Well, here we are on the road again, this time touring Victoria. We left home 31 Jan. Down the coast road, right into the heavy rain that was wreaking havoc from Moree to the coast. Managed to get through all that as well as the madness that is Sydney traffic.
Came down Bulli Pass in very thick fog, a bit scary. The weather was still pretty bad, viewed the Blow Hole at Kiama in the rain! I must say it put on a pretty good show, I had never seen it before. By Bateman’s Bay the weather was starting to clear. Found a great free camp in the Bodalla Forest. Camped among stands of giant spotted gums and cycads. A walk through the bush to Lake Mummagu revealed more swans than ever we saw in WA.
On down the coast via Narooma, Bermagui and Bega. The scenery all along the south coast is pretty spectacular. Green pasture on one side of the road, sparkling ocean on the other. Spent a couple of nights at Eden. The boys thought about a fishing charter, but the wind came up and that was the end of that. Mallacoota (Vic) the next stop. Called into Gypsy Point for a look, only to be greeted by a large black pig! She was very friendly, and much appreciated the apples Judy and I gave her. Spent the night at Mallacoota, then on to Marlo. Marg this is for you – we called into Bemm River to have a look, and stayed for lunch. There is only the pub, right on the water.
Marlo is where the Snowy River finds it’s way to the sea. Odd to think of the Snowy and sun and surf! Spent the night at a free camp on the bank of the river. Turned really cold and had to break out the jeans and jumpers. Then to another free camp at 90 Mile Beach, via Orbost and Lakes Entrance. This camp was from here to there to the beach. Found the wreckage of the “Pretty Jane”, which sank off this beach in 1882. Decided to stay two nights, just to relax a bit. Next stop Wilson’s Promontory. The weather is so changeable in Vic., came in damp and cold. But we headed off on a couple of bush walks, one of which turned into a 6k marathon up a mountain and down again. By this time the weather had cleared and we were peeling off our jumpers and rain jackets.
Next stop Phillip Island and The Penguin Parade. Rugged ourselves up in jeans , coats and hats and scarves to sit at the beach and wait for the penguins. Well, we waited and waited and waited, then finally they emerged from the sea, just little groups of six or so at a time. Very timid and very little. The best part was walking back to the car park and seeing them look for their burrows and babies. And the noise! They were’nt so scared of us humans by then. Even the stars put on show that night. It was the first clear night we’d had for ages, and as we sat and waited for the penguins, the Southern Cross appeared right in front of us. Then the Milky way in all it’s glory. Magic!
I’ll try and condense this saga a bit. Mornington Peninsula and a feed of flake and chips at Sorrento. Then Torquay and the start of the Great Ocean Road. It hugs the coast for most of the way, so there is some pretty spectacular scenery. A walk through the rainforest at Otway National Park, then the Twelve Apostles. These stacks are only a small part of what there is to see along the coast. Loch Ard Gorge, The Arch, London Bridge, just to name a few. All the way to Cape Bridgewater and another trek to see the seals. Judy and I were walking along when Judy screamed and did a dance and I looked to see a black snake crossing the path, not six inches from my next footstep!! I just felt sick.
Did the Grampians yesterday, more spectacular scenery and are now at Ballarat. Tomorrow we’ll do Sovereign Hill and the Light Show depicting the Eureka Stockade. Hope all is well , catch up again soon.
Well, where was I ? Spent some time walking around the Botanical Gardens in Ballarat, then on to Sovereign Hill and a dose of Aussie history. The highlight here was the light show, “Blood on the Southern Cross”, a re-enactment of the Eureka Stockade. Just as moving now as when we saw it nearly twenty years ago.
Next stop Bendigo, and a ride on a “talking tram”. Bendigo is a very colonial town/city with lots of impressive buildings. The home of Myer stores! A great bush camp beside the Campaspe River with lots of bird life, possums and a magnificent night sky, to keep us entertained. Even tracked a satellite across the Milky Way.
Echuca next,and a cruise on the Murray River, on the PS Alexander Arbuthnot. A bit of a dodgy roadside camp at Katamatite (where do these place names come from!). Greeted by a huge number of police, found out a bikie gang had come to town. Experiencing some very hot days now, in the high 30’s.
Then Glenrowan and the start of the Ned Kelly trail. Coffee, scones with jam and cream at the Dad and Dave Billy Tea Cafe. Beechworth and the Court House where NK’s committal hearing took place. We were able to stand in the dock, just as he did. A bit spooky!
Headed for the High Country, found a nice little caravan park at Mongan’s Bridge as a base. Still very hot, but would you believe, the next day came in wet and cold. You’d think we’d be used to Vic weather by now. Made our way up the mountain to Falls Creek, by the time we got there you could’nt see two feet in front of you, the fog and cloud was so thick. Didn’t move very far from the car, in case we fell off the mountain. Wound our way down again, morning tea at Mt. Beauty and then on to Bright. Had a bit of a look, but the weather was so bad, decided to head back to camp.
Moved on then via Wodonga, Albury, Wagga Wagga,and a bush camp at Wantabadgery, beside the Murrumbidgee River. And more sulphur-crested cockatoos than anyone has seen, I think. Hundreds of them!
Now at a free camp at Binalong, via Cootamundra and Harden. It’s pouring rain, really set in. There is a flood warning out, but we’re not near any creeks or rivers, so should be OK. Getting close to the end of our trip now, will make our way home from here through Goulburn, and maybe Bowral. We’ve had a great time and seen some fantastic sights. But looking forward to home, just the same.
We’re home. Got back a bit after lunch on Wednesday. I did forget to mention that we visited the Dog on the Tuckerbox, “on the road to Gundagai”. The rain stopped for long enough for a photo opportunity! After we left Binalong, the rain persisted. We wanted to spend some time in the Southern Highlands, but the weather beat us and we pulled into a van park at Moss Vale. It was very disappointing not to be able to explore the area. However, we did stop at Bowral and had a look at the Don Bradman Museum. Not being a huge cricket fan, I was surprised at how interesting it was. Not just about Don Bradman, but cricketing history in general. Did you know that women decided that overarm bowling was the way to go, as their full skirts made underarm bowling too difficult!!
While David and Judy made their way to Woolgoolga, we were off to Bateau Bay for Aunty Flo’s 80th birthday party. We were so glad we could make it. Had a great time catching up with the family, most of whom we had’nt seen for a very long time. Thank you Barry and Kerry for thinking of us. Aunty Flo nearly fell over backwards when she saw us.
After a terrific three days, on to Woolgoolga to catch up with David and Judy. And we brought the rain with us.
After two days there, we all decided we had had enough of the wet weather, so headed for home.
It’s great to be back, but we are booked to go to New Zealand at the end of April. Whilst researching his family tree, Max has found relatives there, on the South Island, and a family reunion has been organized. We’ll be away about a month touring in a motor home, our first overseas holiday! That’s it for now, I hope I have’nt waffled on for too long, but I do enjoy sharing our adventures with you all.
Cheers, Max and Robyn