Another day of driving through hills and lush grazing country as we descend from the New England highlands sees each day getting easier, a little flatter and a little dryer. The drive did feature an interesting collection of arrester beds on the longer downhill slopes. One had its own lane for almost a kilometre but others left the road at a sharp angle and became almost vertical. You would have to be really desperate to take those.
In Tamworth, the country music capital of Australia, it is pretty much obligatory to visit the country music hall of fame. The sign said it was open until 4pm, but when we entered at 2:30 we were told it was closing and we would have to come back tomorrow. We looked puzzled and asked why it was closing so early, to be told that it had only been opened for a friend of an employee! But they relented and let us in to have the place to ourselves.
The hall of fame had lots of costumes, guitars, posters and displays showing the story of specific artists. Somebody had a lot of fun putting it together quite artistically. As we walked around it was comments like “Wow is that really Keith Urban’s jacket?” There was a lot to see for any country music fan.
Next we walked into the main street as reception had given us a “What’s on in Tamworth” printout and we wanted to check out the Multi-cultural festival. This turned out to be quite dynamic and very well attended. Tamworth is the centre of a very fertile valley and recently has grown with many migrants from India, Sri Lanka, South East Asia and Korea. There were stands handing out free tastes of national cuisine with the staff in national costume. Other stands promoted cultural activities, travel, local community clubs and service organisations. Would you like to travel to Botswana? We can help make it happen. There were displays: martial arts, belly dancing, music…. And still people kept arriving, calling out to friends and having a good time.
Back at the caravan we got chatting with our neighbours who were stranded. Their almost new vehicle had broken down and now they had to wait for a new manifold to be shipped in. How long would it take? That would depend if it was in stock in Melbourne or if it had to come from Japan! We hoped they liked their spot as they could be here for quite some time. This just goes to show that you never know what adventures you can have while travelling long distances.
The Sunday morning market, also in Peel Street, did not have the fresh local produce we had hoped for but it certainly had masses of local crafts. It was almost as if the whole local craft scene had been promoted. Stall-holders were either quite young or quite old. There were wooden toys, candles, masses of baby clothes, crocheted hand-towels, hats, jams, coat hangers, turned wooden bowls, honey, biscuits, lollies, healing crystals and much more.
At the local lookout we gazed out over the city and the surrounding region, and then swapped cameras with another group to get our photo taken.