 kilometres downstream at Swan Hill.

The Wymah Ferry runs seven days a week and operates 6.00 am to 9.00 pm September to April, and 7.00 am to 8.00 pm May to August, except on the first Wednesday of every month when it is closed between 9 am and 12 pm. The ferry closures for meal breaks are as follows:

  • 10.00 am to 10.20 am,
  • 12.40 pm to 1.00 pm, and
  • 6.00 pm to 6.30 pm.

The trip takes about six minutes and is toll-free.

If the ferry is not at the terminal where you want to cross the Murray River – at Wymah or Granya – there is a button on a post to press to alert the Ferrymaster and call the ferry across.

The ferry service has been suspended on several occasions over the Wymah Ferry’s 150 years of operation due to low water. The service was also stopped in 2020 when the New South Wales-Victorian border was closed due to COVID-19. For up-to-date information on the operation of the Wymah Ferry, contact T: 02 6020 2038.

I have travelled on the Wymah Ferry three times in the last four months and feel a child-like thrill each time. At under 50 kilometres from Albury, enjoy this perfect experience for yourself. Don’t forget to combine the Wymah Ferry crossing with a visit to the Wymah School Museum.

A yellow car on a three-car cable ferry crossing a river.

On the Wymah Ferry leaving Granya

 

Wymah Ferry Day Trip Through Victoria

On the Victorian section of the Wymah Ferry day trip route, you will discover several lookouts with views over Lake Hume and Mitta River and lunch options in Tallangatta.

Old Tallangatta Lookout

A picture of a body of a lake surrounded by hills. Dead trees sit in the lake and red flowers grow on the lake's foreshore.

View of Lake Hume from Old Tallangatta Lookout

 

From the Old Tallangatta Lookout, you have stunning views over Lake Hume and across the lake to the prominent ruins of the (old) Tallangatta Butter Factory. The Butter Factory is all that remains of the old Tallangatta township, which was moved in the 1950s due to the expansion of the Hume Dam. Although the old town is now under water, when Lake Hume is very low, the remains of old Tallangatta can be seen above the water.

An image of an old rusty building sitting on the shore of a lake, with hills behind the building.

Old Tallangatta Butter Factory viewed across Lake Hume from Old Tallangatta Lookout

 

Located on the Murray Valley Highway, Old Tallangatta Lookout is eight kilometres from (new) Tallangatta town centre. There is off-road parking (no shade), information boards, and two picnic tables (one under trees and one undercover). There are no toilet facilities.

You can access the walking-cycle High Country Rail Trail from the lookout should you wish to stretch your legs a bit along the banks of Lake Hume.

Mitta Valley Lookout

Mitta Valley Lookout is a scenic spot on the Mitta Mitta River, just six kilometres from Tallangatta town centre.

An image of a large body of water with green hills in the background and a barb-wire fence in the foreground

View from Mitta Valley Lookout

 

Located on the Murray Valley Highway, it is easy to miss the picnic table and signage tucked in amongst the trees on the side of the road. When driving in the direction from the Wymah Ferry towards Tallangatta, Mitta Valley Lookout is on the left at the end of the bridge across the Mitta Mitta River. Driving in the opposite direction (Tallangatta to Wymah Ferry), the lookout is on the right at the approach to the bridge.

A large tree provides good shade for your car should you decide to take a walk across the old railway bridge, now part of the High Country Rail Trail and running parallel to the road bridge.

There are no toilet facilities.

Tallangatta – the town that moved

Tallangatta is known as ‘the town that moved’ for obvious reasons – the town was forced to move 8 kilometres to its new, current location in 1956 when the old Tallangatta township was drowned with the expansion of Lake Hume. It is understandable then why Tallangatta appears stuck in the 1950s.

Tallangatta Triangles Park in the centre of town is a large green area shaded by beautiful plane trees moved to the park from old Tallangatta township. The park’s facilities include a children’s playground, barbeques and picnic tables undercover, benches, public toilets, and an information centre.

A picture of a large grassy area (park) with huge, shady trees. A toilet block, war memorial, covered area, and children's playground are located in the park.

Triangles Park

 

Tallangatta has several options for breakfast, brunch or lunch. I have eaten lunch at Tallangatta Bakery (39 Towong Street) and Tallangatta Hotel (59 Towong Street).  On my next visit to Tallangatta, I want to have brunch at the new cafe in town, Friday at Fika.

Friday at Fika, at 85 Towong Street, is open Friday 7.00 am to 1.00 pm, Saturday 8.00 am to 1.00 pm, and Sunday 8.30 am to 1.00 pm. The kitchen closes at about 12.30 pm.

Other options in Tallangatta for something to eat are Victoria Hotel (2 Banool Road), and Tallangatta Take Away (59 Towong Street). Or take a picnic and make use of the lovely park.

Tallangatta Lookout

Tallangatta Lookout is three kilometres from Tallangatta town centre and is accessed via Tallangatta Lookout Road, off the Murray Valley Highway.

You get stunning views of Lake Hume, Tallangatta township, and Sandy Creek Bridge from the lookout.

A view of a lake, hills and pasture land taken from a lookout.

View of Lake Hume from Tallangatta Lookout

A picture of a town on the shores of a lake and surrounded by hills.

View of (new) Tallangatta township from Tallangatta Lookout

 

Facilities include a lookout platform, picnic tables and an undercover area. There are no toilets.

Tallangatta Lookout Road is steep, but I managed it effortlessly in my small, automatic two-wheel drive car. The road is sealed near the top of the hill and then gravel for the short distance to the lookout parking area and facilities. I used second gear to come down the hill.

The Homeward Leg – Back in New South Wales

By now, you must be ready for an ice cream, right?

The best ice cream in town and Hume Dam

Lake Vue Cafe at 37 Murray Street, Lake Hume Village on the shores of Lake Hume, has the best ice cream in town. With 24 different flavours, you are spoilt for choice.

Two flavours of ice cream in a waffle cone in a person's hand

At only 12 kilometres (13 minutes) from Albury, an ice cream from Lake Vue Cafe puts the finishing touch on a perfect day out. The cafe is open Wednesday to Monday 9.00 am to 6.00 pm, and closed Tuesdays.

Take a walk down to Hume Dam while eating your ice cream and walk across the dam wall.

Hume Dam is a major dam across the Murray River, 13 kilometres from Albury. The reservoir behind the dam (Lake Hume) holds about six times the amount of water as Sydney Harbour and is an ideal spot for swimming, fishing, and watersports.

A photo of a dam wall with the reservoir behind the wall

Hume Dam

 

Other activities:

Granya Pioneer Museum

After disembarking the Wymah Ferry in Victoria, the first village you come to is Granya. I have not visited the Granya Pioneer Museum, but if you have time and are interested, you may want to include the museum on your day trip.

Granya Pioneer Museum has a collection of about 500 items with records dating back to 1836, including historical photographs, land records, family histories. A recent extension contains horse-drawn farming equipment, mining and blacksmith tools, and other related artifacts.

Granya Pioneer Museum, at 5 Doubleday Street, is open by appointment only. Phone Lyn on 0457 062097 or Pam on 0407 005503.

Bonegilla Migrant Experience

Leaving Tallangatta Lookout and driving back to Albury on the Murray Valley Highway, you will turn right onto Bonegilla Road at Bonegilla, Victoria. At 1.3 kilometres along Bonegilla Road, you will see the signposted entrance to Bonegilla Migrant Experience, a heritage museum.

Bonegilla became the largest and longest operating migrant reception centre in the post-war era, with more than 300,000 migrants passing through its doors between 1947 and 1971. Today, Block 19 is all that remains of the original 24-block site. Bonegilla Migrant Experience brings to life the stories and experiences of the people who went through the centre.

One in twenty Australians have links to Bonegilla. I remember taking my daughter-in-law to Bonegilla as her father was at the centre as a small child. Do you have a link to Bonegilla?

The museum is open 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and weekends. Take a self-guided tour (site map available at the Welcome Centre) or join a guided tour (adults $5.00).

Day trips are a great way to get out and about while exploring the local area. Crossing the New South Wales-Victoria border on a heritage cable car ferry makes this day trip unique, with an element of fun. Valley views from lookouts along the way and a charming museum ‘alive’ with local history complete your day trip experience. Don’t forget to save this guide.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. All photos are my own and remain the copyright of Just Me Travel.

© Just Me Travel 2018-2022.

 

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts. My purpose in writing this post is to convince you to experience a Murray River crossing on the Wymah Ferry, including a drive through two states around Lake Hume. Have I succeeded? Where have you taken a car ferry across a river?

 

Like this post? PIN it for later!

 

Are you looking for day trips in New South Wales? Read my guides…

> ADELONG DAY TRIP GUIDE – the Snowy Valleys’ hidden gem in New South Wales

> LOCKHART DAY TRIP GUIDE – the Riverina’s hidden gem in New South Wales

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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BEST NEW ORLEANS ITINERARY – an epic 6-day travel guide [2022 UPDATED]

Discover a Unique Culture and History in New Orleans – a vibrant city in Louisiana.   New Orleans is a melting pot of French, African, and American cultures, the birthplace…

Discover a Unique Culture and History in New Orleans – a vibrant city in Louisiana.

 

New Orleans is a melting pot of French, African, and American cultures, the birthplace of jazz, the home of Voodoo in the United States, a living history, beautiful architecture, and great food. New Orleans is colour and vibrancy you don’t want to miss. My 6-day travel guide highlights the best things to do in New Orleans. Read on to discover why you should visit New Orleans.

 

There is something about New Orleans that gets under your skin. There are not many places I yearn to go back to a second time, but New Orleans (affectionately referred to as NOLA – New Orleans Louisiana) is the exception. Built on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana, the city is history, culture, music, colour, vibrancy, and life in a neat package

I was in New Orleans with my sister and brother-in-law to take a 7-night paddle steamer cruise on the Mississippi River. As we were embarking on the cruise in New Orleans, we had decided to spend six days exploring New Orleans before taking the cruise.

The following New Orleans itinerary was ours of the making and easy enough for anyone to follow. However, it is just as easy to manipulate the itinerary to your liking. After all, it is a guide. We allowed ourselves lots of free time while still doing all we wanted. We organised the tours of the plantations and bayous from Australia before we left on this trip. Six days was an ideal length of time to see New Orleans and its surroundings for the first time. Enjoy this visit through my eyes and see for yourself.

Itinerary

Sleeping in New Orleans

We stayed at New Orleans Jazz Quarters, a delightful Creole-style boutique inn dating from the 1800s. It is in a fabulous location (1129 St. Philip Street) opposite Louis Armstrong Park on the perimeter of the old French Quarter, with easy walking access to much of the city.

Jazz Quarters comprises 11 iconic Creole cottages and suites, all located in a gated complex with a high level of guest security. Free parking and WiFi are available.

We stayed in the two-bedroom Marsalis Luxury Cottage, with its high ceilings and decorated with classic period furniture from the 1800s. A large living room, a big bathroom with a deep bath, and a kitchenette completed the layout. We were very comfortable in this cottage and found the living room a great place to relax

New Orleans is home to several architectural styles. The Marsalis Cottage reflects the Shotgun House style of narrow rectangular homes raised on brick piers, with a covered narrow porch supported by columns. The term “shotgun” comes from the suggestion that you can shoot a bullet clear through every room when standing at the front of the house.

For an excellent resource on New Orleans’ architectural styles, refer to City of New Orleans, Historic District Landmarks Commission, “Building Types and Architectural Styles”.

Day 1: Exploring the French Quarter

Note: We arrived in New Orleans the night before.

This morning we took a self-guided walking tour of the French Quarter – thoroughly exploring the Lower French Quarter. Being set in a grid pattern, the French Quarter, the historic heart of New Orleans, is easy to walk around and find your way. My sister was our guide, and Eyewitness Travel was her resource.

Heading from Jazz Quarters to the Mississippi River, we walked down Esplanade Avenue – a broad, tree-lined, 2-kilometre-long residential street bordered by beautiful old Creole homes. Our first stop was the flea market within the French Market, where I couldn’t resist buying a t-shirt emblazoned with a transfer of a voodoo doll with a pin stuck in it.

A map showing street names and places of interest in New Orleans' French Quarter.

Map of Lower French Quarter – courtesy of Eyewitness Travel “Top 10 New Orleans”

 

Places of interest

Walking the length of the French Market, which also incorporates a farmer’s market and runs parallel to North Peters Street, we turned right into Ursulines Street. Our destination was the Old Ursuline Convent on the corner of Ursulines and Chartres Streets. Built in 1752, the Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. We took a walk through the Convent. Of most interest were the rooms telling the history of the Battle of New Orleans between Great Britain and the United States. According to the Eyewitness Travel guide, a stained-glass window depicting the Battle of New Orleans is in the Convent’s chapel. However, the window alluded us.

Opposite the Ursuline Convent is Beauregard-Keyes House and Garden. Built in 1862, many famous New Orleanians have lived in the house, the most notable being the Confederate General, Pierre Beauregard. General Beauregard only lived in the house for 18 months, but because he was a famous Civil War hero, the house still bears his name. The ‘Keyes’ part of the house’s name is attributed to the author, Frances Parkinson Keyes. I have to admit I have never heard of this author but have heard of General Beauregard.

