Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200601 Australia-Vic

2006

 

SUNDAY 1 JANUARY – We are awake before 8am but go back to sleep until 10am.  We are both aching like mad and spend a lazy day pottering around.  After the hottest Melbourne New Years Eve on record we get a heavy rainstorm and a dramatic drop in temperature.

MELBOURNE 4 – KEW

 

MONDAY 2 JANUARY – It’s a bank holiday here but the local supermarket is open so we drive up to do a bit of shopping.  Spend the rest of the day festering around watching lots of movies.

MELBOURNE 5 – KEW                             

 

TUESDAY 3 JANUARY – Catch the tram into the centre of Melbourne alighting at Federation Square.  City library will not let visitors use the Internet so we make our way out some of the alleyways checking out the now famous graffiti before returning to the riverside.  The exhibition centre has been advertising sales of confiscated goods and such like but there is little to interest us.  At the Crown casino we pick up a cheap lunch from the snack bar, $3 (£1.35) pasta bolognaise and $2.90 (£1.30) fish & chips – obviously subsidised by the hundreds of people on the pokies machines.  The normal laser show in the foyers has been replaced by a Christmas special and we only have 5 minutes to wait to catch the next one.  It’s of the Disney meets Las Vegas style with circus and Santa Claus theme, very impressive.  We walk back along the south bank before returning to Federation Square for a brief look into some of the art galleries before heading home.

MELBOURNE 6 – KEW

 

WEDNESDAY 4 JANUARY – Kew library offer free Internet so we put in a couple of hours there before driving to Richmond.  Traffic is light as this is the main holiday period in Australia with the children off school until the end of the month.  Dimmey’s do cheap haircuts and you take a number from a dispenser and wait your turn.   There seem to be more foreigners living in this area than Australians so it comes as no surprise that I get a Greek girl cutting my hair, $13.50 (£6).  After a brief drive around the area we return to Bernie’s.

MELBOURNE 7 – KEW

 

THURSDAY 5 JANUARY – I walk up to Kew for the Internet whilst Steve stays behind and sunbathes until it gets too hot. 

MELBOURNE 8 – KEW

 

FRIDAY 6 JANUARY – Drive up to Kew for the Internet then spend the rest of the day around Bernie’s.

MELBOURNE 9 – KEW

 

SATURDAY 7 JANUARY – I get my last fix of the Internet, must sound like a bit of an addict but with many different things it the pipeline it all takes time.  Return to have a quick tidy up of the house before basking in the hot sun.  Bernie rings late afternoon to say they won’t be back until tomorrow.

MELBOURNE 10 – KEW

 

SUNDAY 8 JANUARY – Bernie has given us some vehicle décor tape so we give Billy a make over with a new turquoise and yellow strip along both sides.  The lads get back late afternoon and we take them for a Vietnamese meal at Tuy Tuy on Victoria Street.

MELBOURNE 11 – KEW

 

MONDAY 9 JANUARY – We leave around 9am and call in to Safeway’s for some fresh fruit and vegetables.  Spot a cooked turkey reduced from over $40 to $9 (£4) and can’t resist it even though the fridge is almost full.  Back at the van Steve carves it up to put in small bags and also manages to eat a fair amount for his breakfast!  We leave heading east through many adjoining suburbs until we arrive in Lilydale.  We’ve been told about an interesting sculpture garden in the area but no one at the Shire Offices know of it and we draw a blank in the library but are entertained by a children’s performer who it turns out is visiting Wem in Shropshire next year.  We try Como Nursery, which used to have a fairy gum nut garden but the owner tells us it has been closed for years and is overgrown.  The Black Spur ranges are very impressive with very tall trees and the ground covered in ferns.  After stopping for lunch just before Healesville we press on the Marysville and find Bruno’s sculpture garden”  $5 (£2.25) pp admission to his wonderful garden full of interesting and often quirky statues, many made of old junk.  We pass a happy hour wandering the many paths and take over 60 photographs.  Further along the same road we reach Steavenson Falls, $2 (90p) parking.   It’s only a short walk to an area at the bottom of the falls with view over the dramatic, high tumbling falls.  They are lit up at night so we go a bit further back along the road and drop down the Yellow Dog picnic area for the rest of the afternoon.  It’s a pretty spot by a stream and only 1 car comes down.  Return to the falls on dusk and this time walk over to the opposite side.  We are stunned to see a plaque telling that at this spot and on this day in 1978 4 teenagers were killed when a tree fell on them.  Return to the main viewing area for the best view, and it really does look good.  Get chatting to an elderly Welsh couple and find out that her brother, Lyn James, used to teach Steve PE at Adams grammar school.  He died 18 years ago of a heart attack whilst teaching but his wife still lives in Newport – small world.   Return to the Yellow Dog picnic area to be surprised by 4 cars racing down as it is after 10pm.  They only stop for a short time before racing back up the hill.  The rest of the night remains quiet.

