Mallacoota

Tuesday 27th Feb, (Mallacoota).

The fridge only seems to get things just a little cooler at the moment, but the big test will be the high temperatures we will no doubt experience in the future.

We had a walk around the shoreline today, which is very scenic. I took a series of pictures but unfortunately the panorama of the view does not come out in the photos, as one would be better off with a wide-angle lens, which unfortunately doesn’t exist for my camera, as far as I know. I settled for what shots I got, as at least I know what they were meant to show, and then took some pictures of some pelicans to put with others that we are collecting to send back to the grand-daughter, maybe they will help with her education.

I went to the kiosk to get Linda a bottle of cordial and started talking to the owner/manager about our travels and discovered that when you get this man talking it is very difficult to get away. I would have learned a lot about where to go in NSW from this learned man, but with all the knowledge that he threw my way I found it hard to remember any of it. About the only way I could have remembered it all would have been to have a cassette recorder with me. Then I was in trouble when I returned to the van as tea was almost ready when I left and now it was overdone and Linda wanted an explanation as to where I had been for the last 30 minutes.

Wednesday 28th Feb, (Mallacoota).

A nothing-happening day today as is rained all night and has threatened to rain all day although it hasn’t. We at least had a chance to do some house work, like clean the windows on the caravan and other things like the wheels and apply some protecting agent against the sunlight on some van surfaces.

We plan on moving on to Eden in NSW tomorrow but at this stage we will have to wait and see what the weather brings.

Hopefully, if it doesn’t rain, this will be the last from Victoria so we will next meet in New South Wales.

Mallacoota

Monday 26th Feb, (Mallacoota).

A very wet trip was had from Bairnsdale to Mallacoota yesterday, in fact it was that heavy at one stage that I couldn’t see more that a couple of meters in front of the car. Fortunately the heavy stuff didn’t last too long but it did rain for the entire trip and we had to set up camp in the rain. The countryside though was reminiscent of the west coast of Tassie and looked as though it rains a lot in the area.

Mallacoota gives one the impression that it is at the end of the earth, with most of the people in the area being tourists. Unlike other obvious tourist areas this one has the feel that it is only a camping resort. The caravan park we are in is 1-2 Kilometres before you get into the township and set in bushland. This makes it rather peaceful and easy to sit back and relax. There are quite a few caravanners in the park and a lot of them seem keener to talk to others than I have noticed in other parks.

A short trip into the township and around the immediate area revealed other camping grounds that stretch almost all along the shoreline around the town. We also noticed that amenities at the other camping ground were few and far between, so we decided that we are probably better off where we are because it is felt that if we decided to camp in the other ground, which is more central to everything including the beach, we may have had to literally have a drive to the toilet and showers.

A small picnic area at a river inlet along the coast being a very nice place will call for a day there relaxing in the sun, and no doubt Linda will attempt to get me into the water again. With a picnic lunch we could make a day of it either lying in the sun on the grassed area, or the sand on the large beach there, or in my case in the shade on the grassed area.

I undertook another modification to the caravan today that hopefully will result in the fridge working better. I have read somewhere in the past that one traveller having trouble with his fridge, especially in the hot weather, mounted a couple of computer fans in the air flow path behind the fridge which, due to the better air circulation, resulted in a greater efficiency from the fridge. The job has been done and now it is wait and see if it works. It doesn’t seem to have made a great deal of difference in the several hours since but it may be too soon, or it may only have any effect on hot days so we will see in the future.

Bairnsdale

Thursday 22nd Feb, (Bairnsdale).

Paynesville, near Bairnsdale, was the visiting order of the day today, and I keep seeing eye-opener places. Paynesville, as with anywhere in the area, is centred on boating and everywhere you look you see boats and more boats. We had a good long walk around the area and liked what we saw. It is situated on the edge of one of the lakes in the area that feed down to the mouth at Lakes Entrance. It is another township that, apart from fishing, is tourist orientated with cruises around the lakes in the area. We decided not to take a cruise for several reasons; we could not decide which one, mainly because they leave from different places around the lakes and choosing would have been difficult; we decided that it would be more appropriate to save our money from not taking these cruises and take one further up the mainland coast where it will more than likely be a better adventure.