The Beauregard-Keyes House is an example of the ‘raised centre-hall cottages’ architectural style, reflecting urban versions of French-Colonial plantations. Raised Centre-Hall Cottages are typically raised on piers to five feet or more above ground level. They have deep, covered front porches supported by symmetrically placed columns and accessed by a central stair.

We could not go into the house or gardens this day as a film crew was on site.

We then made our way to Jackson Square – a great place to sit and people watch as there is so much going on. Around the Square are artists selling their paintings, tarot card readers, and jazz bands competing for tourist attention. While my sister and brother-in-law went into St Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square, I spent a lovely half hour watching a band entertain the crowd who were enjoying their music.

A group of young men playing musical instruments together in a public place. a lady is dancing to the music

A band entertains the crowds in Jackson Square

 

St Louis Cathedral, also called the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, is the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States. Originally built in 1724, the cathedral has been rebuilt twice due to destruction from a hurricane and fire. Visitors are reminded this is a working church, with mass held daily.

We were now well and truly ready for coffee and headed to Café du Monde on Decatur Street, famous for its beignets. Beignets are square pieces of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar, and Café du Monde has been serving them since 1862. They were yummy and worth fighting the crowds for a table. But then again, I do have a sweet tooth. I got the feeling my sister and brother-in-law did not share in my ecstasy.

Before heading back to Jazz Quarters, my final stop was at The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. Voodoo, brought to Louisiana by enslaved Africans from West Africa, is one of New Orleans’ many tourist attractions. According to guidebooks, the museum provides insight into Voodoo’s mysteries, legends, and traditions in its hallway and two small rooms packed with voodoo artifacts and examples of voodoo practices. I have to admit that I left the museum as bewildered and ignorant as I entered. And, if I am going to be honest, I found the museum a bit bizarre. Voodoo remains a mystery for me.

Since visiting New Orleans, I have attended the Voodoo Festival in Benin (West Africa). I now have a better understanding of Voodoo – perhaps one of the most misunderstood religions in the world.

Even without my newfound understanding of Voodoo, I recommend visiting the museum as it is unique where museums are concerned. I doubt you will experience anything else like it.

An ebony female image with information on how to use voodoo dolls.

New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

The Voodoo Museum, at 724 Dumaine Street, is open 10.00 am to 6.00 pm, seven days a week. General admission for adults is US$7.00. However, entrance to the gift shop is free. There is no formal tour of the museum.

Before leaving Australia, I researched voodoo dolls and was keen to buy one as my souvenir of New Orleans. The voodoo dolls sold in the Voodoo Museum’s gift shop were made of moss – Spanish Moss, to be exact. The museum staff informed me that the dolls made with moss are the more traditional voodoo dolls, and I specifically wanted a traditional voodoo doll. However, I was worried I wouldn’t get a ‘moss’ doll back into Australia. Australia has strict biosecurity requirements regarding plant material, and I would need to think about this one.

Walking around the French Quarter’s streets, the cast-iron balconies caught my eye, and I never tired of admiring them and taking photos.

Day 2: Voodoo and Wealth (and not in the same sentence)

This afternoon we went out to the Garden District. But this morning, I was on a mission to buy a voodoo doll.

A cloth doll with button eyes, a stitched mouths and wool hair

My ‘no moss’ voodoo doll

My research in Australia had come up with several voodoo shops that sold voodoo dolls. I walked from shop to shop looking for a doll I liked that would not be confiscated by Australian quarantine. I ended up buying one of the voodoo dolls made with moss that I had seen in the Voodoo Museum yesterday. I decided I would risk how quarantine in Australia would deal with it. To be sure I ended up with something to put in my home, I bought a voodoo doll from Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street made of calico and stuffed with cotton. No Spanish Moss anywhere! According to the label on the doll, it is a “voodoo doll for spiritual strength”. Marie Laveau (1794-1881) was the most powerful and eminent voodoo queen in New Orleans.

Catching a bus this afternoon to Canal Street, we took the St. Charles Streetcar out to the Garden District. Streetcars are icons of New Orleans and similar to Melbourne’s trams in Australia. The St. Charles Streetcar is the most famous as it is said to be the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world.

The Garden District provides excellent insight into how wealthy New Orleanians live – in grand mansions on large blocks of land, with beautiful, lush gardens and well-kept lawns. These are the homes built by wealthy city merchants, bankers and planters.

On a self-guided walking tour of the Garden District, our first stop was Lafayette Cemetery. However, we failed to realise there are two Lafayette Cemeteries. Turning right into Washington Avenue after getting off the St. Charles Streetcar instead of left, we ended up at Lafayette Cemetery No. 2. We had intended to visit the famous, walled Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 with its lavish, ornately decorated tombs, where tombs tell the story of a yellow fever epidemic.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 2 was our first introduction to above-ground tombs and oven wall vaults, for which New Orleans is famous. Burying people in the ground is not manageable in New Orleans due to the city being below sea level.

A row of above-ground tombs

The above-ground tombs in Lafayette Cemetery No. 2

 

What the walk to Lafayette Cemetery No. 2 did reveal was an apparent delineation between the haves and have-nots in the Garden District, as noted by the houses on either side of St. Charles Avenue.

Walking back up Washington Avenue and crossing St. Charles Avenue, we explored the area around Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Our focus was on the homes of the Garden District, with their typical “raised centre-hall cottage” architectural style.

Our Garden District walk

The Gothic Revival styled Briggs-Staub House, at 2605 Prytania Street. This style of architecture is rare in New Orleans because Protestant Americans say it reminds them of Roman Catholic France.

Gothic-styled windows on the upper floor of a house

Gothic Revival styled Briggs-Staub house

 

Colonel Short’s Villa, at 1448 Fourth Street. Built in 1859. This historic residence is one of the most stunning in the Garden District, and the house is famed for its cornstalk ironwork fence.

An cornstalk ironwork fence

The cornstalk, ironwork fence at Colonel Short’s Villa

 

Robinson House, at 1415 Third Street, was built for a Virginia tobacco merchant. It is one of the grandest and largest residences in the Garden District.

A to-story White House with columns on the front verandas and wrought-iron balconies on the side of the house.

Robinson House

 

Finally, we stopped outside the pink Carroll-Crawford House, at 1315 First Street, with its ornate cast-iron balconies.

A two-story, pink weatherboard house with cast-iron balconies.

Carroll-Crawford House

 

Our exploration of the Garden District was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. With all that walking, we were ready for a rest by the time we got back to Jazz Quarters.

Day 3: Bury Them High

After a morning of leisure, we took an afternoon tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. The entrance to the cemetery on Basin Street, just outside the French Quarter, was a 5-minute walk from Jazz Quarters.

It is not permitted to enter St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 without a licenced tour guide because the cemetery has been subjected to much vandalism over the years. We chose a tour with Save Our Cemeteries, a not-for-profit organisation “dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and protection of New Orleans’ historic cemeteries through restoration, education, and advocacy”. Booking a tour with Save Our Cemeteries appealed to us, as we felt we were contributing in a small way to the conservation of New Orleans’ history and culture.

Update: In a recent communication with Save Our Cemeteries, I learned they are no longer permitted to provide tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Cemetery Tours New Orleans are the only authorised company providing tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

Established in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans and the most famous. There is many renowned New Orleanians buried here. The most famous (or infamous, depending on where your views lie) is Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. According to our guide, people leave offerings at her grave because they believe she continues to work her magic from beyond the grave.

The actor Nicholas Cage has purchased his future, pyramid-shaped tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

Should you aspire to be buried in this famous cemetery, the going price for a plot is US$40,000 (approximately AU$56,247).

Eyewitness Travel tells you the above-ground tombs are due to New Orleans being below sea level; that, before above-ground tombs, the bodies would float to the surface when the Mississippi River flooded. However, our guide told us that having above-ground tombs was to copy the French burial style. Who do you believe? There is, no doubt, truth in both versions. Whatever the reason, the above-ground tombs are fascinating to see. Some are very ornate, some have fallen into decay, whilst the largest contains 70 oven wall vaults. Interred in a single tomb are several generations of a family, in vaults on top of each other.

Please note: The tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 takes 1.5 hours. There is very little shade in the cemetery, and New Orleans can get hot. I recommend you take plenty of water, dress lightly, wear a wide-brim hat and use sunscreen.

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and the two are synonymous. As such, we felt we could not come to New Orleans without experiencing a jazz club. With this in mind, we had dinner this night at Three Muses on Frenchmen Street – a jazz club offering tapas-style share plates, cocktails, and live music all under the same roof. Three Muses is open Thursday to Sunday, 4.00 pm to 10.00 pm and bookings are essential.

The food was delicious. I recommend the mac and cheese. However, jazz is not a genre of music I like. So, I can’t say I enjoyed the experience.

Day 4: A Step Back in Time

Once again, a lazy morning before taking an afternoon plantations tour with Tours by Isabelle. Our “Small-Group Louisiana Plantations Tour from New Orleans” tour took in two sugar cane plantations – St Joseph Plantation and Houmas House Plantation and Gardens – with pickup from Jazz Quarters.

The plantations on this tour still feature in tours offered by Tours by Isabelle but not in this combination.

We deliberately chose a tour that took us to different plantations from that offered as a shore excursion on the Mississippi River Cruise – the famous Oak Alley with its much-photographed tree-lined path to the front door. We wanted to get a varied view of Louisiana’s famous plantations.

St. Joseph Plantataion

A large, white, three story house with black window shutters and verandas on the first and second floors.

The plantation house on St. Joseph Plantation House, Louisiana

 

The 1000-acre St. Joseph Plantation is a historic plantation located on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is one of the few fully intact, still working sugar cane plantations in Louisiana. The plantation house was built in 1830.

I enjoyed the tour of St. Joseph Plantation house. Our guide was a distant family member, and I got an authentic feel for how the families lived and their relationships. She brought the rooms we explored alive with her stories.

You are free to explore the grounds, including buildings (cabins, kitchen, schoolroom) that were a part of the historical slave quarters. And there is a gift shop if you are so inclined.

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

An ochre-coloured, two-story house with an attic. Columns support the first two stories. The house is surrounded by green lawns, oak trees, and a fountain in the garden.

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, Louisiana

 

Houmas House was built in 1840 and set in beautiful gardens with giant, old oak trees leading up from the river (from the levy bank, to be precise) to the front of the house. Called (according to its brochure) the “Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road”, the 16-room house and gardens reflect the opulent lifestyle and grandeur of the prosperous sugar barons who once lived in Houmas House. The restoration of Houmas House is of a higher standard than the house on the St. Joseph Plantation. Although well organised, I found the tour of Houmas House, conducted by guides in period dress, to be very dull as it primarily focused on descriptions of the furnishings. I left the tour about halfway through (I had seen enough and heard enough) to explore the extensive, formal gardens on my own. The gardens alone are worth the visit to Houmas House.

Day 5: Swamps and Bayous

Our organised tour today wasn’t until early afternoon. So, we spent the morning resting, reading, and laundering (not me).

In the afternoon, we were picked up from Jazz Quarters by Pearl River Eco-Tours for their 3-hour “Six Passenger Swamp Tour” (now taking ten passengers). After an hour’s drive from New Orleans, we arrived at the Honey Island Swamp – one of the least altered river swamps in the USA.

We chose the tour with the smaller boat (skiff) as we thought it would give us a more personal experience than the larger, 18-26 passenger boat. And it did! The smaller boat was able to go into swamps and bayous that the bigger boats could not navigate.

The Mississippi River Delta is famous for its bayous, particularly the bayous of Louisiana and Texas. They are wetlands and eco-systems like I had never seen before. We saw alligators, bald eagles and other birdlife, snakes (venomous and non-venomous), diverse plant life, and hardwood (Cypress) swamps. Many trees were shrouded in Spanish Moss. [There’s that moss again!] Honey Island Swamp is true Cajun country.

Our guide was very informative, and I came away knowing much more than when I started. Pearl River Eco-Tours was well organised, and our pickup from Jazz Quarters was on time. We thoroughly enjoyed the Six Passenger Swamp Tour and recommend it to others.

Homes sit on the edge of brown river swamp

Homes in Honey Island Swamp (literally)

 

The Six Passenger Swamp Tour with Pearl River Eco-Yours was organised from Australia without a hitch.

Day 6: A Unique Sculpture Garden

We weren’t required to board the boat for our Mississippi River cruise until mid-afternoon. So, we took the Canal Street streetcar to City Park at the end of the line.

Covering an area of 1,300 acres, City Park is one of the biggest urban parks in the United States. The New Orleans Museum of Art and Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden are located in the park. The sculpture garden now occupies approximately 11 acres of City Park, with over 90 sculptures from national and international artists. I found some of the sculptures quite bizarre. There are two I will remember for a long time to come:

  • The first is a sculpture of a man covered in small birds pecking him.
  • The second was also of a man but this sculpture is a man hanging from a scaffold by his feet.

I kick myself now for not taking photos of these sculptures.

