New South Wales

New South Wales Accommodation and Travel Info

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New South Wales Destinations

NewSouth Wales was the first European colony to be founded in Australia.Although the continent had previously been visited by Dutch, Frenchand possibly Portuguesemariners in the 17th and 18th centuries, none of their countries hadseen fit to found an outpost here. However, in 1770, that greatBritish mariner and navigator Captain James Cook planted an Englishflag on this great southern continent and claimed it for GreatBritain. The general population was experiencing hard times inBritain during that period and the number of poor folk had never beenhigher. The prisons were over flowing with debtors and petty thieves,who were trying to fend off starvation. Even the hulks of old timberships that were far too unseaworthy to salvage were converted toprison hulks and moored on the banks of London's river Thames.The decision of the British government at that time was that aproportion of these offenders should be transported to the newlyproclaimed Terra Australis and there a self supporting penal colonywould be established. This would save large sums of moneyannually, in that the government would no longer have to provide forthe prisoners. Duly, in 1788, the "First Fleet", as it wasknown, set sail for Australia with Governor Phillips, a few governmentofficials and tradesmen, some livestock and seeds, a number ofsoldiers to keep order and the first batch of convicts, to establishthis new outpost of the Empire. They landed at Botany Bay, whichwas earlier charted and named by Captain Cook. However, it was not anideal position so, as soon as the massive harbour was discovered notfar up the coast, it was decided that that was a more suitableposition to establish the colony of New South Wales. At a ruggedspot on the harbour shore (named after England's Lord Sydney) theydisembarked and immediately erected the first rough shelters.This point became known as The Rocks and thus it has been called eversince.

Australia's oldest buildings can still be found at The Rocks - churches, hotels, warehouses, cottages - all have been carefully preserved to commemorate those hard times. Slowly and with a lot of hard work by the convicts and all those that came out on following ships over the years that were to follow, this settlement grew around and spread out from the harbour. Today, that lively and colourful city is home to over four million people and the State of New South Wales, no longer just a colony, has a population in excess of five million people. Sydney is the State capital and the site where the 2000AD Olympic Games will take place.

New South Wales has glorious mountain ranges, mineral wealth in the ground that has helped to make the State prosperous (silver, gold, opal etc), arid semi desert areas, Lakeland's, over 1,500 kilometres of glorious coastline with some of the world's finest beaches, one of the best harbours in the world, prosperous farmlands, growing beef, dairy produce, wheat, rice, sugar and cotton and a number of first class universities. There is much to attract visitors in New South Wales, including great observatories, a zoo at Dubbo where animals roam freely, wide rivers, secluded rainforests, superb fishing and skiing opportunities and all the historic townships, many of which were founded on the gold dug from the earth there.

Sydney's harbour is a prime drawcard for this beautifulcity and probably its most famous shore side buildings are the HARBOURBRIDGE and the dramaticallydesigned OPERA HOUSE.The central business district is on the south shore, so residents ofthe north shore catch ferries back and forth across the harbour dailyto commute to work. They have the choice of small or large ferryboats, or the hydrofoil, which is the fastest but dearest. In themiddle of the harbour is a small, fort like looking, island building,known as PINCHGUT, whererecalcitrant convicts were marooned in chains, to quieten themdown. So little food was supplied to them that they got apinched feeling in their guts fairly quickly, marooned out there inthe dark with just rats for company. There are always numerousboats in the harbour, other than the ferries, as Sydney is a city ofboating enthusiasts and many people arrive here from overseas byboat. Most of the huge waterside mansions have their own jettiestoo.

Mostvisitors to Sydney love to take a HARBOURCRUISE, or at least ride back andforth on one or more of the ferry boats. They love to tour theOpera House and may even climb to the top of the bridge these days,under supervision. The SYDNEYEXPLORER bus service runs every 15minutes and visits over 20 places of interest. Many folk enjoy takinga day ticket and hopping on and off as often as they choose, withinformative brochures in hand. The main embarkation point is CIRCULARQUAY, which is the south sideferry terminal, near the CBD, but passengers can climb aboard and buya ticket at any of the many famous stopping places.

Theharbour side BOTANIC GARDENShave been established for over 200 years and have much to delightnature enthusiasts. Sydney has a reputation for a wide choice ofrestaurants, especially those around the harbour side, some of which,like DOYLES, specialise just inthe freshest seafood's - and Sydney is famous for its superboysters. It also boasts superlative shoppingopportunities. Homebush is the suburb where the 2000OLYMPIC GAMESare to be held and already accommodation in this area is almost bookedout for the duration of that event, as also are many of the top, worldclass city hotels, with spectacular views over the harbour.

DARLINGHARBOUR is a small tributary that comesoff the harbour fairly close to the south side of the bridge and herethere are numerous attractions, such as prime hotels, the CASINO,POWERHOUSE, the CHINESEGARDENS and a great two storeyshopping mall. It is also a popular stop on the city MONORAIL,from which good views of the city and water ways can be obtained. TARONGAPARK ZOO andLUNA PARKon the harbour's edge are popular with families and visitors and thePrime Minister's Sydney home - KIRRIBILLIHOUSE - can also be seen from thewater. Fox Movie Studios has recently open and is proving to be apopular attraction.

KINGSCROSS is a lively area that comes intoits own after dark, with night clubs that are operational much of thenight. It is also the heart of Sydney's Gay scene.Gracious MANLY, on the north sideof the harbour, has an elegant CORSO,delightful cafes, an AQUARIUM,many grand old homes and a great surfing beach. VAUCLUSEHOUSE is an historic property - the former mansion of explorer William Charles Wentworth. It isfurnished in period style and is open daily for inspection. PARRAMATTAis an historic suburb, upriver from the city itself and reachable byferry. This was where the first farms of the fledgling colonyand the Governor's mansion were successfully established. ELIZABETHFARM homestead and the GOVERNOR'SMANSION can still be seen there,along with the earliest churches, town hall and other National Trustlisted buildings galore. (BRISLINGTON,for instance, built in 1821, is a fine two storey stone building thatis now a MEDICAL &NURSING MUSEUM).However, today Parramatta is no longer farming territory, but a tightpacked residential suburb, which holds a WISTERIAGARDEN FESTIVALevery September.

