Melbourne

Thursday 21st November, (Melbourne).

We are now in Melbourne and look like being here until we go home. We are now also thinking of bringing our trip home on the boat forward, if possible, there may not be any reason to linger around here longer than necessary.

It’s not extremely warm here either, but at least the sun was shining today.

Mail from Narrelle was here at the caravan park office when we arrived, and we are sure they are birthday presents so they won’t be opened until Monday. There was also a surprise parcel as well, posted from somewhere in Aus, but Linda said she knows what it is and it as well won’t be opened until Monday.

We asked at the office if they had a D Bowden in the park, just in case Dennis and Sue were here already, and they indicated that they are booked in for Tuesday for a few days so if we decide to bring our boat trip forward we may get to see them before we leave anyway. It would be good to have a get-together and discuss aspects of our travels.

I guess that this may as well be the end of this chapter, and the next one will be ‘our trip home’.

Ballarat

Tuesday 19th November, (Ballarat).

A very relaxing week at Shepparton has come to an end, we have moved on to Ballarat, if we didn’t we may well have stayed there and happily vegetated.

We only intend being here for a couple of days, as we want to be in Melbourne for a while before going home.

On the drive down here today we passed through several small towns with very old buildings, and wondered why we were missing staying at towns such as these. We have decided that in time to come we must allow some time to just cruise around Victoria and have a good look, the thought had never occurred to us before.

Wednesday 20th November, (Ballarat).

It is a very cold day at Ballarat so sightseeing was limited to lookouts and a drive around in the car. I would normally take a heap of pictures around the city area but, apart from being so cold, I thought where does one start taking pictures of the buildings around here. Or more to the point, where would one finish taking pictures around here.

Being so cold and not looking to get much better we have decided to move on to Melbourne tomorrow, at least if it is cold there as well we will have something to do during the day.

Shepparton

Saturday 16th November, (Tocumwal/ Shepparton).

A look at the freebies convinced us that we might as well stay at the caravan park as all the other campers seemed to be men only and Linda wasn’t real happy about that. The toilets supposedly supplied either didn’t exist or not good enough to use, so building a toilet just for a couple of days was probably not worth it.

It has been a week since I put finger to keys because we are once again in a situation of just relaxing, filling in time rather that sightseeing so this will probably be the norm for a while now.

We packed up on Tuesday and moved to Shepparton. We stayed at the same park as we did last year as we found being parked by the lake was an enjoyable situation sitting back, relaxing and looking out over the lake and all the animals that reside on it. Nothing has changed and it is still just as enjoyable, even though the wind has been up since we have been here. The first night it blew a gale and most of the awning had to be dismantled before it blew away, we did have a small hole rip in the awning as one end cover was torn from its mounts. It is extremely warm when the wind isn’t blowing.

The finalisation date for the sale of the house was on Friday (15th) and would you believe I had to ring the solicitor mid afternoon to instigate the depositing of the funds into our account, I am still wondering who was holding our money for the past few weeks earning interest from it. The money was finally paid into our account so we officially no longer own a house.

That’s about it for now, so I will get the laptop out again when something interesting happens.

Tocumwal

Sunday 10th November, (Tocumwal).

We were very disappointed on Friday when we checked out the so-called free camping in the district. Of the ten or so camp areas indicated in the camp book we have, we only found two as listed, at Darlington Point, and we would not stay there as the tracks are too rough, the area was very dry and dusty (could be due to the drought), the toilets were old and not very clean drop toilets and there were no other campers.

This has almost changed our ideas of camping, not knowing what to expect wherever we go. We have lost a lot of faith in the camp book we only purchased this year, as most of the info we have referred to so far has been incorrect as if it were derived from a time period of ten or so years ago.

Saturday; what was going to be a day of rest turned out not to be quite so for Linda, as she found several things to do to keep her busy. I did manage to have a rather restful day though, as it was enjoyable watching the locals with their toys water-skiing and such around the lake next door.

We were a little worried on Friday as a bunch of bikies set up camp at the caravan park with apparently a lot more due on Saturday. It turned out that they were the religious type bikie group and kept to themselves pretty well for the duration. Saturday evening they had a sing along with band, but seeing we weren’t moving early this morning they were no bother to us. In fact Linda enjoyed sort of joining in, she found out it was a youth meeting but she did find one person to strike up a conversation with.

We are now at Tocumwal. Our intention was to check into a caravan park for a couple of days and fully investigate the free camping spots around here with the idea of utilising them for a while. We did stay at these freebies early this year but decided that there must be a better area than we used, although we did enjoy the couple of days we did stay, hence checking them out first. We also had in mind that with the drought almost nationwide, this area may be dry and dusty now like the sites we found at Darlington Point.

We obviously didn’t look deep enough in our caravan park books before we moved here as the park we picked, being an FPA supposedly with river edge sites, turned out to be a dismal flop. After travelling about 5-6k of very corrugated gravel road we found:

· No mobile coverage, and nobody had been informed as to where we were.

· There was a levee built up all round the park so there was no immediate view of the river anyway.

· The area was very dry and dusty; this could have been due to the drought though.

· The remoteness of the park, we decided, was only good if one intended to go horse riding or had a boat.

· Upon entering the shop/office we were confronted with a woman behind the counter wiping, with a hanky, a blood nose, being in itself a bit of a turn off.

We then looked in our books again and found that there were a couple of other parks in the town, one being a Top Tourist, so we turned around, crawled over the corrugations again and immediately went to another choice. The Boomerang Way, TT, was the choice and the price they charged us made us consider that we may be just as well off here rather than the freebies. Access to amenities and having power may just as well worth the minimal cost they charge. We will have a look tomorrow and make a decision then.

Narrandera

Tuesday 5th November, (Narrandera).

Narrandera is our place of residence as of this morning. We have visited Narrandera, not only because we haven’t been here before, but also it appears that there are quite a few areas around this district for free camping and we intend to check them out. If any of the areas, and the weather, is suitable we intend to utilise some of them. If these are not suitable there are also some camping areas along the Murray river near Tocumwal and Cobram, so if all else fails we will move on to those. We will be visiting these camp areas anyway to see if they are suitable.

Thursday 7th November, (Narrandera).

Narrandera; this is another place that we could easily stay for a while. Yesterday, which was going to be a day of looking around, turned out to be a maintenance, come doing nothing day. We are situated in the caravan park on a site that overlooks the lake, even though we are elevated somewhat, and it is so peaceful just sitting outside looking over the water and the birds that habit the area. That is what happened most of the day after I managed some maintenance duties. Today was made the day for wandering town taking photos; tomorrow we will go for a drive to check the free camping areas. Yes we have booked in for an extra couple of days to give us extra time to look around. We should then have a day for again just sitting and looking over the lake again.

Again this is a place that has many old buildings preserved very well. It seems that the old buildings in the towns we have visited recently are so numerous because all this area was settled earlier than most other areas we have visited hence we are now noticing the difference. I had the idea of inserting some photos, but there are so many, so which ones do one insert.

I believe I have impressed the manager of this park somewhat, as we have had a very in-depth discussion about caravan 12V power and solar panels. He, and wife, is preparing himself with details of setting them up in a caravan and he is seriously considering what to do for power. I think I have answered many questions he had about this topic and in the process have also given him some extra ideas on how he can improve the situation. He also, I consider, did himself a big favour in realising what I meant when I tried to convince him that proper use of solar panels, and associated electrics, will only be perfected with use, practice, familiarisation and having a good appreciation of what is required before one starts. This is of coarse unless one has an abundance of funds and can afford a system that will be totally over abundant for ones actual use.