Entrance to Besthoff Sculpture Garden is free and open seven days a week. Summer opening hours are 10.00 am to 6.00 pm, while winter hours are 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Before embarking on our boat, I couldn’t resist buying a bracelet from Tiffany’s.

Our time in New Orleans was relaxed and set at a leisurely pace. The city is flat and easy to walk around, and we gave ourselves time to see all we wanted without being rushed and allowing plenty of free time. What a great city!

Our New Orleans itinerary was successful, and our time was well spent. There was nothing I regretted doing and nothing I wished I had done.

Save this guide and visit New Orleans soon.

A word on safety

As a female traveller, I did not go out at night on my own (my usual precaution). However, I always felt comfortable and safe walking around on my own during the day. And I did so on many occasions for several hours.

 

Footnote: The moss-made voodoo doll did not make it past quarantine in Australia, and I was not even allowed to have it zapped – gamma radiation to render it safe for keeping.

 

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. Unless specifically stated, all photos are my own and remain the copyright of © Just Me Travel.

The prices and opening times quoted in this post are correct at the time of this update.

 

Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post. Have you been to New Orleans? What was your favourite thing to do, attraction to see, or place to eat? What would you recommend to other travellers?

 

Like this post? PIN it for later!

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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LOCKHART DAY TRIP GUIDE – the Riverina’s hidden gem in New South Wales

Lockhart – where art, history, and metal come together for a great day trip destination from Albury.   Join me on a day trip to Lockhart from Albury, a hidden…

Lockhart – where art, history, and metal come together for a great day trip destination from Albury.

 

Join me on a day trip to Lockhart from Albury, a hidden gem in regional New South Wales. Lockhart is a town steeped in history and art. Use the day trip guide to discover Lockhart’s award-winning museum, historic architecture, rusty metal sculpture trails, unique wool art, pioneering history, and more. With many things to do in Lockhart, see why this charming town should be a ‘must-visit’ destination.

 

The Riverina is an agricultural region in south-western New South Wales and home to the Murrumbidgee River (Australia’s second-longest river). The Riverina has an abundance of natural wonders and outdoor experiences. Lockhart is a prime example of all the Riverina has to offer – heritage architecture, a history steeped in its pioneering past, outdoor sculpture galleries, unique wool art portraits, and bush trails.

Lockhart is a true hidden gem. I am amazed by the depth of history and art for visitors to explore and discover in such a small rural town (town population, 818 people; shire population, 3,119)).

I have lived in Albury for nearly 30 years and have not been to Lockhart prior to my initial day trip in October 2020. I was recently telling my daughter about all I have discovered in Lockhart. She wanted to know why we had never been there. I had no answer but promised we would take a day trip to Lockhart next time she’s in Albury.

Getting there

A map of the route to Lockhart from Albury

Albury to Lockhart route and distance. Credit: Google Maps

 

Albury is situated on the Murray River and a major regional city in New South Wales, Australia. The Murray River is Australia’s longest river and forms the border between New South Wales and Victoria.

The trip from Albury to Lockhart is a drive of 1 hour, 14 minutes (105 kilometres).

Lockhart is 43 minutes (64 kilometres) from Wagga Wagga.

The Big Kangaroo and Big Emu

Sculptures in a paddock of a kangaroo and emu made from old car parts and other scrap metal.

About two kilometres from Lockhart, you will find these two sculptures of Australian icons in a paddock beside the road. Check out the joey in the kangaroo’s pouch.

The impressive Kangaroo and Emu sculptures stand roughly seven metres high. Residents created them over two days in 2011 during a series of community farm art workshops in Lockhart.

The Kangaroo and Emu sculptures have been constructed entirely from scape metal, including old ute and car bodies, 44-gallon drums, galvanised iron, and unused farm materials donated by locals. The sculptures are excellent examples of rural recycling where nothing is thrown away in case it may have a use in the future.

Things to do in Lockhart

The Lockhart Sculpture and Heritage Trail is Lockhart township’s overarching art and history discovery theme and includes all the things to do in this post.

Lockhart Shire has published a detailed brochure on historic Lockhart to assist you on your self-guided sculpture and heritage walk. Download a copy of the two-page Lockhart Sculpture and Heritage Trail brochure – an excellent resource.

Lockhart Verandahs

A picture of a paved sidewalk shaded by verandahs

Lockhart is known as the ‘verandah town’ due to its main street lined with verandahs dating back to the Federation years (around 1890 to 1915). The wide shady verandahs and historic shop fronts were restored in the early 1990s and have earned the town’s architecture classification on the National Trust Australia (NSW) list.

Verandahs line a town's main street and a painted water tower is at the back of the shops

Historic Etched Pavers

Brick pavers etched with a house and the names of the Wright family

The Wright family paver. Jack Wright was a builder, hence the etching of a house.

 

On the footpath below the verandahs on both sides of Lockhart’s main street are over 400 pavers with images etched on them. The etchings tell the story of the progress and history of the township and represent those families, past and present, who contributed to the district’s growth.

The etchings are a unique, historical legacy of the early life and times, and the families’ businesses in the district, from the illustrious pastoral years, through Federation and the wars, to a more recent past.

Farm Art Sculpture Trail

Lockhart’s Farm Art Sculpture Trail is an easy, flat walk taking you on an artistic journey around the town centre. Be amazed at the talent as you discover over 20 incredible sculptures on permanent display. The sculptures have been created from rusted and recycled farm materials and reflect the land’s natural elements.

Many of the sculptures are award-winning National Farm Art pieces from Lockhart’s annual Spirit of the Land Festival, a celebration of the resilience of those who live and work on the land.

My initial day trip to Lockhart in October 2020 (I have returned on two more occasions) was a suggestion to friends we check out the rusty farm art sculptures of which I had heard so much. We were not disappointed. I love this type of art and the open-air, public galleries in which they exist. I am in awe of the talent to create unique animal sculptures from bits of farm materials that look like the animals they are meant to represent. As we searched for sculptures (no Sculpture and Heritage Trail brochure on this first-day trip), I found myself excited with anticipation as I wondered what we would discover next.

A rusty metal sculpture of a dragon made from recycled farm parts

Sculpture – Australian Rain Dragon by Andrew Whitehead

 

A rusty metal sculpture of a person driving a wagon pulled by horses

Sculpture – Good Old Days by Keith Simpson

 

A rusty metal sculpture of a car and people outside a dance hall

Sculpture – Going to the Dance by Stuart Spragg

 

Greens Gunyah Museum

Corrugated iron building facade with a sculpture hanging on the front and a rusty bicycle near the entrance steps. The building is a museum.

The award-winning Greens Gunyah Museum is a wander through Lockhart’s heritage past. With its impressive collection of historical, traditional, and interactive exhibits, the story of Lockhart unfolds before your eyes.

The museum’s collection of historical artefacts, photography and machinery is extensive. Highlights include a telephone exchange, World War ll memorabilia, shearing memorabilia, an original slab hut, the old blacksmith, old town business histories, and vintage town footage. There is also a room dedicated to Tim Fisher – a former Deputy Prime Minister from the Lockhart region.

You will find Greens Gunyah Museum at 39 Urana Street, at the Narrandera end of Green Street (Lockhart’s main street). Entry to the museum is $5.00.

The artwork on the museum’s façade is “Click go the Shears” by Stuart Spragg and features in Lockhart’s Farm Art Sculpture Trail.

At the time of writing, the museum is closed indefinitely due to low visitor numbers and rising COVID-19 numbers. However, you can arrange a private visit to the museum. Refer to Lockhart’s Greens Gunyah Museum Facebook page for details on arranging a personal visit.

The museum is also home to the renowned Doris Golder Wool Art Gallery.

Doris Golder Wool Art Gallery

Koalas and a lansdscape made from layered natural, undyed sheep's wool

Wool art – Koalas and Australian landscape by Doris Golder

 

Local artist Doris Golder is one very talented artist. Her layered wool art is truly unique, the only pictures of their type in the world.

By using washed, combed, and undyed sheep’s wool, Doris has been able to create remarkably life-like portraits of well-known identities as well as landscapes. Each portrait took approximately three months to complete. The exception to this was the portrait of Fred Hollows, his wife, and his small children. This portrait took 18 months to complete due to the complexity of capturing the essence of the children.

Over 14 years, Doris created over 30 portraits, 26 of which are hung in Lockhart’s Doris Golder Wool Art Gallery.

I recently returned to the Doris Golder Art Gallery in Lockhart to renew my acquaintance with the artworks. I remain in awe of Doris’ extraordinary creative ability and the patience required to complete her artworks, especially in creating wrinkles.

Do you recognise the famous Australians in these four wool art portraits by Doris Golder? Answers at the end of this post.

The combined Greens Gunyah Museum, Doris Golder Wool Art Gallery, and Visitor Information Centre is staffed by volunteers who willingly share their wealth of local knowledge.

The $5.00 entrance fee to Greens Gunyah Museum includes entry to the Doris Golder Wool Art Gallery.

Pioneers Memorial Gateway

A picture of a memorial with three pillars of replica bales of wool

Pioneers Memorial Gateway is a tribute to Lockhart’s early settlers. It is situated at the entrance to Lockhart’s Showground on Urana Road.

The 22 life-sized replica bales of wool forming the columns of the entrance gates each bear the stencilled wool brand of the original sheep stations of Lockhart district.

Pastoral Shadows of Brookong

A rusty metal sculpture of a man sitting on a wagon drawn by horse. A man on a his rides beside the wagon.

Sculpture – A Drover’s Life by Stuart Spragg

 

Pastoral Shadows of Brookong is a collection of sculptures and silhouettes created from rusty iron, scapes of metal, and other natural materials. The sculptures are designed to bring history to life, telling the story of Lockhart’s rural life in the 1880s, when Lockhart and the area to the west of the town was a vast sheep station.

Pastoral Shadows of Brookong is situated on the edge of town, on the road to Wagga Wagga, across the road from the Lockhart Motel. The unsealed path taking in the sculptures is an easy, flat 15-minute circular walk – longer, if, like me, you take lots of photos. As you stroll through the sculptures and silhouettes, you will meet settlers, stockmen, drovers, and swaggies, as well as sheep, farm dogs, and kangaroos. Accompanying each sculpture is signage detailing the sculpture’s name and artist.

Brookong was a huge sheep station in the district of 200,000 hectares. In 1888, the Shearer’s Riot at Brookong played a pivotal role in developing Australia’s political history.

 

A picture of a rusty metal sculpture of three horse pulling a plough with a man sitting on the plough

Sculpture – Stump Jump Plough by Stuart Spragg

Photos from left to right:

  • Raymond the Swaggie – designed and constructed by Craig Lally
  • Settler “Burt” Searching for Land by Myra and Tom Jenkins
  • Swaggie “Fred” Looking for Work by Myra Jenkins, Neil Jeffries, and Des O’Connell

Water Tower Mural

Not silo art, which I am partial to, but the mural on Lockhart’s water tower is a remarkable piece of public art.

The mural features a cascading waterfall surrounded by many of the unique native fauna and flora found in the local landscape. The mural was painted in 2018 by Blue Mountains artists Scott Nagy and James Birkner (Krimsone) using spray cans.

Set close to Lockhart’s historic main street (Green Street) in a pretty, small park, the water tower mural is easily accessible. You will find clean public toilets next to the water tower.

A picture of inside a cafe with table and chairs and pictures on the walls

Interior of Latte Da Cafe, Lockhart

Latte Da Coffee Bar

All this walking will make you thirsty and hungry.

You are not spoiled for choice for cafes in Lockhart. However, Latte Da Coffee Bar is an excellent choice for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or to relax with a cake and coffee in the cafe’s indoor or outdoor setting. Takeaway is also available.

Offering fresh food – gourmet sandwiches, toasted Turkish rolls, pies and sausage rolls, cakes, and slices – Latte Da is located at 133 Green Street (Lockhart’s main street through town). Don’t forget to check out the Specials Board. I recommend the wraps.

The cafe is open 8 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 1 pm Saturday, and closed Sunday.

 

Other activities:

 

Galore Hill Scenic Reserve

Just 15 kilometres north of Lockhart, off the Sturt Highway between Narrandera and Wagga Wagga, the top of Galore Hill Scenic Reserve is an impressive landmark in a seemingly never-ending flat but changing landscape.

The drive to Galore Hill Scenic Reserve is well signposted, and the gravel road from the Sturt Highway to the top is well maintained. Near the top of the hill, you can continue left to the Summit and right to the Saddle. Travelling with a friend on a second visit to Lockhart, we headed to the Summit, the Lookout Tower and walking tracks.

The views from the top of Galore Hill of the surrounding countryside are stunning.

A view all the way to the horizon of agricultural paddocks

The Summit is well-appointed with toilets, picnic tables undercover and in the open, barbeques, and ample parking.

One walking track in the Reserve takes you to the caves used by the infamous bushranger, ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan, who terrorised the region in the early 1860s. We walked the Saddle Loop Trail – a 45-minute return from the Summit. The trail was a narrow, rocky gravel track through the Australian bush that hugged the side of the hill. We lost the track about halfway along the Saddle Loop Trail and had to return the way we had come.

