Day 194 & 195: 10-11 December – Stunning gardens and feeding my inner geek!

Author: Mrs A

Location: Cowra, Central West NSW

Sunday 10 December

Sunday morning began cool and dewy but soon warmed up to the early 30s. It didn’t feel uncomfortable though, parked up under a huge tree casting plenty of shade. A BBQ brunch commenced our day, with freshly baked bread and merlot and pork sausages we picked up in West Wyalong.

We had lots of jobs we wanted to tackle today, along with getting our sheets, towels and clothes washed. eBay was the first port of call, with a generator for sale and a 4WD Water Bra (never used or even taken out of its packaging!). I was chief photographer and advertisement writer while Mr A cleaned up the products to ensure they had no evidence of dust on them. Next was cleaning the caravan, washing and vacuuming floors, and Mr A did a good sort out of the storage areas. Our final task was to apply Velcro to our lock covers on the tool boxes to ensure they stay closed. A fiddly job!

A seven kilometre cycle concluded our afternoon – sticking to the least hilly pathways around town. Camp hosts Greg and Keira joined us for a drink after they finished work at 6pm, sharing their interesting journey from being heavy machinery operators in the mines out near Broken Hill to now tending lawns and helping out grey nomads here in Cowra – how life changes!

Monday 11 December

Today was earmarked for more fun activities. We started off out at the beautiful Japanese Gardens in Cowra. Spanning 5 hectares, the manicured gardens are a place of peace and serenity, benches and stunning views around every corner. As with most Japanese gardens, water played a key feature, with ponds filled with Koi carp and waterfalls abounding.We strolled, admiring the views and marvelling at how comfortable the 33 degree day felt amongst all this green and water.We decided to enjoy lunch in the cafĂ© at the gardens (sadly not Japanese food – the only menu nod to the inspiration was a miso soup!).

Just a 20 minute drive away, we next headed to Canowindra. Mr A and I went our separate ways – he headed off to a coffee shop while I entered the Age of Fishes Museum. This museum was set up in the early 90s after a significant 360 million year old fish fossil bed was discovered near Canowindra. Going back to my geography roots, this natural history absolutely fascinates me, and it is incredible how this was stumbled upon.

The original find (Canowindra grossi – the only evidence of a fish of its kind in the world, unearthed by accident on a farm) was back in 1956, and a slab of rock has been displayed in Sydney for many years. In 1993 an archaeologist questioned whether anyone had looked for more in the same area. The answer was no, so he set off to investigate further. What he found was the biggest find of ancient fish fossils in the world – more than 100 fish of four species. Just incredible. The biggest find was fish with bone structure in their fins almost identical to human arms and wrists, and the ability to breathe through a nose as well as gills. The feeling is that these fish are extremely close to being the first creatures to start leaving the water and moving about on land – they are still looking for evidence of this, but no footsteps (or fin steps) found as yet.After all this learning, we thought it should be time to go and try some local wine. We headed to a winery on our way back to Cowra, but sadly the cellar door was only open at the weekend. Such a shame. Hopefully the Orange wineries will be more welcoming over the next few days…yes, I know, another wine region in our future!…And so to our final evening in Cowra. We again enjoyed the company of Keira and Glenn for a few beverages while our Weber cooked up our butterflied pork. We shared a few stories along the way, Mr A lamenting that I will never let him have a chain saw. Our close friends will know why…and so do Glenn and Kiera now.

I joked that Mr A would set our roast pork onto his iPad to rest if I didn’t keep an eye on him, and picked up a heat proof mat and a piece of foil so he could set the baking tray safely on the side. Our pork had been resting about 5 minutes when I realised Mr A had actually put it on his iPad and covered it with foil!!! Oh how we cried with laughter! Despite this, it tasted rather good with the roast sweet potato and steamed bock choi. I wonder whether Apple have ever registered a use case for the iPad as a resting tray for meat?

It’s amazing we are still alive….onwards….

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