Saturday, 31 May 2014

NSW Trip Day 6: Dubbo -> Orange

We all had a bit of a sleep in so when we got up we packed the car and cleaned up and headed out. We didn’t get time yesterday to visit the Zoo shop so we’d agreed to go back out there this morning (it was only 3km from where we stayed). The kids each selected some zoo souvenirs to buy with their money, and we watched the lemurs again for a while, then decided to one last drive around the zoo – our ticket from yesterday was still valid (and it hadn’t cost us anything anyway, as we have reciprocal membership through Melbourne Zoo– a family ticket at Dubbo was about $130 so we’ve certainly got our value out of our membership this year!). We said goodbye to each of the animals as we drove past, and we weren’t going to get out at all but the hippos were out of the water and near the fence, and the kids hadn’t seen the hippos close up the day before – when we jumped out, they were doing a feed and keeper talk so we saw all 5 hippos up close and learnt a bit more about them. Then back in the car to cruise past the rest of the animals, and then we left Dubbo for Orange, briefly stopping in Wellington on the way for some fries.

Orange has grown a lot since I lived there (over 30 years ago so not a surprise!). We drove into town and I recognized a street name and showed everyone my primary school and our church, then found 2 of the houses we’d lived in while we were there. Finding the 3rd house was trickier – I thought I knew the way but came to a dead end – the new Northern Distributor cuts through the country road we used to live on, so I found a way around that, then drove much further than I thought I needed to, and realized I’d missed it. I rang Dad and he described how to find the house, and on the way back I thought it might have been demolished – then I found it, tucked in next to a truck depot, and looking much smaller than I excpected it to be!

We checked into our caravan park then went to Cook Park for a late picnic lunch. I knew exactly how to get there and which side to drive to so that we could see the ducks and the swings – don’t know where that memory came from. The duck pond looked slightly different than I remembered but the swings looked exactly the same, as did the bandstand, the fountain, the little gazebo with seats in it, the avenues of trees, the rose garden. It was so cool to be there with the kids and have them play in all the places I used to play, and of course feed the ducks all our bread ends (and the crusts off our sandwiches). There was one big fluffy black and white duckling that the kids wanted to adopt, but we did leave him there… There were piles of leaves on the ground too which were lots of fun to run through.
Autumn leaves in Cook Park

Feeding the ducks in Cook Park

It was getting towards sunset so we left the park and went out to Mt Canobolas – past our old property on the way. We arrived at the top of the mountain in plenty of time to see the sunset, very pretty – and rather cold! After admiring the view for a while we went back down to Lake Canobolas as it began to get dark. We drove to the far side and walked a little way out on the dam wall, then Caitlin and I walked all the way back across and the others drove back. The kids had a brief play on the beach in the dark then we went and got supplies for dinner and back to the cabin.

Sunset from Mt Canobolas
It was Tony’s first time in Orange and I really enjoyed showing him and the kids all the places I remembered – it still looks like a really nice place to live.

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