Considering the state of the trail, I recommend a good level of fitness for the walk, and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are a must. A hat, water, sunscreen, and insect repellent are also essential. I got eaten alive by mosquitoes on one section of the Saddle Loop Trail.

On a day trip to Lockhart, you should make time to take a drive to Galore Hill Scenic Reserve to soak in the views. Walking one of the trails will best be left for another time if you want to get back to Albury before dusk to avoid hitting kangaroos. We plan to return to Galore Hill Scenic Reserve to walk the Morgans Caves Loop Trail from the Summit.

Download the Gore Hill Visitor Brochure.

Lockhart is a wonderful town where history, heritage, and art are forever intertwined. There is something for everyone with its Federation verandahs, historic etched pavers, pioneering history, unique wool art and rusty metal sculptures, and water tower mural. Lockhart deserves a visit. Don’t leave it for 30 years as I did! Make Lockhart your next day trip destination, and don’t forget to save this guide.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are my own and remain the copyright © of Just Me Travel 2020-2022.

 

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts. My purpose in writing this post is to convince you to take a day trip to Lockhart. Have I succeeded?

 

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Are you looking for another day trip in New South Wales? Read the guide to Adelong…

> Adelong Day Trip Guide – the Snowy Valleys’ hidden gem in New South Wales

> WYMAH FERRY BORDER CROSSING, LOCAL HISTORY, VALLEY VIEWS – the best day trip guide

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

The famous Australians in the four wool art portraits by Doris Golder are:

Left to Right:

  • Tim Fisher – former Deputy Prime Minister and from the Lockhart region
  • Paul Hogan – comedian and actor
  • John Newcombe – former No. 1 world tennis player
  • Fred Hollows – humanitarian eye surgeon

 

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ADELONG DAY TRIP GUIDE – the Snowy Valleys’ hidden gem in New South Wales

Drive to Historic Adelong, a Hidden Gem of a Destination in the Snowy Valleys.   Join me on a one-day drive through regional New South Wales, from Albury to picturesque…

Drive to Historic Adelong, a Hidden Gem of a Destination in the Snowy Valleys.

 

Join me on a one-day drive through regional New South Wales, from Albury to picturesque Adelong. With a history steeped in pioneering and gold, Adelong is a delightful and fascinating day trip destination. It is the town where time stood still. Discover some of the best-preserved remnants of Adelong’s gold mining era, historic buildings, great walks, and more.

 

I have lost count of the number of times I have driven past the turnoff to Adelong on my way up the Hume Highway to Sydney, always wondering what the town has to offer. So, I jumped at the chance when a friend suggested we take a road trip to Tumut because this meant we could stop in Adelong and visit the famous Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. As it turned out, Adelong is a hidden gem with much more to offer the visitor. Read on to learn why you should take a day trip to Adelong.

Adelong is a picturesque town built along the Adelong Creek, where gold was discovered in 1852. It is the heritage gateway to the Snowy Mountains. The tree-lined main street (Tumut Street), with its beautiful veranda-fronted buildings dating back to the gold rush in the 1800s, and Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins are New South Wales National Heritage Trust sites.

Adelong is easy to bypass (I can attest to that), but it is the hidden gem in the Snowy Valleys area. With so much history to discover, scenic walks to meander, friendly locals to chat with, and great food, why would you not want to take a day trip to Adelong?

Getting there

a map showing towns, roads , national parks and the route to take from Albury to Adelong

The Albury to Adelong day trip in New South Wales – courtesy of Google maps

 

Albury, on the Murray River, is a major regional city in New South Wales, Australia. The Murray River is Australia’s longest river and forms the border between New South Wales and Victoria.

The trip from Albury to Adelong is a drive of 1 hour, 50 minutes. As such, it just falls within my ‘2-hour-drive-from-Albury’ criterion for where to go on a day trip.

Coming from Albury, Adelong is 28 kilometres off the Hume Highway, on the Snowy Mountains Highway.

Adelong is 1 hour, 4 minutes (85 kilometres) from Wagga Wagga and 2 hours, 16 minutes (195 kilometres) from Canberra.

Enroute from Albury to Adelong, we detoured off the Hume Highway for a late breakfast in Holbrook. We cruised the main street seeking out Holbrook’s cafe options. We settled on J & B’s Gourmet Cafe (for no particular reason), where we had an excellent, hearty breakfast.

Our drive from Albury to Adelong took 3 hours 11 minutes:

  • We left Albury at 8.35 am.
  • We arrived in Holbrook at 9.20 am.
  • We did not rush breakfast, leaving Holbrook at 10.20 am.
  • We arrived in Adelong at 11.40 am, having missed the turnoff to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins – our planned first stop.
  • Turning around, we found the turnoff to the Adelong Falls Gold Mills Ruins 1.5 kilometres back the way we had come.
  • We arrived at the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins at 11.46 am.

A large piece of gold mining machinery on the side of the road. The sign in front of the machinery reads, Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins

Driving into Adelong from the Hume Highway along Snowy Mountains Highway, this piece of gold mining machinery and signage (photo above) was only visible in the car’s rear-view mirror. That’s my excuse for missing the turnoff to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins!

Things to do in Adelong

Adelong might be a small town (population of 943), but there is much to see and do, keeping you occupied for the day and commending it as a worthy place to go for a day trip in New South Wales.

Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins

Looking down on Adelong Creek and the stone ruins of the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. There are two people walking around the ruins.

Gold Mill Ruins – photo taken from the viewing platform

 

Alluvial gold was discovered in Adelong in 1852 and reef ore in 1856.

The Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins is a heritage-listed (New South Wales) industrial site. It features a remarkably preserved collection of stone ruins bearing witness to the 1869 Reefer ore crushing mill and the remains of the ingenious Reefer ore crushing machine. The mill ceased operation in 1914.

Directions to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins:

From the Hume Highway, take the Snowy Mountains Highway turnoff and continue for 26 kilometres. Turn left onto Quartz Street and continue for 950 metres. At a fork in the road, turn right onto Adelong Falls Road, where the road ends 400 metres at the visitor car park. If you end up in Adelong township, then, like me, you have missed the Quartz Street turnoff.

At the visitor car park, there is ample parking, toilets, and a covered picnic area. Entry to Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins is free.

The wheelchair-accessible viewing platform near the visitor’s car park provides an excellent view of the gorge and ruins below.

From the viewing platform, my friend and I took The Ruins Walk down to Adelong Creek and spent a very informative hour walking around the ruins and gaining insight into the history of the Adelong goldfield.

The interpretative signage describing what you see as you walk around the ruins is excellent, making it easy to take yourself on a self-guided walking tour. You can also click here for a pamphlet on a brief history and plan of the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins.

A picture of stone ruins, the remnants of an old wooden water wheel and water flowing over rocks

The lower water wheel at the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins

 

A sign describing the lower water wheel used to run an ore crushing mill

Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins

 

You don’t have to drive to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. You can walk there via the Adelong Falls Walk.

Adelong Falls Walk

Brochure showing the Adelong Falls Walk route beside Adelong Creek that takes the walker from the town centre to the ruins

Map of Adelong Falls Walk – brochure courtesy of Visit Snowy Valleys

 

The Adelong Falls Walk links the town of Adelong to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. The sealed section is an easy, flat walk along the banks of the stunning Adelong Creek.

The Adelong Falls Walk begins at the Adelong Alive Museum on the town centre’s main street (Tumut Street).

The sealed section of the Adelong Falls Walk takes about half an hour, one way. The walk from the sealed path to and around the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins is gravel with steep sections and stairs. Allow approximately 2.5 hours (return) to walk from the museum through to and around the ruins.

A river creek through and over rocks

Adelong Creek

 

MKS Cafe

MKS Cafe (88 Tumut Street) is situated beside the park and is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The cafe owes its old-world charm to its location in one of Adelong’s heritage buildings – The Old Pharmacy, dating from 1877.

We enjoyed good coffee and delicious cake in MKS Cafe’s tree-shaded courtyard.

Adelong Alive Museum

A house with a sign out the front. The sign reads, Adelong Alive Museum. There is also an OPEN sign.

Adelong Alive Museum (86 Tumut Street) tells the stories of Adelong and district, beginning with the gold rush period of 1852 and continuing to the present day. The museum has a scale model of the Reefer ore crushing mill and working models of ore crushing machinery. There is even a room dedicated to the history of the Adelong CWA (Country Women’s Association).

Finding the museum open would seem to be a matter of chance. The Australian Museums and Galleries’ website advises the Adelong Alive Museum is open from 11 am to 3 pm Saturdays and Sundays and by request. Another website I checked informs the reader the museum is open some weekends. The museum’s Facebook page notifies opening hours as Saturdays only, from 11 am to 1 pm. Confused? We were there on a Friday and delighted to find the museum open without prior arrangement. Go figure! Admission is a gold coin donation.

Gary Gately, our friendly and knowledgeable museum volunteer, took the time to show us through the museum, providing detailed information on Adelong’s extensive and colourful history.

A flat metal sculpture in a window of four miners. The base of the sculpture depicts mountains and a river.

A sculpture dominates a window of the Adelong Alive Museum

 

Adelong Heritage Walks

Take a walk around this historic gold mining town, exploring buildings dating back to the second half of the 19thcentury.

A map showing where to find the heritage buildings in Adelong township

Map of Adelong Heritage Walks – brochure courtesy of The Royal Australian Historical Society

 

In Adelong, Tumut Street (the town’s tree-lined, veranda-fronted main street) is heritage-listed by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

The Adelong Heritage Walk takes about an hour and passes most of the town’s noteworthy and National Trust-listed buildings.

If you don’t have time to complete all of Adelong’s Heritage Walk, I suggest you walk along Tumut Street, where most of the town’s heritage buildings are concentrated.

I picked up the Adelong Heritage Walks brochure at the Adelong Alive Museum. However, there is no guarantee the museum will be open. The brochure is available at Tumut Region Visitor Information Centre but driving onto Tumut will add 38 kilometres (30 minutes) return to your day trip drive. I was unable to find the brochure online. However, click here for a description of the walking route and heritage buildings.

Other activities:

  • In the warmer months, take a swim at the Adelong Falls.
  • With gold still to be found in Adelong Creek, try your hand at gold panning.

Adelong deserves a visit. With its pretty main street, vibrant museum, pleasant walk along Adelong Creek, and excellent remnants of its gold mining era, Adelong oozes times past still intact. With so much history in one place, Adelong is a hidden gem where time has stood still, unchanged since the 1940s. Adelong is a must-see day trip destination.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. Unless expressly stated, all photos are my own and remain the copyright © of Just Me Travel 2021.

 

Would you visit Adelong? With a population of 943, is it realistic to call Adelong a town or is it better described as a village? Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

 

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Are you looking for another day trip in New South Wales? Read the guide to Lockhart…

LOCKHART DAY TRIP GUIDE – the Riverina’s hidden gem in New South Wales

WYMAH FERRY BORDER CROSSING, LOCAL HISTORY, VALLEY VIEWS – the best day trip guide

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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OUIDAH VOODOO FESTIVAL IN BENIN – a joyous celebration with 13 photos to inspire [2021 UPDATED]

An Annual Celebration Not to Be Missed is Benin’s Voodoo Festival in Ouidah   Picture colour, music, singing, dancing, and a joyous party attracting national and international visitors. This is…

An Annual Celebration Not to Be Missed is Benin’s Voodoo Festival in Ouidah

 

Picture colour, music, singing, dancing, and a joyous party attracting national and international visitors. This is not Carnival in Rio de Janeiro or Venice. Add religion and culture, and you have Benin’s Voodoo Festival in Ouidah. With 13 photos to inspire your curiosity, wanderlust, and travel plans, join me in my experience of Benin’s Voodoo Day national celebration.

 

Voodoo Day in Benin falls on January 10 each year. It is a national holiday celebrating the country’s heritage of the West African religion of Voodoo.

Benin (officially the Republic of Benin) is a sliver of a nation in West Africa on the Atlantic Ocean. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Ouidah is a city on Benin’s narrow strip of coastline and was the ancient port of the slave trade.

An image of a map of West Africa

Map of West Africa

 

Attending Benin’s Voodoo Festival in Ouidah was my primary reason for travelling to West Africa.

Voodoo is one of Benin’s official religions, while Ouidah is considered the birthplace of Voodoo. It is probably one of the most misunderstood religions in the world. West African Voodoo is a complex religion rooted in healing and doing good to others. It is not the stuff of Hollywood – of witchcraft and black magic or sticking pins in dolls.

I must admit it was curiosity that fed my travel plans to include the Voodoo Festival in Ouidah. I wanted to witness this annual celebration of Benin’s heritage and traditional culture and to experience a unique festival.

My participation at the Voodoo Festival commenced with a visit to Ouidah’s Temple of Pythons – one of Voodoo’s most revered places and home to some 60 pythons. The pythons are a significant symbol for followers of Voodoo. They are not feared but are revered and worshipped. These pythons were said to be docile, which was just as well because they roamed freely. It was here, through a break in the trampling crowd, that I momentarily sighted the Voodoo Pope who had come to pay homage at the Temple of Pythons.

a group of women dressed in multi-coloured clothing and each wearing many bead necklaces.

