Waking up dry and warm while you can still hear the rain outside is…great !! The only problem is that you’ve got to get out there and cycle, fortunately by the time we’d had breakfast and packed up, it had stopped ! We knew just by looking at the sky that it would only be a brief reprieve so the waterproofs were never far away !
We cycled through Wagga Wagga, taking note of all the things we never had a chance to see, it seems we didn’t miss much. The Australian towns, well at least the ones along this highway seem to lack soul, they just don’t have any history, architecture or life !! I’m not being disrespectful but it really is quite odd.
Anyway, we headed out towards the highway and off towards Culcairn, about 70km across rolling countryside.
We passed through the first village, Uranquinty, there was a cafe but we’d only just started our ride so we passed on this one and carried on. Surprise surprise, the rain started, waterproofs out and on, back on the bike, head down and keep going. The mist came in as it started to rain, blocking out most of the views. Next village was The Rock, another railway town. Most of the places along this route only existed because of the railway and since the road train and surfaced roads got better they’ve seen a steady decline. The Rock still has a station but sadly the cafe is now closed as are many of the shops around what is a very beautiful village. Oh well, we were told the only cafe between Uranquinty and Culcairn is now at Henty, a good 30 miles between them. So back into the rain and on to Henty, 31km through yet more rolling country, and into Hume Shire.
Henty is a reasonably large village and has a station, hotel, cafés and shops, it also seems to have a little bit of life about it. We found coffee and cake but didn’t stop for lunch as we were now only 15km from Culcairn. Again due to the weather forecast we were going to stay in a hotel, in this instance it’s the Hotel Culcairn. It was once the largest and grandest hotel between Melbourne and Sydney, sadly as with many other places it’s no longer the hub it used to be. The hotel is now half what it used to be, as one wing has now been demolished. It’s friendly and the food was good although the bedroom was a little stark, clean but lacking warmth !!
As we were getting ready to go out and take a look around it started to rain, boy did it rain. Within three minutes there was a river where the road used to be, the rain was coming down so hard and fast you could barely see the other side of the road. It only lasted ten minutes then the sun came out, we tried again to go out. We got as far as the door when all hell broke loose again, torrential rain, thunder, lightning and more rain. They reckon they got over a foot of rain in the one day, now that’s a lot of rain !!
We did eventually get out for a walk only to realise we’d missed nothing, so bland !!
Nice to be dry, warm and well fed, we’ll see what tomorrow brings !!
But first, some photos….
Nice ride really, shame about the scenery….!
Finally, blue sky and sunshine, seems the storm has cleared and left some descent weather for a change. So no rain, but we have swapped it for a head wind and it feels like we’re pedalling through treacle !! It’s hard work and despite only having 50km to go were knackered by the time we reach Gerogery at 22km in, lucky for us there was a shop, one of those multi function places that seem to be everything to everyone, including petrol station and post office. Not the greatest cup of coffee but at least we’d has a rest. We got going again and spent the rest of the day crossing and recrossing the railway. Not sure wether it’s because it’s sunny or not but the scenery seems to have improved, a few hills, small lakes and the normal lush grass pastures. It just seems so much better with the sun on it !!
With about 20km left to go the Olympic Highway merged with The Hume Highway, it’s the main highway now between Sydney and Melbourne and is responsible for the decline of so many of the places we’ve passed through. The Hume Highway is also famous for being the sight of the most famous murder investigation in Australian history.
The “backpacker murders” was the name given to this grisly series of murders. In the 1990’s, 7 bodies were found in the forest off the highway near the town of Berrima. They were all young backpackers and had been murdered, not all at the same time but over the course of about 18 months. A guy called Ivan Milat was sentenced, found guilty and is serving seven life sentences plus eighteen years, may he rot in hell !!
And so to something a little less grisly !
We found the hotel we’d booked in Albury, it’s close to the highway and only ten minutes walk from the town centre, it’s also handy for the supermarket and has a descent bistro and bar.
We wasted no time getting sorted and getting a wash on, we spent a little time relaxing, checking emails, reading etc, before getting ready to go out to dinner. Naomi had found a place called the Wool Shed, it’s nearby in a place called Thurgoona, it really is an old wool shed from a sheep station that sadly has no use for it. It was transported to where it now stands, rebuilt, kitchen, bar and toilets added and it’s now a great place to eat and see live music. They even have a free shuttle bus which picked us up on time and dropped us at the door. The food was fantastic, 18 dollars for the biggest burger I’ve seen in a long time, Naomi couldn’t finish hers and I was stuffed, I think it was the onion rings that did me !!
Sadly the music never happened, the guy who was supposed to play couldn’t make it, shame it would have been a great night, it’s a fabulous venue for country music !!
Back at the hotel and it’s already 10.30, way past my bed time these days !!
And so to bed, I’m tired 😉
But first, as always, some photos…..
Much better day despite the headwind, everything looks better in the sunshine 😉
We’re having a day off in Albury hence the hotel, we don’t like to leave our kit in a tent all day without us being there to watch it. The day started well, we had breakfast in the hotel bistro and I have to say it was bloody good, excellent scrambled egg and crispy toast….delicious !!
We headed into town, as I said earlier it’s only a ten minute walk, we decided to visit Monument Hill first. It’s a short walk up a fairly steep path to the war memorial that stands atop the hill. It’s clean, crisp white standing out beautifully against the deep blue sky. It’s said to be one of very few memorial towers in Australia and of the ones that exist this one is the best. It dominates the town and from the top of the hill you get a great view all the way down the high street to the bridge at the far end, either great planning or a fantastic coincidence !!
From the monument we wandered down to the botanic gardens, and strolled through the shady trees, marvelling in the colours of the autumn leaves. They were in contrast to the vibrant, rich colours of the native flowers, such a great show !!
Leaving the gardens we walked the length of the main shopping street and up onto the bridge, it crosses both the railway and the highway. To the right is the old station, sadly it’s now in decline but it was once a hive of activity. There used to be two different railway gauges and they met in Albury, this gave rise for the need of transhiping sheds, moving goods from one train to another to complete a journey. Sadly once the gauges were standardised those sheds and goods yards were no longer needed. The advent of sealed roads and road trains finished the job, the trains do still carry freight but no where near as much as they used to !!
A quick coffee stop then on to the river, it’s only ten minutes from the shops, we couldn’t come and not see it 😉 Again we strolled along the bank, grateful for the shady trees and enjoying the beautiful colours once again, the leaves look so good against the blue sky. The river bank is busy with people picnicking, playing or just soaking up the sun. The cafés are doing a roaring trade, amazing how much difference a little sunshine can make. We walked a fair way then turned and walked back into town. A beer to quench our thirst then onward to the hotel, stopping briefly to shop on the way.
Back at the hotel, I’m catching up with my photos and blogs while Naomi is busy ringing friends and family. Later we’ll eat at the hotel before an early night, 70km ride tomorrow and I think a new State, Victoria !!
Well that’s enough from me.
Oops, nearly forgot the photos !!
Just love some of the detail on the buildings, and the mass of bike parts, such a sad end to a dignified mode of transport !!
Enough, another blog finished. Only five more days to Melbourne, very excited !!
Keep reading and take care 😉