The wheel bearings in the front driver’s side decided they had had enough. A very loud crunching grinding sound was enough for us to stop and call the RAA. Together with the NRMA we had the car checked out by Rodney confirming the problem.
A tow truck took the car, us and the van to Ulladulla. We were checked into the caravan park and then the car was dropped of at the mechanics. I must say this all happened in a span of 3 hours. Very efficient and a big thank you to the RAA and the NRMA who worked together to get it done. But no Coledale today. Ulladulla is really beautiful. All good. 😊
Hello Everybody. Yep we are in New South Wales. From Mallacoota we made our way up the coast and visited some really pretty towns. The effects of the fire could be seen all the way to Eden which is about an 85 Km drive from Mallacoota. Eden is right on the coast and set on a hillside. We stretched the legs and took in the scenery.
We made our way to Bega which of course is known for its cheese and now the owner of Vegemite. Chris and I went to the cheese factory and Chris sampled the cheeses. But none were bought this time around. From there we kept heading north and came to the town of Cobargo. Unfortunately, fire devastated this town and many buildings in the main street were lost as were homes. I have never seen so much country affected by fire as I have these last couple of weeks. It is truly remarkable how anyone could fight these fires, and the homes they saved, but they did!
Narooma was the next town we visited and wow. Very nice spot and the water brought back memories of Western Australia. The water is so clear and no surprise,it is the town for Oysters.
Even with fire affected areas, it was a really nice drive all the way as you wound your way through some lush green hills, National forests and coastline.
So, Batemans Bay. The Clyde River flows from The Clyde National Park and into the bay. It is famous for its Oysters also and about 277 Kms south of Sydney. Today we went for a walk on the beach at Batehaven just down the road and then we went to the Murramarang National Park and did some four-wheel driving until we came out of at this beautiful secluded beach. Oaky Beach.
And a couple of other spots and met some of the locals.
This old drawbridge that crosses the estuary is being replaced with a new one that will be high enough to let the boats go underneath of it. The locals are a bit sad about the old one going but they cannot get spare parts for it anymore and it has got stuck open a couple of times. As this is part of the national highway it was not a good thing. So bye bye old bridge. ☹
If you are in the need for some retail therapy this is the place to go. Or if you want to eat pies, fudge, Ice cream and lollies, they got that too. The best shop (in my opinion) was ‘In and Out at Mogo’. If I didn’t live in a van, I could have bought all these little helpful things for the home. Very interesting. We did the tourist route on the way there. We saw a large pod of dolphins swimming here too. We woke up to rain this morning (Sat 14th), so different to yesterday.
This afternoon we went for a drive to see if Chris could find a nice fishing spot. It is a bit windy today and as he is only using a plastic lure and no sinker it didn’t quite work. I found a road called Mills Fishing Road, (must be fish with a name like that!) that takes you through the forest and winds down to the Clyde River. We found lots of Oyster beds and Mosquitoes but no real places to fish. The upside is we got to explore some more and we got this really good photo looking over Batemans Bay.
About 8 Kms north west, situated on the Clyde river is a little town called Nelligen. We went here to go to the local markets. Covid19, need I say more. So, we went for a drive along the Clyde River tourist route. And it was delightful.
We did manage to go to some markets at Moruya which is about half an hour up the road. There is a granite quarry and the granite from here was used to make the Sydney Harbour Bridge amongst other things. Hard yakka back then.
Hello Everybody. 513 Kms east of Melbourne, this peaceful little coastal town is a fisherman’s paradise. With an estuary consisting of a top and bottom lake, there are many well set up inlets to fish from. The town has 4 Caravan Parks with the largest one on the foreshore having approximately 700 sites. During holiday season the towns population can increase by 8000. We would have visited the Croajingalong National park and done some walking, but this town was severely affected by fires also and so the park is still not considered safe.
About 11 Kms from Mallacoota, Gypsy Point is tucked away on the top lake. Very peaceful and secluded.
Chris tried some fishing and did have a small success on the first day and caught a flat head. Unfortunately, that was it. But the scenery was pleasant…
Built during the second World War, the Mallacoota Bunker was never intended to be, nor was it ever used as an air raid shelter or as a fortification. It was the headquarters of RAAF coastal intelligence activity in the region. The main purpose of its operations was surveillance of the area to assist in keeping our sea lanes open.
We went for a walk along this pretty beach with its rugged coastline. As you can see the recent fires met the sea at this point as they did in several places in Mallacoota. As we walked, we found lots of Blue Bottle jellyfish (actually not a jellyfish but a siphonophore) of which I had not seen in quite some time. The tentacles can still sting you when Blue Bottle is dead or even if they become detached. Ouch!!
