Posted by: glenswatman | January 18, 2011

20110101-15 AUSTRALIA Victoria

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SATURDAY 1 JANUARY 2011 – We all have a bit of a lie in. The family is due back tomorrow so we set about making sure everything is in order including some more irrigation. Having had rain for the first 2 weeks of our stay it is now strange to have to be irrigating about 3 times a week. I have some nice pool boys with Steve & Grant working in tandem to clean up the pool area. Steve accidentally created a white mark on the coffee table when he put a tea bag on some newspaper and it soaked through. On the Internet I find these white marks can be removed by putting a cloth on top and then using a steam iron. It is amazing that the minute the steam gets on the table the white mark just vanishes. In the afternoon we take a drive down to the river to see where Jamie, Alicia and family are camped. They have a great spot right by the river with a reasonable amount of privacy and have a superb camp set up. Almost makes us wish we were here again in a motorhome.

SUNDAY 2 JANUARY – In the morning Grant & Anne go off to do some jobs and to visit Jamie and family. I finish off tidying the house and cook up a curry and a plum and apricot crumble. The dogs seem to sense something is going on and are delighted when Garth, Jude and Ellie drive up around 2pm. Jude is really pleased with how tidy the house is and Garth is amazed by the how green everything is and how much growth there has been. Grant & Anne return and we all sit out chatting over dinner. There are so many things we want to know about the South America trip that it is nonstop. By sheer coincidence not only were they in Puerto Montt the same day we were last year but the H&L Veendam (our ship) was in port at the same time and they have photos. Jude checks out Kat (the sick chick) and says she is sure she will live and is pleased we managed to save her.

MONDAY 3 JANUARY – Our house-sitting duties over we are ready to head back to Melbourne with Grant & Anne. First they pick up a cake to take down to Alicia for her birthday. It’s around 10am when we head off properly. Our lunch stop is in Birchip where the bull statue is often photographed because of its tackle. Back in Sunbury we enjoy a delicious roast lamb dinner before settling down for a quiet night. There’s a big difference in temperature necessitating me wearing my leggings and socks around the house.

TUESDAY 4 JANUARY – We need to organise our visa for India and intended taking the train into the city but Grant is so kind he insists on driving us. In the Docklands we soon find the visa offices but when our number is called we find they need a copy of our Australia visa paperwork. Fortunately there is an internet café next door, even though his 9am opening is nearer 10am. Everything else goes quite smoothly and we pay our $110 (£75) each then find it will take 10 – 15 working days to process. The web site says 4 to 5 but she says ours will be longer because we are UK passports. The 15th working day is the day we fly out so fingers crossed we will be OK. Grant takes us on a real tour around starting with the rail freight depot where he works. Nearby we see the Lonely Planet head offices and then move on to Moonie Ponds area, home of Dame Edna Everage. Grants childhood home is directly opposite Essendon stadium and he points down the road to where Steve Irwin used to live. Grant has been a Police Office and Paramedic in the Air Ambulance service and at the airport calls us a colleague. Shane Foster invites us into the Air Ambulance depot and we get a terrific tour going into the plane, helicopters and other behind the scenes spots. Gee it’s great when you know someone local. It actually gets even better in the evening as Grant’s friend Bruce gets us into the Ansett Aviation Training so we can go on the proper simulators used by the pilots. There are 12 in the building and for us he picks the Virgin Pacific 737-800, a $15m machine. Bruce briefs us and we take our seats, Bruce as Captain and me as co-pilot. The animation is amazing and you feel every bump of the concrete as you taxi down the runway. We fly over Melbourne then land at the airport. Bruce re programmes it for me to do a landing. It’s quite nerve-racking coming in and constantly checking the screen but I manage it and although it is a bit on the heavy side Bruce says we would all have walked. Steve takes his turn and does about as well as me. Probably the worse is Daniele who crashes.

WEDNESDAY 5 JANUARY – I find that I have developed a urine infection so Grant takes me to the chemist but they cannot sell me antibiotics. Luckily Daniele works at a doctor’s surgery and gets me an appointment for this afternoon. We all head off to Hanging Rock, made famous by the mystery movie called “Picnic at Hanging Rock” where people go missing. It is a stunning location with lots of split rocks to clamber over. We get amazing views all around and really enjoy the climb. Risk a picnic lunch in the grounds and all survive. Next stop is the cross on the hill with more fine views. At the doctors they are extremely thorough. Before seeing the doctor a nurse checks my vitals and asks many questions. The doctor is also very thorough doing a urine test and sending another off for analysis and giving me a prescription for antibiotics. They bulk bill so all I have to pay is $10.20 (£7) for the prescription.

THURSDAY 6 JANUARY – The great thing about the antibiotics I got yesterday is that they work really quickly and I am already feeling very much better. Grant & Anne have kindly offered to drive us to Rye on the Mornington Peninsula and will combine the journey with trying to find and photograph an old family home. Anne is really into genealogy and has shown us some of the amazing things she has unearthed. We met Ted & Kristi up at Taylorwood in August and they have invited us to stay with them at their holiday home. As soon as we arrive Grant recognises them from when they used to go to swim night’s years ago. They are invited to join us all for coffee and some wonderful Christmas biscuits that Kristi has made the same way they do in Czech Republic where she comes from. It’s a large holiday home with 3 bedrooms so we will be very comfortable. Unfortunately we are not the only ones to think so as we get a dead animal smell and when Ted takes some of the corrugated iron sheets of the roof he finds a dead rat. Think there may be more as at night we hear something scratching around.

