Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Outback - A Dream Comes True Part 4

Friday  7th June: 

Once again up early showered packed up camp and now by this time our expertise at breaking down camp was much quicker than the first time. Guess what? We went for breakfast at Maco’s, gosh it was good! Filled petrol tanks and hit the road stopping off at Emily Gap with some Rock paintings which was called 3 Caterpillars also stopped at Trephina Gorge
Stopped to take a photograph of a rock with a motor bike attached to it a memorial of a man who died on his Harley at the age of 44. Tea time it was stopping at Ross River bed and of cause once again sandy roads. Leaving this place and once again the 4x4 was in use with its sandy rocky roads taking the Arltunga Rd to the Historical sites of the gold mining world.

Most interesting place to walk through, with machinery dating back to the first miners use, then we had the opportunity to pan for gold.Leaving there at about 12h45, passing the old homestead of Ambalindum station towards the plenty Highway. Stopped in the middle of nowhere for lunch.
This track was quite something almost a grade 5 in places much to the men’s delight with loads of laughter watching my face in certain places.  It took us nearly all day to drive about 50k’s that is how bad the road was but the men enjoyed it but then arriving on the
highway again and to find a place to bed was another story passing the Harts Range Police station next to Atitjere which is a Aborigines station and driving about 20k’s down knowing something was wrong reading the map again and tracking back to the police station and seeing a lady walking in the paddocks with her dog stopping and asking her for the camp site which she directed us to arriving their in the dark and a not so nice feeling being the only ones there and suddenly we saw a
 light in the distance and another camper arrived and about a hour later another which put our stress at ease. Sleeping was still a bit stressful listening to the dingo’s howling at times but in the end it was good getting up the next morning and the coals of the fire still alight which Nathan managed to start up again with some small twigs and once again warmth was there and a good feeling while eating our breakfast of bacon and eggs it was rather windy too

Saturday 8th June: 

Leaving for the border between NT and Queensland to the cattle station Tobermorey. We drove to Jervoiswhere we put in petrol drove on stopping for lunch on the side of the road. We arrived at Tobermorey station and what friendly people this ranch is 25million hector with 25,000 head of cattle on it and were in the process of herding cattle in with a helicopter. It’s a beautiful farm with an electricity generator which switches off at 10pm and restarts at 5h30am. We awoke to the farm busy with life helicopter starting up generator starting and dogs running to greet us and the beauty of sunrise and once again the fire was rekindled sitting on our chairs watching the business of farm life come alive. We took some beautiful shots of sunset too there.

Sunday 9th June: Up early once again and on the road at about 7h40 AM ,photo below is Nathan helping us take down our tent removing the wrong pegs and hence the tent collapsing, what a laugh!!!!!!!!

Driving on the Donohue highway to Boulia, a town with a population of about 600. The camp grounds were quite full, also very friendly we set up camp then went for a bite to eat at the local museum with interesting history to the town of a man who saw a bright light (Min Min light) and tried to follow it into the country and to this day this story has been passed down and apparently it does happen so who knows. The camp washing machine was put to use and managed to get most of it dry.

Monday 10th June: An early start on the road to Birdsville, stopping at different places for photo’s and at 9h46 at a road sign and were stopped by the police from Bedourie,
Police officer Mark Michigan asking if we were travelling into the desert and taking our drivers licence no etc and also breathalyser for records just in case we get lost in the desert and at least there is a record of us driving through and can send a rescue search out for us in case someone says we are missing.

We stopped at Bedourie for the bathrooms and bought an ice-cream which was just so yummy and of cause good for the figure, did you know it helps loose weight? Anyway I’m sticking to that story!
We arrived at Birdsville at about 11h45 set up camp with gazebo once again the flies were just so rude sitting on us and trying to get to our tea while drinking it let alone sitting on our backs trying to sun tan without permission. The person who designed the hat net I will kiss him next time and say THANK YOU! We sorted of just did the touristy thing ending up at the internet café left there back to camp and got ready for our night out on the town. Birdsville Hotel which is a must for any tourist to go to the Hotel is a heritage listed building with such history and warmth were all the locals gather and visitors. This night was a BBQ $25 and eats as much as you like it was such a lovely atmosphere and a most enjoyable evening

A little information about bread in the outback it is shipped in all over and frozen then taken out each day for sale so now Birdsville is the only Bakery in the outback and makes fresh bread daily, what lovely bread.
The information centre is very informative and one signs in there stating when you leave there and where too so this is also a way of keeping track on people especially if lost they can at least track you down.
The museum which we did not walk through but from the outside is very interesting.

