A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: twodubfers

Names I know you'll love

Three new States: New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria

sunny 28 °C

This time we’ve actually been to :
Tooleybuc, Semaphore, Port Fairy, Echuca,
Mitta Mitta and Junee, near Wagga Wagga,
Hahndorf, Port Noarlunga and Gundagai
We got home this afternoon and happy to be here:

As we drove into our little parkland at the back of our house, we were glad to see that the kookaburras are still here and making their usual racket and so, too, are the wallabies, black cockatoos, water fowls, and rabbits – it’s just a pity they’ve chopped the tops off the pretty bush fences at the side of the house, but then we don’t do the gardenening and I guess there’s always going to be a compromise isn’t there! But please leave the bushes as they are meant to be …. Says I !!!

The places and place names we’ve stayed at and travelled through have amused us everywhere. To start with even Tea Gardens isn’t your usual cup of tea now is it! But we’ve loved every step of the way – it’s been another life on the road with our dog who has always been her usual very tolerant and fun dog but then Skippy isn’t your average dog anyway. She frightened the life out of us at 7.30 this morning, as we were leaving Junee and driving into the rising sun. We came across a wide road width with a very large mob of sheep, and just pulled up in time! In keeping with her breed – she’s a kelpie (as seen in the movie Red Dog) after all, and immediately barked at them all and ran across the back seat of the car where she always sits. She couldn’t take her eyes off them. It was just the right thing for her to do of course and even from inside the car they heard her quite clearly and scuttled across the road, clearing the way for us! Good dog Skippy.

We’ve travelled exactly 4601 kms in a month, from leaving home to returning home, sometimes retracing our steps from 50 years ago, and often meeting up with some family and friends and we have definitely and eaten and drunk far too much – but loved it all.

It was teeming with rain when we left and pretty cold in Sydney where we started our trip, with a top temperature of 21. By the time we had driven across the Hay Plains and into Adelaide it was in the high 30s, and for a couple of days in Adelaide it reached 41 degrees. This has continued in Sojuth Australia - our driest state and along with Perth, a city with extremely high summer temperatures. Yesterday in Wagga it was 36 degrees and now we are home again it's just 26. But so far no cyclones or storms which they have had in Queensland. Buderim has had very heavy rain for a week now.

Tomorrow it’s washing, and more washing, then washing the van to prepare it for storage - it's going to bed for a few months at least.

To keep that smile on your face, here are a few more of our local place names for you to laugh at:

Motto Farm, Bulahdelah (pronounce that one if you can!), Gulgong, Dungog, Wagga Wagga, Wee Waa, Woy Woy, Tallangatta, Khancoban, Curl Curl and Pretty Beach …

…. More next time folks!

Posted by twodubfers 01:40 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Rolling Along the Great Ocean Road

Crowds and bumpy roads and a snapped cable



It is a photographic opportunity with not too many stops in between, but the 141 km stretch of the Great Ocean Road which links Torquay in Victoria to Allandale in South Australia, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

For one thing, there are stunning views of the ocean, especially at parking stops at The Bay of Islands, Twelve Apostles and London (?) Bridge with the densely forested National Park of Cape Otway – but driving conditions do leave a bit to be desired – we think!

It’s a single lane each way all the way and the surface is poor. There is always lots of traffic, mostly tourists in speeding cars, buses, and how can we ever forget the surging Motorhome contingents – who, dare I say, seem to be mostly from countries where speeding and overtaking are essential parts of the driving test. The number of tourists at The Twelve Apostles, for instance, was astounding, so much so that we had to wait our turn to take a photograph or 3.

A Luna Park roller coaster ride (that once was) is certainly comparable with the rolling and bouncing nature of the ‘levelness’ of the road. Here and there – and mostly up extremely steep roads – could be seen the occasional B & B, or guest house. Certainly they would have spectacular views from their guestroom – but their journey to the beach should they decide against a very steep walk up into the rainforest, would be hazardous to say the least.

Caravan parks are few and far between – some free stops too – and we even found a Top Tourist park that didn’t take dogs! Streuth – I had overlooked that bit of info! Warrnambool, Port Campbell and Apollo Bay were simply overflowing with tourists that we decided to head east and get to Lorne – especially as we discovered a snapped cable which meant we no longer had brakes to the caravan and the hairpin bends through the forest were quite tricky.

At the end of a disappointing day (our first one in our entire caravanning history) we drove into the megacity of Lorne on the banks of the river. Thankfully we found a dog friendly site – but again another disappointment. Crowded nose to tail as it were, no grass and $38 a night for a dirty and dusty site opposite the rubbish bins, then in the morning a cold shower from the hot tap, dirty sinks and sandy floors – we couldn’t wait to leave.

