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Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Yackandandah
January 2nd 2013
Published: February 9th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

Big BearBig BearBig Bear

This is one of the bears in the Four Bears Cafe
Yackandandah to Granya

We had a great couple of days in Yackandandah and a great time with Dee and Lee and now we are on our own again.

We have been planning how to get back to Wagga Wagga and there were several ways of doing so, but we had to stop in Wodonga as we needed to get Andy’s mobile phone sorted out at a Telstra shop, it had a hissy fit and needed fixing. Once that was done we headed back toward Lake Hume (with a sneaky stop at Macca’s for a chai latte).

The road we were taking in fact was back past the Bonegilla Migrant Centre, but as we came close to the turn off, I saw something strange in the distance, something just flew up in the air! Suddenly there was a flurry of activity.

What I had actually seen was a motorcyclist thrown up into the air, we were too far away to establish how it happened so we are not sure if someone hit him or if he hit someone else.

Fortunately he was conscious and wanted to stand up, but by then a crowd of people rushed over
Lake HumeLake HumeLake Hume

Letting out water
to help him. We did not stop as we felt there were plenty of people to help and it would really not help with overcrowding. We couldn’t really act as witnesses either as we did not see what happened.

We stopped at the migrant centre as we wanted to check on some information and by the time we left, there was an ambulance already onsite. So we do hope that all turned out ok for the motorcyclist.

We arrive at the enormous Lake Hume Dam, the day by now is exceptionally hot, though we do take a wander around, but getting back into the air conditioning in the truck is a relief.

Not entirely certain where we will stop for the night we make our way over a long bridge and follow the Lake/Murray River toward Mount Granya.

We arrive at Mount Granya State Park, our trustworthy Camps book tells us there is a camping reserve through the small village and on the edge of the State Park. There is not a soul around when we arrive and a quick decision is made that this is where we will stay the night.

I cannot tell you how hot it is here, it has to be in the late 30’s and we are keen to get set up and some shade in progress. At one end of the reserve there is a nice circular area with a fire grate and camping table in the middle, it is perfect and the ground is almost flat.

We set up with ease and soon have a cold drink in our hands, but we realise that we are missing out on a nice breeze that is coming through, it seems that under the awning, despite the shade the heat seems to be kept in.

I take a very short walk and find that the shade under the trees is better, it is cooler and more airy. So we shift our chairs to accommodate but feeling very drowsy with the effects of allergy tablets (blasted mozzie bites!) and the heat of the day I am soon fast asleep, but then so is Andy. Every now and then we hear a vehicle drive in and then out again. Some take the 4wd track up into the State Park.

Eventually it would appear to be tea time, and we have enjoyed a very lazy afternoon, but just as we were about to shift another 4wd comes in, they scope the site and then stop near us.

We chat about the campsite and they decide where to set up, but it is too hot yet to do anything so we find that we are as usual chatting!

Eventually it is time for them to set up and time for us to get a cup of tea and warm up our dinner. We wanted to have a fire tonight, however we are wary of a few of things, one being the heat, the second being the breeze coming through and the main thing is that we are not sure if there is a fire ban or not. So 3 very good reasons not to have a fire, as much as we like our camp oven and it would have been perfect to heat up our dinner, left over curry from last night.

We are both tired and feel like an early night is on the cards, so I head up to the ablution block, ok then, the bush dunny! Whilst I am up there I take in the surrounds of the wildlife. I hear some rustling in the undergrowth and as always it is a good idea to stand still and patiently watch for the local fauna to make an appearance. I am blessed with the visibility of two very small animals, at first I thought they were mice, but they were too big for mice, they ran fast up the trees and had lovely big ears with a long tail that appeared to curl a little at the end. I waited a while longer but they had vanished probably with the knowledge that someone was there and did not want intrusion. I left them in peace.

I spoke to the couple that came in earlier, they suggested the possibility that they were Pigmy Possums, we cannot be certain and without photographic evidence, I only have my memory to go from so I will need to carry out a bit of research. If they were Pigmy Possums, then I would have been lucky as they are very rare. A Bilby? Perhaps, but I don’t really know how big Bilby’s are.

