We continued to drive south, through Dubbo (nope, don’t think there’s a town with that name in the UK), and stopping for lunch and sightseeing at Parkes Radio Telescope. Perhaps, if we’d not seen the film “The Dish”, we’d have driven straight past, but who could resist visiting a film star, and the place where the pictures of the first moonwalk were received. But a radio telescope isn’t exactly the most exciting thing for a 4-year old (or even an 8-year old for that matter), so although it was interesting, it wasn’t fascinating. We did learn some stuff about the speed of light and light years, but perhaps the most fascinating for the girls was the replica telescope control desk made for the film – every button and dial worked, and they soon had all the lights flashing away like a disco. (Its at times like these I’m glad I’m not a teacher – and when you remember that its not the Christmas toys they play with – it’s the boxes!)
Anyway, its worthy of a mention because the radio telescope was big, although it wasn’t listed as the Big Telescope or anything. In fact, one of astronomers was keen to point out it wasn’t the biggest in the world, and there were plenty of other ‘big’ telescopes around.
Our overnight stop was going to be in Young, but we found the campsite full (Young is the “Cherry Capital of Australia”, and has an annual Cherry Festival which is on now, so the campsite was full of itinerant cherry-pickers and retired couples with nothing better to do than drive thousands of miles to visit an invisible cherry festival). Apart from the Big Cherries (it was late, I really couldn’t be bothered to stop the van to take a picture, I’m sorry) there was nothing else that looked even vaguely Cherry Festival-like, so I can only assume that cherry-type celebrations are deliberately low key! So we ended up driving to Cootamundra (another town with seemingly nothing to make it stand out in our memories), the birthplace of Don Bradman (celebrated by a bronze statue in the park, which Emily though looked like a golfer!).
And so we ended our evening – after three days of inland driving, covering 700 miles, we’ve seen very little of outstanding interest, except some pretty ugly post-mortem kangaroos, which will be memorable for their smell!