On the banks of the Castlereagh River in north-western NSW, about 58km north-east of Dubbo, the small town Mendooran presides over a region given over primarily to sheep and cattle grazing and grain growing. Local artist Karin Duce has told the Mendooran story in pictures in a series of main street murals that depict historical, woolshed and bush scenes. The river is the recreational centre for the area and you can try your luck at landing a Murray cod which the connoisseurs swear is the finest-tasting freshwater fish in the land. Some sweet-talking might also win you access to a local farmer's dam which the locals reckon swim with yabbies or freshwater crayfish. All you need to catch some of these tasty little critters is a woman's stocking baited with meat, preferably of the smelly kind. A 56km drive west takes you to Gilgandra - a lovely little town with a strange sprinkling of windmills and a star-focussed, 31cm telescope that anchors the Observatory and Display Centre.