Hello. Welcome to Gomeroi land. The first nation people who lived and understood the land you are travelling through today. You may also hear of them spoken about as Kamilaroi or Gamilieray people. We'll refer to them at the Gomeroi people throughout.
From Narrabri to Singleton in the Hunter Valley, and out to the Warrumbungle Mountains, this land is their home, comprising of 75,000 km2, and we'll be their guest.
We start this tour at the Narrabri Visitors Centre. Together, we as terranauts, my name for astronauts travelling on land, will journey the 146 kilometres along the Virtual Solar System Drive to the virtual sun represented by the Anglo Australian Telescope. Along the way, you might like to stop the car and grab a photo of the 8 planets of our Solar System. While we won't pass by the dwarf planet pluto, we will talk about it on this tour. When you hear us talking about the planet, you'll know that the planet will be coming up shortly and you can slow down and get ready to stop.
If you're short of time, you can pretend you're in a spaceship hurtling towards the sun, and just wave to the planets as they pass by! We recommend that if you only want to make one stop, plan to do so at Saturn. It's about halfway through, has a safe road-side stop and has the best photo-opportunity!
Soon, we'll be joined by Fred Watson, a professional astronomer who has studied our universe from Siding Spring Observatory. For over 30 years he was the Astronomer in Charge of two enormous telescopes. He'll share some exciting space facts with you, and he might even tell you which of the planetary objects in our solar system is his favourite!
For the next 2 hours, we'll be on the longest highway in NSW, stretching over 1060 kilometres from the Victorian border all the way up to the Queensland border. As we leave Narrabri - the Gomeroi word for "forked waters"- we cross the Namoi River, Narrabri Creek and the Horse Arm Creek.
We better get going, heading out of town towards Coonabarabran along the Newell Highway. So let's go! Please pull out of the visitor centre and turn right.
While you drive, let me tell you a little bit about how VoiceMap works.
First, make sure you don't go over the speed limits or VoiceMap might miss a stop. VoiceMap uses your location to play audio automatically at the right time and place. Don't worry if we're silent for a while or telling you anything. I'll catch up with you at the next stop on the tour. There's a map on your screen if you ever feel lost, and if you do get way off track without noticing, VoiceMap will let you know. You can also pause the tour or stop it at any time and come back to where you left off.