Rushing home via Gulgong, Goolgowi and Gol Gol

A Covid outbreak and the subsequent restrictions cut our trip short and we had to rush home. By coincidence our overnight stops were small towns all starting with G: Gulgong, Goolgowi and Gol Gol!

While we were relaxing and enjoying the Myall Lakes area, we were keeping an eye on the news relating to a COVID-19 outbreak in NSW. Then the news arrived that SA had closed it’s border to NSW.

Being SA residents, we would be allowed to enter SA, but would need to home quarantine for 14 days immediately on entry. Residents were requested to apply for an entry permit 7 days in advance. Because our route passed through Victoria, we also needed a transit permit to travel from Mildura back to SA.

We realised that we had only 5 days to get home in order to complete our 14 days quarantine before appointments we both had in mid-July. Having previously driven the 1200 km from Adelaide to Canberra in 3 days we had been adamant that we would slow down, and take longer for the return trip. However, we decided to drive the 1800 km to get home as soon as we could…

On day one of the drive we covered long distances from Myall Lakes to the small historical town of Gulgong. This took us past the attractive wine areas of the Hunter Valley, and through much less attractive coal mine areas.

Charging at Scone with a coal train passing by

The distance from Scone to the next charger in Mudgee looked challenging, given the hilly terrain. We decided to drop the trailer in a caravan park in Gulgong, 30 km away from Mudgee, and to have dinner while charging there. The battery was down to 6% when we arrived in Mudgee, despite not having the trailer for the last 30 km – this was cutting it fine!

Charging in Mudgee while we had dinner at the Parking Lot Cafe

We topped up the car to 100% overnight in Gulgong as the next leg to the fast charger in Parkes was also very long. We drove a bit slower than usual (~85 km/h) to be confident of making the distance. En route we took a break in Yeoval to look at their Sculpture Park, opposite a Banjo Patterson Museum, and enjoyed chatting with locals at a friendly cafe there.

Amusing creatures outside the friendly coffee shop in the small town of Yeoval between Gulgong and Parkes
Holden Ute sculpture painted by indigenous artist Lewis Burns, in the sculpture park at Yeoval

We arrived in Parkes with 15% charge. Although we normally try to support these small towns by spending some money while charging, we found it too cold and windy to want to walk far from the car.

Lunch from the camper while charging in Parkes

Rain clouds had been looming for much of the trip. By West Wyalong, an old gold-rush town, it was starting to rain. Between showers we enjoyed a walk looking at the historical buildings along the main street, and a welcome hot chocolate!

Charger in West Wyalong
Historical buildings in the main street of West Wyalong

Our second overnight stop was the shire caravan park in the tiny town of Goolgowi. We arrived in the dark and enjoyed a dinner at the lively local pub.

Caravan park at Goolgowi at night
Foggy morning in Goolgowi

After three long days of driving we still didn’t have our SA Entry Permits. As we were not able to progress into Victoria we stayed in Gol Gol, on the NSW side of the river near Mildura. While we waited for news of our SA Permits we toured to Wentworth where the mighty Murray and Darling Rivers meet.

Foggy morning at the Murray River in Gol Gol
Confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers at Wentworth
Murray River
A Darter taking a break from fishing in the Murray
Bridge near Wentworth across the Murray from NSW into Victoria

At the border into SA, our car was searched for fruit and vegetables as part of the fruit fly protection program, while passing the Police clearance at the same time. While driving through Victoria and SA, we were technically in quarantine, so were required to wear masks, and were not able to wander around while charging the car in Berri, SA.

The shortest route home from Berri, includes a charging stop at Tanunda in the Barossa Valley. Thankfully, before leaving Gol Gol, we noticed on Plugshare that the Tanunda charger had not been functioning for several days. So we changed our route to take the longer Karoonda Highway and charge at Tailem Bend.

Silo art at Karoonda, on the way to Tailem Bend.

At the time of writing, we are at the end of our 14 day home quarantine and looking forward to freedom tomorrow.

See our trips page for a list of posts and map of our journey.

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