Now the fascinating part to this place is the water supply. It is pumped out from a bore many meters down and comes out at almost boiling point and this can be seen on entering Birdsville from Bedourie. It goes through quite a few cooling systems before entering into household use. One can hose down your car right next to this pump station where the steam enters the air and can be used to clean your cars after a hard day in the desert

The bird life is amazing and for those who find it hard to believe that budgies fly around free here in huge flocks let alone the parrots and many, many other species of birds which our hand book given to us by Chareen and Paul came in handy many times.

End of Part 4.....................Feel good about yourself

Saturday, 11 January 2014

A summer holiday

We are going on a summer holiday to Warrnamboo with a little help from the Camps App we found the Warrnambool Holiday Park and got a booking leaving on the 26th for ten days, we will be putting the Memory Map system to work when do we some beach 4 x 4, we will have a bit of a trial run with FREE internet to post, should be interesting finding places other than the Big M. There will therefore be a delay until the next posting of our Outback Adventure

I modified the one draw, the small draw they had was a waste of space, I got the plate holders from Ikea and we will install them, works well.
The caravan is once again being packed, this time for ten days, so I guess we will be using the freezer which is normally used when we are on the tracks doing some 4 x 4

Thursday 26th December
We met for lunch at around 12 PM at the Highway Lounge situated at the Werribee on ramp to the Princes Highway, after a good feed we were on the road just after 1 PM  to Warrnambool a distance of 242 Km which is South East of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road, we used the inland road as we have traveled the sea route many times and it would have taken at least five hours travelling time.  We arrived at the Warrnambool Holiday Park around 4:30 PM checked in and had to have our electric cables ‘tested and tagged’ something new at caravan parks, at a cost of $5.00 but it is valid for a year. This is a Top Tourist Park and the staff was most helpful, two of them were at our site to assist with parking the van and to show us the facilities, we have an on suite site which is very nice indeed and well worth the extra $3.00 per day. After setting up camp we had dinned and were in bed by 9:15 PM and asleep within minuets.

Friday 27th December
After a leisurely late breakfast we set out to explore Warrnambool, first stop was Logans Beach Whale viewing platform, no whale as they visit from June to September but still a great look out. From there we made our way to the information centre via a long detour, missed the turn off so visited the outer suburbs. An interesting info centre and shop, it overlooks Flagstaff Hill and the lighthouse, we did not think that the entrance fee warranted the visit so did not go in. From there we had a light lunch and then did some shopping for the necessary, then watched some cricket at camp. At 5 PM we visited the Night Market at Lake Pertobe which comes alive with a unique shopping and dining experience, there are many stalls with free live music, it is one of the largest we have visited and was most enjoyable and was a great evening out, it is well worth the visit should it be on when one visits the area.

Saturday 28 Dec. 2013
Today’s forecast is for 30+ deg but the wind is blowing so we are visiting Allansforf Cheese World which is about 10 Km out of town, across the road from the milk/cheese factory which
was established in 1888 and processes more than 1,000,000 litres of milk a day. Did some cheese tasting and purchased some very tasty cheeses to be enjoyed over the next few days. After a cup of tea we visited the museum, most interesting, they have the largest collection of model tractors I have ever seen from the very old to the latest, also saw some equipment that I remember using on dad’s farm when I was about 5 years old, I clearly remember turning the handle of the milk/cream separator!
It was now lunch time the wind had picked up and was gusting up to 65 K/h most unpleasant so we spent the afternoon browsing the shops, then back to camp for a beauts dinner of pork chops and salad then relaxed and watched a bit of TV before bed.

Sunday 29 Dec. 2013
Today our alarm clock was a flock of Cockatoo’s purchased on the tree next to our van screeching as if there were a thousand of them so there was nothing for it but to rise and shine.
After breaky we decided to visit the Hopkins Falls which is about 10Km from town, it is one of the wildest in Australia 90 metreswide and 11 metres high and if one is lucky Platypus can be seen at the bottom of the falls, we were not lucky. Hopkins Falls is called Thangang-poonart in the Kirre Whurung language which translates to ‘eels bite the stone’.
From there we returned via the scenic route, large herds of milk cows dotted the country side letting one know that you are in dairy land. It must have been a good year for the farmers judging by the number of hay bales in the fields. We stopped off to have a look at
‘granny’s grave’, it is situated high up a hill right on the beach with a excellent view of the bay, a beautiful final resting place. The writing on the head stone was very difficult to read but we made out: In loving memory of M. Ruddlestone buried in 1848 the first white woman buried in Warrnambool. Erected in1904 by the Town Council.
We spent the afternoon on the beach and played in the shallows with the young grand kids, found out that I did not use enough sun-screen when we returned to camp and had a shower! So ended another enjoyable relaxing day.