Northof Sydney is the HAWKESBURY RIVER,beloved of Sydneysiders as a weekend and holiday leisure venue, eitheron their own or in a hired boat. The riverside properties that are tobe seen along this waterway are now worth far more than the ownersoriginally paid for them. Then there's the NEPEANRIVER, which runs through PENRITH,an outer north western suburb and home of some of Sydney's best knownsporting clubs, on the way to the magical BLUEMOUNTAINS.

TheBlue Mountains are about a two and a half hour drive from Sydney, outthrough Parramatta or Penrith and on, westwards, into the GreatDividing Range. Here, grand escarpments form dramatic backdropsin every direction. It is a very popular holiday destination, whetherfor a weekend, a week or more. There are lovely old guesthousesand hotels galore, usually surrounded by English cottage gardens andrenown for their gracious hospitality. The most famous of thesemountain villages are LEURA, KATOOMBAand BLACKHEATH. Leura has a dreamy'30s feel about it, (as has the incredible, old world HYDROMAJESTIC HOTELat MEDLOW BATH).BLACKHEATH has fantastic lookoutsfrom which GOSSE'S BLUFFand other local geological marvels can be seen. (JEMBYRINJA is a great place to stayhere, with family log cabins spaced through the bush, with walls ofglass, so you can sit and watch the parrots feeding in the bushoutside your sitting room). Katoomba has the THREESISTERS (three cliff pillars), theSKYTRAIN, a cable car that crossesback and forth between two peaks, the SCENICRAILWAY with open sides thatplunges straight down the hillside and an ORIENTATIONCENTRE, with lots of brightlycoloured parrots hanging around hoping for a feed. There's alittle steam train that operates on the ZIGZAG RAILWAYat weekends too, a guesthouse that has murder mystery weekends, verypicturesque, historic valley villages, MEGALONGFARM for the kiddies, the FAIRFAXHERITAGE WALKINGTRACK and more.

The New South Wales limestone caves territory is not far fromthe popular Blue Mountain towns and is also on the eastern side of theGreat Dividing Range. WELLINGTONis the main town from which people explore this area. The town has a BOTTLEHOUSE and GARDENRAILWAY, a CLOCKMUSEUM, DONOVAN'SFARM for the kiddies and the CAVESCOMPLEX. Twospectacular caves are open to the public daily and there is a CAVESHOLIDAY LODGE,where family accommodation is available for those who wish to stayovernight. Then there are spectacular JENOLANCAVES, that are more extensive andhave many walking trails and other geological wonders to explore aboveground. JENOLAN CAVESRESORT (sometimes known as CAVESHOUSE) is a huge, rambling,historic property, where accommodation of all varieties can bebooked. Budget rooms, family rooms, apartments etc are allavailable, depending on how much one wishes to pay. Guided toursand walks are available several times daily and there are manyin-house social and educational activities available to the guestsmost of the times. It is operational all year round as is theinformation centre.

Thereis even a SIX FOOTWALKING TRACKto Katoomba for those who are experienced bushwalkers. There'salso the McKEOWEN'S VALLEYTRAIL for the lessexperienced. The full trail is about two and a half kilometresand can be comfortably completed in around two hours. It leadsfrom the Caves House past the Devil's Coach house and the Devil's Headinto the valley. Peregrine falcons nest at Kurrajong Heightsalong this trail and brush tailed rock wallabies may also be seen.Then the koala yard is reached, where injured koalas are nursed backto good health. Continue up a steep access road to the lookoutand the peephole. The trail then winds back to Caves House viaCarlotta's Arch. Other popular limestone caves in New SouthWales are located at WOMBEYAN, ABERCROMBIEand YARRANGOBILLY.

The Newell Highway is an alternative route for peopletravelling from Victoria to Queensland. Commencing at TOCUMWALon the MURRAY RIVERin the south, it runs steadily northwards and slightly eastwards to MOREEin the north of the State and over the Queensland border intoGoondiwindi. It is a pleasant, scenic road to travel, with lesshassles than the more direct route between capital cities.Travelling from south to north, the attractions are as follows:

Fora start, TOCUMWAL has all theattractions of the Murray River - the boating, swimming, fishing,water skiing and 24 sandy river beaches. Then there's a 36 hole GOLFCLUB, Australia's largest GLIDINGCENTRE, several caravan parks anda number of good motels. The MINIATURETRAIN DISPLAYin the old Railway Store is also a delight for train buffs of allages. FINLEY has a beautifulpublic park, a HISTORICAL MUSEUM& LOGCABIN for a tourist informationcentre, with complimentary tea and coffee; BROLEYEMUS and AUSSIEWOOL QUILTS,made locally. There are bowling and golf clubs, an RSL club, alakeside caravan park and several motels. Finley was voted NewSouth Wales' Tidiest Town in 1996.

JERILDERIEhas a FISH &RICE FARM,'THE WILLOWS'historic homestead, BILLABONG PRODUCTS,a lake and delightful parks and gardens. An enormous windmill,Steel Wings, stands in Luke Park beside Lake Jerilderie. Hereyou can also photograph the old TELEGRAPHOFFICE, held up by bushranger NedKelly in 1879. Several farms in the area welcome B&B guests.NARRANDERA is a small townclassified by the National Trust. It's LAKETALBOT is very popular with localsand visitors. Nearby is a koala regenerating complex and theBundidgerry Walking Track. There's also CRAIGTOPDEER FARM,the INLAND FISHERIESSTATION, PARKSIDECOTTAGE MUSEUM,the TIGER MOTHMEMORIAL and MYDOLLS.

WESTWYALONG calls itself the Crossroads ofEastern Australia. It's an old gold town, with a photographable POPPETHEAD. Then there'sBECKETTS' PIONEER FARM,the ROVERS' DEN, an HISTORICMUSEUM, ABORIGINAL ARTEFACTSand the Green Corridor walking track. There are a number ofmotels, several caravan parks and KYWONGCOTTAGE B&B available fortourists.

FORBESis another old gold town and is steeped in history. There's LAKEFORBES, the STOCKYARDCOMPLEX, art galleries, wineries,the LACHLAN VINTAGEVILLAGE (a recreated settlers'hamlet), a WILDLIFE SANCTUARY,an ALPACA STUD,the RAILWAY ARTS TOURIST CENTREand plenty of accommodation available at all prices.