Female Voodoo devotees at the Temple of Pythons

 

From the Temple of Pythons, the Voodoo Pope led a procession along the historical, 3-kilometre Slave Road to the ‘Door of No Return’ (of slave trade infamy) on Ouidah’s beach on the Atlantic coast. It was on this stretch of sand that the celebrations of the Voodoo Festival truly got underway.

And what a celebration!

With the dignitaries’ speeches over (this took over an hour), it was party time. But first, the spirits and Voodoo gods needed to be appeased with the sacrifice of a goat. The Voodoo Pope carried out this ritual behind a circular wall of blue plastic away from public view. Animal sacrifice is a fundamental element in Voodoo. No Voodoo ceremony is worth its salt without an animal sacrifice in exchange for favours from the spirits.

Immediately following the sacrifice, the Voodoo Pope made his way to his throne in the shadow of the Door of No Return. I say ‘throne’ because the festival hosts referred to him as “His Majesty the Pope”.

A seated group of men and women dressed in multi-coloured clothing.

The Voodoo Pope (in blue robes) on his throne

 

With the Voodoo Pope seated, the atmosphere changed. The speeches gave way to vibrant displays of dancing and the throbbing of drums. I witnessed ‘exorcisms’ in which a seemingly possessed person would run away from a group of people, only to be caught, dragged to the ground, and sprinkled with powder. The crowd became particularly excited when coloured haystacks appeared, spinning around the grounds. I learned these ‘haystacks’ are Voodoo spirits known as Zangbeto and are the traditional Voodoo guardians of the night – the Nightwatchmen. They are the unofficial police force and dispensers of justice. I did not envy the human police who battled to keep the crowds from encroaching on dancers and Voodoo spirits.

With so much going on around me, I wandered around aimlessly. I didn’t know which group to stay and watch or where to go next. But I was intent on seeing it all. I moved around the festival for a couple of hours until I decided it was time to sit down and people watch.

Overall, the celebration at the Voodoo Festival in Ouidah was a hive of activity in which people would swarm from one dance display to another. A kaleidoscope of colour from the attire worn by attendees and a cacophony of noise from the frantic pounding of drums dominated the festival. The crowd was buzzing.

But perhaps, the best way to describe the Voodoo Festival and my experience is to share some of my photos with you.

 

Ouidah’s Voodoo Festival was a never to be forgotten experience.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. All photos are my own and remain the copyright © of Just Me Travel 2021.

 

Which festival have you attended that has been a ‘never to be forgotten experience’ for you? Tell us about it. Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

 

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Related posts

For more posts on Africa, visit Just Me Travel: https://justme.travel/category/destinations/africa/

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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15 PHOTOS TO INSPIRE YOU TO VISIT BROOME, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

15 Photos for 15 Reasons Why You Should Holiday in Tropical Broome, the ‘Capital’ of the Kimberley Broome’s physical environment and cultural richness offer a wide variety of unique experiences…

15 Photos for 15 Reasons Why You Should Holiday in Tropical Broome, the ‘Capital’ of the Kimberley

Broome’s physical environment and cultural richness offer a wide variety of unique experiences for every visitor, whatever your budget. The photos in this post take you on a virtual tour of my experiences and discoveries over six days in Broome.

 

Broome is the gateway to the spectacular Kimberley region in tropical northern Western Australia – where one of the world’s last wilderness areas meets the Indian Ocean. Broome is about 2,048 kilometres northeast of Perth and approximately 1,871 kilometres southwest of Darwin.

Why should you visit Broome? Below I have focused on 15 personal reasons, presented through 15 photos to tempt you to visit this laid-back town that gets under your skin. With pristine waters, sandy beaches, abundant wildlife, tropical climate, breathtaking colours, and magnificent landscapes, Broome is a unique destination with so much to see and discover.

The Yawuru (pronounced Ya-roo) people are the traditional owners of Broome and surrounding areas.

Pearl Luggers

A mannequin dressed in an old pearl diver suit, including the weights the pearl divers carried on their feet, chest, back, belt and diving helmet

There is a local saying that Broome was built on buttons.

On Dampier Terrace in Chinatown, Pearl Luggers is a unique museum providing insight into Broome’s pearling industry – an industry that commenced life supplying mother-of-pearl for the European market for buttons, combs, and other high-end fashion accessories, to Broome now being the home of the South Sea Pearl.

Peal Luggers features two fully restored wooden pearling luggers (sailing vessel with specific rigging) and 150 years of pearl diving memorabilia. The divers would stay out to sea on the luggers for months at a time.

I was interested in the pearling history of Broome and found the Pearl Luggers tour was a great introduction to that history. It was educational, informative, entertaining, visual, tactile, and insightful. I learned pearl divers risked their lives due to drowning or decompression sickness (the bends) every time they dived for pearl shells. I learned the pearl divers wore 180 kilograms of weights each time they dived, which limited their diving life to 10 years due to carrying all that weight. Many divers now rest in the Japanese cemetery.

The 1.5-hour tour operates daily, concluding with a free sample of the rare pearl meat. I didn’t try this costly delicacy as I wasn’t game to test if my seafood allergy ran to pearl meat.

Japanese Cemetery

Grave headstones in a cemetery with Japanese script on the headstones

Pearling was a dangerous pursuit. The Japanese Cemetery on Port Drive in Broome is the largest Japanese cemetery in Australia. The memorial on the stone wall at the entrance to the Japanese Cemetery reads …

The Japanese cemetery at Broome dates back to the very early pearling years and bears witness to the close ties Japan has with this small north west town. The first recorded interment in this cemetery is 1896.

During their years of employment in the industry, a great many men lost their lives due to drowning or the diver’s paralysis [decompression sickness (the bends)]. A large stone obelisk bears testimony to those lost in the 1908 cyclone. It is also recorded that the 1887 and 1935 cyclones each caused the death of 140 men. In the year 1914 the diver’s paralysis claimed the lives of 33 men.

There are 707 graves (919 people) with them having headstones of coloured beach rocks.

The sheer enormity of the number of deaths among the Japanese pearl divers and the sacrifice they made with their lives to Broome’s pearling industry moved me. The serene beauty of the memorials created an atmosphere for reflection.

Willie Creek Pearl Farm

A pearl in an oyster

The pearl found in the oyster that was harvested on my tour and was valued at $750.00

 

Broome was built on its pearling industry. As such, you should not miss a tour of a working pearl farm.

Willie Creek Pearl Farm is a working pearl farm where you can learn all about the process of modern cultured pearl farming – from the birthing and harvesting of oysters through to valuing the pearls, the creation of jewellery, and how to care for your pearls. The tour includes a boat trip on Willie Creek to view the live oysters in panels suspended from lines. The tour finishes with morning or afternoon tea.

Roebuck Bay

Two bomb trees in red soil in front of mangroves, with the turquoise sea behind them

Roebuck Bay is a spectacular landscape

 

Roebuck Bay is one of Broome’s most beautiful and dramatic natural attractions. The bay’s colours are spectacular, and the enormous tidal variations (up to 10 metres between low and high tides) are remarkable. Town Beach is the best place to sit and observe the ever-changing Roebuck Bay.

Also worth noting: Roebuck Bay is Australia’s newest Marine Park and a national heritage site. Often seen playing, swimming, and fishing in Roebuck Bay is the Australian snubfin dolphin, recognised as a new species in 2005. The bay is also a bird lover’s paradise as it is a great place to view vast numbers of migratory birds.

Gantheaume Point

Vibrant red rock formations at the edge of a large expanse of water

Gantheaume Point is at the southern end of Cable Beach, six kilometres from Broome’s town centre. If you don’t have a car, a tour could be your best option for viewing Gantheaume Point’s vibrant red rock formations that drop down to the Indian Ocean.

Fun fact: Gantheaume Point is a national heritage site famous for its dinosaur footprints. If wanting to see the dinosaur footprints, check the tides. The footprints are only visible at low tides below 1.3 metres.

Matso’s Broome Brewery

A house surrounded by palm trees. The sign on the roof of the house and hanging on the fence reads "Matso's Broome Brewery"

Stop in for a drink at Matso’s Broome Brewery on Roebuck Bay – Australia’s most remote microbrewery and the only brewery in Broome. Sample Matso’s famous alcoholic Ginger Beer or try their Mango Beer or Chilli Beer.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available at this award-winning venue.

Also at Matso’s: Sobrane, the artist who painted the murals on the silos at Tungamah in North East Victoria, lives in Broome and has a gallery within Matso’s grounds. Her artwork is delightful and primarily focuses on Australian native birds. Take a wander through her gallery.

Town Beach Café

People eating at outdoor tables with a view of the beach

Town Beach Cafe – breakfast with a view

 

Town Beach Café has the best views in town. As the name suggests, the café is at Town Beach overlooking Roebuck Bay.

Broome is a bit short on cafés. However, Town Beach Café won me over with its beautiful view over the azure waters of Roebuck Bay and its excellent food. I ate here a couple of times for breakfast and brunch. My favourite meal was ‘Stacks on Shorty’ – fluffy pancakes, fresh bananas, syrup, berry compote, and mascarpone. Yum! It makes my mouth water just writing about it. An iced coffee completed my meal.

At the time of writing, Town Beach Café is closed for the wet season, reopening in March 2022.

Sunset Pictures

A picture theatre in an outdoor garden with a big screen and outdoor chairs

Sun Pictures is an outdoor cinema in Broome’s Chinatown. It is the world’s oldest operating open-air picture garden and is heritage listed (Western Australia).

Movies run nightly, but be warned, Sun Pictures is located under the airport’s flight path. It is not unusual for your movie to be interrupted by the sudden and loud noise of a plane flying over low enough to feel you can reach up and touch it.

Sun Pictures is a major tourist attraction. If you don’t want to see a movie but would like to check out the inside of the cinema, tours are available.

Fun fact: Sun Pictures is the only picture theatre in the world to be subject to continual tidal flooding. Until Broome’s levee bank was built in 1974, moviegoers would have to lift their feet as the tide came in. Rumour has it that you could catch a fish during a screening!

Cable Beach camel ride

A tourist camel train on a beach

No trip to Broome is complete without hopping on the back of a camel for a ride along Cable Beach as the sun goes down over the Indian Ocean. A sunset camel ride along Cable Beach is one of Broome’s most iconic experiences.

Cable Beach sunset

A sunset over water and reflected in the wet sand. A bird flies through the image.

Visit Cable Beach to watch the spectacular sunset over the Indian Ocean.

Gantheaume Point sunset

The sun sets over the ocean with rocks in the foreground. Two fishermen in a small boat are out to sea.

Gantheaume Point provides a less crowded alternative to Cable Beach for watching the sun drop below the horizon. With its rock formations, it also offers a different perspective from that of Cable Beach.

Unfortunately, on the evening of my sunset tour to Gantheaume Point, there was thick cloud cover. Even so, I found the sun escaping through the clouds to be visually pretty and quite different to that of Cable Beach’s lens-filling red.

Staircase to the Moon

The rising moon reflected on mud flats creating the illusion of a stairway reaching to the moon

Staircase to the Moon photo credit: Tourism Western Australia

 

Staircase to the Moon is an optical illusion created by a natural phenomenon. This spectacular vision occurs when a rising full moon is reflected in the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay at extremely low tide. Thus, creating the illusion of a stairway reaching to the moon.

Staircase to the Moon happens for 2-3 days each month between March and November. The best place to witness the Staircase to the Moon is at Town Beach.

Dates and times to observe Staircase to the Moon are available from Broome Visitor Centre.

Whale Watching and Sunset Cruise

An orange and red sunset over a body of water. On the water is a large boat.

A sunset cruise along Western Australia’s coastline with the chance to see Humpback whales is a relaxing way to spend four hours in the late afternoon.

The cruise I took was on a catamaran with a fully licensed and serviced bar onboard. Fresh canapes, fruit, cheese platter and non-alcoholic drinks were complimentary. Unfortunately, no whales were sighted.

Courthouse Markets

A group of market stalls selling crafts and other wares, with people wandering around them

The Broome Courthouse Markets are held in the heritage-listed gardens of the Broome Courthouse. The markets are a significant tourist attraction in Broome and host up to 115 creative stalls in the dry season.

Hours: The Courthouse Markets run annually on Saturdays from 8 am – 1 pm and the same hours on Sundays between April and October.

Town Beach Night Markets

People eating at an outdoor market with stalls selling crafts and other wares

The Town Beach Night Markets are held every Thursday night (4 pm – 8 pm) from June to September. The markets are located at Town Beach Reserve on Hamersley Street.

The day I arrived in Broome (3rd June) was the first Town Beach Night Markets held for the season. I wandered around the various stallholders displaying a variety of crafts and wares, checked out the food vans offering international and local cuisine, and listened to live music while I ate my dinner.

Getting around

Broome is flat and easy to walk around. When I wasn’t walking, I took the Broome Explorer Bus. The map and timetable are accessible online (and from the Visitor Centre and hotels). 24- and 72-hour passes are available online. I opted to purchase a single ticket on the bus for each trip I took. A single ticket (return tickets are not an option) costs $4.50 (adult) per trip for one to unlimited stops.