Depending on vacancies at Mallacoota we have decided to stay on here for another couple of days and visit Lakes Entrance in depth and then travel on.

Saturday 24th Feb, (Bairnsdale).

For the first time in ages we have had some rain overnight, it must have only been a drizzle though as rain is very loud on the caravan roof and we didn’t hear anything. This of coarse means that if things don’t dry then we will have to stay here until they do, it is nice not being committed to a schedule.

We spent the day at Lakes Entrance yesterday and decided that if one had a boat there is plenty to do there, but if not there is not really a great deal to do but walk and look at all the fishing boats or sit and relax. The place is obviously a fishing port as there were non-stop boats moored at the jetties all up the shoreline.

The township is another that is fully tourist orientated with Motels and caravan parks stretching over about ¾ of the main street and our booklets indicating there are about 37 caravan parks in the area.

Above are a couple of pictures (pictures have been deleted for posting on the web site) of caravan parks in the main street, and although they are ideally situated they, in my opinion, are not the best of parks because they do not consist of much room and the sites are small and crammed together to squeeze in more. They are probably ok if one only intended to stay overnight but with us staying for periods of a week or more it would be just a little confined. Surprisingly though the prices appear to compare with anywhere else, except for peak periods when they nearly double.

All in all though Lakes Entrance is a very nice place, and as I said, if one had a boat and fishing gear one would not have any trouble finding something to do.

We visited a small place called Metung on our way back, which, in my opinion, must be a millionaire’s holiday area. This was apparent with the size and style of the homes, or shacks, and the endless jetties with yachts and cruisers tied up to, with gates locking them all to keep visitors out. There appeared to be 1 if not 2 boats per house in the area.

Today, as I said, being wet will give us a chance to complete some chores around the caravan. Surprisingly we are continually coming up with ideas to improve living standards in the van and are making more rearrangement to improve the situation with the main area of concern of how we can reduce weight carried in the van and more efficiently utilise cupboard space, so these are some of the chores for the day. This will also give me a chance to catch up with some computer work, such as download some more photos to CD, and make more reports on caravan parks. So down to it.

Bairnsdale

Wednesday 21st Feb, (Bairnsdale).

Linda’s birthday today proved one of surprise and emotion; she was visited by daughter Narrelle, received a phone call from son Adrian who was calling from the church back in Tassie and all that was there sang happy birthday over the phone and received a call from dear friend Leona. The day was basically based, some aspects unknown to her, around Linda’s birthday with my knowing that Narrelle and Matt had planned a surprise visit on their way home from Bega, NSW, and I was waiting for a message from them to make arrangements for us to meet. Trying to cause delaying tactics and keep Linda at the Post Office at 1.00 PM for that meeting was a mean feat, so I decided to carry on walking around town and guessing that Narrelle would ring to find out where we were. Fortunately when she did ring she was aware of the situation and helped greatly in carrying on a conversation that would not give anything away. I mentioned in our chat that we were on our way to the information centre so that they would meet us there, and what a meeting, we went in and Nelle and Matt were already there and Linda walked in and moved in very close proximity to them, in fact she nearly pushed them apart so she could look at what they were blocking, and they having their backs to her she did not recognise them. It was when Narrelle recommended a book Linda was looking at to her that she realised they were there, and what a surprise. It was also a surprise for me that I had kept the whole thing secret as I did. When Adrian rang and they all sang happy birthday she wept with joy, to the extent that I thought something was wrong, and she was so pleased to receive the call from Leona because of all the friends she left behind I think she misses her most.

With wasting time in the morning, an enjoyable meal with Nelle and Matt and a nice tea with a bottle of de- alcoholised wine, the day was a very enjoyable one with Linda, I’m sure, enjoying it immensely.

We haven’t yet decided what to do after Friday when our booking here has expired so we will look at that soon. It is very nice knowing that we can just make up our mind whenever we want.

