If the satellite image is more blurred that you would expect to see, there are a couple of possible reasons. One is that Lake Keepit has few terrorist to watch out for.
Resident thermals can be found to the left (West) of the picture, over the dam wall and caravan park and to the right of the picture over the (often) brown paddock. Other thermals are spaced regularly all around the region with strengths up to 12 knots.
There are serveral ways to get to Lake Keepit Car, train, aeroplane or bus. If you travel by car, you can get right to the club. By train, plane or bus you'll need to get from the town centre to Lake Keepit. In any case, ring or email the club to see if anyone is car-pooling or can pick you up from somewhere close.
For visitors from overseas, Australian trains are maybe not what you are used to. For example, in the 1988 Round Australia Yacht Race, a boat beat the train between Sydney and Coff's Harbour. If you choose to come by car and have a GPS map device, be aware that Lake Keepit is a get-away-from-it-all type of place, and the club is probably just off the map! Aim for the Lake Keepit State Park and you can ask directions from there.
Perhaps the nicest way to travel here is by car, taking in the sights along the way. The the central coast beaches, north of Sydney, are some of the finest in the world. The Hunter Valley is Australias premier wine producing district and provides vineyard inspections, wine tastings.
Tamworth is about 5 hours direct drive north of Sydney or 8 hours drive down from Brisbane. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to Lake Keepit from Tamworth.
There are several people who regularly travel up from Sydney and a carpooling group has been established to facilitate this. Please contact the club for further details if you wish to arrange a lift rather than drive yourself.
Take the Pacific Highway (National Hwy 1) North from Sydney to the New England Hwy (National Hwy 15). Take the New England Highway to Tamworth. Take the Oxley Highway (National Route 34) towards Gunnedah for about 45km from Tamworth, 10 minutes past Somerton. Right turn to Lake Keepit (signposted, Manilla Rd), follow about 4 km. Left turn to Lake Keepit State Park, follow ~2km. Right turn to Park entrance. Right turn just past the entrance, follow for ~3 km, take the right-hand fork and you're there! Scenic alternative from Sydney (prettier, less traffic, arguably quicker): Take the Pacific Highway (National Hwy 1) North from Sydney to Toronto/Cessnock Exit. Left turn (State Route 82) to Cessnock, follow Route 82 through Cessnock to the New England Hwy (National Hwy 15) at Branxton. Several turns are involved, watch the signs! Detour to the vineyards if so inclined! Left turn onto New England Hwy and follow ~156klms to Kamilaroi Hwy intersection, just past Willow Tree. Left turn onto Kamilaroi Highway (National Route 37, note left turn entering Quirindi) and follow almost to Gunnedah. Right turn onto Oxley Hwy (National Route 34) at the roundabout. Follow about 30 klms. Left turn to Lake Keepit (signposted, Manilla Rd), follow ~4 km. Left turn to Lake Keepit State Park, follow ~2km. Right turn to Park entrance. Right turn just past the entrance, follow for ~3 km, take the right-hand fork and you're there! By Air
It is possible to fly a light plane directly to Lake Keepit, however CONTACT THE CLUB FIRST to determine aircraft suitability and airfield servicability. You'll feel rather dumb (and out of pocket) flying up to find the surface inconveniently waterlogged from 200mm of drought-breaking rain the previous day!
Qantas/Qantaslink is now the only major airline with scheduled flights to Tamworth, and even those are not operated by it directly. The indicative cost for a randomly selected Sydney-Tamworth one-way flight was approximately $298 full fare and $128 on a 'Red e-deal', similar for the return trip. You'll then probably have to add the various fuel levies, government taxes, airport charges and other fees!
Once at Tamworth, you can get to Lake Keepit by taxi, air-charter, hire-car, or bus. A taxi will cost about $100 one-way, it's probably cheaper to hire a car. If you approach one of the air-charter firms at the airport, you may well get a flight here that is cheaper for a party of three. If you hire a car at the airport (Avis, Hertz and Thrifty), expect to pay $280 to $600 per week.
Alternatively, wait for McPhersons school bus (depot near airport) to the Keepit turn-off on the highway, or just proceed to Tamworth city (5 km) and take the rail bus (departs 5.05pm) to Manilla. Phone the club and we'll do our best to pick you up.
Countrylink Rail tends to radiate out from each capital city and the Explorer train from Sydney arrives daily in Tamworth, connecting with the Rail Bus to Manilla. You need to take the Rail Bus from Tamworth to Manilla and make yourself known to the people at the Hotel next to the bus-stop. The whole journey is booked via State Rail Countrylink. Another Explorer train leaves Sydney for Gunnedah daily as well. Both trains leave Sydney at identical times, this suggests they are the same train, but split into two separate trains at some junction, probably Werris Creek. Prices quoted for a single adult economy class ticket are $71.50 one-way, which seems a bit steep.
Express inter-city coaches are operated by such firms as Greyhound/Pioneer, the bus network is very extensive. You could arrange to go past Keepit when travelling between Brisbane and Melbourne/Adelaide. The Brisbane-Melbourne bus will drop you at the Highway turn off, to do so the bus route must pass through both Gunnedah and Tamworth. Let us know if you are planning to arrive by coach and we will arrange to meet you at the Hwy turn-off (Oxley Hwy/Manilla Rd intersection). In case of trouble, walk about 1 km north towards Lake Keepit along the Manilla Rd and you will see a house by the road-side. That is Bob's place and he will usually be very happy to help.
Transport in Australia depends a great deal on the car. While you can enjoy Lake Keepit without your own transport, you may like to consider renting a car while in Australia. Leading rental firms are based at capital city airports but their cars are expensive unless you are eligible for a special deal through your airline. Some of the capital city based firms (eg Bayswater Car Rental in Kings Cross, Sydney) are good value for 10 day hire.
Contact Phone Numbers.
Qantas 131 313 www.qantas.com.au
CountryLink Trains 132 232 www.countrylink.nsw.gov.au
Greyhound-Pioneer Coaches 132 030 www.greyhound.com.au
MacPhersons Coaches (02) 6760 7190 Avis rent a car (02) 6765 2000 or 136 333 www.avis.com.au Thrifty car rental (02) 6765 3699 or 1300 367 227 www.thrifty.com.au
Budget rent a car (02) 6766 7255 or 1300 362 848 www.budget.com.au
Hertz car rental (Tamworth Airport) (02) 6762 5545 or 133 039 www.hertz.com.au
Hertz car rental (Tamworth) (02) 6766 5545 or 133 039 www.hertz.com.au
Bayswater Car Rental Sydney (02) 9360 3622 www.bayswatercarrental.com.au
Cruikshanks Gunnedah (02) 6742 0183