MARYSVILLE – YELLOW DOG PICNIC AREA

 

TUESDAY 10 JANUARY – Just finishing breakfast when a couple of walkers come past.  One of the ladies works in the tourist office, gives us loads of info on walks in the area and invites us to her place for a shower tonight if we are still around.  In town we pick up some parks and walk info at the tourist office and can’t resist a quick fix on their free Internet computer.  The parks nearby are all part of the Yarra Ranges National Parks and the first one we visit is Lady Talbot Drive, just outside town.  It’s a narrow dirt track for about 15km but with sights along the way.  First stop is Phantom Falls where we make the 800m, mostly uphill, walk to view the falls – pleasant but not brilliant.  Keppel Falls 2km walk comes next and again they are OK but in fact better still when viewed from the lookout further along the road.  Beeches track is closed as some of the bridges are unsafe but we do visit Meeting of the Waters from the Taggerty car park.  Again a pleasant walk through the ferny forest but not spectacular.  Athol camping area makes a good lunch stop but with no shade we decide to press on.  Out of the park and back on the main road we drive past the Alpine Mountain section of the park and pull over to check out the Big Culvert – actually just a tall narrow road bridge that you view from down below.  Cambarville is a deserted sawmill and mining town, abandoned in 1970 after a big fire.  There’s a walk to be done in the area but it’s still very hot and we are whacked so just chill out for the rest of the afternoon.  In the night we are often walking by a loud sort of hoot crossed with a bark and think it may be wild ducks or geese.  Rain starts in the early hours.

CAMBERVILLE

 

WEDNESDAY 11 JANUARY  It’s raining quite heavily when we get up so we give the walk away and leave after a tasty bacon butty breakfast.  Heading east it’s a very winding narrow rugged mountain road.  The view would no doubt be excellent were it not so misty and cloudy.  We cross the peak of the Great Dividing Range at 1158m then drop down into the tiny village of Woods Point.  There doesn’t look to be much in the town but we stop for a coffee and Steve picks up a tourist information leaflet.  We are amazed to read that in its heyday it had the second richest gold mine in Victoria and the town had 36 pubs and a population of 4000.  It sound very interesting and with many walks from the town we decide to park up and hopefully explore if the rain stops.  Mid afternoon it is dry and sunny as we scramble up to the lookout with views into the mountains.  We follow the water racetrack constructed to supply water to the miners.  Steve has to take a closer look at the entrance to all the old mine sites but they look too dangerous for further exploration.  At the end of the track we seem to fighting our way through the jungle ducking under branches, pushing ferns aside and scrambling along an uneven narrow rarely used track.  We feel like Indiana Jones and the picture is complete when I find lots of small black leeches on my legs – good practice for the in Borneo!  We emerge into a clearing with a “Love Seat” and the chimneystack from a miner’s cottage in a pretty setting above a mountain stream.  Return along the Brewery Track with views along the valley with the Goulburn River running along the bottom.  It’s an attractive spot with picnic areas on one side of the riverbank and houses along the other – very similar to many of the small mountain villages in the European Alps.  Other than taking a picture of the most photographed petrol station in Australia (a rickety old wooden shack) there is nothing more to do in town so we head off.  Many gold mining sites were set up along this river valley and we pass through many hamlets and 25km north of Woods Point reach Knockwood Rest Area.  On the banks of the river it’s a cracking spot with grassy areas, shade, pit toilets and no one else around.  There are lots of the blue and red parrots known as Crimson Rosella, kookaburras to serenade us and the campfire for warmth – bliss.