Bairnsdale

Tuesday 20th Feb, (Bairnsdale).

We are now at Bairnsdale, near Lakes Entrance, still on the East coast of Victoria. Sunday and Monday were days of relaxation with packing up to be done on Sunday ready for the move on Monday. It is my practice to prepare to move the day before so we don’t have much to do the day we do move, and then there is no rush as most parks ask campers to leave by 10:00 AM.

We had a trip to Buchan today to check out some limestone caves. Our eyes opened widely when we entered the township of Buchan as after the trip over a mountainous road through what would almost be classed as forest the township instantly gave us a feeling of peace and tranquillity, a feeling of “this is an ideal place to settle down for a while” which is a thing we just have to overlook at this stage because we intend to see a lot before we think of settling. There have been several places that have given us a feeling such as this and they keep on getting better. One can only hope that he can remember all the places that gave us such a feeling so we can one day perhaps revisit at a different time of year to re-evaluate the situation.

Anyway back to the caves, they, or it was rather remarkable. There are two caves in this system, which are basically one large cave with an almost impassable section between the two so are classed as two caves, at least they charge twice to see them both. I guess, from what I have seen of limestone caves, when you have seen one you have seen them all. These caves compare to the caves I have seen in Tassie in respect to the style of growths within the caves, but these ones are much larger than those in Tassie.

We travelled back via Lakes Entrance, as it was the same distance, to have a glance as we intend to either spend a day touring, or several camping, in the area. Although it seems like another typical tourist destination, with caravan parks everywhere throughout the township, it seems there would be plenty to do there, and it is a remarkably pretty place, so we may consider moving there to stay a while before we move on further.

The park we are staying at now is one of the better, even being a Big 4, with good sites which have a large concrete blocks, big enough for the van and awning, which would make it very low maintenance. They have a swimming pool, a spa and sauna, a very good recreation facilities room with thing like a large screen TV and plenty for kids to do, a kiosk which sells newspapers, as well as minor groceries, which saves travelling into town daily to purchase one. The amenities are very good and clean and would be among the best we have experienced yet.

Sale

Saturday 17th Feb, (Sale).

A trip to Traralgon was the order of the day just to have a look in the area. We decided while we were there to have a look at the power station at Loy Yang, this one is driven by brown coal mined on site and conveyer belt fed straight to the power station. We couldn’t believe the sight that confronted us when we visited the lookout, a bloody big hole in the ground where the coal was.

The hole as shown doesn’t really show how big it is, but I wanted to show some of the machinery down the bottom. The picture on the left is at full zoom in, and the picture on the right is at full zoom out with the hole in the ground to the left of the power station, as you can see the edges of it where they covey the coal out of the pit.

The Latrobe Valley, which is where all these power stations are, there are several of them, is not a place that we would chose to live, as Linda put it “the whole place looks as if it could do with a good wash”, and I think that sums it up.

Sale

Friday 16th Feb, (Sale).

Ninety-mile beech was the order of the day today and the name lives up to itself, as it is one long beech for as far as the eye can see.

Again this was a very interesting place, the townships of Loch Sport and Seaspray are very peaceful areas, areas that one could easily settle down at. With seeing beeches all day what more can one say about them, after all they all look the same. One thing I noticed that could be installed is a lookout somewhere between Seaspray and Loch Sport along the spit so one could get a reasonable view of the spit itself. This view was totally lacking due to the road along a perfectly flat stretch of land with trees along both sides blocking any view that may be present, or perhaps there isn’t any.

On the way back we noticed a bridge on the Southern entrance to Sale called the swinging bridge, so we stopped to have a look. This bridge is built on quite a few pylons in the centre and swings around, to let boats pass I suppose, and is supported by these pylons.

This bridge was built in 1883 and must have been quite an achievement for those days. As far as I can determine the bridge works by two people, one on each side in the centre of the bridge with a winch handle connected to the mechanism seen on the side and wind until the bridge swings 90 deg. The end has wheels fitted underneath so when the span returns to its normal position they run along a platform and support the ends.