It was a warm evening, by now getting dark and the mosquitos were having their fair share
GypsyGypsyGypsy

In Granya State Forest
of me, again, so I retreated to my bed, where Andy is already fast asleep.


Tumbarumba



This morning we awake to the cool morning air the sun is up but we are still in the shade the temperature is blissful, but if yesterday is anything to go by then we know how hot it will get here later this morning, in fact we have heard that by the end of this week it will get to 40 degrees. We hear on the radio that fire crews are on standby, reminisce of Black Saturday less than 4 years ago then I am not surprised that people want to be ready.

We pack up before the heat takes hold, we have roughly decided where to head and as always on the lookout for a suitable overnight stop.

We drive through the parched countryside we are driving on the Victoria/New South Wales border, the Murray River is creating the border, we turn off over a bridge that indicates we are back in New South Wales.

Again using the trusty Camps 5 we find a spot on the Henry Angel Reserve, just 7 kilometres from Tumbarumba. There are a few campers here already, but there is a lot of space and we easily find somewhere flat for Trevor and Gypsy to park up.

Henry Angel was born in Salisbury, England in the 1800’s and was convicted and sent to Australia for his crimes. He worked for Hamilton Hume and eventually they found his crimes were not to be true and was pardoned. Instead of taking free passage back to England, he chose to stay in Australia.

We set up, have some lunch and then decide to drive back into Tumbarumba for a look. Andy has never been here before, but I stayed at the Tumbarumba Hotel the year before last when I did my snow and mud driver training with the 4wd club.

Another quaint little Australian town, seems to have everything it needs here, we stop for coffee at the 4 Bears café, I have never seen so many bears before including a giant teddy bear that takes up an awful lot of room in the café itself. After coffee and a wander around, we head back to camp.

It is so very hot here, we are trying to maximise the
Wombat PooWombat PooWombat Poo

How sad are we, we are happy to see Wombat poo,as it means they are in the area and we may get tosee them
shade, so Andy pulls the truck alongside Gypsy so that we can pull the canopy over the nose and assist with keeping the sun of the and hopefully make Gypsy a little cooler on the inside. Although in the heat of the day, it makes little difference, he had hoped for a nana nap, but soon came back outside again.

I decide that one of the best ways to keep cool was to have a bowl of cold water to put my feet in, it is bliss and I start to feel the cooling effects whilst enjoying the shade, just perfect, especially when the slight breeze skims across the top. Andy ended up doing the same.

We were hoping for wombats that night, there was plenty of evidence, but sadly not, they could have been about while we slept, but alas we would not know. It was a beautiful starry night and certainly a warm one.

The following morning, we packed up with ease, it was early and we promised ourselves breakfast at the 4 Bears café so we headed back into Tumbarumba.

The journey was a very easy one, again through magnificent countryside with stunning
Hot,Hot HotHot,Hot HotHot,Hot Hot

At Woodstock 44.3 at 9.58 in the morning
scenery, up through Batlow, Adelong and rejoining the Hume Highway and on to Gundagai where we refuel.

In the South Gundagai services I was told that a few days ago, the North Gundagai services were struck by lightning which took out all their computers, unfortunately sending everyone down to South Gundagai, where they promptly ran out of fuel!

Back at Woodstock, we were going to stay in Gypsy for another night but Helen persuaded us to stay in the house, pointing out that the nights were very warm and we probably would be grateful for the air conditioning. The temperatures were rising and Helen was right, we were grateful for the airc onditioning.

Saturday brought more heat, it was well into the 40’s and way too hot to do the work on tidying up Gypsy to get her ready to put back in storage (albeit that would be brief).

Helen and Robert have another visitor on the farm who is staying for a week, I think that we all spent most of the day indoors sheltering from the intense heat, but later on we all had to get ready to go out to a surprise birthday
Needing additional shadeNeeding additional shadeNeeding additional shade

This day was so hot we needed todeploy some additional shade as the nights were so hot and still that we would not get any sleep
party for Andrew Wemyss in Wagga Wagga.