KNOCKWOOD RESERVE

 

THURSDAY 12 JANUARY – We relocate to an even better spot at the far end of the reserve and now have steps down to the river where there is a pebbly beach and an area with deeper water.  With total privacy we strip off and make the most of it.  The water is quite chilly but crystal clear.  It makes a good lather when I wash a few clothes and we also clean all the mud off Billy.  Enjoy another campfire in the evening.

KNOCKWOOD RESERVE 2

 

FRIDAY 13 JANUARY – Steve heads off early before it gets too hot.  He’s on a mission to collect firewood, pick blackberries and explore the holes nearby that look like old mines.  There are lots of flies by the van but none by the river so we move down there for the day.  Late afternoon a car pulls up and Dave joins us by our campfire.  There’s a real problem this evening with thousands of tiny black bugs to the extent that we are eventually driven inside.  Once in the van the fly spray fails to kill them and we end up trying to squash them all with a cloth.  Dave comes back and tells us he has made some archaeological finds.  He shows us some mine diggings, a water race up on the hill and the remains of some sawpits that Steve thought were mind shafts.

KNOCKWOOD RESERVE 3

 

SATURDAY 14 JANUARY – Following the course of the river we pass many more campgrounds but none as nice as Knockwood and most are really busy.  The first town we reach is Jamieson where we pick up some milk.  Turn off to Gough’s Bay then out on the dirt road to Lake Eildon.  We head into an area known as “The Pines”, a sort of island in the middle of the lake.  There are many camping areas but so little water in the lake that walking over the mud flats to get to it is not appealing.  Water level is only 40% so it must have looked much worse last year when it dropped to 8%; at least now some of the boat ramps are in the water!   Picnic Point camping area is empty and there are plenty of shady sites on grass and even more invitingly no flies.  The tranquillity is broken from time to time by the roar of trail bikes riding along the many tracks in the area.

LAKE EILDON – PICNIC POINT.

 

SUNDAY 15 JANUARY – The nearest big town is Mansfield and it’s surprisingly busy for a Sunday.  We amble round and see the monument to the 3 Police officers murdered by Ned Kelly, do a bit of shopping at the IGA and buy a few things at the market.  Pause for lunch at the Botanical Gardens before heading towards the King Valley.  The road takes us along one the steep valley sides with fantastic views.  A 3km dirt track takes us up to Powers Lookout where one of Ned Kelly’s mates Harry Powers was captured.  There are a few secluded campsites each with a table and chairs and fire pit.  As soon as we park up a Finish couple come over and express interest in buying Billy.  They look him over then join us for a chat and a drink.  Think they are interested but wanted sooner than March when we want to sell it.  Number 2 lookout is by the car park and really good but the walk and climb up and down ladders to Number 1 lookout is even more rewarding.  Our final walk is to the small but permanent waterhole that kept Harry alive when he was holed up here.  Enjoy a fly free, quiet and warm night.

POWERS LOOKOUT

 

MONDAY 16 JANUARY – We couldn’t resist a big pork steak being sold off for 99c (45p) yesterday so Steve starts the day with steak and eggs.  The main road drops down into the King Valley and we see dozens of Utes on the road.  Over the weekend there has been a big Cattleman’s Rally at Whitfield and the cowboys gather from all over Victoria and parts of New South Wales.  We see a couple heading off on horseback with their bedrolls on the back.   The Valley is lined with wineries but it’s a bit early in the day to call for a tasting.  Just before Edi the camping spot known as Edi Cutting is on the banks of the King River.  At the northern end of the site beyond the last clearing we find a track leading to our own secluded spot.  The fruit bushes are laden with cherries, yellow and red plums and blackberries.  Steve has soon filled a carrier bag with cherries and plums, which I stew to go with some fresh cream and also end up with some cordial for drinks.  Take lots of cooling dips in the King River and sit out until late in the evening.

EDI CUTTING

 

TUESDAY 17 JANUARY – It’s really hot at 8am so we get up early to enjoy our fruit breakfast before doing the washing.  The rest of the day is spent eating fruit based meals and going for swims.

