Well, the best laid plans of mice and men...
We started having radiator problems and pulled into a rest stop in Willow Tree to investigate. In the process of checking, the radiator cap broke due to excessive corrosion. Now, I suspect many of my European and American readers don't appreciate just how sparsely populated inland Australia is, but we felt pretty isolated there. After some angsting over our situation and coming to the realisation that the only thing open in Willow Tree was a pub with an unfriendly publican, ristin cobbled together the remaining pieces of the radiator cap and we hoped to limp ahead to the next service station. Some seventy kilometres later we found one, and purchased a replacement radiator cap and some coolant. Thinking our engine problems solved, we continued on our way, still hoping to make it most of the way to Brisbane that day, but it was not to be. Fodi (my name for Ristin's car) seriously overheated on the second Moonbi hill, some thirty kilometres out from Tamworth. In spite of our dire circumstances, we felt grateful to still have mobile phone access from there and Ristin called AAMI to arrange for towing back to Tamworth while we holed up in a motel. Fodi is in the garage now, hopefully being repaired even as I type. If it gets done today, we hope to push on to Brisbane tomorrow. (Not that there is anything wrong with Tamworth--it is a respectable regional centre--but it suffers from association with New South Wales and the Tamworth Country Music Festival.)
We would have had Fodi repaired sooner than this, except that we had decided to start the road trip just before New Year's Eve, meaning we had to wait for the public holiday on the 3rd of January before we could get him in to a service station.
We also visited Tamworth's Marsupial Park, but I would advise other explorers not to do the same. We saw some Western Greys there but not much else of a marsupial persuasion.