Guest Blog by Annabel Candy
Looking for things to see and do in Gunnedah? The Poet’s Drive is the best place to start.
Written by Dorothea Mackellar while she was in England pining for our ‘sunburnt country’ My Country has gone on to become Australia’s most iconic poem. And while Gunnedah isn’t specifically named in My Country, Mackellar spent a lot of time in the area, making frequent and lengthy visits to the Gunnedah area to visit family members who owned property there.
The Gunnedah Poet’s Drive was created to honour and celebrate this historic link, taking visitors on a scenic tour around Gunnedah and beyond to the nearby village of Breeza, with each stop on the tour situated at a local landmark and linked to an Australian poem.
To get started on the Gunnedah Poet’s Drive pop into the Gunnedah Visitor Information Centre where the friendly staff will give you a copy of the Gunnedah Guide which includes a map of the Poet’s Drive on page fifteen. The guide also covers other things to do in Gunnedah if you have more time to spend there.
The Gunnedah Poet’s Drive starts near the Visitor Information Centre with the first poem Look! A Koala! After reading the poem on the plaque be sure to look up in those gum trees nearby; you just may see a koala since Gunnedah is one of the best places in Australia to spot them in the wild.
The second stop on the Poet’s Drive is just across the road in Anzac Park where there’s a statue of Dorothea Mackellar and four descriptive boards featuring some of her poems including the classic My Country.
The Poet’s Drive continues around Gunnedah via its most iconic landmarks and will give you an insight into rural and bush life in Australia, both historically and today.
There are 16 poems in total so leave about an hour to complete the Poet’s Drive and give yourself time to read every plaque. The poems are all by published Australian poets including Banjo Paterson who’s best known for The Man from Snowy River and whose poem Johnson’s Antidote, which is recorded down by the river, is sure to raise a chuckle.
The final stop on the Poet’s Drive is the public toilets better known as the Lyrical Loos at Wolseley Park. They’re definitely worth a pit stop because each stall has a poem written behind the door and poetry recitals are constantly piped around the building so you can enjoy some poetry on the potty! Definitely something you can only do in Gunnedah.
It’s always a treat to get out of the big cities and visit rural Australia but spring time when the area is green and lush and the canola crops are a vivid yellow is a particularly special time to visit Gunnedah, as is late summer when the sunflowers are in bloom.
Whatever time of year you go to Gunnedah pop into The Verdict Coffee after you finish the Poet’s Drive for coffee and a quick bite.
Then if you need a place to rest your weary head when you’re visiting Gunnedah the Comfort Inn Harvest Lodge on Conadilly Street is great value Gunnedah accommodation close to everything there is to do in the CBD.
If you’re pining for Comfort, caffeine and canned poetry while you sit on the can the Gunnedah Poet’s Drive has it all.
About Annabel Candy
Annabel Candy has lived in eight countries and can now be found in Queensland, Australia. She’s a Digital Strategist, Freelance Writer and Serial Blogger at Get In the Hot Spot and Successful Blogging.