For some reason I got it into my head that we came back again through Young, which was part of one option I was considering but not the option I finally chose..still, the scenery was nice, but naturally it cost us about an hour of unecessary travelling. Our first stop is Cowra, where we find there is not a lot open on this holiday Monday, so despite a couple of turns down the main drag we spot nothing particularly tempting so we make the turn towards the Japanese Gardens and POW camp site etc which are all in the same area. The cherry trees along the street aren't making much of a show and there's not a lot of colour visible inside the gardens from the road. The site of the Japanese gardens looked really quite hilly. The offspring have made it known that they'd prefer to get home in the early afternoon if possible as they (and I come to that) need to back up for work tomorrow. Although it is clear that mum would like to go in and check out the gardens, I decide that we'd best not. While mum would no doubt drag herself around, it will take her much time and wheezing and stopping and lord knows, going shopping is bad enough, if we set foot in the gardens it will be hours before we can get out of there.
We take a spin looking at the wonderful views from the top of the hill here and head for the POW camp site. It too has beautiful views across the rolling hills. The buildings and fences are long gone, but there is what appears to be an ornamental guard tower and some interpretive boards looking out over some remaining foundations. The interpretive boards are in both English and Japanese.
There are also several memorials, the most elaborate of which is one raised by the Italians and on which the writing is in Italian.
The younger ones of us decide to take a swift walk, or in the case of Son, run, down the hill to the other section. Mum makes herself at home chatting to other visitors. While Son careers down the hill, I pick my way along the sheep track, avoiding the softest bits and the sheep poo. Clearly they graze the site to keep the vegetation down.
There are boards here and there explaining where abouts in the camp you would be standing and trying to show what you would have been looking at. We find the site more moving and more interesting that we expected and I'm glad we made the effort.
Next stop is the War Cemetary. Well we really just do a drive past. We had some difficulty along the way missing a turn for which the sign is obstructed by trees. We aren't the only ones either, but after a little while driving along a most pleasant road through lush fields, we twig we can't be heading the right way and I figure that the cherry tree avenue must be a clue. Sure enough when the avenue of cherry trees stops you need to turn, the avenue continues around the corner to the war cemetary. The general gist of the cemetary can pretty much be seen from the road. Anyway we move along as time is short.
Along the way back towards Sydney we take a strange little detour towards a waterfall, but we eventually find the road is blocked by standing water and are obliged to turn around. Unfortunately I cannot recall the name of the place as I was slack when I got home and didn't write up the day's travels. It was a pretty reserve anyhow, so next time we're passing through that way we might try again when we spot the sign.
Next serious stop is Carcoar. A turn on the spur of the moment. We're in need of a comfort stop and some lunch. We admire a wisteria trained around the verandah as we park. It's smothered in bloom and looks fabulous.
We visit the amenities and play on the swings for a while. Nice swings that are kind to grown up bottoms.. you're never too old for a swing, and even grandma has a go laughing and saying it's years since she's been on a swing...
... Not everything is open today, but the RSL museum is and there is a very very friendly lady manning the doorway and she encourages us to come in. We climb the stairs, or in mum's case she is transported using the chair lift thingy which is a bit of a laugh. The museum is really great. They have reached a level of quality in their collection that they seem to attract donations of more really good stuff. Always my favourites are the trench art and other items made by the diggers, or souvenired. There's plenty on local veterans too, and a good collection of uniforms, books and things. Definitely worth a look if you find it open when you're in town.
Our guide also shows us the mural in the hall, which is very impressive and we hear the low down on what's open in town today, some local history and our guide's family history, even about the time a car went straight through the front of one of the houses down the road. We get the drum on the Australia Day celebrations too. I'd love to go to that, but I don't think it's likely this coming year for us.
We eventually take our leave. Just down the road a bit we pause at the local war memorial.
From there we head around the corner to the nice little cafe our guide recommended. The owners are progressively doing up this historic building to let rooms for accommodation as well. The ambience is very nice but the food is kind of ordinary. Still, it is perfectly edible and we enjoy our lunch. We are very very impressed with Carcoar, but it's very hilly and doesn't lend itself to exploration by mum while we're short on time.
The rain is still coming down on and off. We are lucky while we are eating on the verandah, but by the time we are leaving it's coming down again. We loved Carcoar. It's a beautiful atmospheric little place, well deserving of its heritage listing. It would certainly make a great place for a quiet relaxing and romantic weekend away.
We vote to take the Bells Line of Road home.. well basically because we came the other way on the way out and of course we just like the BLOR. We stop to buy some waratahs which are great value and oh so beautiful. We nurse them home and mine - which were only $20 - are displayed in my Pilliga pottery urn, here for a brief while in our hovel which is no longer. It's a georgeous urn don't you think? $500 worth. IMHO worth every penny and I am absolutely thrilled that it looks so lovely with the waratahs in it. It should look great in the new house. We watched this pot have the design drawn on it when we visited pilliga pottery this time last year, then after a few months for drying and glazing etc we took delivery of it. Daughter and I vow that we should make a trip up to get some waratahs an annual tradition. They do of course have smaller waratahs for sale also, but aren't these big ones beautiful!
Best laid plans, we get home in the early evening. Tired, but we've had a lovely holiday, with lots of quality family time, and it only cost us about $200 each would you believe!