Thursday, May 31, 2012

High Country diversion 2 Day trip

 Bright was very busy when we arrived and we were glad we planned to stay at Freeburg about 13 klms south of Bright . This lovely park has lots of permanents and is very shaded with lots of trees and is beside the Ovens River. We were given a site on the "green" which we had to ourselves.
 When we were planning this part of our trip we thought we might do a camping trip, but after talking to the staff at the Info Centre we took the instructions for a day trip to Falls Creek and back to Bright via Omeo and Mt Hotham. We were glad we changed our minds as the weather that day turned really nasty.

 From Lookout ,looking towards Mt Beauty township
 From Bright the road is very winding as it goes over the range to Mt Beauty, this is an old Hydro town where we stopped for a bit of a look around . There was a very interesting model of the Hydro scheme in the area at the Information Centre. By the time we arrived here it was raining and quite cool.

 As we headed out of town the road got steeper and windier, and continued like this nearly all the way back to Bright. Not far down the road we stopped ar an underground power station which unfortunately no longer runs tours of the facility.

 Bogong Village was another stop on the way where we drove down a steep road to the lakeside . Again it was an old Hydro town which is mainly just some accommodation for tourists and an outdoor education centre.

 At Fainter Falls we took the time to walk up to get better views of the falls. the walk wasn't too far for Lynn and was easy going . 

 Fainter Falls

  We were  very lucky that the sun was out when we walked to the falls as by the time we reached Falls Creek that weather was really closing in and not long after it started to rain quite heavily. We were very disappointed in Falls Creek as we thought there might have been more places open for summer visitors but it is all geared to the winter activities  so only a bistro was open for lunch. the staff were very nice there and when we went to leave they provided us with garbags  so we could get to the vehicle wihtout getting too wet.

Main hotel at Falls Creek
As we drove across the plains on top of the mountain there was low cold and with the rain the visibility was very poor, so we didn;t stop and walk to the huts that are strategically placed across the top. It was strange driving across this area as there were almost no trees except for some stunted snow gums .
 By the time we got to Omeo it was getting late and still raining a bit so we decided to push on .
Mt Hotham was another wind swept place and we were driving along the road above the clouds at times.
 Our last stop along the way was at Dinner Plains. This is an artificial place with all the lodges of similar design. We didn't get back to the van till 6pm although we left about 8.30 am so it was quite a long day and nearly dark when we got home.

High Country diversion 1

 From Yarrawonga we travelled to Wangaratta and then turned right away from the Murray and down towards Beechworth, Myrtleford and Bright.
 We were looking forward to seeing some of the autumn clours that Bright is famous for as the seasons were about to change.
At Beechworth we booked into the caravan park near the lake. It was the first park we had been inot since leaving Adelaide. The shops here are quite old and full of fascinating things, including an old fashioned Lolly shop.
 From Beechworth we did a day trip to Woolshed Falls and Chiltern. We also stopped at Mt Pilot national park whihch had wonderful views over a large area.

 The trip to Chiltern started with a trip around the outskirts of Beechworth where we stopped at the Powder Magazine and also saw some falls which we crossed over when we first drove into town.

 Woolshed Falls

 Beechworth Falls

 Heading out of town we first visited the Woolshed Falls where  we stopped for smoko and realized that we had forgotten the thermos so boiled the billy using the gas ring that fits on top of the small gas botttle.
 We then continued on to  Mt Pilot national park  and I climbed up to the top of the mountain. It wasn't far and was a fairly easy walk but as Lynn's legs have been sore latley he hasn't been doing much walking.

 Continuing on to Chiltern we found it was much smaller than Beechworth but being another old gold mining town had some lovely old shops.
 So that we didn't retrace our steps we returned to Beechworht via Yackandandah which again is an old minimg town but a bit bigger and had lots of trendy old shops like Beechworth. We had lunch in the park  before checking out the shops.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Murray River Ramble part 3

 From Nyah we moved onto Echuca and after enquiries at the Information Centre we went out of town  about 8 klms east to a place on the Murray which wasn't really suitable for the big van so we ended up back a bit further and again on the Murray.  There were a few house boats moored near us but access to the water wasn't very easy.

 Night time on the Murray near Echuca

 Machinery at the Wharf Precinct Echuca

 Paddlesteamers and Houseboats at Echuca

 The next day we wandered into town to check out the sites and just as we were leaving the Wharf area we ran into friends from Darwin who were about to go on the lunchtime paddle boat cruise so we arranged to meet them on their return. It was great to catch up over a beer. They were only there for the day and moving on to Yarrawonga that afternoon.

