Thursday 1 August 2013

Crusin’ Down the Murray

July 8 to July 21
I decided to stay a couple of days in Yarrawonga as it’s a nice spot on the Murray.  Really cold nights and foggy mornings which added some character to the river.  Some nice sunsets as well.


Tuesday July 9 Wednesday July 10
I moved onto to Shepparton.  This is another really nice spot and I had intentions of staying a while.  However, I received an invitation to join some other grey nomaders at a free camp spot at Green’s Lake about 60ks west of Shepparton.

The lake is a natural feature and is home to numerous bird species.  It is used on a regular basis by locals in the surrounding areas as a camping spot and water sports hot spot in the summer.

A great sunset that typified the flat country side and big skies.

I spent a very pleasant afternoon, evening and next morning with Robyn and Ted and David and Helen and Josie the GR.  Robyn and Ted were very informative re the things to see and do and possible work opportunities in the Flinders Ranges having spent time there themselves.

Thursday July 11 Wednesday 17 July
Left the shores of Green’s Lake about 11 heading back to the Murray River at Echuca.  Arrived around lunch time and settled in for what was going to be one night before continuing along the river.  Then I discovered how much there is to see and do in the town and local area and decided to prop here for a few days.  I was hoping that getting back into “tourist mode” would help relieve the tension associated with trying to find work and the funds to continue the journey and, rekindle my enthusiasm for the whole exercise.

Echuca and Moama are vibrant towns with increasing populations.  Echuca is a blend of history and modern facilities and services.  The historic port area is a trip back in time and unlike Swan Hill is free to enter.  It is a working area rather than a “museum piece” per se.

And, of course one can’t come all this way and not take a trip on the “Mighty Murray”.  This the PS Pevensey which starred in the tv series "All the Rivers Run" .  I had been for a river cruise on her the day before.


The largest River Red Gum forest in Australia (and probably the world) is contained within the 60 000 hectare Moira State Forest halfway between Echuca and Balranald.  A lovely Saturday afternoon drive.
Being so flat Echuca has some great cycling and walking trails that take you along the banks of both the Murray and Campaspe Rivers.  The town itself has designated cycle lanes on most roads.  The people of course are friendly and helpful as they have been everywhere so far.

Thursday July 18 to Friday July 26

I left Echuca with the intention of my next stop being Swan Hill.  I got there in good time so decided to go on to Mildura.  Fascinating drive through acres and acres of vineyards, almond orchards and olive groves.

This is definitely a city.  Some 60 thousand people.  Located right on the Murray which at this point is a couple of hundred metres wide.  Lovely caravan park right on the river on the New South Wales side at Buronga.  Another one of those twin town set ups but in this case only one is definitely a town.  David and Goliath really!!


Saturday July 27 to Tuesday July 30
Target was to reach Burra in South Australia by Saturday night.  Achieved.  Burra is a historic copper mining town with some stunning stone buildings.  Overnight stop so no photos but it is on the revisit list.  Interesting country side and colours.

Sunday - on the road again with the target of reaching Quorn in SA.  Achieved by about 12.30 and then I realised I hadn’t changed the clock in the car or on the phone so it was actually midday.  Another historic town mainly for the railway I think.  Again on the revisit list.  Decided to go on to Hawker which is about 60ks south of Wilpena.

Stayed here for two nights whilst waiting for some scripts to be filled.  Met some fellow travellers from Tassie and you wouldn’t believe it; they live at Opossum Bay which is not far from Sandford.  Small world.
Left Hawker on Tuesday morning arrived in the Flinders Ranges National Park about lunch time.  Some stunning scenery on the way and more to come.

Echuca Tree Art


The soggy trailer problem has been resolved.  It does not leak in the rain.  The problem was caused by a faulty water pump which has now been replaced.  Cheap Chinese replaced with a more expensive Chinese!!!


Sunday 7 July 2013

Rain Rain Go Away

Saturday June 22 to Wednesday July 3
Bawley Point

It rained and it rained and blew and it rained and it blew for 5 days.  I have never seen rain like it and the wind was frightening.  Not a lot of photos unfortunately as too wet to get out.
I stayed two nights at the Racecourse Beach caravan park at Bawley Point.  Ok but there are better.  I was unable to start work at the cottages because of the weather.  I moved up the highway to Lake Tabourie.  Much better accommodation in a cabin as it was far too wet and windy to set up the trailer annex.  A very bleak week in more ways than one testing both me and the trailer which leaked badly, unfortunately.

Lake Tabourie is a nice spot about 12ks south of Ulladulla which is also a friendly, picturesque town.  There are some pleasant walks to do which start in the caravan park and take in the beaches on either side of the lake and around the lake itself.

