Sunday 16 May 2021: Barraba to Gunnedah 130 km
Manilla (Winding River) is another lovely historical small town. It must have been important at some stage as it has 4 pubs, two of which are still open, instead of the three hotels normally found in outback towns.
Gunnedah is a medium-sized town in the agricultural region that inspired Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, My Country. It is known as the koala capital of the world, but we couldn’t find any.
Monday 17 May 2021: Gunnedah to Murrurundi 125 km
Murrurundi and its rural heritage have been well preserved with the main street being declared an urban conservation area.
Tuesday 18 May 2021: Murrurundi to Cassilis 195 km
From Murrurundi we went along the New England Highway via Scone to Muswelbrook and then on the Golden Highway via Denman and Merriwa to see their silo art. Stopping to pick up local apple cider, cheeses, olive oils and wine from farms on the way filled in the day nicely.
Burning Mountain, 20 km south of Murrurundi is a rare phenomenon – a coal seam, buried 30 metres underground, which has been burning for over 5,000 years. It was a pleasant climb of 4 km (return) through bushland which became increasingly bare the closer the we got to the smoking vent; the smell of burning coal obvious a kilometer away.
Every year on the June long weekend is the Merriwa Festival of the Fleece, a special parade event is held called the ‘Running of the Sheep’.
“One of the sponsors couldn’t give us money so they gave us red socks and the committee back then said well what are we going to do with the socks?”
“Then someone said well how about we put them on the sheep and that’s how it all started.”
So the sheep now wear red socks as they run down the street.”
Wednesday 19 May 2021: Cassilis to Mudgee 195 km
The Drip Gorge & Rock Art- Hands On Rock
The Drip Gorge, about 30km south-west of Cassilis, is a significant place for the local Wiradjuri People. From the parking lot a wonderful 1.4km walk beside the Goulburn River brings you to The Drip, or “Great Dripping Wall” with rain water trickling through the porous rock wall.
Dunedoo obtained a State Government Grant of $95,000 at the end of 2019 to have the silos painted. The eastern side shows local jockey Hugh Bowman with champion racehorse Winx and trainer Chris Waller. The southern side the silo depicts Dunedoo local rural landscape including Black Swans (Dunedoo means Black Swan in the local Wiradjuri language).