Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Glenbrook 15 – 18 Dec 2005

Set off from Benalla for the long drive home – hot and dry – very different from our last trip down south when all the countryside was very green. One of the things we love about travelling in Jimmy is the flexibility. If we change our mind about what we want to see, we just go about, and head in a different direction. As we trundled up the Hume Highway, we decided to visit the Blue Mountains to see our family and friends. It was a long trip (660 kms); however, we got there about 7pm and collapsed in the yard of our good friends Judy and Bill. After a refreshing drink, Peter was in surprising good shape after the long drive.
The next day we caught up with family and friends and recuperated after the long drive. On Saturday, Peter went down to Sydney to skipper a yacht that Laura and her friends had hired for the day. It was an exhilarating experience for Peter to be back on Sydney harbour, after seeing so much of the dry, flat interior. While there were some strong winds, all the friends had a great time and enjoyed seeing parts of Sydney that they hadn’t encountered before.

Benalla (Lake Mokoan)

Benalla (Lake Mokoan) 14 Dec 2005

Drove up to Rushworth – yes you guessed it – yet another gold mining town! Rushworth is a lot smaller than Maldon and not as touristy. After a pleasant morning, we set off for Shepparton and the SPC factory outlet. They had some amazing discounts on their fruit products. Went onto Benalla and then camped at a reserve on Lake Mokoan. While the days have been very hot, the nights can be surprisingly cool – down to 6o – so we always have a blanket handy.


Goornong 13 December 2005

Maldon was another old gold mining town that has been classified by the National Trust. Virtually all the shops and the houses date from the late 1800’s and we enjoyed a relaxing morning looking at the homes and their gardens. Heather is very jealous of the beautiful roses and is planning a new garden when we get home. Meet a couple that ran a B&B, who were planning to travel around Oz and they were very interested in our trip. Drove north through Bendigo and stopped near at the Campaspe River. This was a peaceful campsite, overshadowed by giant river gums.

Campase River campsite

Maldon 12 Dec 2005

In the morning, we drove down to Chewton to visit Aunty Joan, Trudy and her children – Devon and Jessica. Joan lives in a lovely little cottage in an old mining village and has a delightful garden, which she manages in spite of the severe water restrictions. After lunch, we went onto Castlemaine, another old gold mining town. Castlemaine had a number of interesting Victorian buildings, as well as an amazing restoration centre. Peter had never seen so many bits and pieces for our home – he only wished it were closer to us! Drove onto Maldon and camped at Butt Reserve – went up to the lookout and had a remarkable 360o view of the surrounding area.

Bendigo tram

Bendigo 9 – 11 Dec 2005

Drove straight down to Bendigo, about 220km and got there about lunchtime. On the way, we drove through swarms of lotuses that were consuming the wheat and barley crops. The government is undertaking an aggressive spraying campaign, before they have a chance to swarm Camped at the showground and then rode around the town. Bendigo is a city of 90,000 people and has a large shopping centre in the middle of town, with many of the buildings dating from the gold rush era. It was very enjoyable walking around the town and admiring the flowers in the botanical gardens. We were lucky to see the annual parade of about 20 trams from the local museum. They made a colourful sight as they trundled along Pall Mall. We also saw the Chinese Gardens, the Bendigo Pottery Museum and the Bendigo Art Galley. The Bendigo Pottery Museum was very interesting and had many examples of their pottery over the past 120 years. We were lucky enough to find some Bendigo pottery at the large market that was held at the showground, where we were camped.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Wood Wood 8 Dec 2005

As the track to the northern end of the forest was very rutted, we drove up the highway to the other of the park. Found another scenic campsite right on the Murray. In the afternoon, we went for a long walk along the river. It is amazing how much the river meanders along, constantly turning back on itself. Took lots of photos of the local birds – it is a real delight having such a great digital camera.

Nyah - Camping on the Murray River

Nyah 7 Dec 2005

Had a look around Swan Hill in the morning. Swan Hill is a small town, but as it services all the surrounding area, it has a large shopping centre. As well as the usual shops, there are many supplies for the agricultural industry, which are irrigated from the Murray. They grow all types of stone fruits, vegetables and grapes. The town was very green and had a beautiful park next to the river, where we had lunch. In the afternoon, we had a look at their regional art gallery and set off for Nyah State Park. We found a lovely spot to camp for the night, right on the Murray, but unfortunately, it was over-shadowed by large red gums. After much mucking around, we found another picturesque camp spot, but this time no large trees. We are now siting on the banks of the Murray, enjoying a cold drink, with a gentle breeze blowing to cool the warm afternoon sun – heaven!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Kerang 6 Dec 2005

After a restful morning, we set off for Echuca and ran into a rainstorm; however, we were warm and dry in Jimmy. Did some shopping in the town and then headed along the Murray River to camp for the night. Ended up at Kerang before we could find the right spot.