Because I booked in under a non-refundable special deal I was at the park till the morning of Thursday July 4.  The last 3 days were very still and very sunny a huge contrast to the previous week.  This encouraged me to venture out and do a trip down to the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens just so of Batemans Bay.  Terrific botanic display based on plants indigenous to the coast and hinterland.  No exotics but plenty of hoppers!!

I left the park at 7.30 as I was awake at 3 am.  Drove back to Batemans Bay and picked up the Kings Highway which the Canberraites use to very regularly to reach their holiday houses on the coast.  A very hilly winding drive but quite nice as the highway takes you over the Great Dividing Range.

Arrived at Queanbeyan around lunch time and topped up the fuel tank for the drive through to Gunning on the Hume Highway.  Nice afternoon tea in the town.  Decided to drive on to Gundagai and visit the dog on the box.

Unfortunately he is surrounded by lots of commercial activity but he is indeed “5 miles from Gundagai”.  The town itself is very pleasant even on a grey, cold day.  I considered staying here for more than one night but decided to head for Albury and Wodonga via Tumut and Adelong.

Some nice country side along the road to Tumut and some interesting alluvial gold mining ruins in Adelong.

Friday July 5 and Saturday July 6
Albury – Wodonga

Arrived at a pleasant little caravan park west of Wodonga mid-afternoon.  Both cities, yes they are cities not towns, are typical of places like Devonport (sorry if you’re not an islander that will mean nothing to you).  Grey, cold and a few light showers.

Saturday dawned a bit brighter day so decided to do the tourist thing.  Visited the botanical gardens in Albury and then decided to drive out to Lake Hume just out of Albury. 

 Very impressive body of water and an awesome engineering achievement.

Did a delightful drive around the lake to Tallangatta and back to Wodonga.

Sunday 7 July
Up late for me after suffering what I think was some msg problems from last night’s Chinese takeaway.  On the road by 10 heading for Chiltern and the Mt Pilot National Park.  Arrived about an hour later.  After considering the map of the NP, the low cloud and my destination goal for the day I decided to forgo the walk up the mountain.  It is now on the revisit list.

But do visit Chiltern if you get the chance.  A lovely little historic town with some stunning historic streetscapes.  I was going to use a heap of pixels on photos but the whole scene was spoilt by cars parked everywhere.
Drove along some lovely flat roads and through equally flat country side heading for the Murray River.  Through Rutherglen and onto Yarrawonga.

Yarrawonga is on the shores of the Murray River and Lake Mulwala which is created by a weir on the river.  Mulwala township is on the New South Wales side of the river.
Will continue along the Murray(seen in the above photo on a foggy morning in Yarrawonga) heading for the Flinders Ranges.  Stay tuned!!!

Quirky tree art


Sunday 23 June 2013

Wednesday 29 May to Saturday 22 June

Left Mallacoota around 9 ish on Wednesday and crossed the border into NSW at around 10 ish.  No fruit fly inspections which wouldn’t of mattered if there had been as all my fruit and flies were in perfect order!!!  The drive on the Princess Highway continued through misty rain forest and pleasant farm land.
Eden from the air(borrowed from the Net)

Unsure of where I might finish up at the end of the day I used Wikicamps to suss out various accommodation options.
  Arrived at Eden around lunch time and phoned a couple of parks but all wanting standard rates they would charge a couple.  Got the map out and had a look how far things were further up the coast and being such a lovely day decided to keep going.  I had arrived on the Sapphire Coast!  No gems as such but plenty of blue sapphire seascapes.

Arrived at Pambula, a quaint little town with some lovely old shop fronts on the main street.  Decided to go onto Merimbula and, as luck would have it, found a caravan park for $20 per night including 240v power, hot showers, coin laundry and free internet access and to top it all off, landed myself two weeks paid work renovating some of the on-site cabins!!!!
Merimbula from the air(borrowed from the Net)

Merimbula is another coastal holiday town with very up market apartments, motels, hotels and shopping precinct.  However, the people are very friendly and welcoming.  It is halfway between Eden and Bega right on the coast with a lovely inlet and extensive waterway where oyster farms abound.

During the June long weekend the town hosted it’s 33rd jazz festival and being a partaker of jazz music I had a very enjoyable weekend watching the opening street parade, free jazz by the water and spent all day Sunday at the RSL club enjoying various big band type jazz and more traditional renditions.  We have some very talented young musicians in this country!!  Great weekend.
When not partaking of the local sights and sounds I have been working 5 days a week renovating three of the on-site cabins in the park.  Mark, the park owner, is a very affable character and together with his on-site handyman we had a great time getting the work done.  Needless to say it was also pleasant to add some funds to the bank balance.