After the 2 nights at Echuca we went to Tocumwal where we again caught up with Diane and Bruce who were staying at Apex Beach but we opted to stay at Town beach as we needed the water to catch up on the washing. The border hopping was getting to us a bit as we were sometimes not sure which state we were in however no change in the time zones made it easier.

 Our riverside camp at Tocumwal

 We had a nice relaxing week at Tocumwal and I walked up to town most days  to get the paper as it was a nice walk from the camp. We also had morning tea with Diane and Bruce who excelled themselves with Devonshire tea complete with jam and cream.

 while we were at Tocumwal we did a day trip to Findly and Jerilderie and back via Berrigan and Cobham.  It was a nice day out and we had morning tea at Jerilderie in a park near a unique windmill which apparently is only one of 2 in existence .

 Lake at Finley

 Unique windmill at Jerilderie

 Some poeple may remeber that Jerilderie is famous for a Ned Kelly raid and a letter that he wrote. there was to be a reenactment of that incident about a week after we were there.

 On our way back we came across  "The Drop" which was where 2 irrigation canals intersected but one was lower than the other hence the drop. After wandering in NSW most of the day we crossed the river at Cobham and stopped at the Big Strawberry farm  but were very dissapointed on their offerings. Just got some jam befroe crossing back into NSW and home.

 Our next leg along the river was to be the last fro a little while. We found Forges beach about 8 klm from Yarrawonga to be a nice setting and really wnjoyed our few days there.

 Billabong Creek at Jerilderie- longest creek in Australia

 The Drop Irrigation Canal where 2 canals intersect

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Murray River Ramble Part 2

 After our time in Berri  we continued on to  Mildura and for a change thought we would stay at the Psyche Bend Pumps. We found a nice spot to camp but there was very little access to the river so the next day we went back to our favourite spot a Merbein.

 Psyche Bend Pumps

 We were very surprised to see so few vans there, only a couple of camper trailers that pulled out shortly after we arrived.  We stayed at Horseshoe Bend or Merbien Common and since we were there last a swimming cage had been set up to allow small children access to the river. As it turned quite hot we had lots of swims and when Bruce and Dianne arrived their dog Tricky would wander down and have a swim there any time he got too hot.

One day while Bruce was up the street he saw a poster for a trip on the PS Ruby from Wentworth so we made enquiries and booked for their Australia Day trip on the Murray for the afternoon. Diane and Bruce were moving on so they packed up their motorhome and drove over and we just took the Ute and went over a bit later but caught up with them for lunch before we boarded the boat.
The PS Ruby is a refurbished paddle steamer operating out of Wentworth and  I wrote a blog devoted to her in  2010. It was great to see her in use as last time we saw her she still needed all her certification to operate and take passengers.

 Lynn and Diane enjoying the scenery from PS Ruby
  Our trip was late getting away as it took quite a bit of organizing to get her away from her mooring, but we were eventually away for a lovely afternoon and were surprised that there weren't many others on board. We went up the Murray river for about 1.5 hours and then made our way back to the wharf at Wentworth but we were back late too so we were away for longer than the planned time.

 A Caravan on the water ????????
  When we got back to the van we were amazed at how many people were in our area, all day trippers and lots of people with boats as there is a boat ramp there and lots of the locals use it. It had been quite busy the previous weekend too.

 The next day we packed up and drove to Robinvale and camped at  Beggs Bend which was a huge area but the water access was again poor. The area looked like it had been badly affected by floods and the beach had been washed away leaving behind lots of mud.

 So the next day we moved on again and ended up at Nyah, at the riverside camp behind the Harness Club where we also caught up with Bruce and Diane again. It was quite a nice spot with toilets and water etc but the river was low and very muddy. While we were there we drove in to Swan Hill to do some shopping and look around . On our way back we took the long way as we had lunch at Murray Down Club and then drove back through NSW and came back to Nyah via the historic bridge .