FRIDAY 7 JANUARY – Kristi guides us on a long walk first to the nearby beach and then on forest tracks. Ted has another look under the roof and finds another dead rat and says in future he will use traps rather than poison. Kristi likes playing Scrabble so we fit in a few games in the afternoon. Ted’s been shopping and we kick off the evening meal with some freshly BBQ’d prawns followed by salmon, yummy.

SATURDAY 8 JANUARY – Ted wants to take us sightseeing so we head off in the car. We check out some of the local beaches with very expensive beach huts, many costing more than a normal house inland. Kristi guides us past the most expensive houses on the peninsula where we notice many have full size tennis courts in their front garden. There’s a polo match being played in Point Nepean National Park but you can still get in to see the sights. We’ve already walked a couple of Kim’s from the car and it’s another 1 ½ to the 1852 Quarantine Station in blazing sun. Luckily Ted makes the decision to go back for the car and meet us there. There aren’t many buildings open to visitors but we do learn enough to realise how the system worked and I can tell you it pays to travel first class as those passengers had meals cooked for them and stayed in nice rooms whilst the people in steerage had to do their own washing and cooking. It is so hot we decide to return home and sit out playing Scrabble. At the start of the game the sun is shining and we are all hot but by the time we finish and cool change has come through, the temperature has dropped about 10C and it is raining, hasn’t taken long for the rain to catch up with us this time.

SUNDAY 9 JANUARY – Ted inspires us for our next European motorhome trip by showing us places they have visited in Czech Republic and neighbouring countries. In return I show him how to get cheaper flights and cruises. Ted takes us to Sorrento to catch the 2pm ferry across to Queenscliff on the Belarine Peninsula, $10 (£7) foot passengers. Norm is stood waiting for us complete with a sign saying “C of A Dept Imm Visa Check” and informing us that this ferry crossing has not counted as us going overseas! It’s nice to get back to their home and this time we are in the downstairs guest area as upstairs is getting really hot. Bev has set up the room perfectly with a new TV for Steve to watch and a separate area with a table for me to use the computer – guess they know us too well.

MONDAY 10 JANUARY – The rain has certainly caught up with us again but we are faring much better than the people in Queensland. I join Bev for a visit to her Mum Joan at Drysdale then an Internet session. In the afternoon Steve goes out with Norm on his new boat but the fish are not biting. Over our evening meal we talk over our Swatour plan for the summer with Bev & Norm hoping to join us for the Scandinavia and Baltic leg.

TUESDAY 11 JANUARY – Steve & Norm brave the drizzle and head off to fish. Bev & I walk into Ocean Grove and can’t believe how hot and humid it is, much like the tropics it feels. She visits Joan in the afternoon and I go to the library. Our India visa has been processed and is awaiting collection, so much for 10 – 15 working days it is ready in 5. Steve & Norm have a good session and bring back 34 whiting and some mussels. Evening news shows a flash flood that has devastated the Queensland city of Toowoomba and with more rain coming Brisbane could be the next to suffer, makes our drizzle seem like nothing.

WEDNESDAY 12 JANUARY – It is Norm’s birthday today so we all go out to lunch at Clifton Springs Golf Club. The restaurant overlooks the ocean and the meal is excellent. In the evening Bev has invited their son Brad plus Norm’s sister Geoff and husband Ruby round for dinner. She has cooked a leg of lamb and we have a real feast. Today has been very hot and humid, so bad that the tiles on the floor are sweating.

THURSDAY 13 JANUARY – We’ve still got drizzle but at least it is warm. Today on the Internet I order the awning for our motorhome. In the afternoon Grant calls round with our passports, he has been out to Point Impossible beach with Jamie and family and although they managed a walk and dip in the sea it never stopped drizzling. Bev & Norm are out at a friend’s in the evening so we settle in and enjoy a long soak in the bath.

FRIDAY 14 JANUARY – Now that we have our India visa I feel we are really going so get on with preparation beginning by dying my hair a light brown colour. Whilst blonde is not a big problem it does get a bit tiresome having people keep pointing you out or trying to touch your hair. I also modify some tops so that they are less revealing. Steve & Norm head out for some afternoon fishing once the weather improves but don’t catch much.

SATURDAY 15 JANUARY – At last some nice sunny weather, so hot that in the afternoon I have to seek shade! Knowing we won’t be getting many steaks in India we treat ourselves and Norm BBQ’s the thick juicy porterhouse steaks to perfection.



  1. Hello my friends! How are you all doing?
    I saw the flood in Australia and I worry about it. Where you far from it? I hope so.Oh..indian is the next stop! Very nice.
    I came back last week. The trip was great. Latin America is a nice place to visit. Friendly people, great scenaries, history.
    It is not easy to drive about 11 000 mostly across deserts and high mountains. The oxygen level is a problem above 4000 meters. But we survived! hehe
    In Aguas calients I saw a motorhome the same you will use in Europe. I have a picture. It was a french motorhome( the plate).
    Machu Picchu is a special place. Atacama desrt is marvelous. A lot of nice places to visit.
    We enjoyed the trip very much.
    Greetings from Brazil.
    P.S please send me your email address.

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