PARKESis an old gold town, but today is far more famous for its mighty RADIOTELESCOPE (23 kilometres north oftown), the great dish of which you cannot miss. Then there's theHISTORICAL MUSEUM,the MOTOR MUSEUM,PIONEER PARKVINTAGE MACHINERYMUSEUM and a collection of over500 antique and modern dolls on display at the PARKVIEWMOTEL. There is plenty ofaccommodation available in Parkes and half a dozen festivals and majorevents taking place annually, such as Bush Tucker Day, a Jazz Festivaland a Country Music Spectacular.

DUBBOis justly famous for its open plan, WESTERNPLAINS ZOO,but it also has a MILITARY MUSEUM,all the popular sports facilities, OLDDUBBO GAOL,MACQUARIE RIVERCRUISES, DUNDULLIMALHOMESTEAD(1840), potteries, galleries, JEDDABOOMERANGS, JINCHILLAGARDENS, conducted tours and the TRACKERRILEY CYCLEWAY.GILGANDRA has an OBSERVATORY,a couple of museums, a FLORA RESERVE,an ART GALLERYand several outlying farms offering B&B accommodation.

COONABARABRANis the jumping off spot for the WARRUMBUNGLERANGES. This is spectacular,mountain country, with a number of old volcanic peaks thrustingskywards. The SIDING SPRINGSOBSERVATORY is an absolute 'must'while in the vicinity. There are numerous half and full daytours of the area available, including those run by Aborigines toAboriginal sites. Then there is CRYSTALKINGDOM (a world class mineralsdisplay), PILLIGA POTTERY.SKYWATCH NIGHT& DAY OBSERVATORY(hands on telescope viewing) and all the bushwalking and mountaincamping you could desire. There is plenty of accommodation ofall types in the township.

NARRABRI,in cotton growing country, is the jumping off point for MTKAPUTAR NATIONALPARK, with its dramatic peaks andunspoilt bushland. There mare a number of geological wonders tobe seen here, including SAWN ROCKS.Again, this is old volcano country and it shows. The Australian TELESCOPEVISITORS CENTREis worth visiting. LIGHTNINGRIDGE, one of Australia's finestopal fields (especially for the treasured blackopal) is easilyreached from here, but be prepared, because it's a bit rough.

MOREEis also in the heart of the cotton growing district and is famous forits ARTESIAN SPABATHS, which are supposed to be asensational experience. The public parks are particularly spectacularin late spring, when the big old jacaranda trees are in full bloom.Other town attractions include the MOREEPLAINS GALLERY GALLERY OFABORIGINAL ART,TRAWALLA PECANNUT FARMand the BIG PLANETAVERN. At the GWYDIRCARAPARK there are also artesianthermal pools.

The Riverina area of New South Wales is the southern centralpart of the State, stretching from Balranald in the west to Tumut inthe east and from Narrandera in the south to Hillston in thenorth. Much of it is rich pastoral territory, well irrigated bythe Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area scheme. It has good roads throughoutthe area and has a wide variety of attractions to lure tourists andtravellers.

Thosethat enjoy bushwalking or a taste of adventure should aim for the highcountry around TUMUT, which looksat its most spectacular in autumn, when the FESTIVALOF THEFALLING LEAFtakes place. From here to KIANDRAmountain lakes form part of the giant SNOWYRIVER SCHEME.Blowering, Jounama and Talbingo lakes are a paradise for water sportslovers. Between Tumut and Talbingo you enter the MTKOSCIUSKO NATIONALPARK, Australia's highestterritory. Up here there are caves and thermal pools as well asthe opportunity for white water rafting. MTSELWYN SKIFIELDS are very popular with serious skiers in wintermonths. CABRAMURRA isAustralia's highest township.

JUNEEwas first settled in 1845 and now has many elegant historic buildings,including the old railway station and MONTECRISTO HOMESTEAD(1884). COOTAMUNDRA holds a WATTLETIME FESTIVALevery August and ARDLETHAN is thehome of the Australian kelpie dog, to whom a memorial has been erectedin Stewart Park. In NARRANDERAthey hold an annual JOHN O'BRIENFESTIVAL to commemorate the bushballadeer This territory is also where many of our finest racehorses are trained and bred.

FromLEETON to GRIFFITHit's rice growing all the way. And out from Griffith there are eightwineries offering free tastings. Visitors are not allowed tobring any fruit or rice into this zone, for fear of contamination.Around Leeton too are four wineries that welcome visitors, as well asthe SUNBURST CITRUSFACTORY and RIVERINACHEERSE. FIVENOUGHSWAMP, out of town, is anextensive wetlands area beloved of bird watchers.

TheRiverina has its outback side from BALRANALDto HATFIELD and BOOLIGAL.Stretching from the WILLANDRA LAKESarea (long since dry and now desert territory), this has beencatalogued a World Heritage area. The infamous HAYPLAINS have cattle stations inexcess of 100,000 acres, as it takes numerous acres per head of cattleto feed them, not numerous head of cattle to the acre. There's thehistoric ONE TREEHOTEL, on the plains out of Hay,as well as several National Parks in the area. This is alsoknown as the BLACK STUMPcountry (or the Back O' Beyond), where they fiercely cherish their oldcountry ways.

WAGGAWAGGA is a major Riverina township. It isan important Air Force base and the home of KENDELLAIRLINES. A large countrytown, it has a plethora of excellent parks and gardens, including anopen air TREE CHAPELand the SHAKESPEARIAN GARDENS.Then there are the historic walks and a HISTORICALMUSEUM, a BOTANICGARDENS &ZOO, COLLEGE WINERY,AURORA CLYDESDALESTUD &PIONEER FARM,antique galleries and a variety of organised local toursavailable. Add the MURRAY CODHATCHERIES &FAUNA PARK,potteries, the military camp, the huge LIVESTOCKMARKETING CENTRE,sports clubs, a racecourse, their annual GUMIFESTIVAL and all the goodaccommodation that is available and you have an important rural centrehere.

The coastal area south of Sydney is divided into severalregional areas - the Sapphire coast, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven, theSouthern Highlands and the Illawarra. Each of these regions hasnumerous tourist attractions and is popular with holidaymakers fromnear and far.