A shower was a very brief but refreshing relief, especially getting back outside again, by now the humidity was up and it was worse than ever when we got into Wagga Wagga. We had hoped that the air conditioning in the hotel was going to be good, but sadly not, it was not powerful enough to cope with a room full of people.

Before dinner was served we could see that the lightning had started in the distance, everyone was speculating and estimated what area it was in. Gradually it got closer and people were by now attached to their mobile phones. Let us not forget that we are with a number of country people here and many of them belong to the local fire service and have their own fire trucks. Throughout the evening people were gradually dispersing to deal with fires caused by the lightning.

Robert kept an eye on the weather radar and eventually we had to leave. We had a terrific party a great meal and we think that Andrew was suitably surprised, the rain had just started to fall when we said our goodbyes.

On the way back we could see fires glowing in the distance, but as we got closer to Oura, we realised that there was a fairly large grass fire that was fairly close to the road, we found out the following day that moments later they closed the road, the fire jumped over it and into the next paddock. We were lucky to get through.

By the time we were heading down Woodstock lane we noticed that a fire had started on a neighbouring property, as soon as we were parked, Robert was gone with the fire truck. I believe he was out for an hour or so fighting it.

On the Sunday morning it was time to head back into town our holiday was over, so we packed up and were almost ready to go, when Andy much to his dismay said that he had a fly in his ear. It was not surprising as the promise of rain had brought the flies back again, really nowhere near as bad as they were a few years ago when we were helping with the harvest.

Nonetheless, it needed dealing with, Andy was hoping that he would poke it out but Helen had a better idea and appeared with a towel and a jug of water, asking Andy to sit and tip his head to one side.

Slowly Helen poured water into Andy’s ear, fortunately it didn’t dribble out the other side, we all waited patiently for the fly to float to the top, but nothing, we thought it failed. Andy emptied his ear and said it was still there.

Helen tried again and within seconds we see a fly swim its way to the top, success the fly is out and that is a remedy to remember.

We were soon back on the road again, a couple of hours later Gypsy was placed back into storage (not for long) and we headed home.

Both Andy and I were quite relieved really that we were heading home after our lovely camping trip, we were concerned about the conditions in the last few days and rightly so, that night fires in Victoria and Tasmania started, there was much concern and many with memories of Black Saturday wanting to do the right thing and that was either to get out when told to get out or stay and fight.

It would also be 10 years since the bad fires in Canberra and as the fires sprung up in some areas of the surrounding countryside people were getting nervous.

I only know one thing and that is if the fires came close to us and we were told to leave, I would, Andy even found that some people he worked with turned up for a few days with a car full of belongings and the children, just in case.


Additional photos below
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Wombat HoleWombat Hole
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... but we didn't see one


9th February 2013

Christmas Beetles
Hi Guys, Sorry to correct you but, your Cicadas are actually Christmas Beetles, (a type of scarab beetle) so called because they arrive around Christmas time each year and hang around over Christmas/New Year. They are similar to cicadas in the way that they emerge from the soil after summer rains have softened the ground sufficiently enough for them to be able to dig their way out. They feed on eucalypts (gum trees) and swarms of them can strip the foliage from a tree in a very short period of time. Their lifespan is short-lived but they will be around in droves over the holiday season and you see them mostly at night as they are attracted by outdoor lighting. They don't bite but do tickle and feel a bit scratchy when crawling over your hand or up your arm because of the tiny spikes on their legs. :) Great to see you a couple of days ago and looking forward to seeing you again soon. :) Love, J xxx
From Blog: Four Bears
11th February 2013

Beetles!
Hi Jan, thanks for the correction, we had not even considered that, caught up on the moment, there were hundreds of them and of course they are not cicadas I can see that now, they look nothing like a cicada! Pretty impressive swarm. Xx
From Blog: Four Bears

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