Fraser Trip – Day 2: Bretti to Armidale via thunderbolts way – 166 km

This was just a short travel day today of only a couple of hours. We woke up after an awful nights sleep to cows nosing around our tent which the kids found hilarious and tucked into a slow easy breakfast. The boys didn’t seem to mind the night but it was a squeeze to get them all in and mum and dad felt awful. Good job I bought the stove top coffee pot. Only to find out that it didn’t fit the butane cookers we’d bought. Very grumpy mum and dad!

Took us a little while to pack up as I was still learning where everything went but we were soon on our way. We followed Thunderbolts Way up Baxters ridge trail to the top of the mountain and after only a few KM came across Carson’s Pioneer Lookout ( It’s got some fantastic views back across the valley and a great place to stop after the stressful previous 9km ;p

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View from Carson’s Pioneer lookout

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Thunderbolt’s way is named after the notorious Captain Thunderbolt His real name was Frederick Wordsworth Ward was an Australian bushranger renowned for escaping from Cockatoo Island, and also for his reputation as the “gentleman bushranger” and his lengthy survival, being the longest roaming bushranger in Australian history. (

Once we hit the New England Highway everyone but Dad was asleep, so it was a swift right turn onto the New England Highway at Uralla and up to Armidale I’d hoped to stop to look at the statue of Captain Thunderbolt but the kids were asleep. Nothing much happened but it’s a pleasant enough drive though some rolling hills and very little traffic.

We pulled up at the Armidale Tourist Park and set up camp. We had booked in for two days and had plans to do an all-day Waterfall way trip the following day but disaster struck! Son #2 managed to slice his toe on a tent peg when being chased by his brother. It was huge gash and at one point we thought we’d be off to hospital to have it stitched up. We cleaned it out and dressed it up and hoped for the best.


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