Murray River Ramble starting Dec 2011

 We had a nice time in Adelaide with family, we had Xmas lunch with Lynn's sister and family and then tea at my daughter's and her husband's family ( about 40) . We bought new mobile phones for each other for Xmas ( Samsung Galaxy 11).
We left a couple of days after Xmas and headed to Mannun where we found a spot on the eastern side of the river at Haywood park. It was our first time of crossing on a river ferry and we fitted just nicely., When we planned to use a ferry about 2 years ago we were warned against it  as the river level was so low that trucks were getting caught on some of the steeper ramps.
Marion River Boat at Mannun

 Ferry at Mannum
We then continued up the eastern side of the river and stopped for M/T at Bow Hill and then again at the Big Bend just in time to see one of the River boats come around the corner. At Walker Flat we crossed the river again and after a few false starts eventually found a lovely free camp on a back water just north of Walker Flat . It was rather hot there as we had no shade and a spell of high 30s -40 days. We had a very quiet New Year's Eve there with just the 2 of us. Lynn went to bed but I stayed up till the new year.

 From Lookout above Walker Flat

 Continuing up the river we arrived at Swan Reach and again crossed over and set up camp in the park just next to the ferry. We were joined by a couple of other campers and even had a swim but the bottom was very muddy not nice at all. It was also very windy there so after only an overnight stop we continued on to Blanch town. Here we came across our first bridge across the Murray River.

Proud Mary and Murray River Queen at Swan Reach
When we were looking for a morning tea stop we found Lock 1 which had lovely gardens so we took the opportunity to have a good look around , however there were no boats going through at the time we were there.

Arriving in Waikerie we found the state speed boat championships in progress at Lake Bonney but we went on to Maize Island a few klms on towards Berri. We had a week there so by the time we left we were quite familiar with local shops. My new phone had been playing up so we were able to get it sorted out here.

True Blue at Martin's Bend

 Berri was our next stop on our Murray river sorjoun and we stayed a week at Martin's Bend which was quite a good handy spot close to town but not as peaceful as we would have liked as the local speed baots were  practising for an upcoming speedboat spectactular.
Proud Mary at the Big Bend

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crossing the Nullabor Dec 2011

 From Hyden and Wave Rock we set off to  travel the Woodland Trail to Norseman. We had been advised by our friends that this road was a short cut but with a good dirt surface and that a stop at the Breakaways was not to be missed as well as climbing  Mc Dermiad Rock .
Our friends were quite correct as we found the going easy and really enjoyed our time at the Breakaways to the extent that we stayed an extra night . The facilities were a bit basic but the setting was just lovely and the storyboards explaining the  creation of these formations were quite interesting.

The Breakaways

 Mc Deramid Rock was easy to climb and again very interesting . We reached it early in the morning  and it was nice and cool . The view from the top was wonderful.

Mc Dermiad Rock

 Rock pool on the rock

When we reached Norseman we filled up with water and fuel ready for the trip across the Nullabor which was the last major stretch of Australia's coastline that we hadn't done. Initially the going was easy and we camped the night near Balladonia.
As we continued we started to run into some head winds, and we were very grateful of the extra fuel we had taken on at Norseman. We were also advised that fuel prices were high until we got to Mundrabilla where the first cheaper roadhouse was. It was also  where we found a lovely sculpture of a humpback whale,as nearby the Whale watching Centre was located but unfortunately it was closed.

Late on the second day we crossed the state boundary and were back in South Australia. We had a look around Eucla before finding a camp spot for the night at the 10 mile peg mark where there were a few trees and lots of bigger shrubs that provided shelter from the wind.  The next morning we made a few stops along the way to see the Bunda cliffs , it was again quite windy.

Bunda Cliffs
Lunchtime found us at Fowlers Bay which we thought was a very pretty place  but the road in from the highway left a lot to be desired. We thought that  Cactus Beach was an ideal place to stay the night but again the road was diabolical and when we arrived found it was most unsuitable and very expensive so we continued on to Ceduna. After a night here we finally made it to Haslam where we planned to stay a few nights.

 Having recuperated at Haslam for a few days we moved onto Cleve and stayed a couple of days at the weir about 5 klms east of the town.

 Our next stop was at another of our favourite spots at Pt Lowly where there were quite a few other campers including friends we had seen there about 12 months ago. We again parked down the bottom on the slightly rocky area but not on the beach like some other vans.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rock Country

 After saying farewell  to our friends at Wright's Bridge  we continued up the road to Ballingup and then onto Bridgetown. On our way there Lynn was not happy with the performance of the brakes on the caravan and after making enquiries,  he decided that a trip back to Bunbury was in order to get the problem solved.