After a chilled out week here at Mallacoota, we are heading north up the coast, just short of 300 Kms tomorrow. That will put us firmly in the state of New South Wales.
Hello Everybody. We are staying in Orbost for a few nights as we make our way to Mallacoota. Orbost is 375 kilometres east of Melbourne and 235 kilometres south of Canberra where the Princes Highway crosses the Snowy River. The park we are staying at is set amongst trees and is very picturesque. The town is small but has the necessary essentials.
Today we went for a drive following the Snowy River to the town of Buchan. The town is situated adjacent to the Buchan River, in the Shire of East Gippsland, upstream from the river’s junction with the Snowy River. It is about 69 Kms from Orbost.
Buchan was affected by the fires in the new year and until you drive up there you really cannot comprehend the extent of damage and the area that the fire covered. To stop in the middle of these burnt areas is eerie. There are no birds or insects that you would usually hear in these dense bush lands. Only silence and the blackness of the trees and the ground. (Although I did spot one really large fly on a tree!!) Signposts have wilted in the heat as have the white posts that used to line the edges of the roads.
As they have had rains here which were of course welcomed with open arms, the soil washing into the rivers from the black hills and gullies turns the rivers a very dirty brown. I did hear one local say it is affecting the fish in the river.
As we were driving, we came across four horses running along the road. The fences on just about all of the properties are pretty much non-existent. New ones are being erected but this will take months to complete. We did talk to one of the local property owners and he said he had never seen anything like it and never wants to again. I admired his courage when he was speaking with us, but you could also see his pain.
All I can say is if you are travelling this way call in and support the locals. I have seen fire devastation before but not on this level. Our hearts go out to all the locals in any of the fire affected areas. In the photos we have you will see green grass in parts. This is due to the rain that has fallen in the last few weeks. Before that the paddocks were all black. The trees are shooting but a lot have been lost and a lot more will still perish.
But there are signs of life in some areas. We were stopping to take pictures of tree ferns that have sprouted up when Chris spotted a ‘Lyre Bird’. We also saw one kangaroo. In some areas near the river flowers are sprouting and bees and butterflies are thriving. There are also lots of wombat burrows down near the river, but we were not lucky enough to spot one.
MELTED BRIDGE – As we were driving we came across an old bridge and noticed the huge steel girder that had melted and warped from the heat of the fire.
We went for a drive here as we were meant to stop here on our way to Orbost but didn’t. Doh! And if you want photos, google. It is obviously on the coast and a very popular place for tourists going by the amount of hotel and caravan parks. We enjoyed an ice cream and went for a walk over the lake on the pedestrian bridge and to the beach, which is still part of the 90-mile beach.
STONY CREEK TRESTLE BRIDGE
On our return trip from Lakes Entrance and nearly into the town of Nowa Nowa, we came across this old trestle bridge. The bridge was built in 1916 and was in in service for over 60 years when the bridge was damaged by bushfire in 1980, with the last train crossing in 1987.
This is where the great Snowy River meets and flows into the sea. Marlo is about 16 Kms from Orbost and about 385 Kms east of Melbourne. There are lots of holiday units available for the summer holidays, general store and of course a pub. We went for a walk along the coast and you could see a line of black along the shore. This is coal that had been washed down the river and into the sea.
We kept heading east from Marlo and came across more fire affected land. The fire burnt right up to the ocean in places here. Unfortunately, the road to Cape Conran was shut due to the cleaning up of burnt trees, but we did stop at a place called West Cape. It had lots of rocks and is known for crayfish. The Joiner family lived here back in the early 1900’s and made a living catching crayfish and shark. They would then take their catch to Lakes Entrance for selling. The Joiner family were also well aware of the dangers on the coast and came to the rescue of many a fisherman.
We are off to Mallacoota now and we will be there for a week. This very popular coastal town has also been severely affected by fires. Chris hopes to fish and catch fish!
Hello Everybody. We are in the Port of Sale, Victoria or Sale as most call it. Sale is in the Gippsland and about 213 Km East of Melbourne. It is quite a big town with all you could want here. We are basing ourselves here while we go visiting surrounding areas but we will also check out Sale too. We opted to stay at the showgrounds in Sale and the facilities are really nice as was Bonnie who manages bookings.
TARRA BULGA NATIONAL PARK
I was in my element today (Wednesday 26th) as we went to this glorious national park that is full of tree ferns and really tall trees (Giant Mountain Ash). With running creeks, mist and rain it was perfect as you climbed your way up the hill. We went for a walk in the rain to the suspension bridge so please enjoy the photos. They are great but being there is better.