Unspoilt beaches, fantastic fishing and areas ofpristine wilderness can be found aplenty in the area betweenEDEN in the south and BERMAGUIin the north of the Sapphire coast. Eden was a major tunafishing port with an important cannery until its overseas ownersdecided to close it recently, which was a big loss for the people ofthis little township. The harbour is still used by commercialfishermen, but not to the extent it once was. Now there are moreprivately owned boats to be seen here. In the township is a KILLERWHALE MUSEUM, as a tribute to the area's earliestsettlers. Whales are still seen regularly offshore in thebreeding season. They have a tendency to bask off of tiny nearby BOYDTOWN,from where one can take a whale watching trip, to get to closequarters with these leviathans. Boydtown, onTWOFOLD BAY, was the site of Scotsman Ben Boyd's whalingenterprises in the 1840s. He was an entrepreneur who employednine whalers and built his own 100 metre jetty and lighthouse. Thedistinctive lighthouse still stands, no longer in use and close by, onthe water's edge, is his old SEA HORSE INN,which is a popular tourist attraction with restaurant today. WONBOYNLAKE, 30 miles south of Eden, is one of the State's bestfishing grounds. The old DAVIDSONWHALING STATION on Twofold Bay is the last of the New SouthWales' whaling sites.

Thereis a huge, Japanese owned WOOD CHIPPING MILL,where tours can be taken and, nearby, BENBOYD NATIONAL PARK sweeps down to the ocean beach and isvery popular with picnickers and bushwalkers. There are a numberof caravan parks in and around Eden and at Wonboyn Lake. Thereare also plenty of motels, apartments and a backpackers' hostel.

MERIMBULAis one of the most popular towns on this stretch of coast, as it hassuperb beaches, lake cruising and fishing, a good shopping centre,plenty of accommodation at all prices and entertainment galore for allthe family. There's MAGIC MOUNTAINFAMILYRECREATION PARK,the AQUARIUM, the HISTORICMUSEUM, YELLOW PINCHWILDLIFE PARKand MILLIGANDI LEISURE FARM.Eateries there are galore.

BEGAis about 40 minutes drive north of Merimbula. Here, the cheesefactory, with its free tours and tastings, hosts many visitorsannually. It is also renown for the GREVILLEAESTATES WINERY and all the surrounding dairy farms. BIGGAME FISHING is available here. Then there's the OLDBEGA MUSEUM, if you've time to linger longer.

Northof Bega is a lovely little unspoilt village - COBARGO - and nine kilometres away BERMAGUIand WALLAGA LAKE. Bermagui issynonymous with fishing - marlin, tuna and all the big ones.But, once caught, they are tagged and released. MONTAGUEISLAND is nine kilometres off shore and this is greatdiving territory. Ocean fresh fish and fat prawns can be boughtfrom the fishermen as they dock daily. Wallaga Lake is thelargest body of water south of Sydney and is great for all watersports, as well as prawning. It is overlooked by Mount Dromedary. CAMELROCK is another famous local feature. Close by arebeautiful State and national parks.

This 110 kilometre stretch of the south coast has threemain townships - Narooma, Moruya and Bateman's Bay and a number ofsmaller hamlets, some of which are of considerable historicinterest. CENTRAL TILBA isone of those delightful villages, a couple of kilometres detour offthe highway. It is a unique 19th century town, classified by theNational Trust, nestling in the shadow of Mount Dromedary.There's an old pub, a 100 year old cheese factory (15 varieties andfree tastings), old world tea rooms and more. Don't miss it. Itis a stone's throw from its sister village, TILBATILBA, where an Easter Festival is held annually.Tilba's WOODTURNINGGALLERYalso has many fine pieces on display and for sale. TILBALEATHER is also worth a peep. Then there's BROOKLANDSDEER FARM, where children can hand feed the animals too.

NAROOMAis tucked between surf beaches and scenic WAGONGAINLET. There are many sports facilities in this longestablished seaside resort and boat cruises are very popular.The beaches are magnificent, scuba diving is the order of the day withmany and fishing is also one of the reasons people stay here.

MORUYAhas the south coast's principal airport, with flights to Melbourne andSydney daily. It was first settled in 1827 by an Irishman, FrancisFlanagan, who began to farm there. In 1851 there was a goldstrike in the area, which ensured the settlement prospered. Thedistrict has many beautiful buildings at least 150 years old. Itis a serene spot, with cruises available up theDEUARIVER into the DEUANATIONAL PARK. Boating, fishing, horse racing,bushwalking and arts and crafts are the main lifestyle here.

MOGOis a quaint little hamlet, dating back to the gold rush days.You can still pan for gold in MOGO GOLDFIELDSPARK, or visit SOMERSET FARM (MOGOZOO), as well as all the little crafts galleries andantique shops. BATEMAN'S BAY issituated at the mouth of the CLYDE RIVERand it is flanked by many really fine beaches. There is a marinacatering for craft of all sizes and every sporting facility you canthink of. There are a number of caravan parks right on the beachand plenty of accommodation overlooking it. There's ocean andestuarine fishing and a trip to the offshore TOLLGATEISLANDS usually pays big dividends for anglers.Charter a boat and go after the black marlin out at sea, if you wish.Closer inshore the oysters, scallops and prawns aredelicious. There are many scenic forests drive out of thistownship and other local attractions include the BIRDLANDANIMAL PARK & SHELL MUSEUM and the HISTORICALSOCIETY MUSEUM. Bateman's Bay has accommodation of alltypes for all wallets.

The Shoalhaven Shire offers 160 kilometres of gloriouscoastline and some quite spectacular countryside. It stretches fromDurras North in the south to Berry in the north. In southernShoalhaven Shire MURRAMARANG NATIONAL PARK provideda beautiful backdrop to all the great beaches. The wildlifethroughout here is particularly prolific. AT PEBBLYBEACH on very hot days the kangaroos often come down to theocean for a swim! TABOURIE LAKEoffers two excellent surf beaches, a waterside village, caravan parksand a museum. BURRILLLAKEis another top water sports paradise, with accommodation to suit allpockets.

ULLADULLAHoffers a safe harbour with a breakwater and its major event is the BLESSINGOF THE FLEET every Easter Sunday.MOLLYMOOK BEACH has a championship standard golf course anda nine hole course with magnificent ocean views. There are manydetours off Highway 1 along this stretch, each leading to a pleasantseaside township and scores of beachside caravan parks.

BERRY(the Town of Trees) and KANGAROO VALLEYare a couple of hamlets worth visiting. The scenery is superb,the ambience old world and the sandstone HAMPDENBRIDGE was built over a century ago and is muchphotographed. There are many crafts shops in Berry and a hotelknown as 'the Friendly Inn'. On the first Sunday in every month,people come from far and wide to visit the BERRYCOUNTRY FAIR.

