'Not in a hurry to go back': Victorian visitor relishes time in Moree

THANKFUL TO BE IN MOREE: Peter Nelson journeys north from Victoria most years to enjoy a few weeks of winter in Moree.
THANKFUL TO BE IN MOREE: Peter Nelson journeys north from Victoria most years to enjoy a few weeks of winter in Moree.

While Melbourne is in lockdown and most Victorians are now stuck on their side of the border, Peter Nelson has been enjoying Moree's fresh air, warm weather and healing artesian water.

The retired CSIRO weather monitor has been escaping Victoria's winter for the more pleasant climate in Moree for years, ever since he spent time here on a CSIRO expedition in 1974 and 1975.

Mr Nelson, who lives in Benalla in north east Victoria, enjoys returning to Moree for a few weeks every winter, however this trip he's particularly thankful he's currently in Moree instead of his home state, where COVID-19 cases have spiked in Melbourne and restrictions have returned.

"If we'd left this week we wouldn't have been able to get into NSW," he said.

"Cases started spiking on June 16 and I said to my lady friend, we'd better start going north or we might not be able to go."

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Mr Nelson and his partner Rae, left Victoria on June 25, stopping a night in Forbes before staying in his former hometown Coonabarabran for five nights.

They've been in Moree since last Wednesday, and have extended their stay by a few days.

"My lady friend won at bowls on Sunday, so she wants to have another crack this Sunday," Mr Nelson said.

During their stay in Moree, the pair enjoy playing bridge, as well as daily soaks in the hot pools at the caravan park.

"I use the pools every day - it does me good after I've been at the gym riding the exercise bike or the road bike," Mr Nelson said.

The 82-year-old rides more than 70 kilometres every day, riding about 30km on his road bike and doing another 40km on the exercise bike at the PCYC gym.

Since he's been in Moree he's ridden a total of 350km.

"I do really well on the bike in Moree because it's flat around here, but other places I struggle," he said.

The warmer Moree air also helps Mr Nelson's chronic obstructive airway disease.

"The colder weather down south aggravates my lung problems and I have been performing much better here on the bike the last 10 days," he said.

From Moree, Mr Nelson and Rae will be heading to Mungindi, where they'll spend five days in the hot pools there. Normally, they would head further north, but since they're from Victoria, they're worried they won't be able to go over the Queensland border, even though there's been no COVID-19 cases in their town since April.

They'll then head back down south to go home, although Mr Nelson said he's not in a hurry to get back to Victoria.

"We're restricted everywhere - I can't use the gym or the hydrotherapy pool or play bridge," he said.

"I can go out on the bike, but the weather's cold too. Last Tuesday, Benalla had only a 6.2 degree maximum. It was the coldest July day since 1997."

Although retired, Mr Nelson enjoys making long-range predictions for a few places in Australia and still regularly monitors Moree's weather.

Based on previous weather cycles, Mr Nelson predicts Moree will receive good rain in August and September before a return to hotter and drier conditions in October and November.