After our walk we headed straight down to the coast to the town of Port Albert. A town on the coast of Corner Inlet on the Yarram. Yarram is a little bigger with lots of heritage buildings and we may have taken it in more if not for the gale force winds and rain. To be honest the main reason we went to Port Albert is the fish and chips. Highly recommended. I would give them a 7 out of ten. Sorry no pictures, we could hardly get out the car door as the wind was so strong.
Today (Thursday 27th) we thought we would do less driving and check out the town of Sale and its local attractions.
GIPPSLAND ART GALLERY
Some really interesting paintings, sculptures and drawings. I really liked the pieces from local artist Peter Cole. If your interested check out the link below.
Lovely gardens set next to Lake Guthridge. Named after the first Sale mayor, Nehemiah Guthridge. The lake was originally a bog, but Guthridge suggested converting it into a lake. There was also a playground and a peacock. Enjoy 😊
MOTHER AND CHILD MEMORIAL – VICTORIA PARK
For Mothers who were forcibly separated from their newborn babies without legal representation, justification or legislation.
“They never saw the beauty of their baby asleep, never heard their first words or saw their first steps. They did not take them to their first day of school or see them walk down the aisle”.
Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu (Victorian Parliamentary Apologies) 25.10.2012
SALE COMMON NATURE CONSERVATION RESERVE (wetland and boardwalk)
A pretty walk through gums and then the boardwalk, starting from the edge of the swamp, winds its way through deeper water and a small reed bed.
At the junction of the Thomson and Latrobe Rivers is located a spectacular, nineteenth century Swing Bridge. It was designed to swing open for shipping to and from the Port of Sale. Built of cast iron cylinders and fittings and wrought iron trusses, the bridge is 61 metres long with a central swing span of almost 46 metres. The bridge was built in 1880 to 1883. This bridge is the oldest surviving, intact, Swing Bridge in Australia. Pretty cool! The bridge can be seen working every weekend and is quite impressive. I have never seen one like it before.
Located about 348 Kms east of Melbourne. Although a minor gold rush was experienced in the mid-1800s, the town was primarily a resting place and later a supply town for miners. Great Pub and an entry point for the Alpine National Park, Avon Wilderness Park and Mitchell River National Park. Love this countryside. Pictures speak louder than words. We had lunch at the pub and enjoyed its decor.
MITCHELL RIVER NATIONAL PARK
The 14,250-hectare national park is situated approximately 320 kilometres east of Melbourne. We entered the park not really quite sure where this little dirt track was going to take us. We were heading for Billy Goat Bend camping site and walk. After winding up and down and around we came to this peaceful campsite (tents only). It has a great view of the river below and a couple of walks to enjoy the park.
Today (Saturday 29th) I got us a little bit lost but that is OK, we found this beautiful big lake that is inland off the coast of Golden and Paradise Beaches. They are part of the 90 mile beach.
PAYNESVILLE – BOATING CAPITAL OF VICTORIA (Evidently!)
So now we have found our way here. It is a really pretty cool place and lots of room for boats, fishing and just enjoying the scenery. With over 400 square Kms of waterways there is plenty of room to move. About 293 Kms east of Melbourne in the Gippsland Lakes area. We arrived to find a boat regatta in full swing. Lots of interesting old speed boats, sailing boats and even a shack boat with a band. Who knew?
Pretty much a 5-minute trip on the ferry from Paynesville and you are on Raymond Island. The island is about 6 Kms by 2 Kms and has lots of Koalas. So many in fact they have a Koala Walk. We saw seven koalas on our walk and there is also a board walk taking you along the coast if you wish. The island has a population (people) of around 500.
About 16 Kms up the road from Sale is Maffra. They had a farmers market today (Sunday 1st) and also a car show. Unfortunately none of the farmers turned up so no fruit and veg. But the cars were interesting.
We are on the road again tomorrow. Until next time… thanks for following. 🙂
Hello Everybody. We are off again. I hope you enjoy seeing Australia as Chris and I travel up the East coast and then over to Northern Territory.
We are staying at Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula for the next few days. The Peninsula is south east of Melbourne and covers an area of 724 square kilometres. It is a popular holiday spot for locals and tourists. From Stony Point you can catch a ferry across to French Island and then go onto Phillip Island. (Pedestrian ferry only)
Our brother in -law Bob told us that his Dad lived here at Stony Point for many years and there was some sort of dedication to his memory. We found this Buoy and Bob’s Dads name.
