Mum is becoming weaker each day, with this in mind we knew we couldn’t stray too far away from her but a short journey was possible. With our niece Kate all alone in Inverell, missing her family and working hard we decided a trip to her was doable, as it was only around seven hours away from Orange. Leaving the camper behind at Robyn and Tim’s we set off on Tuesday 19th to stay with Kate for a few days.
Inverell, or Invy as Kate calls it, is a pretty little town not unlike Orange in the Autumn, with a population of around 12,000, it is known as the ‘Sapphire City’. Fossicking is big in the region with lots of places to explore. Sapphires, diamonds, quartz, topaz and black tourmaline can be found if you try your luck as a beginner or seasonal fossicker, and it can be done on dry land or in the water. We plan on returning to have a go and find the ‘big one’.
While visiting, Kate took us to all her favourite cafes. As the head coach at Inverell pool Kate doesn’t get a lot of personal time off but in her few free hours she likes a coffee and chat. There are lots of little shops each offering interesting browsing. I loved ‘The Dust Jacket’ bookshop with ‘Out The Back Cafe’ behind it. I bought myself an adult colouring book, no not a rude version, just for relaxation, it is of birds and butterflies of course. The owners were lovely and helpful and the shop was well set out with different little rooms/sections for everyone’s interests. At Freckles Cafe you can grab a blanket and curl up on a bench to enjoy your coffee, or tea. The Bridge Coffee Lounge was also warm and welcoming with lovely food. There are plenty of other coffee lounges and eateries to relax in and enjoy.
We did some touristy things while we were there starting with ‘New England Wood Turning’ at Gilgai, about 10km out of Inverell, It was fascinating. The owner and wood turner Rob Day was very friendly and only too happy to show us around, giving us demonstrations on his didgeridoos which sounded fantastic. His woodworks were fabulous and some were quite intricate pieces. We took so many photos, here are some of them.
The National Transport Museum, just on the outskirts of town, was huge. The large facility that houses all the memorabilia was only finished last year. We wandered around in here for an hour or more. Old cars, bikes, sewing machines, model trains, dolls, you name it and you could find it in here. Too many photos, once again, were taken so I can’t put them all in but these will give you an idea.
Copeton Dam about 30km from Inverell is three times the size of Sydney Harbour but the water level is down to about three percent at the moment. There is fishing, swimming and camping out there. The views were lovely but the air was crisp out there so we didn’t stay long.
On Thursday, we absolutely enjoyed the olive farm ‘Olives of Beaulieu’, which is 9kms out of town. The proprietor was very informative and allowed us to savour all their produce. The oils were smooth and tasty, plain or infused with bush mint or garlic. I still don’t like olives but everyone else liked them. The dukkahs and other spice blends were divine and the homemade jams and sauces just kept coming. So much to eat and buy. I had a ball here and bought plenty home with me to enjoy later.
Kate decided to take a break from coaching as she was a bit worn out by Friday and she joined us for the day to do some more touristing. We were going to visit a couple of wineries but one was closed and the others were further than we wanted to travel so we went shopping for things to make Kate’s little abode more homely. Lots of laughs and shops later we returned home satisfied with her purchases and reorganised her unit, including a scratching tower for her cat Macey.
Saturday morning came too quickly, time to leave and head back to Orange to check on mum. These last four days were packed with fun and memories, and it wasn’t too cold. Thanks Kate. We will be returning here in the near future to visit again and enjoy some fossicking.