Day 22 – 9,309 KM. Town 35.

I guess I was a little late up, at least compared to other travellers, as I was informed by the Gulgong motel receptionist that I was the last guest to check out. However it was barely past 8.30am, so I don’t feel too guilty for the extra minutes in bed.

Unfortunately, today was the day my luck with the weather ran out. It’s wet. Drought breaking rain having pelted my windscreen along countless kilometres of country roads. Fortunately the ground is very dry and is soaking up much of the rain water like a sponge. Flooding is minimal and the roads are passible. However, creeks are starting to look full and not much more rain will be required in some parts to close roads.

With dark thunder clouds above, pools of water all about and dust settled or washed into pools of red murky water the countryside takes on a new appearance. Ironically the greyness of the scene is contrasted by the locals who are really really happy to see the rain and the promise of the green fields it will produce. Walking down streets in several towns today, I could not help but overhear the comments regarding the rain finally falling in significant quantity – it was headline news. It may be a minor inconvenience to me, but this happily pales into total insignificance compared to the farmers and countryfolk whos livelihoods depend on it.

So, on to Narromine and what to do on a wet morning in this New South Wales Town? Fortunately the answer was easy – a trip to the Narromine Aviation Museum.

A wet Narromine airport

Opened by Australian aviatrix Nancy-Bird Walton in October 2002, the museum is no dusty affair with its modern layout taking visitors through the history of aviation in Narromine. Narromine has a rich history going back to the 1920’s and was home to first regional aero club in Australia and in more modern times has become a mecca for glider pilots from all around the world due to the exceptional thermals the area offers.

If you visit, you may be like me and have the museum to just yourself and the volunteer guide on duty. And again, if like me, you may be fortunate to have the guide offer to take you across the airfield to view what was for me, their star attraction.

I was invited to follow the guides car to a 1940’s hanger a minutes drive away. He opened the door and all I could see initially was darkness, but excitement was starting to build as I popped my head inside and stepped over the runners for the vast hanger doors for here, in Narromine, is Australia’s only flying replica of a Wright Model A Flyer. It first took to the sky’s of Narromine on 1 October 2005 with Buzz Aldrin present to witness the event. It certainly was the highlight of the tour for me and with your personal guide and $7 entry fee is quite a bargain.

Sadly with all the rain, I did not get the opportunity for a wander around the town centre but I would imagine it to be popular and often busy with locals as even in the rain a few folk were rushing about with their umbrella’s raised.