Rowing down the river

Tote that barge woman!

Barmah Lake 4 – 5 Dec 2005

Camping amongst the largest selection of river red gums left in the world at Barmah Wetlands Reserve. Half the park is flooded, as the government has let out an extra 200 gigalitres of water, to duplicate the natural flooding. Bush-camped next to the river, staying well clear of the enormous river red gums. Got out the rowboat and paddled up the lake along the Murray River. There was very strong current which made it very hard to row upstream, but very easy to come back. We saw many birds along the river and nearby creeks. Borrowed an outboard motor for the boat from a fellow camper to try it out – it sure made getting around a lot easier! This was a delightful spot and a real contrast to the river downstream.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Paddleboat along the Murray at campsite

Echuca 30 Nov- 3 Dec 2005

Drove straight to Echuca along fields full of hay bales waiting to be stacked. The combination of flat irrigated land and mild climate makes this a very rich agricultural area. As we wanted to stay on the Murray River, we decided to go to a caravan park for the first time on this trip. We have a lovely spot on a large grassy field and are able to watch the paddle steamers and houseboats meander past. Thursday was very hot and we relaxed by the pool with a few drinks, while Friday was cold and rainy, so we stayed in the motorhome and read books. On Saturday, we had a look around the old port and had a ride on one of the many paddle steamers. The Murray is chocked at Echuca with paddle steamers, speedboats, rowboats and houseboats, with all of them seemingly heading for the same patch of river!!

Peter completing repairs.

Murchison 29 November 2005

Had a very restful night and set off to the town of Murchison on the Goulburn River. Went for a walk along the river and ended at a pretty ‘beach’. Went down to Nagambie, but before we got there, we heard an almighty bang. When Peter stopped the truck, we found that the back rail (that supports the bike), had come off! Luckily, we were able to stop outside an abandoned winery, so we had plenty of room to move. After getting the motor bike off the back, Peter was able to get the parts from Nagambie and after a few dramas, he get the chassis bolted together and we were on the road again. As this took most of the afternoon, we ended up at a truck stop along a deserted stretch of road. The only good thing to happen was that Heather was able to pick a beautiful bunch of roses from the abandoned winery.

Murchison 28 November 2005

Drove to Shepparton and we were surprised at how large it was – about 30,000 people. It is set in the middle of a thriving agricultural region and has the SPC caning factory just down the road. Had a pleasant morning looking around the town and then set off for Gemmils Swamp to stay the night. Unfortunately, it was not suitable, so we headed south and camped by the Goulbourn River near Murchison. This peaceful spot had horses galloping around a large paddock.

Rush hour at Kalamatite

Katamatite 27 November 2005

Wandered around Rutherglen in the morning and Heather bought an antique vase. Set off for Shepparton in the afternoon, but only got as far as Katamatite, which is a small village with a main street and - surprise - another antique shop. Heather managed to pick up a nice Pates vase to match one we have at home. Aside from the shop and a pub, that’s about it in Katamatite, but still we had a nice rest!

Rutherglen 26 November 2005

Set off in the morning for the long drive to Wodonga and got there about lunchtime. In the afternoon, went to the National Pottery Museum, run by Geoff Ford. Geoff has an amazing collection of quality Australian pottery, many of which are the only examples left of the particular potter. Drove onto Rutherglen and stopped at the oval, just in time to catch a local cricket match then walked in to the town. Rutherglen is a delightful old village that is the centre of a booming wine industry.

Gundagai 25 November 2005

Woke up in the morning to typical Canberra weather – raining and cold! Said goodbye to George and Karen and set off for the Canberra War Memorial. We haven’t been for years and it has had a lot of work done on it. There is a lot more interpretive material and a lot more interactive displays, especially for the young children. We were both very moved by a film they had on the Japanese bombing of Darwin. Jim was in Darwin during the first attack and rescued a number of people injured in the raid. That was when he joined the Army, eventually serving in New Guinea. Maybe it is just that we are getting older, but we were both struck with how young the soldiers looked – many mere boys!
After lunch, we went to Cottington Green – an old favourite of Peter’s. While we had not been there since the girls were little, not much had changed, except for the miniature trees that had grown considerably. As it was getting late, we put our foot down (doesn’t 85kph seem fast in a motorhome), and got to the Dog on the Tuckerbox near Gundagai, before we stopped for the night.

Cottington Green 25 Nov 2005

Canberra 24 November 2005

Set off for Canberra, popped in to visit George and Karen and ended up staying the night. George worked with Peter on developing an emergency communication model, when Peter was in the SES. While Canberra is an amazing city, with an astonishing array of events to see, we always fell victim to the dreaded labyrinth of cul-de-sacs that masquerades as urban design and got hopelessly lost. This time however, we had our secret weapon in the form of our new GPS system that steered us directly to our destination. The only time we made a mistake, was when we ignored the GPS instructions and went around the wrong roundabout.