VIC - Victoria Diary

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Stay 1 (Day 188 4 hrs airport), Stay 2 Day 228-231,see NSW for 228,SA for 231

Day 229 - Tuesday 10th June 2008, Mildura, Paddle steamer trip on the Murray

GUp late, had cooked brekkie, went on the PS Melbourne paddle steamer thru Lock 11 on the Murray up past our campsite, v relaxed and pleasant journey in nice sunny weather 16c,Saw lots of the Murray river.Met Captain of boat, brief chat. Loved the whole boat journey We almost missed it It was just leaving the dock and we had to step on over the ropes $50AD.

Day 230 - Wednesday 11th June 2008, Mildura

Up late again (naughty campers!)  Very sunny 17c, went into town Had a good walk around up Deakin (the main street), pie in Hukey’s then ice cream sundae whilst sitting outside in the sidewalk chairs. Then drove around tourist route and saw the various new expanding housing estates. Visited camp shop for 2nd time, had to get curtain things (from Spotlight) then cap for water that had (we assume) fallen off somewhere between Broken Hill and Mildura. Then returned to site new plot overlooking river for T (chicken Satay and rice).Visited the town. Met Odd couple from Adelaide in Millard caravan who tried at least 4 sites she with a toaster to check electrics (weird) the plug attachment is different.Mildura we liked, and the olmpic sized swimming pool, which we didn't have time to go in alas.


Stay 3 Day 240-253

Day 240 - Saturday 21st June 2008,Mt Gambier (SA) to Ararat (Vic)

Then drove out and over the border into Victoria thru Casterton (diesel $1.90AD, expensive, lucky to get as closing sat lunchtime), Hamilton (shopping in Safeways $100AD, which is a subsidiary of Woolies), and whilst getting dark (time change to AET) thru Dunkeld, Glenthompson (NOTE everything is Scottish here in Grampians) , Willaura and into Ararat in the dark (Gold town) vaguely near Ballarat Stayed at Family park (nice) £22AD. Saw Grampians in the distance and some old interesting towns. Met . 3 old ladies (knitting bobble hats) at Casterton Tourist info Nice lady gave us both a stick pin (mine map of oz, Annie a roo). Lunch at 4pm (naughty)

Day 241 - Sunday 22nd June 2008,Ararat, Victoria

Mixed day weather wise, sunny & cold & drizzly Did washing then went off to explore the town Got back at dusk Nice day.Saw J ward in Ararat goal, notorious! , Views of Grampians, Ararat & Pyrenees from  One Tree Hill plus Gum San (tribute to Chinese miners who founded Ararat).Great guide for J ward (Keith) who we chatted to for ages, even showed us names register to ensure none of our relies had been in J ward (Lowlights guy who was 108 and had been institutionalized for over 60 years – William Wallace, plus 2 other ‘celebrated’ cases Joey Clancy, in from 13 and guy who was a self harmer and managed to kill himself with a biro (ugh!) all v depressing), met nice ladies in Gum San.Loved views from one tree hill.

Day 242 - Monday 23rd June 2008,Ararat to Port Fairy via the Grampians Nat park

Cold but mostly sunny day, approx 14c Filled up with diesel at Ararat and drove on tourist route thru Moyston to Halls gap (v touristy) then Mount Victory road  steep and windy then back to Halls gap, onto Aboriginal center and thru the Nat park back to Dunkeld, Penshurst (past Chatsworth) and down v farming C-road to A1 (Princes Hwy) and Port Fairy where we are camping at a Family park , swish loos, $28AD but lots of mossies Gr8 day view wise .Boroka Lookout, Reed Lookout, walk to the Balconies, Mackenzie falls (although we chickened out after so much walking already) and went to see the nearer Broken Falls All ace views. Met lady at Port Fairy campsite who had been to Nottingham forest in 1987. Japanese at all lookouts (jumping photos) Couple from Ararat campsite who seem to follow us thru the park (left their caravan behind in Ararat). Remember wonderful views in the Grampians, trying Tawny port from Chapel Hill winery with Mexican meal in eve

Day 243 - Tuesday 24th June 2008,Port Fairy to Warrnambool

Raining in the morning (and most of the night) Went into town did some 2nd hand book browsing bought 3 then shopping in IGA and bought 2 bulbs from backstreet mechanic for campervan Then off to explore Port Fairy Quaint old shipping harbour Managed a good walk along old wharf in sunshine Then out to Griffiths island causeway and south beach Raining again Then we headed off to Warrnambool TI site plus booked into Flagstaff hill (light & sound show in eve) $51AD similar to Sovereign Hill show at Ballarat 13 years earlier only much much better laser show projected on water wall and story about Loch Ard shipwreck rather than gold mining. Nice evening Walked up hill from campsite. Campsite cost nothing as owners not there. Would have been $A27 which is expensive. Show plus drove out to Logan Beach whale nursery but pissing down so turned around and went back and had a look at old wharf before checking into campsite. Saw 2 bicyclists who were in a tent, poor souls! Met then again at Port Campbell.Too much Chapel Hill port sent us to sleep early!

