We left for our annual pilgrimage to the Tamworth Country Music Festival for nine days, two and a half to get there, 5 nights in Tamworth and then 2 days to get home to Mount Gambier. At the Tamworth Country Music Festival there are so many things happening it is impossible to see everything that is going on. There is music in the pubs, clubs, halls, shopping centres and basically anywhere you can put a stage. There are buskers, yodellers, singers, guitarists, fiddlers and basically anything to do with music as well as even a comedian or two that will put on a show during the Festival.
We have been very lucky to secure accommodation that is central and within walking distance to most things. For anything that is outside of walking distance you will receive a bus pass that will get you onto all of the town buses going to all the other venues at no cost to you. Anywhere on the listed bus route that is listed in the back of your official programme.
Most nights in the park there are free concerts, the park is not far away from our accommodation, you just take your chair and wander down and get yourself a good spot and enjoy the music with the other 5000 people. There are food and drink stands there as well.
The weather is quite warm through the day but that’s not a problem as all the venue’s are air conditioned and have affordable food and drink available all day, the nights are usually beautiful.
Day 1 - We left Mount Gambier at 8.00 am heading for Hamilton for our comfort stop for morning tea from under the coach, we have our hot water urn underneath in the luggage compartment and that heats up as we are going along. This seems to get 48 passengers on the road again in about 25-30 mins. After morning tea we are on our way to our lunch stop which is a little town called Amphitheatre, everyone bought a packed lunch today so we found a nice park with some nice shady trees, some amenities, lots of seats and had a nice lunch along with another cuppa from the urn. After lunch we were on the road again and bound for Bendigo by the lake having a good look around the countryside through Victoria as we travel along. We travel through Bendigo and arrive at the lake for our last break for the day before we arrive in Echuca for our overnight stay. Once everyone is settles in they have time to wander down the street and along the river to have a look at the old river boats. Some even found shops of interest to make purchases. Dinner tonight is booked in across the road from the motel at the Echuca Working Mans Club so we head across there for dinner and a few drinks before most people head for a walk around town and then back to the motel for a good nights rest before our early start in the morning.
Day 2 - After a beautiful breakfast we are on our way by 7.30 am with our first stop for the day in Jerilderie. On the way through I pointed out the Canargo Pub, most people have heard of the Carngo Pub and when it came into sight it was just a shell as it had been completely burnt out. Our hot water urn got another work our in Jerildere for a nice stop in the middle of town by the water. It was then on the road again and you can see the country is very flat and dry through here with a lot of dead kangaroos and cattle grazing along the road eating the feed and being looked after by the drovers. Lunch today is in Ardlethan at the pub. We had pre ordered our lunch along the way and the host did a great job, as soon as we arrived we sat down at the tables set for our group and the food was soon forthcoming. We were all fed and watered within one hour and we were on the road again. The owner of the little pub which was called the London Pub was very happy with us as we boosted his takings for the day and we had a great lunch. He even asked me if we were coming back next year! We were then heading to Forbes for afternoon tea. Arriving in Dubbo at the RSL Motel for our overnight stay and enjoying dinner across the road from our motel in the RSL Club that has been booked for us. Some people enjoyed playing the pokies and we had one lucky person (who shall remain nameless) had a win of $500!
Day 3 - After enjoying the RSL again for breakfast this morning we are on our way by 8.00 am. Morning tea this morning was at Coonabarabran on our final leg to Tamworth for our time at the Music Festival bring it on!! On arrival in Tamworth we headed straight to the Visitor Centre for a welcome reception for all our passengers to get information on how it all works. Not sure that we will worry again as the information that was shared was similar to what we had already shared with our group anyway! Some people went and got straight into the music scene while others took it easy before and went to the Services Club for dinner, what a spread of food, there was a huge amount of all types of food and it was all you can eat!
Just to give you some idea about this event, over the ten days that it’s on there are 4000 events, 120 venues and 800 artists performing that’s serious music and you get the choice of who you want to see. There are also concerts that you can buy tickets for if there’s someone in particular you would like to see.
Go wherever you like whatever time you like. Don’t forget on Saturday morning there’s a street parade which is worth seeing as all the stars of country music are on the floats and you can see them up close. Again you can take your folding chair and find yourself good vantage point, it’s just down from the motel approx. 100 m walk.
Breakfast is included every morning the rest of the time it’s up to you what you do until Saturday afternoon when it’s time to get your glad rags on. We will be going out for dinner as a group and then out to the Golden Guitar Awards night where you will see all the country music stars receive their awards and some very special performances on stage, it’s usually a great night.
Sunday is a bit quieter day, still heaps of things to do and Sunday night there is usually a big concert in the park for the finale and a very good fireworks display. Monday morning and it’s time to load up and hit the road again so it’s an early breakfast and on the coach headed to Griffith for our dinner and our overnight accommodation. Along the way we will be stopping in Coonabarabran for morning tea as usual from under the coach in a nice park in the middle of town, Dubbo for our lunch stop and West Wyalong for afternoon tea. Going this way you will see a different landscape again, lots of irrigation and crops including rice, cotton, grapes and many more, it’s like an oasis. On arrival in Griffith after settling into our rooms we heading into the bar area for a few drinks as the weather was still nice and warm, after a beautiful dinner a lot of people went walking. Griffith has got the widest, longest main street I have ever seen.
An early breakfast this morning to get on the road and put some kilometres behind us before we arrive home at approx. 6.00 pm to finish a great trip. We will be going again next year in 2016 so if you have read this and it sounds like something you would like to do call the office. Bookings are open now, don’t leave it too long as it will sell out and then you will miss out!
It’s a great trip, don’t miss it!
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