EDI CUTTING 2

 

WEDNESDAY 18 JANUARY – We do a last fruit pick and get 3 carrier bags of fruit.  Turn off into the Milawa Gourmet region and stop at Miranda winery for tasting.  It may be the time of day but we are not impressed with any of their offerings.  Next stop is Milawa mustards where in addition to tasting many homemade types of mustard and pickles there is an art gallery with photographs taken by the owner Anna Bienvenu.  They are excellent and of many of places we have visited.  With out taste buds tingling we head to Brown Brothers winery and thoroughly enjoy all the wines we try especially the Shiraz.  2km outside the town there is a cheese factory adjoining Wood Park winery so a good chance to sample cheeses followed by the wine.  In this area they seem very happy for you to sample lots of wines, give a generous tasting and don’t make you feel obligated to buy anything at all.  We are just sampling the port when the phone rings.  Brad from Mildura is very interested in buying Billy but would like us to send lots of photographs of the interior.  Nearby is a camping spot on the Ovens River by Tarrawingee. It’s completely empty so we set about emptying out the van to try and make it look more spacious in the photos.  After well over an hour we have done our best only to receive a phone call from Brad to say he would rather meet up with us tomorrow to see for himself whereupon we agree to meet in Benalla.  We’re exhausted and during our photo session the car park has pulled up and we now have lots of grandparents with their grandchildren, dogs and even two horses sharing the beach and river with us.   It’s another really hot day so they are obviously spending the heat of the afternoon by the river as by early evening we are along again.

NR TARRANWINGEE, OVENS RIVER

 

THURSDAY 19 JANUARY – Our journey to Benalla takes us through Glenrowan of Ned Kelly fame.  His grew up here and Kate’s museum $4.50 (£2) has a replica of his parents house for you to walk around plus lots of other interesting info on the Kelly Gang.  In the main street a man who looks like an old miner, with a big long bushy grey beard, accosts us.  He’s outside Dad & Dave’s and offers us a sample of a pikelet with the promise of the same but served with cream in the café nearby.  He also tells us about the other tourist attractions in town then bids us on our way.  There is a big “Disney” like “Last Stand” show but at $18 (£8) for ½ hour we took the book recommendation and did Kate’s instead.  I pose for a photo by the giant Ned Kelly statue before continuing to Benalla.  On the banks of the Broken River it’s quite a large town with major supermarkets and lots of shops.  We park by the tourist office and admire the nearby ceramic art based on Gaudi with an amphitheatre, seating and 2 musical pipes that you play with a thong (flip flop to you poms) – most excellent.  After a quick walk around town we meet up with Brad and his daughter Sandy.  He is not overly enthusiastic but says wants the van at $9000 (£3900) and we can use it until 24th March – the day before we fly out.  He says he will phone to organise a deposit when he gets home on Saturday.  However he is on his way to Melbourne to view a car for his daughter and we think also to look at other campervans.  We return to the town and visit the lakeside art gallery where the only thing that impresses us is a huge tapestry of a Sydney Nolan picture of the Kelly Gang.  At the library Internet research is free and E-mail $2 (90p) ½ hour.  Just time to do a bit of shopping before heading out to the racecourse.  There is a twilight meeting on tomorrow and now we are here we reckon we might as well take it in.  Park up by the side of the track.

BENALLA RACECOURSE

 

FRIDAY 20 JANUARY – At first light we hear horses galloping around the track.  The morning is a hive of activity with horses and jockeys arriving and with us stewing another batch of fruit.  It’s a very hot day but luckily there is a breeze.  The races start at 3.40pm and we are just about to head to the grounds when the phone rings with an enquiry about Billy. Sarah lives 1 ½ hours away (relatively nearby for an Aussie) at Shepparton and keen to come over to view even though we tell her it may be sold.  Admission to the track is $8 (£3.50) adult plus $2 (90P) race programme.  With no time to study form we chuck $5 (£2.20) on any old horse in the first race.  We follow the crowds up to a viewing terrace with an air-conditioned bar behind.  Needless to say our horse comes nowhere so we retire to the bar to study form.  Coffee and tea are free and it’s only after we have helped ourselves and sat down that we see that everyone else has a badge on saying “owner”.  It seems we have got ourselves in the owner’s bar and make the most of it until it is time to put our bets on the next race.  There are few people around so it’s easy to get a seat from which to watch the race.  This time we are lucky to have backed the winner but with low odds.  We’ve just put our money on for the third race when the phone rings to say Sarah is in the car park.  She’s arrived with her son Elijah and Mum Margaret.  They plan to travel together around Australia and both think Billy is fantastic and absolutely perfect for what they want.  We explain that the man who saw it yesterday was also interested and was getting back to us on Saturday.  They appreciate that we have given him first refusal but say they would definitely want it at the full $9500 (£4.250), offer us half the money up front, use of the van until we leave and the balance of payment a week before that.  They are so keen it is tempting to take their offer but my conscience won’t let me and we are unsure of Australian rules regarding a spoken deal.   Return to the races to find we have had a 2nd and 3rd placing but that’s the end of our luck for the day as far as the races go and we finish with a small loss but have had a fantastic afternoon.  The heat continues into the evening and culminates in a storm with brief but heavy rain, thunder and lightening.

