This drive was one of our longer days at around 340kms, but we were not in any hurry.

The plan was to take our time and stop at a couple of towns along the way before reaching Moree for our check in at the EconoLodge Motel at 2:00pm

This is the only motel I had booked and as such will not have much of a kitchen.  The website stated that the room is equipped with a kettle, toaster, fridge and microwave.  The motel has a bar and grill restaurant onsite, so we planned on having dinner there.

We packed up and left Dubbo around 9:00 and travelled to Newell Highway with our first stop being Gilgandra about 1hr up the road.  We got out and stretched our legs and headed off again to Coonabarabran.  We pulled into the Information Centre for a toilet stop and a look around.  It was a surprise to find a large display all about a dinosaur skeleton that had been found in the area in the 1970’s.   It was very interesting to read the story.

Our next stop was Narrabri, we found Woolworths to buy a couple of bread rolls for our lunch.  We had left over roast pork in the Engel from our dinner the previous night, but the bread was “buried” in the “kitchen bag” and we decided it was easier to buy bread rolls that pull the car apart ?   Woolworths was just past the Information Centre which sat on the banks of the ?? River.  It was a lovely place to have our lunch.  Even though it was again 38 degrees, there was a bit of a breeze and our picnic table was in the shade of a large gum tree.

After lunch, we had a look around the Information Centre and found that the area has a number of farming activities including wheat, barley, chickpeas, sorghum, cotton and canola. As well as these crops, there are large farms of meat sheep and pigs.   We bought an ice cream each and hit the road again for the last stretch of the Newell Highway to Moree. The fields here are HUGE. I am sure it would an impressive sight to see the crops growing. As it is the height of summer now, the crops have been harvested and are waiting for new plantings when it gets a bit cooler.

For much of this drive, we followed the train line and passed many big grain silos and loading facilities to fill the huge trains.  These trains were as long as the coal trains we had seen in the Hunter Valley, but obviously grain is much lighter than coal as these trains did not need engines to push the trains as well as lead engines.

We arrived at Moree and our motel at just after 2:30  We asked about the restaurant only to be told it was closed for the Christmas break ☹  WE were told where our room was and back in the car, we thought we would not go out for dinner, but would find Woolworths and get a could of microwave meals for dinner. 

We found our room and got a lovely surprise…A double hotplate!! As well as a microwave.  ?  We are so easily pleased ?   That changed our plans somewhat.  We went over what food we had left and made a plan to finish everything over the next two days before we get back to Brisbane where we have buffet breakfast everyday and are planning eating out a lot at some nice restaurants.

We found we had 8 eggs and half a loaf of bread – so it will be eggs of toast each for the next two days.  We will stop for lunch between Moree and Toowoomba at Goondiwindi.  We had a couple of potatoes and carrots left, so we only needed to buy some “green vege” and some meat for the next two dinners.   We found a nice tray of two porterhouse steaks that were more than large enough that we only need one ½ steak each per night and I bought a little bunch of broccolini.

After putting our groceries in the Engel, we found the attraction we had come to Moree for… The Mineral Spa Pools.  

This area is well known for its artesian springs and the Aquatic Centre has two large heated pools.  We paid our admission fees and had a lovely soak in the warm water.  If you have ever put Epsom Salts in a bath, you will be familiar as to the relaxing properties of dissolved minerals.  It was very nice ? We got out of the pool and drove back to the motel for dinner and a quiet night.  The combination of a hot day, long drive, and the spa pool saw us both getting sleepy and we turned the lights around 8:30pm

Although we had not been affected by the bushfires at all this day ( we have mostly blue skies) our family has been in the danger zone at Dalmeny on the south coast of NSW.  We had been trying to contact them but they had no reception.   Finally, we heard from them that they had got out and were on the way home.   What should normally be a 2.5 hour drive, took them 7 hours, but at least they were home and out of immediate danger.  We still have some family in the danger zone, but hopefully everybody will be OK.
These are some photos of our daughter-in-laws Dad’s house taken just before they left.  Scary