As the name suggests, the southern highlands of thisregion have some spectacular country to lure Nature lovers of allages. There's the FITZROY FALLSescarpment, GLOW WORM GLEN and SUTTONFOREST, to name but three of the myriad attractions.At BUNDANOON, a HIGHLANDGATHERING is held every April. MOSSVALE is an important town in the area. Its tree linedstreets are the hub of this rural district. Galleries and antiquetraders abound here. Leighton Gardens is worth a visit and there's agood variety of accommodation available.

AtBERRIMA there's the OLDGAOL and COURT HOUSE toview and plenty of restaurants if you are in need of a meal. MITTAGONGhas many fine sandstone buildings dating back to the 1880s and thenearby WOMBEYAN CAVES are always adrawcard. BOWRAL is knownfor its fine gardens and for its annual TULIPTIME FESTIVAL, at the end of September. It is alsoknown for its BRADMAN MUSEUM andthus attracts many cricket lovers. BURRAWANGhas an 1860s general store and holds a FOLKMUSIC FESTIVAL over the Queen's Birthday weekend each year.

The big industrial city of WOLLONGONGis the heart of the Illawarra region, but its major seaside resort isundoubtedly KIAMA. Here there arenine beaches, with the JAMBEROOMOUNTAINescarpment forming a scenic backdrop. The area's natural featuresinclude the BLOWHOLE, CATHEDRAL ROCKSand the MINNAMURRA RAINFOREST.MERINDA LAKE CRUISES, WILD COUNTRY PARK,the AVON DAM and the ILLAWARRALIGHT RAIL steam train rides are also great drawcards withholidaymakers.

Wollongonghas all the facilities of a major city, as well as scenic lookoutsover the ocean and the beach rock pools. There is aSCIENCE CENTRE at Fairy Meadow, hang gliding in STANWELLPARK and bushwalks and waterfalls galore in the surroundingnational parks. There are alsoPARAGLIDING opportunities, a GOKART CENTRE, RIDING SCHOOLS and TRAILRIDING, the SYMBIO KOALA GARDENS,several beautiful dams in the outlying areas and SKIRMISHADVENTURES for paintball professionals.

In the far west of New South Wales, BROKENHILL stands alone and isolated, although it can be reachedby air, rail and good roads these days. It is a mining town,where mountains of minerals (mostly silver) have been extracted frombelow ground during the past century. It has a very distinct andproud personality of its own, having come into existence out 'back ofbeyond' and having had to create all its necessities in the Outbackfor itself. It has a very strong Union background and indeed the townwas virtually run by the mining union during its boom days.There is still a strong union influence to be found in Broken Hilltoday. Many massive old buildings, not the least the grandioseTrades Hall, are a tribute to the hard lives of the miners and theirfamilies in times past.

There'sso much to see and do in Broken Hill you'd better plan to stick aroundfor a few days, but pre-book your accommodation if possible, becauseit can sometimes be difficult to find, although there is a wide range,from hotels to caravan parks, with bed and breakfasts and numerousmotels in-between. There's a big VISITORSINFORMATION CENTRE in the middle of town and it should beyour first port of call, near the dramatic black poppet head withgiant ant sculpture. This centre also offers clean toilets and agood little cafe with friendly service, which is typical of thetownship. Take a slow walk around town and study some of these oldbuildings, including some mighty old pubs. They are quiteimpressive. There are many early miners' cottages also, whichare still occupied. There are some good murals on some of the walls intown and a number of new historical enterprises to lure visitors, butdo visit the FLYING DOCTOR SERVICEBASE andSCHOOL OF THE AIR. It's quite educational. As is DELPRAT'STOURISTMINEunderground tours and the RAILWAY, MINERAL TRAIN MUSEUM. You'll want to look through PROHART'S GALLERY. He has two floors of astoundinglygood work on display, only part of which is his own.JACK ABSALOM'S GALLERY is also nearby. The ANTHILLGALLERY is Broken Hill's municipal art cornucopia - ProHart being a native son of the Silver City and ants being histrademark. Their newest and most unusual art gallery though issited out of town on a rugged hillside. It is a collection ofhuge abstract sculptures by world famous artists and is a favouritesubject with photographers visiting 'The Hill'. It is known asthe SCULPTURE GALLERY. SILVER CITY TOURSand numerous others do a good job with day and half day guided smallparties. Out of town some 15 minutes drive is SILVERTON,a small old mining hamlet that would have faded into a ghost town longago, if film makers hadn't discovered it a few decades ago. Itbecame an integral part of such legendary films as "A Town LikeAlice', "Priscilla, queen of the desert', 'Razon Back', 'Mad Max'and many more. A colourful geological formation out in thedesert from Silverton is known as THEBREAKERS and it was in that isolated area that these filmswere shot. The little old pub in Silverton is a favouritewatering hole with visitors and there are other buildings people liketo photograph around the pub that have been used in the aforementionedfilms.

Way out across the arid plains from BROKENHILL is WHITE CLIFFS, asmall and very isolated opal mining town, where the residents liveunderground and mine off their living quarters. There areseveral good underground motels and B&Bs and at least a night inone of these is a worthwhile and comfortable experience. Thetemperature out here in high summer can climb into the high 40s andeven the 50sC. They have built ingeniously comfortable undergroundquarters and there is an interesting SOLARENERGY program of huge dishes to attract the sun and bringthem electricity to light their homes and power theirgenerators. Tours can be taken to White Cliffs from Broken Hillby air conditioned minicoach, either full day or overnight. They alsoinclude a tour of the small township, which has a basic caravan parkfor the cooler months alongside the small municipal swimming pool,though last time we were there the park and the pool were empty.Much opal is still found here and visitors may tour some of thesemines if they wish to do so for a small fee.

Alsoout in the bush are the MENINDEE RANGESand the MENINDEE LAKES, with theirstrong Aboriginal connection, CULTURAL CENTREand rock carvings. This is Outback country, remember, and ifdriving, one should always carry plenty of water, spares, petrol andpreferably a mobile phone. Emus and kangaroos abound out hereand care must always be taken to drive at a speed whereby you will nothit any of the wildlife. TIBOOBURRAis another tiny Outback town in the middle of harsh, rugged desertcountry. It has many fascinating old buildings, murals, the STURTNATIONAL PARK and, further out still, there's tiny MILPARINGA.A hundred and forty kilometres to the north west of Tibooburra is CAMERON'SCORNER, a bush camping stopover point on the way toInnamincka, for four wheel drive owners planning to head down theStrezlecki Track. This is the point where three States adjoin eachother.