Linda received the results of her blood test today and fortunately there was nothing showed up, so if the pills don’t work she will have to put up with her headache until it either clears or we can see someone else in the future.

Sale

Thursday 15th Feb, (Sale).

We found out that the service at the local doctors is as slow as anything else in the area with a 2-1/2 hour wait for the 10.30 appointment, but I suppose it was worth it to find nothing wrong and it also helped when they bulk billed.

We travelled to a little place called Blue Pools, today, near Briagolong North of Sale and there is a nice little gorge there, and I don’t know whether I have seen clearer water in a creek anywhere as this one has.

We had a walk through the bush for about a kilometre or so to peregrine lookout, which did give a reasonable view of the mountains beyond the pools, and there is a mineshaft along the track also. The shaft is an old gold mine and only consists of a big hole in the ground covered be steel work.

It was quite a pleasant afternoon in fact and quite a lovely place one could have had a bar-b-que picnic.

Sale

Wednesday 14th Feb, (Sale).

The cover appeared to work, but what it does on a sunny morning could be a different thing. It was a change waking up with the centre door open and a little light coming through to wake us gradually. What we were doing is closing the concertina door between the two rooms, but the result of this was to completely darken the bedroom and one just didn’t want to wake up at all and sleeping in all morning. This system now minimises the light and also allows ventilation to be equal throughout the entire van at night and air in the bedroom is of a better nature.

Bureaucracy at work; Linda today decided that her headache that she has had for a couple of weeks had gotten the better of her and decided to visit a doctor. A visit to the local medical clinic revealed that all doctors were booked out and we possibly wouldn’t get an appointment in the time we expect to be in Sale. They even rang other surgeries and the result was the same, so the suggestion was to go to the hospital emergency unit and have it looked at. This was done and after much paper work and a visit from the hospital doctor the result was that they would not be able to treat her there so we would have to make an appointment with one of the local GP’s, we then told them again that the local clinic sent us to the hospital because they were too busy to which they replied “we will ring and get an appointment”. Ten minutes later the nurse returned with an appointment card for 10.30 AM tomorrow at the same clinic that we visited in the first place. I can’t think of an answer for the reasoning.

Anyway a bit more shopping, yeah, to buy tobacco in Sale you have to visit the local toy shop (yes the shop that sells toys), and a walk around the local wetlands, which is rather dry at the moment, and the day is basically over so it is time to sit and relax once more.

Sale

Tuesday 13th Feb, (Sale).

We have now moved on to Sale and are staying in the Big 4 Park near the town centre. The park is of the standard one would expect of Big 4, being the reason for joining, with the exception that there seams to be an infestation of ants so one may have to be prepared to use several cans of spray to keep them at bay. One can’t complain as this is just about the cheapest caravan park that we have stayed at so far at $100.00 for 7 days, this being a 7 day discount price. We weren’t going to stay that long but the discount convinced us.

A horrible day for sight seeing, weather wise, with it blowing and forecast for rain so it looks like a day for house chores with a few new creations to come up with. Number one was to install a hanger on one of the awning poles to mount an insect zapper and I ended up making holes on two poles for different placing, seeing most of my poles are place dependant. I used a shelving bracket that clips into brackets on a wall and used my super little Dremel grinder with a cutting wheel and cut slots in the poles for the bracket to fit. The second creation was a new chocking system for levelling the caravan sideways, the levelling block has to be one that allows different levels, have a flat top (I have been using a sloping one and when the van is levelled front to back the wheels turn when the van is lifted and upsets the sideways level), must be light and compact. I achieved all these by using a length of 150x25mm treated pine and cut it into lengths that butted one end and had a slope on the other for the wheel to ascend. The boards stack on top of each other to provide different levels and are pinned together with two 2×1/4″ bolts which pass through the board in question and the one underneath, without nuts, just used as pins, to provide stabilisation. The third task was to construct a cover for the cooking vent in the roof to stop daylight coming in in the morning and waking us up. This was made from thick blue cardboard type paper with a strip of it screwed around to opening so another sheet can slide underneath it to actually cover the hole. We will test it tonight.