PORTSEA and SORRENTO Today (Thursday) we went to Portsea and Sorrento which is near the end of the Mornington Peninsula and about 110 Kms south of Melbourne. The two towns are set very close together. You can look out over Port Phillip Bay which was once a large flat plain where the Boonwurrung people hunted kangaroos and cultivated the yam daisy. The Portsea hotel was established in 1876 and overlooks the pier. With clifftop views, Portsea is known for having some of the most expensive real estate in Australia. There are some great shops in Sorrento and Chris found a cafe called ‘The Vanilla Slice’ so of course he had to try a slice.
We came across this little critter as we were driving into Point Nepean. He was a little shy and didn’t want to show his face. (or her face)
POINT NEPEAN At the point of the peninsula we went to the old quarantine station and I was amazed at how elaborate it was. To get a full history feel free to go to the website below. People arriving on ships could be very ill with typhus or measles and this was how it was dealt with.
Some of it is a sad but brave part of history. We were lucky enough to be able to wander around and go inside these beautiful two storey buildings, bath houses, cook house and the fumigation room.
We caught the train into the big smoke and met with friend and ex LHI colleague Judy and her husband Graham. It was great to catch up and we enjoyed a yummy lunch at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow pub on Bourke Street. Very nice. We then caught a tram down to the Casino and took a stroll along the south bank of the Yarra. Thanks for a good day Judy and Graham. 😊
REDHILL Redhill is in the middle of the peninsula pretty much and my choice of place. Beautiful rolling hills amongst the tall trees and farmland. Gorgeous.
Endeavour Fern Gully (as you pass through Redhill) is a 28-hectare National Trust property and features an un-spoilt fern gully. This Gully is one of the rare surviving areas of this type of indigenous bush land. At first you are just walking down a paddock and the next thing you are walking through tree ferns. The walk also takes you through woodlands and lots of beautiful gums. Nice way to start the day.
ARTHURS SEAT Wow, if you want to see the west side of the peninsula, go here! What a view and that is even before you go for a ride on the gondolas. Stunning views of the beach and surrounds. After our ride on the gondolas we drove down the hill to Dromana and sat on the waters edge for lunch. We then drove to Safety Beach and the Mornington Harbour. The weather was perfect. The sea was very calm and everyone was making the most of it from fishing off the pier, to sailing and paddle boarding.
Just off the southern coast of Victoria is Phillip Island. Famous for its Grand Prix circuit for World Superbikes and V8 Supercars, Phillip Island is also a popular tourist destination and I know now it is very popular with surfers. Every beach we visited they were there. The main town is Cowes and you can catch the ferry from Cowes to Stony Point as I mentioned earlier. Cowes has lots of shops, accommodation and a nice swimming beach. The island is small enough to drive around easily in a short time but if you want to check it out properly you could spend a leisurely weekend here. Fishing is also popular and there is no shortage of boats out in the water trying their luck.
FORREST CAVES – not sure what is behind the name but interesting at low tide.
THE NOBBIES – The Nobbies Centre is an ecotourism destination located at Point Grant, on the western tip of the island. You can wander around the boardwalk and peek at the penguins hiding in their little huts. There is also a blowhole in a cave to be seen.
PYRAMID ROCK – Yep another rock!
RYALL – We found this beautiful wood carving in the town of Ryall. The tree had to come down and so they decided to make a carving out of the stump and trunk. Stunning.
OK, I reckon I have covered enough in this blog, we keep on heading east tomorrow. Until then… thanks for following 🙂
Hello Everybody. As I mentioned in my previous blog, we will be staying close to home for a few more weeks before heading east. So, we have been staying at the Mt Pleasant caravan park. Nice little park managed by Dave who is really helpful and friendly. Mt. Pleasant is only 55 Kms from Adelaide in the hills and part of the Barossa Council. Every Saturday there is a market selling fresh produce and a great place to enjoy a cooked breakfast. Mt. Pleasant has 2 pubs, a butcher, 2 bakeries (1 does fish and chips too) and a gin distillery. You won’t go hungry if you ever choose to stay here. Everything is in walking distance from the park and there are some really nice little stone cottages to check out as you walk up the tree lined main street.
MT PLEASANT SUMMIT.
Chris and I went for a walk here and it took us through part of the Mt. Crawford Plantation Forest. It is an interesting walk as you get to see trees at all different stages, from seedlings to logs ready to be loaded up and taken away. They are used for housing, furniture and pallets. The trees can grow for up to 40 years. Of course, there is the local Kangaroos and Emus and if that is not enough the view from the summit is stunning. You can do anything from a 4 Km walk up to a 11 Km walk.