Take the time to visit Broome Visitor Centre at 1 Hamersley Street for all your travel needs: what to see and do, activities, tours, getting around Broome, and places to stay. I found the staff most helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to spend as much time with me as I needed. They suggested activities, booked tours for me, checked tours availability, and provided maps – all with a smile. In the Visitor Centre, you will find better quality souvenirs to take home.

I did buy myself a souvenir but not from Broome Visitor Centre. I purchased a traditional carved pearl shell (Riji) by indigenous Bardi elder and artist Bruce Wiggan. Each of Bruce’s carvings is unique and tells a story of culture through the red and ochre lines. My Riji is ‘Old People Teaching’. It is about the old people teaching the young ones the stories and traditions of making the raft (goolwa) – where to find the best mangrove wood and how to shape them. The outside lines depict the currents and tides best for riding. I bought the traditional carved pearl shell at Cygnet Bay Pearls in Broome’s Chinatown, 23 Dampier Terrace.

A carved oyster shell with brown and yellow lines

My Riji purchase: ‘Old People Teaching’

 

When to go

Broome has no summer or winter, just wet or dry due to its tropical monsoon climate. The wet season is November to April, and the dry season is May to October.

If you want to avoid oppressive heat and humidity, cyclones, and flooded rivers, then travel to Broome and the Kimberley in the dry season. Much of the Kimberley is impassable during the wet season. Flooded rivers isolate towns, accommodation, and inhabitants during the wet season.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored.  Unless expressly stated, all photos are my own and remain the copyright © of Just Me Travel 2021.

 

Have you been to Broome in the Kimberley, Western Australia? Which activities would you like to share with readers? If you haven’t visited Broome, is this a destination that tempts your wanderlust? If you only had time for one activity, which would that be? Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

 

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Related Kimberley posts

How to See Horizontal Falls and Epic Tides, Australia

The Ultimate Guide to 6 Safe Swimming Holes in the Kimberley, Australia

See 7 Beautiful Gorges in the Kimberley – the ultimate guide

Are you looking for more ideas for destination Western Australia? Then don’t miss these posts:

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Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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3 OF THE BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ROCHESTER, VICTORIA [2021 UPDATED]

Visit Rochester Victoria – 3 Excellent Reasons to Plan Your Next Great Escape   Are you looking for a day trip or overnight stay in rural Victoria? On the Campaspe…

Visit Rochester Victoria – 3 Excellent Reasons to Plan Your Next Great Escape

 

Are you looking for a day trip or overnight stay in rural Victoria? On the Campaspe River, Rochester is an idyllic spot to see silo art, take an informative walk through the Australian bush, and eat good food. My one-day guide will take you there.

 

On a 12-day road trip around Victoria, my sister and I stopped over in Bendigo and Ballarat, travelled the silo art trail, photographed our reflections on Lake Tyrrell, explored the Lakes District around Kerang, and walked the Koondrook Barham Redgum Statue Walk.

Rochester was our last stop, arriving late afternoon. The following day, we viewed Rochester’s silo artworks and took the river walk before heading home in the early afternoon. These are two of the best things to see and do in Rochester. The third best thing to do in Rochester was eating – well worth mentioning, given our food experience on this road trip.

Where is Rochester

Situated on the Campaspe River in Victoria (Australia), Rochester is 27 kilometres south of the Murray River Port of Echuca. The Murray River, in New South Wales, forms the border with Victoria and is Australia’s longest river.

Taking the fastest route, according to Google maps, Rochester is 187 kilometres north of Melbourne, 27 kilometres south of Echuca, and 240 kilometres south-west of the twin cities, Albury/Wodonga.

Silo artwork

Squirrel Glider and Azure Kingfisher painted on grain silos at Rochester, Victoria

Silo artworks of Squirrel Glider and Azure Kingfisher at Rochester, Victoria.

 

Rochester’s Silo Art project was the initiative of Rochester Business Network, with support from local businesses and the community. GrainCorp provided the silos as ‘creative’ canvases for artworks on a massive scale. To give you an idea of perspective, the concrete silo is 22 metres high (approximately 72 feet), while the height of the metal silo is 18 metres (about 59 feet).

The painted silos are in the heart of town. They feature the endangered Squirrel Glider on the concrete silo and the Azure Kingfisher on the metal silo. Both are native to Australia.

The painted silos, completed in 2018, is an open-air gallery that never closes and is free to visit. It is street art at its best.

The artist who designed and painted these magnificent murals, Jimmy DVate, is the same artist who painted the silos at Goorambat in North East Victoria.

Jimmy is a Melbourne based artist and graphic designer whose talent is recognised nationally and internationally. He is passionate about conservation and is particularly keen to highlight the plight of endangered species. Painting threatened Australian native fauna is a ‘signature’ of Jimmy’s artwork.

Of all the silo artworks we saw on this road trip around Victoria, which took in the Silo Art Trail, the Rochester painted silos were my sister’s favourite. They rate very highly on my list too. I think I must have an affinity with Jimmy DVate’s artworks as his paintings on the silos at Goorambat are also at the top of my favourites list.

The endangered Squirrel Glider painted on Rochester’s grain silo

 

River Walk

Walking from the painted silos, we made our way to Rochester’s Red Bridge, a timber rail bridge crossing the Campaspe River at the northern end of Ramsay Street. Built in 1876, the Red Bridge consists of three openings of 14 metres spanning the river and 16 openings of seven metres over the flood plain.

A photo of a rail bridge on brick arches surrounded by Australian native trees

Red Bridge – the rail bridge crossing the Campaspe River at Rochester

 

The Red Bridge features in the background in the silo artwork of the Kingfisher.

Painting of a blue and yellow bird, a river, and a bridge on a metal silo

Rochester’s Red Bridge features in the background on the silo artwork of the Kingfisher

 

The Red Bridge was our starting point for the 3-kilometre signposted river walk through the urban bushland of the Campaspe River Reserve at Rochester.

The red dotted line indicates the river walk on the map below – taken from the brochure, Experience Rochester, courtesy of Rochester’s Visitor Information Centre.

The river walk route shown on the map of Rochester, Victoria

Map of Rochester, Victoria, showing the river walk route

 

The trail meanders beside the Campaspe River through the iconic Australian bush. The Australian bush always gives me that sense of being home, no matter where I am experiencing it in Australia. And this walk did not disappoint. It was so peaceful. Just us two and birdsong.

The river walk was an easy 3-kilometre walk along the riverbank. Being flat, it was not in the least bit challenging. Benches provided a place to sit for a while and immerse yourself in the stillness and tranquillity.

The trees provide a habitat for local wildlife. My sister enjoyed seeking and identifying the different species of native birds.

Rochester’s river walk through the Campaspe River Reserve is not just a bush walk but a history lesson along the way. Plaques dot the trail at specific points of local historical interest, providing insight into how the local Aboriginal people used the area. For example, pointing out ‘scarred’ trees caused when the Aboriginal people stripped the bark to make canoes, shields, containers, and shelters. And the grooved rocks from grinding their axes.

The Campaspe River is a tributary of the Murray River. It is slow-flowing along the Reserve’s walk – as evidenced in the photos I took of the bush reflected in its waters.

When to go

We visited Rochester in the first week of May, towards the end of Australia’s autumn. In May, the average daytime temperature for Rochester is 17 degrees Celsius, with an average of 5 rain days for the month. The temperature was just right for a bushwalk along the river.

If you are looking at visiting Rochester at another time of year and wondering what the weather will be, you can find the information you need at FarmOnline Weather.

Where to eat

On our 12-day road trip around Victoria, we struggled to find decent food. Food that gives you that feeling of satisfaction. Food that lets you know you have eaten well. We could count on one hand the number of good meals we had on this road trip. But Rochester scored 2 out of 2 – dinner at the Shamrock Hotel and breakfast at Kits Kafe.

Our decision to try the centrally located, historic Shamrock Hotel for dinner was a good one (corner of Gillies and Moore Streets). I had crumbed lamb chops on a bed of mashed potatoes with seasonal steamed vegetables. My sister had the Thai Beef Stir Fry. We both agreed the food was excellent. These were some of the best pub meals we had ever eaten and were thoroughly enjoyed. Had we been staying another night, we would have gone back for seconds as there was much more on the menu we wanted to try.

Breakfast at Kits Kafe (51 Moore Street) was a yummy affair. We both had the pancakes – mine with maple syrup and bacon and my sister’s with fruit cumquat and bacon. The service was excellent, the food was delicious, and the coffee was worth going back for after our river walk.

We could see the silo artworks across the road from the Kits Kafe.

Where to stay

In Rochester, we stayed at the Rochester Motel, but there are other accommodation options available.

Next time I overnight in Rochester, I would like to stay at The Tavern (49 Moore Street) – bed and breakfast accommodation offering boutique queen rooms with ensuite.

Our main reasons for stopping overnight at Rochester were to break the journey between Kerang and Albury and see the silo artworks I had heard much about. The river walk was an enjoyable bonus, as was our food experience. In all, we came away feeling delighted with our visit to Rochester.

 

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. Unless specifically stated, all photos are my own and remain the copyright © of Just Me Travel.

 

Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post. Are amazing silo art, a beautiful river walk, and good food enough to tempt you to visit Rochester? What else would you recommend people see and do in Rochester?

 

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A painting on a metal grain storage silo of a blue and yellow bird with a long narrow beak. The painting includes a river and a bridge behind the bars.

Gum trees along the banks of a river

 

Related posts

For more on Victoria, Australia, read:

UNIQUE SILO ART CELEBRATES LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND FAUNA

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO ROAD TRIPPING VICTORIA’S SILO ART TRAIL

FOOD IS FREE LANEWAY ENGAGES AUTHENTIC COMMUNITY SPIRIT

High Tea on the Yarra River, Melbourne

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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SEE 7 BEAUTIFUL GORGES IN THE KIMBERLEY – the ultimate guide

Discover 7 Breathtaking Gorges in the Natural Landscape of the Kimberley   The Kimberley in Western Australia is one of the world’s last true wilderness areas. Remote, unspoiled, and spectacular,…

Discover 7 Breathtaking Gorges in the Natural Landscape of the Kimberley

 

The Kimberley in Western Australia is one of the world’s last true wilderness areas. Remote, unspoiled, and spectacular, Kimberley gorges have been evolving over more than 250 million years. Walking in these ancient gorges was a magical experience. Read on to discover the magnificent gorges I explored on an escorted road trip around the Kimberley.

 

The Kimberley is vast, covering 423,517 kilometres. To give this some perspective, the Kimberley is three times larger than England, twice the size of Victoria, or just slightly smaller than California.

The Kimberley is in the northernmost region of Western Australia. It is bordered on the west by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Timor Sea, on the south by the Great Sandy Desert, and on the east by the Northern Territory. It is an isolated, rugged landscape of breathtaking beauty that leaves a lasting impression on your soul.

I was unable to determine just how many gorges there are in the Kimberley. However, I know that the seven gorges included in this blog post are but a drop in the Kimberley.

I came to the Kimberley on a 3-week holiday not knowing what to expect and not wanting to pre-empt what I would experience. I went with an open mind and left my heart there, tramped into the pindan (the red dirt that dominates the Kimberley landscape).

When it comes to describing landscapes, or in this case, gorges, a picture speaks a thousand words. I could use a thousand words for each description of the beautiful gorges in this post. Instead, I will provide a brief description of each gorge and let the images do the talking.

The locations of the gorges and the best time to visit them complete this guide to seven beautiful gorges in the Kimberley.

A map of The Kimberley region, showing mountains, gorges, roads and towns

Map showing the locations of Kimberley gorges (Courtesy of Derby Visitor Centre)

 

Read on to discover seven of the Kimberley’s beautiful gorges or jump straight to a specific gorge.

The order of gorges presented in this post is simply determined by the order in which I visited them on a 15-day escorted four-wheel-drive (4WD) Adventure of the Kimberley with APT.

Windjana Gorge (Bandilngan)

Windjana Gorge

 

Windjana Gorge is known by its indigenous name, Bandilngan. Located in Bunuba country, in Bandilngan (Windjana Gorge) National Park, the 3.5-kilometre gorge cuts through the Napier Range.

Bangilngan is a stunningly beautiful gorge. Dominating the scene is the Lennard River running through the gorge and majestic water-streaked cliff walls that tower 100 metres above you.

Bangilngan was once part of an inland sea. As you walk along the flat, sandy path through the gorge, it is possible to spot marine fossils. I only saw a couple of fossils, just above head height in the cliff walls, on the gorge walk, but I must admit, I was more interested in the gorgeous scenery that was unfolding around me.

The Kimberley is croc country. Johnston’s (freshwater) crocodiles (known as freshies) inhabit this unspoiled wilderness. I saw many sunning themselves on the sandy riverbank and floating in the water. Unlike their much larger saltwater cousins, freshies are not considered dangerous to humans. However, they can become aggressive and cause injury if disturbed. It is safest not to approach or swim near freshwater crocodiles.

Your best resource for essential information about Bandilngan (Windjana Gorge), including sites and activities, downloads and resources, park passes and fees, camping, safety, and alerts, is Western Australia’s Parks and Wildlife Service.