Monday 30 Dec 2013
Well I finally did it this morning, I locked the key in our on-suite and had to wait until the office opened at eight to get the spare so we could shower.
After a late breaky we decided to trundle down to Port Fairy about 30 Km down the coast, nothing much on there, it was a fishing village in days gone by, we trundled around the town then stopped at Clonmara Tearoom for a delicious lunch then back to our camp site to prepare for some 4x4ing tomorrow at Portland tomorrow, so it will be early to bed as we will be up at 5AM

Tuesday 31 Dec 2013
Up early, had a good breaky and on the road by 7:30 AM, first stop the Big M for Nathan and Maryleen to have brekkie then on the road to Portland which is about 110 Km, I had marked 
the route on Memory Map as per the Portland Dune Buggy Club’s instructions on their web page which in my opinion were rather inadequate. I entered the address on the Garmin but not having a number entered the first, no problem it showed the turnoff at the first garage – just what we needed to fill up @ $1.60 ! ouch! We then continued to Telegraph Road as per the Garmin, turns out we needed the end of the road so had a pleasant drive on the edge of the mount Richmond National Park (there looks to be a few tracks in there that could be fun) and finally found my marker at the turn off to Swan Lake where the Dune Buggy Club is located. About a kilometre from the Club we came across a Koala walking down the road, it continued on its merry way as we drove slowly past.
We arrived at the Club area at about 11 AM and the camp was just coming to life, to drive on
the Dunes you have to become a Club member at a cost of $50.00 for a four day membership! A bit over the top in my opinion if one only wants to spend a few hours there. Eventually we found the correct person, completed the forms and paid our $50.00, lowered out tyre pressure to 18 Lbs and hoisted our desert flags, then it was onto the Dunes and what a pleasure it was. We first went West and it was not long before Nathan crested a bit too far to the left and bogged in the soft stuff I had to find a way around so I could snatch him out – no problem the Terracan came to the rescue and we were soon on our way, we went as far as we could then turned East and headed back to the river mouth and onto the beach. Back onto the dunes and further East then a stop for lunch and continued for quite some distance then had to back to our start point as it was getting late and time to make our way back to our camp.
It was great fun the Dunes are very white with many soft patches, one enters a valley and all that can be seen in any direction is white dunes, quite spectacular. All to soon we were back at the parking area at the Club, packed the flags away and pumped the tyres back to their normal pressure then back on the road arriving back at our camp at about 6:30 PM after a great day out. I wish we had had more time to explore the tracks in the Richmond National Park but no such luck, I think it calls for a return visit – perhaps Australia day weekend?
We did not stay up to see the New Year in as we were bushed after a long day 4x4ing and were asleep by about 10:30 PM.

Wednesday 1 Jan 2014
Happy New Year!
We woke to the sound of rain, so decide it was a day to ‘vege’, just resting and did a bit of reading. Watched the T20 cricket, then to bed.

Thursday 2 Jan 2014
The weather was a bit better today so we decide to visit the state heritage listed precinct, Flagstaff Hill’s Maritime Village, entrance fee is $12.50 for seniors. It is set on 10 acres and shows how the pioneers of the 1870’s ports lived. 
On entering one walks through the Great Circle Gallery where one can read accounts of the many ships that went down on the Shipwreck Coast, in the centre the priceless Minton earthenware statue, the Loch Ard Peacock, Australias most valuable shipwreck relic. It was being transported on the Clipper Loch Ard in 1878 from England for display in Melbourne’s Great International Exhibition of 1880 when she ran aground, the life size Loch ArdPeacock was washed ashore in a packing crate just days later. We then walked around the village having a look at the Doctors house, Dressmaker shop, school, bank, sail makers and shipwright. We then climbed the Lady Bay Lighthouse which is still in operation, a great view of the bay and ocean.

View from the Lighthouse

After lunch at the Big M we decided to do the 200 Km Costal Village Tour taking in the Tower
Hill Reserve , a dormant volcano where a lake has formed, which supports many bird species and wild life, we saw a pair of Emus. Not far from Macarthur the road passes through the centre of the wind farm and one can get close to these monsters, most were still and there must be a few hundred, I counted fifty in one paddock.
We got back to camp had dinner then went to watch the sunset with Nadeen and family, a perfect end to a most enjoyable day.

Friday 3 Jan 2014
Overcast with a cold wind blowing so we decided to just walk around town for a while window shopping the veged for the rest of the day reading and watching TV

Saturday 4 Jan 2014
It rained last night and is cloudy and windy, our time here is coming to an end we leave for home tomorrow. Kathleen and Nadeen have decided to do some shopping so off they went. Once again it was raining (on and off) so watched the cricket. Packed most of the gear after dinner then to bed.

Sunday 5 Jay 2015
We packed up and left for home about 10:30 AM  stopping at Colac for lunch arriving home at about 2:30 PM. We did a total of 1,167 Km at an average of 15.4 L per 100 Km (best 11.6 worst 17.7) average cost $1.57 per L.
All in all a most enjoyable time away, rather sad that it had to end but looking forward to the next weekend away in March.

Until next time.....................relish small pleasures

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