BENALLA RACECOURSE 2

 

SATURDAY 21 JANUARY – We head off to the old town of Beechworth and park up to walk around the main historical precinct with lots of buildings linked to the Ned Kelly saga including a court room where he appeared and the cell where he was imprisoned.  It’s too hot to walk far so we make the short drive to Murray Breweries, a little gem of a place where you can sample the cordials they make.  On the same premises and for only $1 (45p) admission you can visit the underground carriage museum with lots of examples and also a light horse museum.  Back in the car we drive around Lake Sambell then out to the cemetery where the Chinese section with burning towers and altar is particularly interesting.  There’s a 5km one-way gorge trail on the edge of town and driving through the forest with far reaching views it’s hard to believe you are on the edge of Beechworth.  There’s a pretty little stream in the bottom and an area near the bridge with rapids and swimming holes – a lovely spot.  Returning to the Great Alpine Road we reach Myrtleford and head to the Ovens riverside Apex Park for lunch.  We park in the shade of the trees and head down to the Oven when we want to cool off.  Return to town in the evening to catch Mum in England at the start of her special *0 birthday.  We knew we would not be in England at the time so took her to Blackpool for a meal and a show last year and today Netty is doing the same and taking her to see Aladdin.  She’s really perky and sounds wonderful.  Regarding selling Billy we spoke to Bernie earlier in the day and learnt that there was nothing legally binding in our agreement with Brad and now realise that if he was that keen to buy he could have gone to a bank ATM to get us a cash deposit.  Brad hasn’t come back to us so we phone up Margaret who is absolutely delighted that they are going to get Billy.  She is originally from Derby and so comfortable dealing with fellow Englishmen that she offers even more than half as her deposit.  Heading further south we are on the lookout for somewhere to camp for the night and strike it lucky just north of Eurobin (not Euro Trash) where a side road (sp to deer and emu farm complex) leads us to the Ovens River and a small track to the right gives us a spot to park up.  We’re completely shaded by trees but still need to cool down in the river.

EUROBIN, BY OVENS RIVER

 

SUNDAY 22 JANUARY – Another very hot day expected with the temperature soaring to over 40C so what better place to be than here.  Stew a bit more fruit in the morning.  Just 3 lots of people come down to the beach so we enjoy being nude most of the day.

EUROBIN 2, BY OVENS RIVER

 

MONDAY 23 JANUARY – We are on the road before 8am, as Steve wants to be by a phone at 9am when a batch of Commonwealth Games swimming tickets is released.  Also we want to do a micro light trip from Porepunkah so head out to the airfield.  Eagle offer a 20 min tandem flight over Mount Buffalo but conditions are not good today.  No luck with the games tickets, as the phone lines are constantly busy.  Back on the Alpine Road we are aware of many tobacco and fruit farms.  Bright is a bustling tourist town with good swimming in the river.  After walking round the town we detour up the valley to Wandiligong and make a pleasant lunch stop in the Alpine Park.  On the banks of the Moses Creek we are enjoying a dip where a pool has been created in the middle of the stream, until a lady shouts out a warning that a snake is coming towards us.  Not sure who takes the quickest evasive action but by the time we are out on the bank the snake has disappeared onto the opposite bank.  Passing back through Bright we are impressed by a free swimming and picnic area at the southern end of town.  The river is deeper here and there is a straight slide, curly slide, diving board and swimming pool. We want to camp nearby ready for our flight tomorrow.   In Germantown we take the turning towards Mount Beauty then first right over the river.  We soon find a track leading us to another nice waterside camping spot where once again we cool off in the Oven.

