Saturday, 10 December 2011

Warrnambool, Vic to Daylesford, Vic

Following along the Great Ocean Road through Port Campbell and the Twelve Apostles, we were amazed at how many overseas tourists were around the place. It is certainly popular.

We stopped at several locations leading up to the Twelve Apostles, taking lots of photos.  The area certainly has changed since we first took the trip back in the 1980’s.  Then, there was very little signage, no fencing, no safety regulations – and WOW – that visitor’s centre is certainly impressive.

We had initially contemplated staying at Apollo Bay, but found a free camp at Johanna Beach.  It is a lovely spot, and very popular with surfers.  It is the backup spot when Bell’s Beach is no good.  Couple of days there was just perfect.  The campground wasn’t too crowded and it is well taken care of by the ranger.  Apparently the property was left to the NPWS in the original owners Will, on the grounds that it would remain free for camping.  Must say, the NPWS have taken the intent seriously and do a good job of looking after the place.

From there we drove north to Colac.  We had planned to spend a couple of days at Meredith Park (another free camp), on the northern side of Lake Colac, but the storm that hit – and continued next day – was so strong that the van was shaking.  Bugger that for a game of soldiers!!!!  On to Daylesford.

The Daylesford Victoria Caravan Park is actually located next to the showgrounds, where a Highland Festival was to be held on the coming weekend.  Whooppee!!!  Men in Kilts!  My favourite watching pastime!

We went out to Glenlyon to check in with Gilly at Adsum Farmhouse, our next house-sit.  Two dogs, five hens and a bantam rooster and three Suffolk sheep.  Vegie garden and lots of fruit trees.  Should be interesting.

We then went and spent a week at Mount Franklin, just north of Glenlyon.  Lovely spot, it’s in the crater of an extinct (hopefully) volcano.  During the week it was fantastic, very quiet – except for people driving in, driving up to the lookout, then driving out again.  No biggie except when they did not slow down!!!

Weekend  however was an entirely different story.  Apparently, Saturday night was a full moon.  Camped just behind us we had a group of about thirty greenies (ferals), celebrating a fortieth birthday.  Just across the road was a slightly smaller group of Chilean “happy clappers”, and just opposite them a group of followers of the “Old Way”.  God help me, they even had two goats!  Don’t want to think about that!  They were gone on Sunday morning though!  The greenies party went until about 2am in the morning – when the drummer got told by his own people to “shut his head”.  Oh well, weekends can be like that.

Sunday morning, back to Glenlyon to start the sit.


We were actually at London Bridge just days before the rock collapsed in 1990.  We walked right out to the point and took photos.  Used to have one of Rick standing at the edge in a diving position!



Thursday, 24 November 2011

Adelaide, SA to Port Fairy, VIC

Our visit to Adelaide was as fast as it was unexpected!  Originally, we had planned to head down the Murray, through Murray Bridge, Tailem Bend, right down to Meningie on the eastern side of Lake Albert.  This would have us avoiding Adelaide and all the busy, city areas.  But – on the spur of the moment, being really irritated with Punyelroo, we headed west towards Nuriootpa and Adelaide.  ‘Nuri’ has only the one caravan park – a Top Tourist.  It is not a bad park, but the sites can be a little cramped because there are so many large pine trees.  Also, management seemed to be packing people all into one area rather than spreading them out.  We were only staying overnight and really wanted to stay hitched, but there was just not enough room on the site.

Next morning we headed across to Brown Hill Creek Caravan Park, via the new Northern Expressway.  WOW!  Heaps better than Main North Road and all the traffic lights.  Sadly, it still all comes to a bottleneck at Gepps Cross.  Then the slow trek down through the city to Brown Hill Creek.  This a Top Tourist park (again), and is a lovely park.  It is long and narrow, winding up along the creek, but the sites are a decent size and the environs are very quiet, because it is out of the city proper.  But it is still within close reach of services and shopping.

The first day there, I made a hugely momentous decision (for me anyway).  I got my hair all chopped off!!!  It was such a relief.  Long hair is really hard to look after when travelling, especially when it is hot.  Now, I’m free!!!!

Our visit to Adelaide was very brief, and we headed out again quickly.  Next stop Meningie on Lake Albert.

