09 Dec 2020
Gulgong, an hour north of Mudgee, doesn’t look like much on the map, but rolling into town felt like arriving in a film set. The two intersecting main streets had the character of an Australian Spaghetti Western. We loved it.
Pulling up in the shade alongside the Pioneers Museum, looked like a good place to start.
What a collection! At first it seemed like a couple of rooms filled with old gramophones, transistor radios, old box brownies and projectors. But one roomed opened into another, and another, until we lost ourselves in this labyrinth.
I’ve decided to photograph the creepy manikins we meet on this road-trip. There were some hilarious examples here.
“What have you got planned next?” Asked the old country lady at the entrance.
“We’re going in search of coffee and a cake!” I said smiling “Can you recommend anywhere?”
“For coffee, go to the Butcher’s café, next to the Chemist on Mayne St” she said pointing and giving us directions. I repeated them back to her and she nodded.
As we walked down Mayne St, suddenly a Jack Rustle started franticly barking and clawing at the footpath nearly pulling a lady over as she struggled to hold onto his lead. A tiny mouse, running for it’s life, away from the dog, directly for us! I did that dance- you know the one, where you need to keep your feet off the ground with nothing to hold onto. High-knees! We burst into laughter at the same time. That mouse was fast!
“Who’s Warrum, and what did he bungle?” Chuckled Dave as we drove into Warrumbungle National Park. It had been a long day in the car and we were filled with expectation as we followed the winding road down into to Camp Blackman, where strange volcanic spires and mounds surround us.
This was to be the first time using the new tent. After taking longer than I care to admit selecting the best camp site available, we hauled the gear out of the car.
“Okay, just like we rehearsed” said Dave unzipping the tent bag. All in all we had ‘Camp Picklepants’ set up in no time, the only challenge was hearing each other over a boisterous flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos.
“Imagine if we get bird poo on the new tent” I said hammering in a tent peg. Dave cracked up laughing and pointed to the tent.
“Just as you finished speaking- and plop!”
“Are you kidding me?!” The tent wasn’t even fully pitched yet and there was a blob of cockatoo poo! “That’s good luck, right?”
Warrumbungle National Park is a Dark Sky park known for its star gazing so later that night, we climbed out of the cosy tent to admire the heavens. Wow. We could see the Milky Way, and millions of stars!