GERMANTOWN, OVENS RIVER

 

TUESDAY 24 JANUARY – Wake up to find a couple of magnificent large colourful parrots by the van.  With a 9.30am flight to catch we head back through Bright.  Still unsure who we are selling Billy to we stop to make a few phone calls and confirm with Margaret and Sarah.  Also receive a call to say our flight is cancelled due to strong high winds.  Guess it’s something we are not meant to do.  About turn and head through Harrietville, the start of ski country.   The road climbs steeply into the Alps where bare trees are a stark reminder of the devastating fires that raged through here for over 1 month in 2003.  Initially we get good views but soon enter the clouds at which point the temperature drops dramatically.  Visibility drops to barely a cars length but we do get a break to see the razorback just before reaching the summit at Hotham (1862m).  It’s a major ski resort but we are struggling just to keep on the road and can see nothing either side of us.  We stop for a half hour coffee break but it doesn’t clear.  It’s much the same further along at the resort of Dinner Plains, a very interesting purpose built village with individual timber and corrugated houses.  Many of the houses have apt names such as Mountain Mist!  They all have what looks like a miniature wooden house on stilts at the front entrance and it turns out that this is the rubbish bin and it’s designed to still be visible in the snow.  We drive around the loop and get out to look at the $1m + (£500,000) show home but it’s too cold to be outside for long.  As we drop down towards the high plains visibility improves but it’s still cold when we turn off to Victoria Falls.  There’s a nice camping spot but we don’t feel like the long walk to the falls.  Kosciusko lookout is a bit of a joke with nothing but clouds to be seen.  Oriental Claims is a worthy stop and after lunch we go on the gold walk and are impressed by the strangely shaped cliffs formed by sluicing.  The Pioneer Lookout also gives us a good view of another cliff area.  Omeo is a small town with a large Art Deco style motel and a nice historical park.  At Swifts Creek we get Internet for $3 (£1.35) hour.  We turn off the main highway at Doctors Flat and follow the Tambo River in search of a nice camping spot.  The first few turn offs are really poor but we suddenly drop on a beauty.  Down at river level we are in a grassy area and people have used rocks to alter the flow of the river and create a nice pool.  It’s absolutely idyllic.  It’s late afternoon and although the sun has finally broken through it’s not hot and into the evening the temperature drops and we get a cold night.

TAMBO RIVER, BETWEEN DOCTORS FLAT AND EMBSAY (1/2 km N of Huggins Creek)

 

WEDNESDAY 25 JANUARY – A glorious day so we get stuck in to the washing and even rig up a line so we can do all the bedding.  Next follows more fruit stewing with a break for coffee.  I’ve spotted gold specks in the streams and we end up spending a good few hours panning for gold (with a trowel, sieve and bucket lid!) and finding a number of bits.  Steve is truly engrossed looking for a big nugget so I leave him to it and make some rice pudding to go with the stewed fruit.  I return to the gold panning and in addition to lots of no doubt worthless grains we pull out a few rocks with worthless specks stuck on them.  Whilst sitting in the stream Steve has seen blackberry bushes on the far bank so our final task of the day is to wade over and collect some.  A busy but most enjoyable day in superb surroundings. 

TAMBO RIVER 2

 

THURSDAY 26 JANUARY – It’s really hot by the time we wake up and very tempting to stay but we need phone contact to check on the van sale.  It’s Australia Day and traffic is light.  Between Ensay and Bruthen we pass many quirky place names, Piano Bridge Creek, Dead Horse Flat, Tucker Box Flat, Haunted Creek, Pig & Whistle, Princes Downfall and Mount Little Dick to name just a few.  In Bruthen we make a phone call and learn that Margaret has a hefty $7000 (£3000) cash deposit ready for us and has arranged for us to receive it from Lakes Entrance Post Office tomorrow.  We don’t want to go much further so just out of Bruthen turn off towards Swan Reach. We are still following the Tambo River and just opposite Tambo Upper school I spot a track signposted to a landing.  We reach a nice but very busy riverside picnic area.  Being Australia Day holiday lots of families have gathered to wallow in the shallow sandy-bottomed river with shade from overhanging trees.  It seems to be the done thing to find a shady spot, sit in the river and drink your beer.  Oh well – when in Rome…. Once the afternoon visitors have left we have time for a skinny dip before the evening crowd arrive.  They leave on dark and after that we have the place to ourselves and even take a late dip just before going to bed.  It’s not quite the quiet night we expect as they start pumping water out of the river and a cow begins bellowing nearby!