We stayed in Meningie for four days – and the wind blew hard for the whole time we were there.  We spoke to another vanner who had arrived there from the east, and he’d had the wind right across from the east coast.  The waves on the lake were so high on the worst day that we could have surfed!  Having whinged about the weather, this park is in a beautiful location.  Absolute lakefront, amazing birdlife and a full lake.  Fantastic.

Our next stop was the Lakeside Caravan Park in Robe.  This place has history for us from many, many years ago.  We and some friends entertained the whole caravan park for several hours while trying to put up a large and complicated tent.  Some alcohol was involved – and that’s all I’m going to say about that!!!!

After a couple of nights in Mount Gambier, we spent a few days seeing the sights of Warrnambool.  The Art Gallery had an exhibit of works done by local school kids – both primary and secondary.  There was some very good work – but some of it was rather disturbing and very confronting.  It certainly made me think.





Brown Hill Creek Caravan Park – lovely, peaceful park.  The sight of the tepee was quite a shock, but it is apparently quite genuine.  Who knows?????



Choppy my foot – this is surfing weather!



Lots and lots of birdlife.



Port Fairy – supposedly the best fish & chips in Oz.  Pretty good actually!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Mildura, Vic to Swan Reach, SA

From Mildura we decided to head downstream along the Murray River, stopping off here and there to camp.  There are some really lovely spots at the moment with the river running so well.  We fulfilled a long-term desire to go out to Ned’s Corner and camp.  It was beautifully peaceful, even though other people were camped 500m further downstream.  They just fished from bank nice and quiet!!  About half way through the afternoon though, we heard a roaring noise coming from upstream.  Eventually a pair of powered tinnies came hurtling through – followed by another two – and another two – and another two!!!  Eventually about 12 boats came through – in pairs – all going flat out!  And we still don’t know what it was all about???

After Ned’s Corner, we stopped at the Berri Riverside Tourist Park (Top Tourist).  We caught up with fellow Kedron owners Derrick and Marilyn again (Derrick was also a Junior Recruit), so had been at the reunion in Mildura.  They are heading across to WA, hoping to spend Christmas in Albany.  We took a drive across to Barmera to attend the Sunday morning market.  When we arrived and parked the car, a very large huntsman spider decided the time was ripe to wander down from the roof of the car and across the doors which were just in the process of being opened to let us out.  You’ve never seen four people move so fast.  It was like a scene from Keystone Cops –Marilyn and I levitated about 100 metres down the road, leaving Rick and Derrick (who had also levitated, just not as far) to deal with the monster.  Our last sight of it was (we think) heading under one of the wheels to hide.  Hmmmm!!   There is only one thing wrong with finding a large spider – and that is losing it again!!!  After extracting a promise from the guys that they would examine the car VERY closely before we got back in we headed on towards the market.  Wasn’t too bad, but a lot of the goods were pretty expensive.  Still, we wandered around for a little while and then headed back towards Berri.

On the way in to Berri, we stopped at the new Vietnam Veterans’ War Memorial.  It’s situated at the end of the main street – overlooking the river.  It is a very well thought out memorial and covers ALL post WWII “conflicts”, including Korea, the Indonesian Confrontation and all peace-keeping duties.  It also covers all three arms of the Australian Defence Service.

After three pleasant, and rather warm days we headed off down-river again.  The plan was to stop at Punyelroo Caravan Park, near to Swan Reach.  We knew the place from many years ago when it was just a collection of fishing cabins on the river.  Very old friends of ours – Fay and Brian – used to own one of the prperties, which they called Punyelrosa.  We had a lot of fun up on the river, but sadly have not seen Fay or Brian for a long time.  Fay is actually Rick’s ex-sister in law, but that is a story for another time, preferably around a camp-fire.

Unfortunately, Punyelroo Caravan Park now looks like a complete dump.  We did a complete circuit of the place and nobody showed any sign of interest or enquiry.  Long story short, we headed for Nuriootpa instead.



View upriver from Buronga Riverside Park



Nice camp-site at Buronga



The sunsets are just magic!



Who you calling a Tart!!






Buronga Caravan Park has lots of beautiful gardens, but the roses are just amazing!



Quaint little critter!  He has lots of fellows around the park!




Camp area at Ned’s Corner.  The area we where we are was two to three metres under water earlier in the year.



Our closest neighbour – isn’t he cute!






Glorious sunset – the reflections are just magnificent!



Berri Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial – a very special place!



MV Proud Mary at Swan Reach – pulling out of the wharf to head downstream.