Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Weekend in the Country

I think I've mentioned a couple of times that when I finish my degree I want to teach in a country town, mostly because I've never really experienced life in the country. To me, moving to Newcastle was the same as moving to the country because I saw it as a small town, which will make my Novacastrian friends laugh because they believe that I grew up in the country because we lived on acreage in Sydney. Of course, I soon learned my lesson, especially when I took a trip with uni "Beyond the Line" and went to a town called Inverell for a week. It was 8 hours' drive away and had a main street. The highlight for the town was the opening of a Big W. Talk about a reality check.

So when my friend Rachel suggested we go on a roadtrip in-land, I was pretty keen.

Only Rachel, our friend Nicole and I were able to go, and we basically left all the planning up to Rach. She did a random google search and ended up finding:

Mount Misery.

Obviously the decision to go there was based on the name alone. We had no idea what we were heading into. It turns out that Mt Misery is the name of the old goldmine that was there, and the town itself is called Nundle.

So the girls drove up from Sydney on Friday and picked me up on their way through and we were off! We spent our time on the road watching out for kangaroos (we saw one hopping along on our way there, and about 5 or 6 dead ones on the way back - poor things/poor cars), eating lollies and making up verses to the song we had created about the roadtrip.

"We are driving in a car
We are driving very far
Off to Nundle. (Off to Nundle!)"

We'll never win creativity awards, but damn it was fun.

We hadn't gotten very far out of Newcastle when we saw a sign for a winery and decided that would be the perfect place for a picnic lunch.

We've drunk a lot of Wyndham Estate wines, but hadn't realised how close the vineyard was to us.

 We ended up buying several bottles of wine and wandering through the vines, visiting the graves of the original owners.

 Eventually, after driving through lots of small towns and windy dirt roads, we arrived at our destination:

We stayed in the guesthouse that's on the top level of the old gold mine and it was lovely. And cheap. And convenient, as where the gold mine sign is is actually a cafe now, with the Mt. Misery Gold Mine Museum attached. In fact, it turns out that the door to the original mine was located almost right under our beds.


We spent our time there checking out all the local shops, many of which were antique shops and craft shops. I actually learnt something from the quilt shop which will save me a heck of a lot of time on my hexagon quilt, but more on that in another post.

When we weren't shopping, we were driving along the River Peel, looking for the best spots to go fossicking for gold, as we were very determined to become rich off this trip. In the end, the only thing we found was beautiful scenery and our own sense of stupidity as we all ended up incredibly sunburnt.

The view of Nundle from Hanging Rock Lookout
Saturday night we decided to head to the Nundle Sports and Recreation Club where we had the best time ever! Nicole won herself a meat tray in the raffle:

We made friends with the locals and have been invited back. Everyone was just so lovely and friendly, and genuinely interested in who we were and what brought us to their town. It was just the most wonderful weekend. But alas, it had to end.

On Sunday we packed up the car and left Nundle behind, heading to Tamworth to check out the Big Golden Guitar:

Turns out it wasn't very big, and it was a little dull to be considered "golden". But at least we can cross it off our lists of things we've seen.

After the girls dropped me back home in Newy, I finished the weekend with a trip to the cinema with my housemate, Bec, and laughed at cried together watching The Muppets Movie.

Such a perfect weekend.

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