A river surrounded by trees and cliffs

Lennard River flows through Windjana Gorge

Getting there

Bandilngan (Windjana Gorge) is located on the Fairfield-Leopold Downs Road, off Gibb River Road. It is 146 kilometres northwest of Fitzroy Crossing and 144 kilometres east of Derby.

The only access is by unsealed roads. A four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle is recommended to access the park. The park is closed during the wet season as the roads are inaccessible.

Park entry fees apply.

Danggu Geikie Gorge

Jagged cliff contain a large body of water

Geikie Gorge has been carved by the Fitzroy River

 

Geikie Gorge is known as Darngku by the Bunuba traditional owners. Located in Danggu Geikie Gorge National Park in the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges (formerly King Leopold Ranges), the 30-metre-deep gorge has been carved by the Fitzroy River. The park’s entrance is on Leopold Downs Road.

Danggu Geikie Gorge is a spectacular gorge famed for its sheer white and grey cliff walls. The bleaching of the walls is thanks to the Fitzroy River’s massive flooding during the wet season.

The Fitzroy River is the second largest in the world – second only to the Amazon River. The park ranger clarified “largest” as that being the volume of water flowing through the gorge.

During the wet season, the river rises between 10–16 metres, polishing the walls of the gorge white and the flooding sections of the park with up to seven metres of water. The dry season sees the river transformed into a peaceful stream beneath the towering limestone cliffs. Honeycomb weathering is a fascinating feature of gorge walls.

There are several riverside walks in Danggu Geikie Gorge National Park. However, instead of walking through the gorge, we took a one-hour cruise on the Fitzroy River with the Department of Parks and Wildlife Service operated boat tour. One of the park rangers was our guide on the boat tour. I recommend taking the boat tour because it gives a unique perspective of the park, and the ranger’s commentary on the wildlife and geology of the gorge is insightful.

Visit Western Australia’s Department of Parks and Wildlife Service for all your essential information on Danggu Geikie Gorge.

Getting there

Danggu Geikie Gorge National Park is the most accessible national park in the Kimberley.

Travelling the Great Northern Highway, the park is 417 kilometres from Broome, 278 kilometres from Derby, and only 20 kilometres from Fitzroy Crossing. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is not required.

From Fitzroy Crossing, take Russ Road for 3-4 kilometres before turning left onto Geikie Gorge Road. The park’s entrance is at the end of Geikie Gorge Road.

Danggu Geikie Gorge National Park is a day-use park only, open from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm but closed during the wet season. No entry fees apply.

Cathedral Gorge

People sitting on sand surrounded by mountains

Cathedral Gorge in the Bungle Bungles

 

Cathedral Gorge is in the Bungle Bungle Range (also called the Bungle Bungles), in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park.

Cathedral Gorge is an enormous, circular cavern, forming a natural amphitheatre of red rock renowned for its acoustics. I have seen photos of orchestras playing in the cavern. While no one was singing to test the acoustics, I could hear conversations from around the cavern.

The waterfall that flows from the cavern roof can only be seen in the wet season when Purnululu National Park is closed. The day I visited, early in the dry season, there was no waterfall. But there remained a large pool of water in the centre of the cavern.

The walk into Cathedral Gorge is a two-kilometre return trail from Piccaninny Creek car park. The trail takes you past the orange and black striped domes, of which Purnululu National Park is most famous for. It is these characteristic striped formations that give the Bungle Bungles their nickname of ‘beehives’.

Classified as a moderate walk, the trail is rocky in parts, and there are metal ladders to help you up and down some tricky rocky sections.

The Bungle Bungle Range has been around for 350 million years but was only ‘discovered’ in 1983 when a documentary team spotted it from the air and brought it to world attention.

I recommend a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles to get spectacular views and an accurate idea of their scale.

An aerial view of an orange and black striped mountain range

The Bungle Bungle Ranges viewed from a helicopter

 

Getting there

Purnululu National Park is remote. It is in the East Kimberley, about 100 kilometres north of Halls Creek and 250 kilometres south of Kununurra.

Access to the park is via Spring Creek Track, from the Great Northern Highway approximately 250 km south of Kununurra, to the track’s end at the Purnululu National Park Visitor Centre.  The track is 53 km long and is usable only in the dry season and only by 4WD high clearance vehicles and off-road trailers. Safely navigating it takes approximately three hours. From the Purnululu National Park Visitor Centre, the trail is located a further 27 kilometres drive south.

It is advisable to check with the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Kununurra office on 08 9168 4200 for the current weather forecast and road conditions before entering the park.

There is an entry fee to Purnululu National Park. Visitors must register at the Visitor Centre on arrival at the park.

For more information and alerts, visit Parks and Wildlife Service.

Echidna Chasm

Palm trees in front of an orange cliff

Echidna Chasm

 

At the northern end of Purnululu National Park is the spectacular, 180-metre-deep Echidna Chasm.

The chasm’s soring 200-metre-high red walls seem to glow where the sun shines on them. The liberal scattering of Livistonia palms found in the early section of the Echidna Chasm Walk are breathtaking and seem out of place. ‘Breathtaking’ takes on a whole different meaning as the walls of this crack in the rock, which is Echidna Chasm, become progressively narrower to barely a metre wide in places.

The two-kilometre return walk into the chasm begins at Echidna Chasm car park. The path into the chasm follows a very uneven, stony, dry creek bed. To make it to the end of the chasm requires scrambling over large fallen boulders and scaling ladders. The last 100 metres is the most challenging.

Getting there

The turn-off to Purnululu National Park is on the Great Northern Highway, approximately 250 kilometres southwest of Kununurra and 100 kilometres northeast of Halls Creek. From the turn-off, access to the park is via Spring Creek Track. This is a rugged track that is suitable for 4WD vehicles and single-axle off-road trailers only. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) vehicles may be refused entry. Caravans may be stored at the caravan park located at the turn-off (fees apply).

Spring Creek Track is a narrow, unsealed track with several creek crossings, some sharp corners, and ascents and descents. Allow approximately 2.5-3 hours for this 53-kilometre journey.

Echidna Chasm is 19 kilometres from Purnululu National Park Visitor Centre.

Entry and camping fees apply for Purnululu National Park. Visitors must register at the Visitor Centre on arrival at the park.

Purnululu National Park is closed during the wet season.

For more information and alerts, visit Parks and Wildlife Service.

Manning Gorge

A river surrounded by trees

Manning Creek in Manning Gorge

 

Manning Gorge is on Mount Barnett Station in the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges (formerly King Leopold Ranges).

The 5.6-kilometre return gorge walk starts at the Manning Gorge campground on Manning Creek, where you first must cross the creek to re-join the trail on the other side. You need to swim the 100 metres across Manning Creek, but there are available blue plastic drums cut in half to float your possession across the creek, keeping them dry as you swim. There is a rickety ladder, sort of secured to the riverbank, to help lower yourself into the creek.

The Manning Gorge walking trail follows an overland route rather than along the creek. It is a challenging walk over uneven, rocky terrain with some rock scrambling and climbing that gets progressively harder near the end. However, your reward at the end is a massive gorge with a huge waterfall-fed pool and smaller pools suitable for swimming.

Manning Gorge offers some of the most picturesque and safe swimming holes in the Kimberley. Even if you don’t walk to the gorge itself, a swim in Manning Creek with its tree-lined sandy riverbank is a delightful way to while away a few hours. Take a picnic lunch with you.

A waterfall and pools of water surrounded by rock formations

The waterfall and pools in Manning Gorge (Depositphotos_210779876)

 

Getting there

Manning Gorge is approximately 315 kilometres northeast of Derby via the Derby-Gibb River Road and 398 kilometres southwest of Kununurra via the Gibb River-Wyndham Road.

Manning Gorge is accessible only by 4WD. Be warned, Gibb River Road is a seriously corrugated dirt road with several river crossings.

An entrance permit is required to access Manning Gorge, purchased at the Mount Barnett Roadhouse (one of the most remote roadhouses in Australia) – about seven kilometres from Manning Gorge campground.

Galvans Gorge

A lady swimming in a rock pool with a waterfall flowing down the rocks

Galvans Gorge

 

Galvans Gorge is the most accessible gorge along Gibb River Road. It is located on Mount Barnett Station, one kilometre off Gibb River Road in the Phillips Range.

Galvans Gorge is a pretty, little gorge that has it all:

  • A multi-tiered waterfall plunging down the rocky gorge.
  • A horseshoe-shaped natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall, ideal for a refreshing swim.
  • An abundance of lush vegetation framing the pool and providing shade for most of the day.
  • An iconic Boab tree standing guard at the top of the falls.
  • Ancient Windjana rock art on the gorge wall.

Galvans Gorge is a delightful spot to relax.

The walk into Galvans Gorge from the roadside car park is an easy, mostly flat, one kilometre (one way) track with rocky surfaces in several sections.

Getting there

Galvans Gorge is located 14 kilometres from Mt Barnett Roadhouse, approximately 290 kilometres west of Derby on Gibb River Road.

Gibb River Road is only accessible during the dry season.

Entry to Galvans Gorge is free

Bell Gorge

A creek running through rocky outcrops and tumbling into a waterfall. People walking and standing on the rocky ledge.

Bell Gorge at the top of the waterfall

 

Beautiful Bell Gorge, with its stunning landscape, is a photographer’s delight. If asked which was my favourite gorge on my Kimberley adventure, without hesitation, my response would be Bell Gorge.

Bell Gorge is in King Leopold Ranges Conservation Park (now referred to by its Aboriginal name, Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges Conservation Park). It is described as one of the most picturesque and scenic gorges in the Kimberley, where Bell Creek drops 150 metres into a gorge to form a wide, U-shaped, stepped waterfall cascading into a deep pool. Bell Gorge is a wonderful swimming spot.

From the car park, it is a one-kilometre walk along a challenging rocky dry creek bed to reach the gorge. I say ‘challenging’ for two reasons:

  • there is a moderate incline at the beginning of the track, which had me puffing when walking back up on my return; and
  • the rocks you are walking on are all loose, making it necessary to concentrate on your balance.

However, at the end of the track, the gorge opens up to an impressive vista and rock pools at the top of the waterfall. One of the rock pools is a natural infinity pool, allowing you to swim right up to the edge of the waterfall.

Then, there is the swimming option of the deep pool below the waterfall. According to my travel companions who walked to the bottom swimming pool, the one-kilometre return trek is manageable but will test your hiking skills. First, you need to cross Bell Creek to the opposite side. As the rocks where you cross can be slippery, our guide recommended wearing socks (no shoes) to cross the creek. Apparently, this worked a treat. Once across the creek, you climb down a steep, rocky track (which you must climb back up again) to access the bottom swimming pool and swim below the waterfall within the gorge. My fellow travel companions told me the swim was delightful and well worth the challenging hike.

Don’t forget your sunscreen and take plenty of water.

Getting there

Bell Gorge is about 247 kilometres east of Derby along Gibb River Road. Turning off the Gibb River Road, Bell Gorge car park is approximately 30 kilometres along Silent Grove Road, a corrugated road requiring a 4WD.

Bell Gorge is in a national park, so entry fees apply, paid at Silent Grove campground. It is inaccessible during the wet season. Before travelling to Bell Gorge, it is advisable to check for alerts and closures.

When to go

The Kimberley has no summer or winter, just wet or dry due to its tropical monsoon climate. The wet season is November to April, and the dry season is May to October.

I travelled to the Kimberley in June, early in the region’s dry season. The daily temperatures ranged from the high 20s to low 30s degrees Celsius. The nights were cooler, and the only rain I experienced was one night when back in Broome at the end of the escorted tour.

If you want to avoid oppressive heat and humidity, cyclones, and flooded rivers, then travel to the Kimberley in the dry season. Much of the Kimberley is impassable during the wet season. Flooded rivers isolate towns, accommodation, and inhabitants during the wet season.

The national parks in the Kimberley are only accessible during the dry season.

Road conditions in the Kimberley can vary greatly and change rapidly. Refer to Parks and Wildlife Service for all your essential information on the Kimberley’s national parks.

Getting there and around

The Kimberley is remote. Even so, you have several options for getting to the Kimberley. I took a direct flight from Sydney to Broome (the ‘capital’ of the Kimberley) but, alternatively, you could drive, hop on a bus, or take a guided tour.

After a week on my own in Broome, I joined APT’s 15-day escorted 4WD adventure tour around the Kimberley. Our ‘4WD’ was a bus on steroids – the body of a bus on a truck chassis. It was on this tour that I was able to experience the beautiful gorges described above.

A 4WD is necessary for travelling around much of the Kimberley if you leave the tarred highway. You should also consider travelling with a satellite phone as there were several areas where there was no mobile phone coverage. At times, I did not even have SOS access on my phone.

The pleasures of travelling on an escorted tour were not having to worry about visitor passes or wondering how I would get from A to B or concerned about damaging my car (if I owned a 4WD) on severely corrugated dirt roads.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. Unless expressly stated, all photos are my own and remain the copyright © of Just Me Travel 2021.

