Today is the final day of two weeks jolly jaunting about in our camper trailer. To mark the sad occasion we headed out for one more day trip which was suggested to us by Peter, the friendly and hospitable owner of Haydon’s Hall in Mayne Street, Murrurundi, where we spent a wonderful hour enjoying a ginger and pistachio slice and boutique herbal teas.
We left camp a little after morning tea, headed south turning onto the Timor Road which took us into the country. At the turnoff the landscape changed from small town suburbia to farmlands. Situated at the head of the Hunter Valley, Murrurundi is surrounded by the Liverpool Ranges, getting away from the town and travelling through passes and gaps in the ranges.
So much of the countryside could have been Constable paintings. The colours were in tune with his painter’s palette and the landscapes reminiscent of his style, or should I say his style is reminiscent of the landscapes? Murrurundi itself has remained faithful to its pastoral roots and it is not difficult to imagine pioneers enthusiasm when first entering the region with its lush vegetation and land perfect for farming.
We left the macadamised road and continued on a gravel road that serviced the farms in the valley and continued up through the Crawney Pass and then down the other side. Coming out of one of the many s-bends we came upon what looked like a mass planting of grass trees, commonly referred to as Black Boys. These plants are native to Australia and are highly valued as landscaping plants and as well as being beautiful feature plants they are hardy, in the right conditions, drought resistance and therefore low maintenance.
Part of the scenic road trip was a stop at the Dag Sheep Station Shearers’ Festival which provided an entertaining stop as we joined the festivities for a short while. It didn’t take long to realise that we were well under-dressed in our shorts, polo shirts, shorts and sun hats. We were more country-bumpkin-like than the country folk. What we should have worn were our cowboy/girl outfits … next time!
I liked the two signs – rather typical of the type of event and appealing to a certain group although we did enjoy our wander about the information stands, activities and even got to see some of the sheep putting the shearers through their paces. Also on show were the dog trials which are always entertaining.
Sunning himself in the nearby creek was this little beauty.
As it was nearing lunch time we continued onto the small town of Nundle where we were once more surprised by the variety of activities taking place, pony club, heritage walks, the only antique wool mill was open to view as well as art galleries, cafes offering good meals and coffees.
Because Peter had given us the heads up about the Peel Inn as the place to eat, we headed straight there and were not disappointed. The outside looked deceptively like any pub but stepping inside I felt like Alice down the rabbit hole. It was so not what I expected … but furnished with beautiful old furniture, table settings inside and out. The place was bustling with patrons ordering up the good food, supping fine ales and relaxing in well maintained surroundings.
We ordered our food and were looking for somewhere to sit but while seating was not scarce tables were. We stood around looking lost for only a minute or so before a lovely couple invited us to share their table. We had a great lunch – country peas, home made pie, mash and lashings of gravy – to die for!
Lunch was great end to a lovely country drive: good company, excellent conversation, delicious food, great wine and beautiful surroundings. So carried away by the sheer joy of everything being so ‘perfect’ I didn’t take a single photo! However, here’s the link to The Peel Inn’s photo gallery. It is worth a look.
… and back to camp at sun down.