MURRAYRIVER TOWNS (west to east)
WENTWORTH: Captain Sturt not onlyleft Sydney and, travelling west, surmounted the Blue Mountains bywhale boat in the early 1800s, (searching for the great inland seaeveryone thought must be there but wasn't), he also found the sourceof the Murray River and decided to follow it to its end. When he camedown to its junction with another mighty river, which he named theDarling at about the half way mark he blazed a river gum in 1830. Thattree with his blaze can still be seen today. By the 1840s, atownship (named after the explorer William Wentworth who passed thatway) had growing around this spot and it was at its busiest when thepaddle steamers were in their heyday. It was an important portfor southern New South Wales wool farmers, to ship their produce toAdelaide. It was so busy then, that the storekeepers owned their ownsteamers, to bring supplies up river from Adelaide or down river fromEchuca. By the end of the century, the Customs House wasprocessing up to 500 vessels a year.

Todaythere are a number of old buildings still standing in town, including STJOHN'S CHURCH, the OLD GAOL,the historic WHARF and the 1870s COURTHOUSE. Additional attractions include the dry berthedpaddle steamer RUBY in FOTHERBYPARK, the FOLK MUSEUM,the COD RIVER AQUARIUM, the CANOETREE, plus river boat cruises and Lock 10 and itsweir. Tours can be taken through the old gaol and itsexhibits. Aboriginal culture tours and river cruises can also beenjoyed and there are houseboats for rental. The town hasa mixed white and Aboriginal population and it is surrounded byprosperous vineyards and orange groves. A good spot to stay is CODRIVER CABINS on the Darling River. From these wellequipped family cabins you can fish out of your back door. Atnearby MERBEIN there's Kremor'sMODELAIRCRAFT DISPLAYand there are also a number of popular licensed Services Clubs intown, some of which can get rather rowdy at night.

MOAMAis the sister town to Echuca in Victoria, just over the river bridge.People who stay in Moama always slip over the river to sample theattractions there. However, Moama has a wealth of highlypopular, riverside caravan parks, some very big licensed sports clubsand the MOAMABRIDGEMINIATURE RAILWAY. The BOWLINGCLUB is particularly spectacular inside. DENILIQUINis 15-20 minutes drive north of Moama and is a lovely old countrytown, with a wealth of attractions of its own. The chief ofthese would be the excellent PEPPIN MERINOCENTRE & HERITAGE MUSEUM, inthe old State school, alongside the tourist information centre and oneof the nicest little restaurants you will ever eat in. The areagrew around its prosperous merino wool industry and the old Peppinstud was responsible for developing a strain of merino sheep superiorto that originally imported here from South Africa and Spain. Itis still an important wool growing area and very conscious of the partit has played in making Australian wool so famous around theworld. It is also an important rice growing centre and peoplecome from Asia to inspect the huge mill here. 'Deni'sISLAND SANCTUARY in the EDWARDSRIVER in the middle of town is awonderful place, where they have developed a natural, unspoilt floraand fauna reserve, beaches, walking tracks and picnic areas foreveryone's enjoyment. You reach it by suspension bridge fromclose to the Town Hall. Water skiing and canoeing are popular on thistranquil river. The TOWN HALLand the COURT HOUSE are NationalTrust listed and worthy of note. Every Australia Day weekend inlate January Deni holds a SUN FESTIVALand every Easter they hold a JAZZ FESTIVAL FLOAT PARADE. The UNITINGCHURCH contains some superb stained glass windows. The WARINGGARDENS and the DENILIQUINFOREST are also worthy of someexploration.

TOCUMWALis a Murray River town and is sited at the southern end of the NewellHighway. It is also on the railway system of both New SouthWales and Victoria and is thus an important railhead for the farmersof the district. Here you will find the SPORTAVIAGLIDING SCHOOL run by a former world champion. Thereis an interesting quarry 11 kilometres north of town known at THEROCKS, and here brightly coloured rock can be seen.This particular rock has been used for many important civic buildings,such as the Sydney Opera House. There is a fine GEM MINERAL GALLERY, the RIVERINAQUARTER HORSE STUD, which welcomes tourists and TUPPALWOOLSHED out in the bush 20 kilometres west of town, whichis the largest historic shearing shed in the southern hemisphere,although it is no longer operational. It is fascinating to walkthrough though. Over 200,000 sheep would be shorn at one time here, atthe turn of the century, once mechanisation was introduced. Tuppalplayed a big part in the early development of the area. Today'stourists in Tocumwal usually come for the river sports though. BAROOGAis on the New South Wales side of the river across from Cobram and isfamous for its big sporting clubs, whose poker (fruit) machines usedto attract hundreds of thousands of Victorians over the borderannually, until they were licensed in Victoria also. There's theBINGHIBOOMERANGFACTORY in Barooga and the DAVEILEANTIQUE LAMP GALLERY, which is a most fascinating place tovisit.

MULWALAlies to the north of the river opposite its twin town - Victoria'sYarrawonga - and it has a number of tourist attractions of its own tooffer, including an excellent PIONEERMUSEUM (see Australia's firstaircraft, a very early washing machines, the first mechanicalharvesters and much more). Then there's TUNZAFUN,LINLEY PARK ANIMAL FARM and a GIANTWATER SLIDE to keep the kids happy for hours. LAKEMULWALA is the main drawcard and the WATERSKIING CLUB has 14 world and national champions among itsmembers. Its GOLF CLUB is alsoreputed to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere with two 18 holeand a 9 hole course, plus first class accommodation, restaurants, liveentertainment, competitions and more. There's boat hire, boatcruises, canoeing and all the water sports available to holidaymakershere. There are a number of highly popular caravan parks,resorts and time share apartments bordering the lake, with their ownjetties. Fishing for Murray cod is a popular pastime and mostpeople like to photograph the historic bridge and weir gates.