Fortunately, as I write this, we are being well taken care of by Lorne Automotive Services. Friendly smiling staff, coffee, toilets and a mended cable, we are glad to have found this chap even though he is right at the top of one of the steepest roads we have ever driven up – with van!!!

For those of you who have ever ventured up the steep sided streets of the village of Eumundi, north of Buderim – that’s nothing to the steepness of these streets.

I have to say, however, that the view from up here isn’t bad – at least I can see the sea.

Today, it’s our plan to drive north to the fascinating historic town of Ballarat – home of the Eureka Stockade. How long we’ll be there we’re not sure but from there we expect to reach Echuca on the River Murray, before heading for Mike and Jenny’s at the weekend – they live in the border town of Albury-Wodonga.

It’s an hour’s drive from there to Wagga/Ganmain and we’ll hopefully catch up with a few more friends – and little Gracie too. Her mum, Mel, actually got engaged last week, and we are thrilled about that one too.

Till the sun shines down on you all for another day … stay safe and smell the roses .. xxxx

Posted by twodubfers 15:30 Archived in Australia Tagged ocean the great road! Comments (0)

A Little Piece of Paradise - still in South Australia

A little piece of paradise, Memories, The Coorong and south to Kingston SE, South Australia

sunny 36 °C

A little piece of paradise
Memories, The Coorong (National Park) and south
to Kingston SE, South Australia

Back in the summer of 1966-67 I boarded a bus in Sydney which was bound for Perth in Western Australia. A friend encouraged me to join her on this epic 6-week, and 9,000km trip across the Nullarbor Desert – how could an adventurer like me say No. I loved it all and so did my friend, KC Jones who now lives in British Columbia, Canada. We travelled through NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. The trip, so far, of my lifetime!

That was then (and the bus journey was astonishing) and it was during that trip that I fell totally in love with Australia. The sheer size of the country that was different very every day of the journey, the staggering distances we travelled and the remoteness and size of cattle stations, were such I could hardly comprehend them; then there was the scenery, the places we went and the little girl aged 5 who I met then who had never seen rain. Imagine that .. such special memories!

…. And this is now. As I said before, this recent trip to Adelaide has been very memorable and mostly a happy one.

Leaving our friends in Semaphore a few days ago, we decided to take the long way home and after spending a couple of days in McLaren Vale (home of the very fine reds!), we have travelled today south along the Coorong – as I did back in 1966. My memory of then is that the stunning colours of The Coorong, the pristine nature and cleanliness of the massive sand dunes – had to be seen to be believed. And the traditional owners back then were seen to be everywhere. I remember them clearly.

And that’s changed too ..

However, and it happens, but today, either my memory has failed me or I got it wrong – but the Coorong today, albeit a staggeringly beautiful National Park of great Aboriginal significance, has much much less sea water in its long lagoon, than it had 50 years ago. Can this be right .. I wonder? Someone would know the answer, but here isn’t the time to wonder about that bit … shallow water and much sand, and many many large salt pans.

We took lots of photos today and on leaving McLaren Vale we couldn’t help noticing just how many thousands and thousands of acres were planted out as vineyards. We have visited both the Hunter Valley vineyards north of Sydney, and the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley north of Adelaide; and the beautiful Margaret River region south of Perth – but nowhere seems to grow quite so many grapes as south of Adelaide. We were impressed and to see that they are irrigated by the waters of the Murray River which eventually flow into Lake Alexandrina, the water supply for Adelaide.

About an hour south, at tiny Wellington, hot fresh coffee was on hand as we waited for an impressive vehicular ferry to take us across the Murray – and soon we were heading south down the Coorong.

About 150 km from McLaren Vale took us to this unexpectedly neat and tidy and spectacular township of Kingston SE - SE has been added to it’s name as it is south east as there are quite a few Kingstons in South Australia. This one is at the end of The Coorong, a 146 km beach!

This caravan park is probably the best we’ve ever stayed in, anywhere on our many travels across Australia. It is just over the road from a great beach - looking due west into what probably will be a stunning sunset – another one!

This little town has a red and white lighthouse, a sculpture of what must be the world’s largest lobster – fishing, walking, (not surfing or ocean swimming as the Great White Shark lives in these waters of the Southern Ocean and so we won’t be doing any of that), but there’s also golfing and on Sunday there’s a fun run up, down and round the lighthouse, and a triathlon raising money for charity and spreading the word about Kingston SE. Apart from that, it’s a pretty town, well set out, well kept houses and gardens, a very very long clean white beach, and lots of green lawns. Lawns, paddocks and vineyards are very dry and we haven’t seen much grass anywhere.

We might just stay a couple of days here .. it’s far too nice to leave really and Skippy’s love of the ocean is easy to see as she races down the beach into the waves, then gets out to chase the seagulls – they are quite safe, she’d never even get near one.

