One of the fundamentals of memorable Outback travel is avoiding the mob – except on those occasions, like a gymkhana, when a mob is an essential part of the atmosphere. Some readers will have experienced the let-down of driving into a small Outback location, only to find that a bus load of tourists has just arrived and swamped the place.
When returning to Sydney from the Outback, I try to avoid spending too many hours with the mob on the main highway. One of my favourite routes is to take the road through the picturesque Dungowan Valley. Turn off the New England Highway at Nemingha, just north of Tamworth. This takes you up over the mountains to Nowendoc (recently the stamping ground of Malcolm Naden), then via Thunderbolt’s Way to Gloucester, and finally meets the Pacific Highway just north of Raymond Terrace.
Towards the eastern end of the Dungowan Valley, signposted and just 100 yards off the road, is a small memorial honouring one of Australia’s greatest stockmen, and arguably our best drover, Nat Buchanan. It’s worth a look.