 The auto electrical people there were very good but it took all afternoon to solve the problem and only after fitting 2 new brake units did they come up with a solution. In the mean time as Lynn was testing the brakes he backed into a low wall between their property and the one next door and managed to wreck a water container and its carrier. The container was about to be thrown out anyway as it was very brittle ( sun affected). The carrier was beyond repair.

 Because it took all afternoon to fix we opted to stay in a caravan park for the night rather than go looking for a free camp. It also gave me a chance to catch up on some washing and Lynn topped the water tanks up.

From Bunbury we went  to Collie where we stopped up on groceries and posted a parcel to Lisa with 4 dresses that I had made for the twins and 2 blankets that I had made from polar fleece and edged with patchwork binding and appliqued some  butterflies etc on to them.

 Gorge Rock Pool

 This was beginning of our trip around the rock country to places that our friends from Mandurah had recommended.  We were heading in an easterly direction but taking a bit of a loop to pick up the various  spots.
 At Narrogin  we stopped at the Info centre and got lots of information about the local area before heading off to Yornaning Dam. This delightful place  was quite pretty but the Flies were dreadful, ( time of the year).

 Helen on top of  Gorge Rock

 We then made our way to Kokerbin Rock near Shackleton.  There was a small campground there but there was also water and flushing toilets which for in the middle of nowhere was quite good. I had a bit of a look around the base of the Rock but it looked too far to walk to the top. As we drove out the road follows a loop around the base and it is quicker to walk from the other side.

Kokerbin Rock
  We then made our way via Bruce Rock ( A Town ) to Hyden and Wave Rock . Hyden had a great display of different things historical made out of recycled bits and pieces.

 Amphitheatre at Bruce Rock

Wave Rock

 Historical display at Hyden using recycled  materials

another part of the same display

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Perth Plus November 2011

 Eight years ago I didn't study the camping guide well enough to pick a nice spot to stay in Perth so we passed through and went on to Burns Beach .So this time I was determined to see Perth , Kings Park, the Carillon and generally check out Perth and some of the surrounding area, including Fremantle.
 As we were coming in from Toodyay and Goomaling I chose a Caravan park out near the Swan Valley. We stayed at the Vineyard Park near Guildford.It was a short trip to the train station and then a quick run into Perth. It was also not far from major shopping centres at Midland .

Our first foray on the train was a trip to Fremantle where we ent to the Maritime Museum and saw Australia 11 among other displays. We really enjoyed it and the setting by the river.  After spending a few hours there we wandered up into the Town Centre . I found the most amazing shop near the Post Office which had lots and lots of  open bins with all sorts of things in them including spices, flours dried fruits, coffee beans  and also fresh vegies. It really was amazing!!!!.


Australia 2

 As I have already mentioned in my previous  blog we celebrated my birthday with friends and after lunch we walked down to the river to the ferry terminal and the carillon, which I particularly wanted to see.
 Another place on my " bucket list" was Kings  Park and we spent an enjoyable few hours wandering around there too. Unfortunately the wildflowers were past their best but some of the different areas were still good including the elevated boardwalk with lovely views back to the city.

 Perth from Lookout in Kings Park

  Cats Paws and Kangaroo Paws in Kings Park

 Mundaring Weir
 Mundaring Weir was another place we came across when we went for a drive up into the Hills area. Lynn was very interested in the engineering of the place. We went for a walk across the dam wall.  Driving back to the Park we went via Kalamunda which looked like a town that needed more time to explore but as it was about 4pm on a Sunday afternoon not much was open. Maybe another time.

 As we had time to kill before meeting Martin and Christine  for our south west trip we ended up at Pinjarra as previously mentioned. While we were there we had a look around the historic village and walked along the riverbank with it's nice parks.
 On the day that we headed to Mandurah the weather turned awful with cold and rain. We had decided to take a circuitous route to get there via Waroona , Yarloop and Cape Bouviere, as our friends weren't expecting us till late in the afternoon.
 We stopped at Waroona to visit the information centre but it was closed so we had a cuppa and checked out the totem poles in the park.

 Totem Poles at Waroona

 Lynn has a real thing about steam stuff  and as we had a panmphlet on the Yarloop Steam museum we took the opportunity to check it out and He was suitably impressed. However because it was a weekday the Live steam engines weren't in operation. It really is an impressive display and so many engines have been  lovingly restored. The whole place is like walking aound in a time warp.

  Steam train and workshop

 Little engine

Big Engine

 A very happy Lynn!!!!!