ALBURYis a major city on the Murray, conveniently sited half way betweenMelbourne and Sydney on the busy Hume Highway. As such, it hasplenty to offer tourists - first class accommodation at all prices, ahuge shopping centre, riverside parks and gardens, an airport, INDOORGO KARTS, JOY FLIGHTS, RIVER CRUISES, theBOTANIC GARDENS, DAY TOURS,a HISTORIC BUILDINGS WALK, vast LAKEHUME, with all its water sports facilities and surroundingresorts and accommodation; together with a TROUTFARM, where you can see them at different stages of theirdevelopment, catch your own, or buy some freshly caught. Thenthere's HARVEY'S FISH FARM, whichis quite different again, plus the REGIONALARTS CENTRE, the crazyETTAMOGAPUB11 kilometres up the highway and eateries of every kindto suit every budget.

Heading north up the Pacific Highway from Sydney towardsQueensland, with the appropriate detours beach wards, as applicable,this area is rich with natural and manmade attractions. Theentire coast is popular with holiday makers of all ages and tastes,because of the great climate, relaxed lifestyle, excellent amenities,superb fishing and boating opportunities and for its myriad scenicsplendours. It is also the most popular region for retirees tosettle for their remaining years of carefree, active life. GOSFORD,at the head of BRISBANE WATER,is reachable in an hour by fast train service from Sydney and that hasincreased the number of holidaymakers who choose to stay there thesedays. The old sandstone COURTHOUSEand GAOL were built in 1848. Poet HENRYKENDALL'S COTTAGEcan also be visited. In and around town are scenic lookouts over theBrisbane Water.

TheTUGGERAH LAKESare a very popular spot with holiday makers and comprise LAKESTUGGERAH, BUDGEWOIand MUNMORAH, all of which offergreat water sports and accommodation at all prices, in the caravanparks, motels and apartments that can be found on the lakes'shores. THE ENTRANCE(to the lakes system) township is just as popular and also has oceanfrontage. Nearby little Toowoon Bay is also a popular spot.These lakes are surrounded by beautiful forests that make wonderfulfull and half day exploratory drives. On the lakes there are allthe water sports, prawning, boat cruises and more.

Although NEWCASTLE is an industrial city, it has much to offerholiday makers within the city, as well as throughout the surroundingareas. To its south is the vast and beautiful LAKEMACQUARIE (four times the size ofSydney Harbour), with 150 kilometres of foreshore and access to theocean at SWANSEA. There arepretty and secluded bays and inlets galore and plenty of friendlylittle townships with jetties and a wide range of accommodation to befound around its shores, which include 15 kilometres of clean beaches.Houseboats and boat hire are also available in many of the lakesidetownships. The city of Lake Macquarie is 140 kilometres north ofSydney via the F3 Expressway. The WATAGANSTATE FORESTcomes right down to the lake and the wineries of the Hunter Valley areonly half an hour distant. Nearby attractions include many sportsclubs, art and antique galleries, museums, forest walks, local bustours and DOBELL HOUSE,the home of the famous artist, in WANGIWANGI.

Newcastleis an historic city, founded in 1804 as a penal settlement, when coalmining commenced there. It has many early buildings in a stateof excellent preservation. It also has a respected ARTGALLERY, a CIVICTHEATRE, mighty CHRISTCHURCH CATHEDRAL,plus great shopping and medical facilities. It has a flourishingCONSERVATORIUM OFMUSIC and some really greatbeaches on the outskirts of town. Tourists can find much ofinterest here, while ignoring the less attractive industrial section.

Thetwo most popular areas with the residents of Newcastle and itssurroundings are the HUNTER VALLEYand PORT STEPHENS.The Hunter Valley incorporates such delightful townships asRAYMOND TERRACE, MAITLAND, DUNGOG, SINGLETON, CESSNOCK,CLARENCETOWN (once a major inland port),MERRIWA and WOLLOMBI.The river is popular for water sports and the flanking hillsides aresmothered in vineyards, from which the superb Hunter Valley wines areproduced. The wineries all welcome visitors and many have awardwinning restaurants and accommodation to please even the mostdiscerning guests. Most of these small towns have a number of historicbuildings (many of which are National Trust listed) and connectionswith such old industries as timber, gold mining and crop growing.

TAREEin the MANNING VALLEYwas settled by white men in 1831, as there was plenty of cedar aboutin this district Coastal shipping also formed an important partin the town's development. Today, at low tide on the banks ofthe Manning River, piles of Sydney sandstone can be seen. It wasthe ballast from the days when sailing ships ran empty into this busyport. At CROKI, much of thecharacter of an old river port has been retained and at WINGHAMthe old wharf is still standing. There is a MANNINGRIVER AQUATICFESTIVAL held in Taree in Januaryeach year. They claim it is known as the 'Bathurst of speedboatracing'. Taree is sited 330 kilometres north of Sydney and haspotteries, art galleries, museums, WOODWORMTOYMAKERS, LAVENDERGARDENS, BIMBIMBIBIRDLIFE, KRAMBACHWILDFLOWER GARDENS BLUEBERRY FARM,a GRASS SKIPARK, an AEROCLUB and nearby TIMBERTOWN,(a recreated 19th century timber settlement, with much lively activitygoing on throughout the day).

PORT MACQUARIE is the result ofthe State surveyor general, John Oxley, finding the mouth of theHastings River and deciding a port should be built there. Henamed both in 1818. A penal settlement was established threeyears later. ST THOMAS'CHURCH, the COURTHOUSE, the cemetery and themuseums preserve the history of those harsh times. Settlersfound they could easily grow tropical crops in the pleasant climateand some of Australia's firsts grapes were harvested here. Todayit is quite a large town, very popular with residents andholidaymakers, as it has so many attractions beyond the great beachesand surrounding State parks and forests. These include NEVERNEVER RAINFORESTSAFARIS, SKIPPERA CLIPPERBOAT HIRE,EVERGLADES TOURSand other tour operators of note. Accommodation there isaplenty, at the widest range of prices.

KEMPSEYis the second oldest town on this stretch of coast and has some greatold buildings. This extremely fertile valley is perfectdairying country, although it was formerly covered in fine cedartrees. The remaining forests are of Blackbutt, brush box,turpentine and some pockets of red cedar. It is a noteworthyarea for forest drives, bird watching and bush walking. Close by is TRIALBAY, out of SOUTHWEST ROCKS,where the roofless remains of the old convict prison, its cells andflagellation equipment can still be viewed on the headland.During World War 2 it was reopened for several years to house 500German prisoners of war.

VALLABEACH is off the main highway, afew kilometres to the east on the Oceanside. Here is anexcellent holiday spot known as VALLAPARK BEACHRESORT. It has accommodation atall prices, caravan and camping sites and all the resort facilitiesanyone could want. It has won numerous awards. The address is POBox 84 Nambucca Heads 2448.

