Date: 7th June 2021
Travelled: 97 kms from Glen Innes to Armidale
Visited: Armidale, NSW.
Stayed: Armidale Showgrounds, $25, all services. S30.51520, E151.67979
Budget: 58 days @ $137 per day.
Cold this morning (again). A quick check of the weather app indicates -3º at Glen Innes, turn on the heater and go back to bed seems like the most sensible option. So we have coffee and fruit a little later than usual this morning.
Leaving the showgrounds about 9 am we follow the brown tourist signs to the Australian Standing Stones.
Apparently Glen Innes had a large Celtic community who pioneered farming and sheep grazing through the area. This stone circle and the parkland surrounding it a way to celebrate that heritage. If nothing else the information panels explain the importance of the stone circles as a calendar for ancient peoples to identify seasons.
Well that was the good start to our day. Went to custard from here however. The Jayco has had a shimmer in the steering wheel for a week, I have been thinking we have probably thrown a wheel weight. But it seems to be getting worse at least in my imagination, so I pop into a type dealer. The technician recommends a balance on the front wheels. Once the first wheel is off it is obvious the tyre itself is the problem. Whilst the tyre is not that old, a metal strand has failed and the tyre has a significant mis-shaped. So a new tyre, the third this trip. Love those country roads in Queensland.
On our way once again we continue along the New England Highway. With a new tyre and without the steering wheel shaking. We stop for coffee at Guyra before continuing on to Armidale. We drive straight to the information office, then on to Armidale Showgrounds to check in and settle in.
Armidale has a population of 24,000 people, we later find out its pre-Covid student population would add another 16,000 during semesters.
Map of Armidale, our icon on the showgrounds
Should the urge to buy an electric car overcome you, we have found a charging station at every information office in Queensland and NSW (so far). Don’t be concerned about having to wait to use it, as we are yet to see a queue.
So the bikes come off the Jayco and we ride the kilometre to central Armidale. We chain the bikes up at the information office and walk up to Beardy Street and Armidale’s central mall.
Armidale’s central precinct is a maze of heritage listed pubs, religious and public buildings. The more we walk the more we find.
We eventually made our way back to the bikes and ride back to the showgrounds and the Jayco. Its already cold and promising to get colder. Luckily we organised dinner using the slow cooker some hours ago, so no standing out at the BBQ tonight. The heater is on and its an early night.
There was so much we haven’t yet seen In Armidale we decided to book on a highlights tour ($10 pp) run by the local council. So we make the Jayco ready for the road and drive into the information centre and park in one of the grey nomad spots.
The tour takes some 2.5 hours and the retired school teacher and the buses driver escorted us here and there around greater Armidale area. We learn that the Armidale region was the first settled outside Sydney and rode on the sheep’s back for the next 100 years. It soon became obvious that Armidale has more schools, private schools and universities than we imagined. As it was very cold they didn’t seem to keen to open the bus doors so photos were difficult. But we did stop at a couple of galleries, which were excellent and university.
Back from the tour we do a little shopping, have lunch and contemplate the rest of the day.
The lady at the information office recommended the drive along the Waterfall Way to Wollomombi Falls about 40 kms east of Armidale, so why not. Its an easy drive but the number of roadworks make a 30 minute drive another 15 minutes longer.
We walk to a couple of viewing platforms before turning the Jayco around and driving back to Armidale. There is still a couple of hours in the day, so we decide to go on to Uralla rather than spend another night in Armidale. As we drive out of Armidale we see the sign to the cemetery, doing an impromptu stop and walk around the old section.
So that was our visit to Armidale.
Michael + Pam