Cobar – Twelve Hours

Robert and I spent our mid-semester break taking the road less travelled back to his home in Cobar. The primary/only reason we decided to go is to visit his family, (according to Robert) there’s really not much other reason to go to Cobar. It’s six hours or so on the train followed by about five hours on the bus so needless to say I got a lot of reading done, slept a fair bit, and if Robert and I hadn’t already talked about everything in the past 1.8 years of dating, I’m pretty sure we covered it on the commute there and back.

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Despite misgivings about Cobar being a dull place, I was still quite excited at the prospect of going to rural NSW, the furthest out I had ever been was probably Katoomba which is only a couple of hours away. I had been emailing back and forth with Robert’s mother who had written beautifully descriptive bits of narrative about the scenery change while driving from rural town to rural town. This is an excerpt she shared with me of her time going from Cobar to Orange.

Around Orange everything was green, whereas usually after winter it isn’t. The blossom trees were pink and white. The yellow canola, wattle and weeds contrasted with green wheat and all the other various colours of weeds, trees and grasses all the way back. Except for 40 kms from Cobar, where the country is drier. This side of Nyngan there were purple plants along the side of the road, I think they are lucerne. There is one whispy, delicate, cream weed that seems to glow in the afternoon light. 20 kms the eastern side of Nyngan I saw an emu and chicks on the side of the road, so it was all happening.

We pulled into Cobar in the evening after a day spent solely on travelling. The next day when we began exploring was when I realised how truly quiet Cobar is.

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In one of our conversations I shared with the family that my mom too, was from a small ‘country town’ in Malaysia, called Ipoh. Upon Googling Ipoh I found out that Ipoh has a population of over 200,000 people. Cobar’s population is slightly under 4,000 people. That’s only a few more people than there were students and teachers at my old high school in Malaysia. Despite this factual revelation, I think I would have caught on very quickly that Cobar and Ipoh are very different, let alone Cobar and Sydney or Petaling Jaya. Again, everything just went a lot slower in Cobar. People seemed to stop more to say hi (practically everyone knew each other), spend longer at cafes eating and walked more as opposed to driving. Perspective really changes people’s attitude I think and if I had to guess the perspective of people living in Cobar, it’s probably something along the lines of taking everyday as it comes.

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Being a 20 something who’s always lived in a big city, it was definitely an entirely new experience. It took a few days for me to settle down and stop trying to mentally plan every single moment to be efficient and effective. Instead I took to catching up on my hobbies. I managed to get a tonne of reading done, reading something like three books in those four days as opposed to two over the rest of this semester.

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It isn’t to say Cobar is inefficient and ineffective, it is a mining town after all. And speaking of which, we also visited a lookout point to catch a view like this.

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We ate out a fair few times in Cobar, but I far preferred Robert’s mom’s cooking. It was very homely and hearty and I had also missed the feeling of sitting down for a meal with family. It was also really interesting to be able to taste Robert’s childhood and I think I have a better idea now of the kind of food to cook that would suit him. One of the times we did eat out though was when we had tea and scones.

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This was so quaint, I felt like a character in an Enid Blyton book. Robert’s mom is also an avid tea drinker so I must have tried at least five different new teas during this trip that I hadn’t tried before.

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More tourist visiting shots. This is The Newey I believe, a water reservoir that just happened to be named after The Neweys.

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I don’t know if I would say Cobar is a must-visit for everyone. It definitely is very quiet and there isn’t a whole lot to do. What I do know is I had a lot of fun visiting the place Robert grew up in, seeing the places where a lot of his memories were formed, and of course meeting his beautiful family.

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