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Published: January 26th 2012
Final leg of the Oz. trip
Following the Murray River from Echuca we went to Tallangatta and camped at their showground next to the lake which replaced the submerged original Tallangatta in the 1950’s. The showground was not a campground as such but is available when not in use. It was another small town with excellent outdoor facilities. The showground had a cricket oval (decided not to park on that), a Ménage where a chap turned up with two horses and rode western style (Liz said so) and was complete with a decent toilet block and showers. Not the horseman the showground. We had to share all this with 4 other fellow travellers all for the princely sum of 10 Aussie dollars, not bad value.
From Tallangatta we took the Alpine road to Bright, overMountBeautyand stayed in a field by a small river at a spot called Anglers Rest. Liz insisted on staying here as not 100 metres away was the only pub for 100kms in any direction. The Blue Duck Inn as it was called served cold beer and very good cider and came complete with a surly barmaid whom the locals delighted in
winding up which always livens up a visit. Next day we continued on the Alpine road onto a place called Bairnsdale , enjoying the views and the slightly surreal sight of thousands of acres of forest covered hills which had been burnt in a major bushfire some years ago. The odd thing was that the trees had lost all foliage but were still intact and a ghostly white colour which was dazzling in the bright sunshine. The Alpine road is part of theGreat Dividing Rangeand although not massively high at 7000ft it did take us the best part of two days solid driving to get through the pass.
Searching for a cheap overnight spot we found a grassy space in front of a yacht club at a place called Marlay point not far from the town ofSale.Sale will live in my memory as the place where I had a short back and sides from a very chatty barber who was interested in the rugby, where we had been etc. It was only afterwards that I realised he had cut the back and sides but taken nothing off the top so I had to ask Liz to finish the job,
still I enjoyed the chat. Marlay point was a beautiful spot and free so we stayed a couple of nights then we moved to Lakes Entrance where the weather was a bit wet and very windy, so windy that our eagerly anticipated riverboat tour to a local winery was cancelled. The day was saved as the winery sent a minibus to collect us and we had a great day sampling various different wines and ports followed by an excellent lunch and a good snooze in the afternoon.
Mallacoota was our next campspot which we both thought was a great location and we hired some pushbikes for a ride through a bushtrack then down and around the coastline. We could easily have stayed in Mallacoota a bit longer but I had made a call to my mother’s cousin who lives inEdenjust an hour from Mallacoota. My mum has corresponded with Myra for over 60 years but the pair have never met so as the Forrest ambassador I duly accepted Myra and husband Harry’s wonderful hospitality as we camped in their garden for a couple of days. They gave us a grand tour of the area, fed us ever so well
and supplied some of Wolff Blass’s finest wines, (one of their sons’ works for Wolff Blass). (Note to self) must find some more far flung relatives. Eden itself is pretty place with a history of whaling which although long finished they now celebrate the return to the bay every year of migrating Humpbacks, Southern Rights and Sperm to name but a few.
Leaving Eden we went inland to Bombala where the river of the same name is known for its resident Platypus, a creature I was very keen to see in the wild. The campsite manager told us confidently where to go to see them at dawn or dusk. He also helpfully added “watch out for snakes though”. What’s that saying “behind every silver lining there is a cloud”
At dusk we did see a Platypus from a nearby bridge but I couldn’t get close enough to get a clear view or any decent shots, so early next morning I went back and got a lot better view and also managed to see at least two other Platypus (Platypuses? Platypusii?) which made my day. I could bore people with my Platypus facts but to demonstrate how odd this
egg-laying mammal is, the Royal Zoological Society in theUKwhen it received its first specimen firmly believed it was being hoaxed and that different animal parts had been carefully constructed to create this one odd creature.
Our next move took us back to the coast at Bermagui for a day on the beach then on up to Moyuna Heads for a night before holing up in a quiet bush campsite atJervisBay. Jervis Bay was a beautiful spot in a national park, basically a lovely white beach, crystal clear water all surrounded by rainforest filled with colourful birds and lots of Wallabies.
Now we finally find ourselves back inSydneyhoovering and cleaning the van prior to handing it back tomorrow (Friday) followed by a night in a hotel with our first bath in nearly 6 months. Still we made time today as it was Australia Day to go down to the harbour bridge and take a boat trip to watch the tall ships coming in and soak up a bit of the atmosphere around the bars.
Next thing we do will be to catch our 23 hour flight back toLondonarriving home inEdinburghon Sunday lunchtime if all goes well. Looking forward
very much to seeing family, friends and dog.
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