For now though, Kingston SE caravan park on the beach suits us very well. We’re not sure just where or when we’ll go to next – we’ll have to wait and see! As I’ve said before, we never decide on anything until after breakfast each day.

It works for us!!

Posted by twodubfers 23:15 Archived in Australia Tagged and australia the south kingston se coorong Comments (0)

Fleurieu Peninsular and the Southern Ocean

South from Adelaide to McLaren Vale and beyond

sunny 35 °C

Fleurieu peninsular
Adelaide south to Goolwa, Victor Harbour
And the Southern Ocean

Adelaide does get some very hot days from December to March, and the last few days have not gone unnoticed as it was 41 degrees last Saturday, forecast again for this Saturday but not quite 46 up at Woomera! Here on the coast at beautiful McLaren Vale, it’s a balmy 31 degrees with a sea breeze! Lovely ..

McLaren Lakeside vale caravan park is large and lovely but a very dry lake due to no rain down this way for many moths. Our drive south to Goolwa at the mouth of the River Murray and Lake Alexandrina – 3rd longest river system in the world took us by surprise. Many farms and large paddocks, but no grain crops nor sheep but huge vineyards everywhere. It seems the Barossa has sent its message south and so we’ll have to try a drop .. somewhere .. soon!

The great Southern Ocean lies off the coast here – and it’s very much a pioneering area with museums and old train carriages, ploughs, carts and very interesting old photographs. It’s also an old whaling place and remains today as one of the best places in S.A. to see both migrating and returning whales to Antarctica. That cold and frozen continent is a comfortable 6,036 km away, through the roaring sixties and a fair wind to steer by.

Victor Harbor is lucky to have two famous residents - The Southern Right Whale that travel in packs and visit our shores every winter, and the little penguin (Eudyptula minor) the worlds smallest penguin, and one of few penguin colony's to be so close to a city.
We didn’t see a single whale or a penguin … so must return one day .. goodie !

Goolwa – this is where the Murray River flows into Adelaide’s water source at Lake Alexandrina.

The barrages, which have been constructed in the vicinity of the River Murray mouth, are commonly known as the Goolwa Barrages, and consist of five separate structures with connecting roadways across Ewe Island and Tauwitchere Island.
The main purpose of the barrages at the Murray mouth is to maintain the freshness of the River Murray as far downstream as Wellington. This is an obligation under the Act; and to keep the water at a sufficiently high level to permit the watering by gravitation of the various reclamation areas between Mannum and Wellington. In addition to this, it will prevent the ingress of salt water from the sea during periods of low river, and will help maintain the freshness of the water in Lakes Alexandrina and Albert. Thus ensuring the productivity of the surrounding areas which would otherwise be injuriously affected by salt water after long periods of salinity in the lakes.

“The Hindmarsh Island bridge controversy was a 1990s Australian legal and political controversy that involved the clash of Indigenous Australian religious beliefs and property rights. A proposed bridge to Hindmarsh Island, near Goolwa, South Australia (intended to replace the existing cable ferry and service a proposed marina development) attracted opposition from many local residents, environmental groups and indigenous leaders. In 1994, a group of Ngarrindjeri women Elders claimed the site was sacred to them for reasons that could not be revealed. The case attracted much controversy because the issue intersected with broader concerns about Indigenous rights in the Australian community at the time, and coincided with the Mabo and Wik High Court cases regarding Native Title.” (courtesy of Wikipaedia)

Some of you will remember this …

Today is a balmy 34 degrees, with very windy conditions this arvo, so we’ll have to find a winery to hide in!

Tomorrow we’re heading south down The Coorong (you’ll have to google that one) and stopover at Kingston SE until the weekend when we could head east for Mt Gambier .

Have fun … and take care of each other xx

Posted by twodubfers 16:34 Archived in Australia Tagged australia south Comments (0)

Mission/s impossible?

January, February and March on the road again ….

sunny 29 °C

NOT ALL MISSIONS ARE IMPOSSIBLE …at least we hope not and it's good to be on the road once again …

We had unpacked over 120 boxes and installed ourselves in a lovely home at Tea Gardens Grange, viewing the scenery and enjoying the company of some very good friends, native animals and local attractions, when we realised it must be time for another caravan outing. After all, we’d be in one place for just over 2 months and it was time to be off.

We did have a mission in mind though and wondered if it might just pay off.

The caravan was stored just 4 minutes from our house, it was reregistered and given it’s 12000 km check and we were ready to pack it up. This time we planned to get down to Ganmain, just west of Wagga, to see our little Miss Gracie into school at St Brendan’s Primary there. That was our mission.

This was our one and only plan – truly – and from there we thought we might get down to Albury and see Mike and Jenny and then see what turned up! Our time was our own and now we live in a village which is cared for and tended to during our absence, for however long we might wander so there was no rush to get home again. Skippy was a happy passenger and off we set on a grey, cold and very wet day.