NAMBUCCAHEADS is a very pleasant spot, where theNambucca River meets the ocean. Here again it is quiet andpeaceful, with a laidback atmosphere and all the facilities for waterand other sports that holidaymakers could require. This isHibiscusland, they claim. Nearby is DORRIGOSTATE PARK,a particularly scenic place.

COFFSHARBOUR is a major north coast holidayresort with its own busy airport. You are now in Australia'slargest banana growing territory. It has a long strip ofbeachside caravan parks and a number of ocean facing, more upmarketresorts, as well as hundreds of apartments and motels rooms availablein the busy township. Tourist attractions include a terrificshopping centre, the fishing wharves, THEBIG BANANA, the BOTANICGARDENS & MANGROVEBOARDWALK, the OPALCENTRE, the CLOGBARN, a ZOO,the AQUARIUM & PORPOISEPOOL, KUMBAINGERIEANIMAL SANCTUARY,RAINFOREST TOURS,ORARA CARRIAGES(offering horse drawn carriage rides through the bush), MERINOMAC'S AGRADOME(sheep shearing and more), whale watching, white water rafting, scubadiving, the JETTY MARKETS,art and crafts galleries galore, parasailing, THUNDERDOMEgo karts, RALEIGH WINERY,VALLEY TRAILShorse trekking and still more. Twenty minutes or so's drivenorth of Coffs Harbour and you'll be in the small township of WOOLGOOLGA,with its Sikh population. Visitors are welcome to inspect the SIKHTEMPLE, if they show it duerespect. There are also other buildings around town that willimmediately suggest the Indian influence.

GRAFTONis a quiet township much of the year, but when its avenues of hugejacaranda trees come into full bloom, people come from hundreds ofmiles to see this brilliant spectacle and to take part in the JACARANDAFESTIVAL (usually in earlyNovember).

CASINO,LISMORE and BALLINAare the main towns in the sugar cane growing area (or Summerland, asthe locals call it) and here you should watch out for cane trains andsugar refineries. The cane is harvested from mid October on through tomid November, depending on when it was sown and its position. Theystill set light to the cane fields and you can smell it from quite adistance. At night it is quite spectacular, especially if flyinginto Casino by air. Ballina (first settled in 1840 as a timbercutting centre) is also a popular seaside township, with some veryfine beaches and plenty of pelicans to be seen. There are somemarvellous forest drives to be taken from here, to places like MINYONFALLS, for instance. About 10kilometres east of the main highway, BYRONBAY is a controversial spot, wherelong time residents jealously guard their green environment and fightnew developers every inch of the way. It is a magnet forbackpackers, hippies, caravanners and campers and those who arecurious to see some of the hinterland homes built by a few of our showbusiness multi millionaires. There is a CLUBMED to be found here. Thebeaches, fishing and surfing are magnificent. It is the mosteasterly point in Australia and has a brilliant white lighthouse up onthe headland, from where there are some excellent views to seenjoyed. It is an arts and crafty little township and hasaccommodation available at all prices, but locals do not welcomepeople with no visible means of support. All the farmers fromthe hinterland come down into Byron Bay regularly to meet with eachother in the restaurants and they are a fairly close group of people.

Furthernorth again are BRUNSWICK HEADS,POTTSVILLE, BOGANGARand KINGSCLIFF, all small seasideresorts, popular with familles who prefer a quieter, lesscontroversial atmosphere.


MURWILLUMBAH is a lovely little railhead township in the far north of the State,nestling at the foot of MT WARNINGand the NIGHTCAP RANGE.It is spectacular country, with pretty valleys and many of the folkliving quietly in the bush out from here are artists and craftspersons. There is an excellent VISITORSINFORMATION CENTREbetween the highway and the riverbank in town, where one can picnicunder the shady trees. There are many drives from here up intomountain and rainforest territory and the wide stretches of the TWEEDRIVER offer marvellous boating andfishing opportunities. This is still sugar growing country, suchas the CONDONG MILL,but just about the top end of it. CRYSTALCREEK RAINFORESTRETREAT is one of the finestplaces to stay in this area. Not far away are PIONEERPLANTATION and AVOCADOLAND,as this is tropical fruit growing country. Further towards thebeach are the TERRANORA LAKESand all their attractions and licensed sports clubs. TWEEDHEADS township is immediatelysouth of the Queensland border and has every amenity any holidaymakercould want or need, including scores of shops, supermarkets, a postoffice, medical centres and accommodation right across the board.Bestriding the TWEED RIVER,it also offers great boating and cruising opportunities, as well assome fine swimming beaches. There is a FISHERMEN'SCO-OP too, where you can purchasefresh fish, frozen or ready cooked.


There are a couple of major islands well offshore, which arepopular with holiday makers and they are LORDHOWE ISLANDand NORFOLK ISLAND,both of which can be reached by air or sea. Most choose to flythere from Sydney or other New South Wales coastal towns though.Lord Howe is a crescent shaped island, 700 kilometres offshore.It is just 12 kilometres long and along its eastern shore is a lagoon,protected by the world's most southern coral reef, which is quitespectacular. The island vegetation is dense and subtropical andthere are over 200 noted plant species. It is an old volcanicisland and the only cleared land is 120 hectares of rich loam. It wasdiscovered, uninhabited in 1788 and became a provisioning stop forpassing ships. Today, the 200 inhabitants rely on the tourist industryfor their income.

CaptainCook came upon Norfolk Island in 1774. It is 1,600 kilometreseast of Sydney. It was later founded as a penal settlement andthe old gaol buildings (1836-1855) can still be viewed. It was avery harsh place of incarceration and a number of prisoners diedthere. When Captain Bligh's (of The Bounty) descendants foundtheir island in the Pitcairns could no longer support them, they cameto Norfolk Island and their descendants can still be found livingthere and speaking their own particular dialect. The island isjust eight miles long by five miles wide. It was originalcovered with rainforest, but that has long since been cleared, withthe exception of a few of the famous Norfolk pine trees. Thesetrees were considered quite valuable as masts in the days of the greatsailing ships. Kingston is its township and the place wherepassengers land by air or sea. It is also the home of renown author COLLEENMcCULLOCH. The CASTAWAYHOTEL on Taylor's Road is a goodspot to stay in comfort.

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