TAMBO UPPER, TAMBO RIVER BY THE LANDING

 

FRIDAY 27 JANUARY  We are woken by an early morning motorised parasail-flying overhead.  Head to Lakes Entrance, which is very, busy at the height of the holiday season.  It’s a beautiful area with lots of rivers, lakes and ocean frontage.  The town feels like an up market Blackpool with lots of souvenir shops.  We last visited in October 2000 on a cold rainy day so it looks much betters now and there’s even a big new Safeway shopping centre.  After an hour’s free Internet at the library we head to the Post Office and receive the $7000 in cash.  Try to look nonchalant walking out with a wad of banknotes in a Post Office carrier bag.  We haven’t managed to open a bank account as yet so head back to the van to stash it away.  Doubling back to the western end of town we stop for lunch at the boat ramp waterside car park with free hot showers.  Back in town we spend over ½ hour opening a Commonwealth Bank account to deposit most of the money.  Unlike England most accounts here incur a monthly charge plus other fees but we manage to find one that does not.   Finally leave town at 3pm and turn off just east of Nowa Nowa on to Lakes Tyers House Road.  A rough 15km of dirt road takes us to Glasshouse camping area but this doesn’t fit the description of the place where Bernie said to meet.  Back track and take the first turning on our right to find camping behind the dunes leading to 90-mile beach.  Bernie arrives about ½ hour later having driven the 350km from Melbourne.  We walk over a couple of hills to check out the beautiful long sandy beach.  The very hot day has now become humid and there’s thunder rumbling around.  Bernie just manages to get his awning up before the heavens open.  Fortunately the rain doesn’t last for long and we are able to sit out for the rest of the afternoon.  Phone David to wish him a Happy 27th birthday but get the answer phone.

LAKE TYERS NP, 90 MILE BEACH

 

SATURDAY 28 JANUARY – With a nice start to the day we begin to set up camp proper and put our awning out.  We reward ourselves with a visit to the beach where Steve and Bernie take a dip in the cool rough ocean before we all enjoy a short walk.  The day’s turns out just like yesterday and culminates in a late storm for which we are well prepared and even collect a bucket full of rainwater.  Join Bernie in his van to watch “The Bill” in the evening.

LAKE TYERS NP 2, 90 MILE BEACH

 

SUNDAY 29 JANUARY – Although sunny it’s a damp morning and having hung the bedding out to air I realise why when Bernie says the humidity is 86%.  With the van sale secured we begin tidying out under the seats.  In the afternoon we enjoy a long walk along the beach with lots of dips into the ocean and not a soul in sight.  I cook up a pasta dish for us all to enjoy in the evening and round it off with a chocolate and cream fondue to dip our plums into. 

LAKE TYERS NP 3, 90 MILE BEACH

 

MONDAY 30 JANUARY – We wake to a miserable morning; it’s cold, windy and showery.  A walk over the dunes to the beach reveals a windswept beach and rough seas.  The day is spent playing cards, scrabble, and reading and rounded off with a game of Rummy Kub at Bernie’s. 

LAKE TYERS NP 4, 90 MILE BEACH

 

TUESDAY 31 JANUARY – Well it’s a dull morning but at least it is dry and warmer.  We walk to the Glass House area and explore the spot where the old kilns were.  The chimney is surrounded by fantastic long stemmed large budded flowers and looks very attractive backed by the lake.  There’s a blackberry bush nearby and we gather enough for a feed.  It’s bright enough in the afternoon for us to sit out by the van.

LAKE TYERS NP 5, 90 MILE BEACH

 

 

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