Day 244 - Wednesday 25th June 2008,Warrnambool to 12 Apostles and back to Port Campbell

Gr8 day, Gr8 Ocean road, in our humble opinion one of the world sights! Very sunny but windy Went to Logan Beach whale nursery, saw mother southern right whale and her calf (spectacular) alas camera not really good enough but binoculars were. Serious waves for surfers. Then bank in town and off to the Great Ocean Raod (GOR) Warranambool was where Doug had to go into hospital for tetanus injections all those years ago (13) Then Hopkins (Doug) falls , Bay of Islands (pboro) , Cove bay east, Bay of Martyrs, the grotto, the arch, Port Campbell, Loch Ard gorge, 12 apostles..HOORAY!!! and gr8 sunshine.The best views ever! GOR!!!!! especially the 12 Apostles saw way more this time than we did in 1995 but it is now much more built up.

Day 245 - Thursday 26th June 2008,Great Ocean Road

Been away 8 months 2day! Up early-ish really bad night with wind and rain rocking the campervan Severe weather warning Did cooked brekkie plus all the van things and we left the site at Port Campbell by about 11 Drove back to Loch Ard gorge area Did 3 new viewings then back to 12 Apostles then Melba gully (couldn’t go, dirt road) Laver Hill (motel we stayed in 12 years ago), Apollo bay and Kennett River where Annie saw Koalas,Loch Ard wreck point, Blowhole, Thunder Cave and a whole lot more! The GR8 Ocean Rd is SUPERB!!!Saw lots of Japanese tourists doing stupid things especially the guy who lost his hat at end of 12 Apostles viewing spot and leapt over the fence to retrieve (mad!) whilst his pals took piccies of him Oh and coach driver who almost hit us after drifting across the middle line Too many Aussies drive on that line! Wind and rain at 12 apostles we got drowned! 5 Koalas in Otway Nat park (park behind Kennett River campsite)

Day 246 - Friday 27th June 2008,Great Ocean Road

Kennett River. Spent about an hour walking around the campsite ‘spotting’ the wildlife 4 Koalas & many birds Ace time (see the extensive piccies which tell the tale) then on down the GOR. So wonderful we had to keep stopping. Pattons & Mt Defiance lookout etc Lorne saw cockatoos, Fairhaven the sign for GOR (built by WW1 vets) then lunch at Torquay after looking in on Bells Beach (no surf) Then lighthouse at Aireys inlet then thru Geelong (Kiaranda Park, go Cats go!(ozzie rules footie team champs)) and up to Macedon, where we camped in family park ($25AD) with budgies in cage We were more or less the only folk there and cold as in Mountain ranges.Old car (RR?) just happen to go under the GOR sign as we arrived oh plus wonderful views down this stretch of the GOR, Met oOnly lady in campsite from Swan Hill whose husband was from Port Campbell

Day 247 - Saturday 28th June 2008,Hanging Rock

Left Macedon campsite about 11 Cold at night!!! Drove thru Woodend to Hanging Rock (Mt Diomedes) Climbed to the summit Took 1 ½ hours return Gr8 views Keef in real pain on return left knee Had to create a walking stick out of eucalypt branch to aid descent On reflection grade 3 strenuous not wise to do again! Then  drove onto Bendigo (ok) and visited Mitchelton vineyard at Nagambie Lakes Gr8 lookout tower and art collection Print labels from artwork Bought 3 (2 Preece & 1 Mitchelton reds) Stayed at new Nagambie Lakes campsite (showers best yet).Met Essex boy manager at Nagambie lakes campsite who let us stay for free (saved $30AD) cos Annie mentioned Stanford le Hope (he came from Southend in 1981).Tried to buy a copy of Picnic at Hanging Rock but they had run out. Our i/net research showed the last missing chapter has some rubbish ending about extra-terrestrials and them getting stuck in rock cave , twaddle good job editor took it out!