 

Have you been to the Kimberley in Western Australia? Which gorges have you explored in the Kimberley that you would like to share with readers? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post.

 

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Are you looking for more ideas for destination Western Australia? Then don’t miss these posts:

23 GREAT PHOTO SPOTS ON THE ROAD FROM PERTH TO BROOME, AUSTRALIA

7 TOP DAY TRIPS AND THINGS TO DO IN AND FROM PERTH, AUSTRALIA

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

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THE UNIQUE YINDYAMARRA SCULPTURE WALK IN ALBURY, NEW SOUTH WALES [2021 UPDATED]

Unique Sculptures Beside the Murray River in Albury Celebrate Local Aboriginal Art and Culture   The Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk is a shared walking and cycling path with the mighty Murray…

Unique Sculptures Beside the Murray River in Albury Celebrate Local Aboriginal Art and Culture

 

The Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk is a shared walking and cycling path with the mighty Murray River on one side and West Albury Wetlands on the other. What makes this path unique is the Aboriginal sculptures by local Indigenous artists installed along the way, sculptures that tell stories of Aboriginal culture and lore. Follow the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk through the photographs in this post, learning about each sculpture as you go.

 

A river with trees reflected in its waters

Murray River near Kremur Street Boat Ramp, Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk

 

Photo of a pond with dead trees in it, surrounded by bush

West Albury Wetlands, viewed from the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk

 

The Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk in Albury is a 5.6-kilometre (loop) section of the much longer Wagirra Trail (15 kilometres return, linking Wonga Wetlands with the South Albury Trail). Following the Murray River, the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk stretches from the Kremur Street boat ramp (off Padman Drive in West Albury) to Horseshoe Lagoon (accessed via the Riverina Highway). You can do the walk in the reverse direction.

I first published THE UNIQUE YINDYAMARRA SCULPTURE WALK IN ALBURY, NEW SOUTH WALES on November 22, 2020. At the time, Albury City Council had announced three new sculptures would be installed in July 2021. So, I knew I would be updating this post within the year.

The first stage of the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk was completed in December 2014. In July 2021, three new sculptures were added to the trail, and ten painted panels (‘Leaving Our Mark’) were installed along two fences near Horseshoe Lagoon. The contemporary artwork along the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk has been created by local Indigenous artists telling stories of connection to country and living culture. The sculptures are a celebration of local Aboriginal culture.

Bicycle riders, walkers, and joggers share the predominantly flat, 2-metre-wide sealed path. Dogs on leads are permitted.

Albury, on the New South Wales side of the Murray River (Australia’s longest river), is located in Wiradjuri Country – the traditional lands of the Aboriginal Wiradjuri people.

Yindyamarra is a word from the Wiradjuri language, meaning respect, be gentle, be polite, and do slowly.

I have walked the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk several times. Refer to the end of this post to know the lessons I have learned from walking the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk.

A map of a river, lagoon and wetlands showing a walking track and places of interest

Map of the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk with the locations of the sculptures

 

The Sculptures:

The information provided below about the artists and the story behind the sculptures is taken from the interpretive panels presented at each sculpture site.

Starting the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk from the Kremur Street Boat Ramp, I will take you on a visual tour of unique Aboriginal art by Indigenous artists along the banks of the Murray River in Albury. I aim to pique your interest enough for you to walk or ride this beautiful path for yourself.

Teaming Life of Milawa Billa

A metal panel with birds, fish, yabbies, turtle and handprints carved on it

Artists: Teaming Life of Milawa Billa (Murray River) was created by the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk Steering Committee – Daniel Cledd, Robyn Heckenberg, John Murray, Aunty Edna Stewart, and Aunty Muriel Williams.

The Teaming Life of Milawa Billa sculpture signals the commencement of the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk at the Kremur Street Boat Ramp picnic area. The design draws together significant elements from the natural environment of the Murray River – the birds, the fish, the reeds, and the yabby – telling the story of the health of the river and its cultural significance.

Reconciliation Shield

A metal shield on a pole with black and white figures carved on it

Artist: Tamara Murray. Tamara is a proud member of the Barkandtji tribe on her mother’s side and Yorta Yorta and Dhudaroah tribes on her father’s side.

For Tamara, the Reconciliation Shield represents bringing everyone together – working together, walking together, and living together; to make everything better, especially for the next generation. ‘The figure depicted is holding his hands in a position of submission. Enough is enough – we all need to walk together on this journey of reconciliation.’

Creature Seats

Wooden seats in the shape of animals surrounded by grass and trees

Artists: James Fallon High School. The standing goanna by Liam Campbell (Wiradjuri), the turtle by Sara Jackson Edwards (Wamba Wamba), the snake by Raymond Jackson Edwards (Wamba Wamba), and the climbing goanna by Jaidyon Hampton (Malyangaba).

The students sculpted these creatures under the mentorship of the Aboriginal Men’s Shed and the local community. The students created a space where stories could be told and local animal life could be celebrated.

Guguburra

Three large metal kookaburras with the bush behind them

Artist: Peter Ingram. Peter is a local Wiradjuri man who enjoys making sculptures from metal and many other resources, creating artworks that bring to life country’s ancient stories of creation and lore.

Guguburra is the Wiradjuri word for kookaburra. It is seen as the most beautiful bird (budyaan) in Wiradjuri country, with wonderful attributes and character.

Guruburra is patient and kind. He will often let others before him but will defend his ground if required. He loves to laugh and reminds us to do so each day. He travels in family groups, is loyal, but sometimes ventures out alone to visit a friend and sing them a beautiful song. Guruburra shows us a wonderful way to live our lives – with joy, balance, and patience.

Vertical Message Sticks

Three wooden poles with animals carved on them

Artist: Carmel Taylor. Carmel is a Wiradjuri woman.

The message sticks are a celebration of Carmel’s knowledge of the natural history of the river.

Carmel tells us she chose the theme of animals because she genuinely loves them, and they are native to the Albury area, bringing much joy to children and adults.

Bogong Moth Migration

A metal tree with metal moths attached to the tree

Artist: Ruth Davys. Ruth is a proud Wiradjuri woman.

The Bogong Moth is a creature of cultural significance for Indigenous Australians.

Traditionally, each year the Indigenous people of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria would meet at Mungabareena Reserve (Albury) to perform ceremonies, exchange goods and discuss tribal lore. They would then travel to the high country (Victoria’s Alpine region) to feast on Bogong Moths.

Family Gathering

Flat metal figures sitting in a circle, representing a family

Artist: Michael Quinn. Michael is a locally based Wiradjuri man. Family is very important to Michael. They are his life.

Michael’s sculpture depicts how the family used to gather and represents the importance of the family group – their staying together and connection to the land. The circle represents this unity, and the rocks represent strength and the earth. Thereby, holding the group together.

Celebrate Together

Walk with us on Wiradjuri Country

A decorative metal ball hanging from chains on three poles

Artist: Tamara Murray. Tamara is a proud member of the Barkandtji tribe on her mother’s side, and Yorta Yorta and Dhudaroah tribes on her father’s side. Having lived on Wiradjuri land for 14 years, Tamara tells us her spirit has never been more at peace than it is on this land.

This sculpture sends a strong message to all that we stand, walk and dance on Wiradjuri country. It is a message to Wiradjuri children to hold on to and celebrate their culture as their ancestors have done and are still doing.

The Bigger Picture

A wooden and metal Fram framing a river

Artist: Katrina Weston. Katrina is an Aboriginal person from the Barkindtji/Nyampa tribes.

According to Katrina, the purpose of the oversized picture frame is to see how the landscape changes within the frame over the years to come.

The picture within the frame is a moving, living landscape with many stories to be told and shared. It will bring people together to share traditional stories. The picture frame represents movement and change for Aboriginal people who are evolving to adapt to the ever-changing environment.

Leaving Our Mark

Artists: Various members of Albury City’s Wagirra Team – Curtis Reid, Jarret Trewin, Harry Dennis, Leroy Eggmolesse, Shane Charles, Noel Stewart, Ethan Moffitt, Richard Sievers, Keanu Wighton, and Toby Ardler.

Working on the Wagirra trail, a section of which is the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, connected the artists to country and culture. The images are their way of telling their story along the trail.

Goanna

A photo of a concrete sculpture of a goanna

Artist: Kianna Edwards. Kianna is a young Wiradjuri woman from Albury.

Kianna comments, “This Goanna represents one of the main totems for the Wiradjuri Nation. It holds a significant place in my spirit. It’s my totem. My story. My culture.”

‘Maya’ Fish Trap

A photo of a wire, circular fish trap

Artists: Uncle Ken (Tunny) Murray, Darren Wighton and Andom Rendell from the Aboriginal Men’s Shed.

This over-proportioned sculpture is of a funnel style fish trap that was commonly used by the Wiradjuri people in the Albury area. These traps were woven from reeds and could even be customised to trap specific fish as well as allowing smaller fish to escape, thus protecting the species for the future.

Wiradjuri Woman

Artist: Leonie McIntosh. Leonie is a proud Wiradjuri woman.

Leonie’s Wiradjuri Woman sculpture is based on the Possum Skin Cloak design burnt on her Nan’s cloak, which she wore for the opening ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

Leonie has created a sculpture of Wiradjuri Woman emerging out of this 350 – 400-year-old tree stump – ‘as if a spirit is breaking free’.

Googar

A photo of a large, carved wooden goanna, with a river behind the sculpture

Artist: Darren Wighton. Darren is a community leader of Wiradjuri descent.

‘Googar’ is the Wiradjuri word for ‘goanna’. At 4 metres in length, Darren’s Googar sculpture is a larger-than-life version of a small wooden toy goanna that Wiradjuri children would play with and learn from in traditional times.

Useful information

At the Kremur Street boat ramp, you will find free parking, public toilets, and a picnic area.

A photo of wooden picnic tables and benches on the banks of a river

Picnic area on the banks of the Murray River at Kremur Street Boat Ramp, Albury

 

Horseshoe Lagoon has parking off the Riverina Highway but has no toilets or picnic facilities. It is a couple of minutes walk from the parking area to join the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk trail.

Albury is a large inland city in New South Wales on the banks of the Murray River – Australia’s longest river. It is 553 kilometres southwest of Sydney via the Hume Highway and 326 kilometres northeast of Melbourne.

A river with trees and clouds reflected in its waters, with ducks swimming in the river and a canoe on the river's edge

The Murray River at Noreuil Park in Albury – a popular swimming spot

 

Lessons learned from having walked the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk previously:

The first time I walked the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk was with my sister. We commenced our walk at Noreuil Park and walked to Wonga Wetlands. As the car was at Noreuil Park, we had no alternative but to walk back the way we had come. This walk was a 14-kilometre round trip. By the time we were halfway back on our return journey, we could barely lift our feet and couldn’t talk to each other.

My second attempt at the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk was with my daughter. We left the car at Noreuil Park (I must be a slow learner) and headed out on the walk. About a kilometre from Wonga Wetlands (6 kilometres walked), my daughter could see I was flagging. So, as you can imagine, I jumped at her suggestion to sit in the shade of a tree while she jogged back for the car. Oh, to be young and fit!

My third walk along the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk was with two friends. I insisted we have a car at either end of the walk as I had now (finally) learned my walking limitations. On this occasion, we left a car at the Kremur Street Boat Ramp and drove to Wonga Wetlands, where we left the second car and commenced our walk.

A photo of an echidna

An echidna scurries into the bush near Wonga Wetlands

 

When I initially wrote this article (November 2020), I recommended readers to walk between Horseshoe Lagoon and Kremur Street Boat Ramp (or vice versa), with a car at either end. It would seem, in the pursuing months, I have become fitter. On my latest venture along the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk to take photos of the additional sculptures, I found the 5.6-kilometre loop an easy, enjoyable walk.

What my friends had to say about the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk:

For those bird lovers out there, one of my friends recommends taking binoculars as there are several species of birds to spot along the walk.

Both friends thoroughly enjoyed the walk (described as a ‘leisurely stroll’ by one), and they commented on the number of birds, wildlife and plants seen along the way. As one friend said, seating along the walk would have been good – to absorb a sculpture, to sit and watch the river flow past, and to contemplate the landscape.

I have walked the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk several times now and have not tired of seeing the sculptures. My friends felt the sculptures showcased the artistic abilities of the local men and women of the surrounding indigenous tribes while telling their own unique stories.

I, my friends, my daughter, and my sister, recommend the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk. With the sculptures, the river, and the surrounding bush, it is an exceptional, unique walk. Ride your bike, walk the dog, or not, but see the sculptures for yourself.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. All photos are my own and remain the copyright of Just Me Travel 2021.

 

Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post. Where else have you seen Aboriginal sculptures that you would like to share with readers?

 

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Related posts

Still on an art theme in Australia, check out the posts below I wrote on the unique silo art in Victoria and New South Wales. They are packed with amazing photos, information, and tips.

> The Complete Guide to Road Tripping Victoria’s Silo Art Trail

> Unique Silo Art Celebrates Local Communities and Fauna

> 3 of the Best Things to See and Do in Rochester

> 5 of the Best Painted Silos in New South Wales

 

Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.

 

Copyright © Just Me Travel 2021. All rights reserved.

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