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20 August 2022 Posted by 


Go somewhere new in 2022
OUR release from the restraints of the pandemic has led to millions of Australians suddenly hitting the road looking for new adventures.
With overseas travel still under a cloud and hefty increases in the cost of travel insurance and air fares, Aussies are reconsidering their own country as a priority travel destination.
In years gone by, “see Australia first” was a popular saying but that was before the cheap international airfares of the early 21st century.
Now the “Around Australia” concept has led to hundreds of web sites and social media pages devoted to everything from camping beside a creek on a farm to cruising around in a million dollar Winnebago.
A lot of us love to discover new places off the beaten track and have grown tired of going to same place every year.
I’m in this demographic, going out of my way to discover and photograph hidden gems out in our own vast backyard.
Many visitors to North Queensland miss Palm Cove as they drive from Cairns to Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest beyond.
This modern ocean side resort town is the most beautiful beach in FNQ and to me it is much more attractive than the ‘tinsel town’ of Port Douglas.
You can sit under the palm trees and enjoy breakfast or lunch or go to the beach for a cooling swim.
The famous pier at Palm Cove juts out into the Coral Sea for several hundred metres and is a great spot for fishing or a gentle stroll. The view at sunrise is sublime.
Palm Cove has a vast range of accommodation, but my favorite spot is the NRMA Caravan Park next to beach and adjacent to the pier.
My favorite event is the ukulele concert and singalong on Sunday afternoon.
The legendary opal capital was once an isolated village of tin shacks set amongst piles of white gravel with a pub and a couple of shops.
All that has changed in recent years and ‘the Ridge’ is now a modern vibrant town with tarred streets, an Olympic Swimming Pool and an excellent range of accommodation.
It is an easy one hour drive from Walgett out on the Barwon River which in turn, is eight hours from Sydney.
Good motels, bnb’s and even a Big Four Caravan Park are available. The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort adjoins the town caravan park.
From fossicking for opals to admiring sculptures in an underground cave and relaxing in naturally-heated springs, the Lightning Ridge area offers a bounty of memorable experiences against the backdrop of the majestic Outback
Broken Hill is the main stopping off point for travellers heading west from Sydney. The little former mining town of Silverton is just a half hour drive from the Silver City, but many visitors miss it.
This is despite the fact that Silverton has featured in hundreds of movies including the iconic original Mad Max movies.
At the Silverton Hotel, the heartbeat of what remains of the town, photos of the casts and production crews are proudly displayed around the walls of the old pub. 
Around the town, leftover vehicles from the movies are now sculptures and there several galleries worth a visit.
And just outside of Silverton are the Mundi Mundi Plains where iconic scenes from Mad Max 2 were filmed. Walk to the top of the lookout and see the vast plains stretch out as far as the eye can see for hundreds of kilometres. The view is so clear
you can even see the curvature of the earth. It’s particularly spectacular at sunset.
Millions of people visit Uluru and drive all around it taking photo after photo of sunrises and sunsets, but few make the half hour journey out to this fascinating place.
I always say: “Kata Tjuta is what Uluru was like before the tourist hordes arrived”.
There is no human intervention there, it is just an isolated place where the only sound is the hot westerly breeze blowing in from the Gibson Desert.
There are some superb walks at Kata Tjuta, most of them passing through the aptly named Valley of the Winds which is a huge pass between two of the domed mountains.
Those who visit and take a walk often say they enjoyed it more than Uluru because of the quiet solitude.
Mudgee is the most popular destination west of the Great Dividing Range for many Sydneysiders. However, just a 20 minute drive north west of the Shiraz capital is the little historic town of Gulgong.
Many of the old buildings have been retained including the shops that were featured on the original Ten Dollar note. The beautiful old Opera House still hosts shows and the town museum is superb.
The normal accommodation outlets are available and there is even an excellent golf course available.
Henry Lawson walked these streets as a young boy growing up in Eurunderee, just out of town and many of the characters in his stories and poems are based on local identities.
If you are visiting Dubbo and the Western Plains Zoo, take a detour to Dundullimal Homestead, which is believed to be the first homestead west of the Macquarie River.
The homestead was built in 1842 by John Maughan and is owned by National Trust of Australia, NSW branch. It was added to the NSW State Heritage Register in 2002 and is listed on the) Register of the National Estate.
Dundullimal is an Aboriginal word meaning "thunderstorm" or "hailstorm" and was the name of the local Aboriginal group.
Built around as the head station of  the surrounding 6500ha squatting run, the Dundullimal homestead is believed to be the oldest surviving slab hut house in Australia.
The homestead is also Dubbo's oldest building open to the public. Its interior is relatively sophisticated for its type, with an imposing sitting room and is noted for its tent-shaped plaster ceiling, and wallpaper reproduced from an 1850 pattern. 
The house is furnished with original period furniture. The working areas include sandstone stables, the blacksmith's forge, coach room, sunken cool room and stores. This complex of buildings reflects the practical elements of rural life on a large, isolated property during the nineteenth century.

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