Lots of nice walks around the area.  Particularly along the beach and back around the point although with the big east coast low we have been experiencing over the last week or so the beach has taken a pounding. 
Another good walk is up through the town and along the cliff tops to the main surf beach.  About 2 hours or so of pleasant and dramatic seascapes.


The boardwalk on the western side of the main lake is also worth the effort.
Did a rainy afternoon trip back to Boydtown which is about 20ks south of Eden heading back toward Victoria.  The town was the dream of one Benjamin Boyd who came to the area in 1842 with the intention of creating a port town to allow him to ship out agricultural produce from his extensive land holdings and to set up a fishing port.  All that is left is a hotel and out on the coast, a tower which he built with the intention of using it as a light house which never happened.  It was used as a whale spotting tower for the Davidson whaling station.

June 18 to June 22
Finished work this week and spent the last few days catching up on domestic stuff before heading up the coast to Bawley Point where I have some more paid work on some holiday cottages.  Did a last walk around Merimbula and found this interesting sign.

Image having your eyeballs shaved!!!!!!!!

Lovely drive along the Sapphire Coast Road through Tathra and Bermagui arriving at Bawley Point where another east coast low bought more heavy rain and the prospect of a wet week.

Talk to you again when the trailer and I have dried out !!!!!

Saturday 1 June 2013

Wednesday 22 May to Tuesday 28 May
Ok, so why do I reckon Mallacoota is a “special” place.  I preface my remarks by saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  In brief – stunning location, magnificent coastal scenery, great facilities for visitors, friendly and very helpful locals, wonderful place for walking and, from what I saw and heard, a terrific fishing spot.

Yep, it is a coastal holiday town and you may get a different impression if you came here in peak season but it wouldn’t change the setting and scenery or, I think, the friendliness of the people.

The town itself is similar to other coastal holiday spots I have visited although certainly not as commercial as Lakes Entrance or Bairnsdale.  There are lots of holiday houses, accommodation options and retirees.
It is the setting of the town smack in the middle of the Croajingolong National Park that makes it special and totally different to other towns along the coast.  The photos below show aerial views which I hope sort of gives you an idea of how it fits in the landscape.

While the main industry is tourism there is a substantial abalone processing plant supported by numerous divers.  The opulence of some of the houses in the town reflects their presence and that of wealthy retirees.  However, the town’s wealth does not make it pretentious.  It still has a bit of a frontier town feel about it which reflects its colourful history from the 1970s.
Talking of history, Mallacoota and Gabo Island just off shore, played a significant role in the protection of shipping along the south east coast and through Bass Strait during World War II.  Did you know…………….

More detailed information can be found in the local museum in a restored WW II bunker located near the airport.



Unfortunately my budget would not stretch to a trip to Gabo Island (you may recognised this name from Sydney to Hobart yacht race commentaries).  I have cheated and taken a photo of photos.


Heaps.  All lengths and grades.  Just fantastic.  The walk around the lake side from the main town wharf to Karbeethong jetty (this is where the cruise departed) is very easy and gives excellent vistas of the lower lake, inlet entrance, expensive homes and bird life (the feathered kind).


The Mallacoota Coastal Walk is just simply stunning.  Starting in the town it takes in coastal landscapes of unusual rock formations, lovely beaches, varying vegetation, bird life and vistas to Gabo Island.  The day I did it was showery which added to the “atmosphere”.

Mallacoota Lookout

Drive back out to the Princess Highway at Geno and turn right and head into New South Wales to Maxwell’s Road where a very pleasant drive, on dirt roads, through temperate rainforest takes you to the Mallacoota lookout.

When you come back to Geno have a look at the free camp ground I previously mentioned.  Quite pleasant.

Inlet Cruise
I spent a pleasant 2 hours on a sunny but slightly breezy Sunday morning cruising the two lakes that make up the inlet on board the Porgy Bess, a wooden lake boat built in Paynesville in 1946 of Kauri timber.  A pleasant little craft that could use some TLC but sturdy enough for the purpose (sorry Ainslie I forgot to take a photo so you’ll just have to go there!!!).

The skipper, Simon, is a bit of a character and had tales to tell of skullduggery, gold mining, yuppie foolishness and some interesting facts and figures eg. the shoreline of the inlet is greater than that of Sydney Harbour!  Well worth the $30 (May 2013) for the 2hours.  He also does fishing
I stayed at the A’Wangralea Caravan Park.  $22 per night for a powered site because I was solo (May 2013).  Very pleasant and a great camp kitchen.

Summing Up……
You had to be there!!  Just great, stunning, fantastic, welcoming………a “special” place!!!!