In Australia there are several smaller towns that have some sort of "big" roadside attraction. If you keep the criteria simple, there could be at least 150 stops. Here is a list of the ones that we actually stopped at: The Boxing Crocodile, The Big Jumping Crocodile, The Big Easel, The Big Ned Kelly, The Big Rig, The Big Sapphire Ring, We also saw a few in passing, and as I would later realize, several times we were in the town but missed the "big" attraction!
On this portion of our trip, we added a couple more "big" attractions to our list ( even if there really wasn't a list until I starting writing this). We also stopped at some "small" attractions that were quite nice!
The Big Prawn was saved from demolition, spruced up, and now resides in a sporting goods parking lot in Ballina, NSW.
🔶 After leaving Ballina we headed to the New England region of NSW. In this region we made stops at the Guy Fawkes River NP,
the Oxley Wild Rivers NP, Armidale, Uralla and Tamworth.
Guy Fawkes NP
This is the valley that sits below Ebor Falls; the Guy Fawkes River plunges off the tableland here.
Ebor Falls is a beautiful double plunge falls in Guy Fawkes NP.
The upper portion of Ebor Falls.
Oxley Wild Rivers NP
My picture doesn't do the Wollomomi Gorge justice; it is huge! The Wollomomi Falls (left) and the Chandler Falls (barely visible) flow into rivers with the same names; the rivers join together near here. This is one of the highest waterfalls in AU.
Armidale is in the center of the New England region. With it's fall colors, it seemed like a very appropriate representative of the region.
The Armidale School (TAS) caught our attention as we passed through the region. TAS is an Anglican, co-educational boarding and day school that was established in 1894.
This ivy was growing on several of the buildings at TAS.
Uralla is a small village in the high country of the New England region. Like Armidale, it has four distinct seasons, and It was full of fall colors.
McCrossin's Mill was restored in Uralla; it was once a flour mill but now houses a museum.
This statue is of Fred Ward aka Thunderbolt. He was a bushranger (outlaw) who robbed homes and stagecoaches in this area. He was killed near Uralla during a robbery in 1874.
The gravestone of Fred Ward (Thunderbolt) is in the old Uralla Cemetery.
Tamworth is AU's Nashville; it is here that we saw another famous "big" attraction, the Big Golden Guitar. Tamworth hosts the biggest country music festival in the Southern Hemisphere. It is during this festival that the Country Music Awards of AU take place.
Tamworth is the major city in the New England region of NSW; it has over 40,000 residents. It sits on the banks of the Peele River. One of it's claims to fame is that in 1888, it became the first city in AU to use electric lights.
The Golden Guitar sits outside the Tamworth Tourist Center. It was modeled after the Golden Guitar trophies given to winners at the Country Music Awards of Australia; this is why it has no strings.
Yes, AU's most famous country music star got his start here. He is pictured holding a Golden Guitar trophy. Look at that blonde hair!
There is plenty of memorabilia at the Tamworth Visiitors Center; I picked this Keith Urban guitar as an example, for obvious reasons!
The Liitle Corella is a cockatoo; it is native to AU. They are plentiful in AU, but the only ones that we encountered were in this aviary at the Tamworth Marsupial Park.
The view of Tamworth from Oxley Lookout.
🔶 After leaving Tamworth, we traveled across the Central Tablelands of NSW. I was surprised to see several cotton and sorghum fields before reaching the historic town of Gulgong.
The grain sorghum fields are plentiful in this area..
There were also several fields of cotton here.
Gulgong is a 19th century gold rush town Just west of the Great Dividing Range in NSW. It has over 130 buildings listed with the National Trust; a couple of my favorites are pictured below.
The Prince of Wales Opera House is the oldest still-operating Opera House in the Southern Hemisphere. Built in1871, it may not be AU's most famous opera house, but it is it's oldest.
How could I resist including an historic building that now houses "physiotherapy"? I couldn't!
As we edged closer to our motel in Lithgow, we made one last stop at Pearson's Lookout. The panoramic view here is of the Capertree Valley. It is said to be the second largest enclosed canyon in the world.
This view of the Capertree Valley includes a lot of land within the Gardens of Stone NP.
Pantoney's Crown is an isolated mesa in the huge Capertree Valley. The land behind it makes up the Wollemi NP; it is the second largest NP in NSW. The park is named for a tree species known only from fossil record until it was discovered here in 1994. The tree was named Wollemi noblis after the NP wildlife officer who discovered it.