Day 248 - Sunday 29th June 2008,Nagambie Lakes to Melbourne

Short day went into Nagambie bought lots of fruit and eggs , gr8 value $5.30 then  drove down to Melbourne took just over 1 hour via Seymour where we stayed 13 years ago, think we recognized the Motel Got into Big 4 campsite in Coberg after visiting Lalor (between Epping & Thomstown in the City of Whittesea) Arrived at campsite about 3-ish. Did washing Had tea Watched really odd 1960 DVD with James Brolin in it set in Capetown (Haha), saw Lalor and 18 Derrick St where Keef lived as a kid

Day 249 - Monday 30th June 2008,Melbourne

A wonderful day out in Melbourne The place has really come on in 13 years walked 15 mins Picked up West Preston to St Kilda tram (112) into Collins St in the city used the free City loop tram and trams 70/48 to get around Got back to campsite at about 9pm.Saw Greek quarter, Flinders St station, Federation sq, Yarra river, MCG, Immigration Museum (in old custom house) &  new docklands area.2 meals out, Greek at lunch in Tsindos (yummy) and Moroccan at MeccaBah on New Quay Docklands the eve Annie had a Monkey Business cocktail. Weather not gr8 cold and windy with a few spots of rain.

Day 250 - Tuesday 1st July 2008,Melbourne to Mornington

Late up, showered and left by about 11 Very stressful days driving thru Melbourne, Alas our map not quite good enough V sunny initially which gave way to some (limited) drizzle getting cold 13c made it 2 St Kilda after 2 false starts Then onto Elwood and saw where Keef used to live walked down Pine ave to shops bought some lunch from bakers delight (nice) then saw beach, high waves Then drove down coast.Baumaris etc etc Nepalean way (Highway 3) to Frankston and Mornington Did shopping in City of Frankston at Seaford. Got cash from Westpac bank machine in Mornington Saw beach Had 2 Apricot Danishes. Then back to Frankton to get 2 bits of foam Stayed at Mornington campsite $28. Saw the wild coast. Ladies in Mattress shop (v helpful) Lady at Rubber & Foam shop (ripped us off 50c, joke!). STRESS can become a 4 letter word when u are driving thru Melbourne. Trams are an added distraction trust us, we know , Saw Keef’s old house

Day 251 - Wednesday 2nd July 2008,Mornington to Sale via Gippy Hwy & 90 Mile Beach

Left by 10.20, Keef had to do the yuccy loo changing job how I’ll miss that NOT! Went into Mornington to post Mums postcard, got some more fuel ($180.5 cheapest yet!) and then traveled on thru Tabbah, Leonortha, Yaccam, Woodside, Stokeside down to Seaspray on 90 Mile Beach, then Golden beach, Paradise beach , Longford into Sale. Fairly long days drive. Annie did the long bit between L & end of 90 Mile Beach. Mixed weather sun and very strong wind & rain gales max 14c had lunch at Woodside Joined Top Tourist campsites at Sale $25 (just like Family parks) we are now members of 3 chains  Note the South Gipplands Highway is shortened (as everything is) by the ozzies to Gippy Hwy (and on the signs). Saw 90 Mile Beach plus saw 2 huge sea eagles, one of which alas had a baby lamb in its grasp! Met hippy couple in camp kitchen at Sale. Bald gardener with shorts, moustache and boots/sox combo at Mornington site.Enjoyed 90 Mile Beach – is a little cold & windy (Antarctic cold)

Day 252 - Thursday 3rd July 2008,Sale to Mallacoota

Big days drive thru very varied scenery 320k. Saw port of Sale, got petrol then went via Bairnsdale, Stratford-u-Avon, Lakes Entrance(LE), Orbost (and the Snowy River) Cann River (more petrol) then thru the Croajingolong Nat park to Mallacoota where we camped at the Swampgully caravan park (family park $20 with discount) Cold and windy day 13c some sun, saw Port of Sale, Wood carvings @ Lake Entrance Marine parade, Pelicans, gr8 views from LE lookout before the town, Orbost wooden hut.Gr8 fish and chip lunch (our fave Flake) at Lakes Entrance the town of which is quite touristy, loved pelicans (lots) @ LE

Day 253 - Friday 4th July 2008,Mallacoota (Vic)to Tathra (NSW)

INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! Brilliant day Weather superb and warm 17c plus oh what wonderful views in Victoria’s Wilderness parks – Mallacoota & Gipsy Point (M & GP) were lovely. So peaceful,so scenerific, so lucky we are! Roos chillin' on the grass. Got up early braved the cold shower (10mins to get water to run hot!!!) then had cooked brekkie whilst watching a Kookaburra near our van Then to M & GP then back thru Genoa and on over the border into NSW We have left Victoria for the last time.

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