Our journey from Tea Gardens to salubrious Rouse Hill mobile village, just north of Sydney, where 95% of tradies live in cabins, was uneventful except that it poured with rain and it kept on pouring down for 3 of the 4 days we were there. Heavens above, this isn’t much of a start for a holiday, but we suspected the weather would improve as we headed south. Caravanning takes on a whole new meaning in the rain doesn't it.

Our destination this time was close to Wagga and in Junee Tourist Park – just near the Liquorice Factory there and overlooking a duck-filled pond and surrounded by green paddocks and sports field. How lovely we thought which is was and very quiet too.

As always when our mission was to see Gracie, and we of course wondered how we would fare with her mum and her partner. It was usually ok and manageable, but we never were really sure. However, our arrival at Waratah in Ganmain, which is Peter’s 6000 acre crops and sheep property, was really super. Little Gracie ran out of the house straight towards me, arms open wide and I gave her a big hug. (Tears close by at this time ..!) She seemed as pleased as we were to see us. She did say rather quietly "where are the teddies Gran?" Ooops, I always bring the two big teddies with me when we see her and she loves them. But in our haste (and I suspect they are still in a box) I had forgotten them. Oh dear ...

Our afternoon, however, with her and Mel was a happy one and she rode her pony Cowgirl very well and we were proud of her. She is after all, only 5 years old. But she has a good seat, rides well and seems confident too. Apparently though her latest interest is in aerials - you know, those long elastic ropes when you jump on a trampoline and soar into the air. Just like her dad - completely fearless!

Maybe this was a Mission that was turning out to be possible after all.

The following morning we were outside the school very early and Gracie arrived with a few other littlies due to start kindergarten on the same morning. There were just 7 newcomers, and a total of just 40 children in the entire school – how lucky is Gracie!

We saw her classroom, met her little friends and spoke with her teacher Julie – a happy morning and just after 9.15 the school bell rang and they lined up and went into their classroom. All the new mums – we were the ONLY grandparents there – were busy taking pictures through the classroom window .. and so did we!

Another Mission had been accomplished !

From there we decided to head off and it was during this time we got the news that dear Jack Whitcomb had passed away on Sunday in Adelaide and his funeral would be in there on Friday 6th. Our next mssion would therefore have to be to get there in time. It was important - Jack had been an integral part of Dave's life - with Chris - when they arrived shortly after Jack and Greta did - in December 1964.

So- instead of heading south to see Mike and Jenny in Albury as we thought we might do, we had to turn west towards South Australia. We travelled through Narrandera and Balranald and found a delightful little place on the banks of the Murray, just over the river from Victoria for our overnight stop. This place had the cutest name – Tooleybuc. What a wonderful name, and we stayed there overnight in a tiny caravan park surrounded by roses and fruit pickers in the cabins. Quite an experience especially when the pickers arrived back from the pub late and celebrated their pickings until the wee small hours. We couldn’t complain – after all, we’ve done our share of celebrating until well after the wee small hours!

Today we crossed the River Murray at Tooleybuc, across the bridge that still can be ‘lifted’ in order to allow the paddlesteamers through – an amazing piece of Australian history when wool and timber were shipped down the Murray the third-longest river system in the world) to Adelaide - over 1000 kms.

Travelling across the Mallee Highway today through tiny hamlets such as Walpeup Lakes, Ouyen and Patchewollock, we found ourselves at Tailem Bend and now we are in South Australia. This state borders Victoria and it is here one must surrender any fruit and vegetables that you may have in order to reduce the incidence of the dreaded fruit fly – which is not found in South Australia. This has us wondering really – do those flies really know when to stop at the Quarantine Station? That is a mission that’s impossible – at least to our tiny minds.

Mid afternoon we arrive at Tailem Bend on the Murray River and found a delightful caravan park here, high up and overlooking the river. The wind is almost gale force but bright sunshine and so we challenge the elements and sit looking across at this stunning view enjoying our usual glass of … what is it today .. oh yes, white for D and red for me.

Another mission accomplished….

Tomorrow we are heading for Semaphore Beach caravan park (NE of the city of Adelaide) and along the way we shall drop Skip off for 3 days at Mt Osmond Pet Care – taking a dog to a funeral is not a mission that is possible – however on Saturday we’ll collect her from there on our way south via Port Noarlunga on our way to Port Jackson, a delightful spot on the Coorong National Park – where the film Storm Boy was filmed. From there it is likely we'll head for Mt Gambier and then the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria.

That is possibly our next mission …. You’ll have to wait and see !

Posted by twodubfers 23:33 Archived in Australia Tagged victoria and australia the of river - new south big wales region banks along very agricultural murray-darling Comments (0)

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