Day 192: 8 December – Inching closer to Sydney

Author: Mrs A

From: Weethalle

To: Forbes

Distance driven: 162km Cycled: 10km

With just over a week before we are due back in the big smoke we have decided to linger in the outback visiting areas we have previously only passed through at speed. We headed first to the town of West Wyalong for breakfast. Just under 60km from Weethalle, the town is in complete contrast. Looking for a bakery, Google highlighted three in the high street, and we passed wine bars, restaurants, hairdressers and grocery stores, the streets already bustling with people at 9.30am. We purchased a loaf of bread, and in the butchers bought a dozen fresh oysters and a couple of pork chops and and headed on our way.

Our destination for today was Forbes, a town central to the agricultural industry of this central area of New South Wales. Many of the residents not involved in the service industry (eg tourism, shops and cafés in town) are involved in the stock and grain sales, with huge yards close to town. Forbes looks like a prosperous location with a variety of stores and restaurants, landscaped parklands and a generally positive vibe.

We set up camp beside Lake Forbes, a free area provided by the town to encourage travellers like us to stop overnight and spend our money here. When we arrived there were only two other caravans parked up amongst the trees on the lakeside. Tonight there are about 8 or so, including three motorhomes. It’s a popular spot.

(Below: a pair of Australian wood ducks)We jumped on our bikes for an explore. Forbes is pretty flat, and there is a cycleway around the lake. We rode out to the information centre to see what other rides were nearby – other than the lake path they couldn’t really tell us of anywhere else. We collected some brochures about the surrounding regions and continued on our way. We spotted many water birds and a young brown snake which crossed our path – there has been a lot of rain in these parts lately, so there are plenty of frogs, which means numerous snakes. The shared pathway circumnavigating the lake was flooded in many locations.We called into Bernardi’s supermarket – a trendy ‘Harris Farm Market’ style store (our Sydney friends will be familiar with) with great choice and reasonable prices. We hadn’t eaten lunch so it was a bit of a battle getting Mr A to walk past all the goodies he wanted to buy – somehow we managed to depart only with fruit and vegetables, no fruit cakes, pastries or giant hams!

Returning to camp we set about marinading our pork chops then doing some research to make plans for the days ahead. While today was a pleasant 25 degrees centigrade, next week is forecast to soar again, with temperatures heading up to the late 30s. No free camping in those temperatures – we will definitely need to be on power with air conditioning.

We cooked dinner in the mobile apartment as there was too strong a breeze for the BBQ – accompanying our honey-soy-garlic marinaded chops with roasted sweet potato and steamed bok choy. We retire now for the night to the sounds of croaking frogs and chirruping cicadas. The sounds of summer.

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