HALE CONSERVATION PARK
This bush walk is located just outside of Williamstown or about 21 Kms north west of Mt. Pleasant. It is a great track with a bit of everything from rocks, logs, creeks, Yakka bushes, great views and is only just over 4 Kms. But be sure to keep a look out for the wildlife. We found a brown snake sunning itself on the track. I really liked this walk as the track takes you through bush that is it mainly untouched.
While we were at Mt. Pleasant the ‘Santos Tour Down Under’ bike riders came through and Chris took a couple of shots. Lots of police, media and support cars. The bikes were here and gone again in a flash.
Hello Everybody, we have been staying here for the last week and I must say it is nice to be back in the van and travelling again even if it is only just down the road from home. Hindmarsh Island is about 93 Kms south of Adelaide and when you drive back over the bridge you find yourself in Goolwa. Of course, Hindmarsh Island is well known as the place where the Murray River meets the Southern Ocean. Captain Charles Sturt and Collet Barker identified and mapped the Murray Mouth in 1828.
In 2001 after some controversy with the locals, the bridge was completed, and this replaced the cable ferry that had been in use for about 140 years. This enabled simple access to the island and today has a population over a thousand with the ‘Coorong Quays’ a big attraction with its marina and new housing. Now if we were really clever we would have got a photo of the bridge for you, but you will have to google it. Oops. 🙂
MURRAY MOUTH – A short drive to the other side of the island and we are at the Murray Mouth. You will see the dredging is going on in the photo.
Along the coast are the towns of Goolwa, Middleton, Port Elliot and Victor Harbour. Goolwa and Port Elliot have markets on weekends, selling fresh produce as well as second-hand goods, clothing, hats, skin products etc. Love a market!
The Goolwa Barrages comprise five barrage structures in the channels separating Lake Alexandrina from the sea at the mouth of the River Murray and the Coorong. Nice spot for a picnic too if you wish.
If you are in the Victor Harbour (or Encounter Bay) and want to see it all at once, climb the bluff! It is actually called Rosetta Head, but everyone just calls it ‘The Bluff.’ Great views and a good walk to get the heart rate up.
Opposite the North East tip of Hindmarsh Island and about 40 Kms by road as you have to drive around the coast to get there. A pretty spot on the Murray and a good many sail boats and canoeing goes on here. Nice spot.
From Clayton Bay if you head north for about 12 Kms you get to Milang. This region has acres of vineyards and it is quite pleasant to drive through. Milang was a major port for the Murray River between 1860 and 1880 until railway took over. Again, a nice spot situated on the west of Lake Alexandrina. At this time of the year, all these little towns get booked out over the Australia Day long weekend due to the Goolwa Regatta.
Wellington is located at the point where the Murray River enters Lake Alexandrina, 102 km south-east of Adelaide via Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend. There is a cable ferry crossing here and a really nice pub on the rivers edge.
Well first blog with pictures for 2020. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time.
Chris and I will be on the move again in about 10 or so days. We will be staying fairly close to home until early February when we will start to head east. As you would have seen, Australia has been burning and is still burning. We will need to plan our trip carefully as we go but do intend to visit Victoria and New South Wales and support towns affected by the fires where we can.
So thanks for following us last year and we hope you enjoy our travels this year.
Loxton – a town on the south bank of the River Murray in the Riverland region approximately 256 Kms to Adelaide. A town known for its orchards, vineyards and Xmas lights. You can get your fill of oranges, apricots, avocados, wine, fresh eggs and plenty more. A pretty town with nice walks by the river or through the town. If you ever visit I would recommend the Pizza Bar in the main street. Not just pizza but chicken, fish and chips etc. Yummy! Thanks goodness for the nice walks.
The Big Pelican. It was first made for the Loxton Mardi Gras in 1979 and then permanently relocated to this spot near the river in 1998.
Tree of Knowledge. I found this really interesting and somewhat astounding to think the water levels of the river could ever reach this high.
Captain Charles Sturt
Loxton lights festival, now in its 28th year. We were not actually there on the night, but there are lots of Xmas lights happening around the town.
Fishing on the river bank.
Karoonda wheat silos. So many silos are now beautifully painted by many talented artists around Australia. You can now visit them by following the ‘Silo Art Trail’. We passed through Karoonda on our way to Murray Bridge and were welcomed by this spectacular art work.
To all of you that have followed, thank you and we hope you have enjoyed the trip. We will be having a Xmas break and resuming travelling next year once the weather cools a little. Chris and I wish everyone a really great Christmas and New Year. Be safe and look after each other. See ya next year xxx