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Published: April 25th 2010
Tuesday 20th April 2010
Today was very much a traveling day, after packing up we set off at about 10am.
We stopped at Leongatha for lunch, as there was a caravan stop in the town with a nice shelter/bbq set in a park. We continued through to Yanakie where we refueled, and then drove on to Wilsons Promontory National Park. Here we paid for our entrance and were welcomed with the ranger at the gate giving us all the information we wanted and advising us to only pay 1 night's camping as we could extend in the park.
The park itself is extensive with 450 caravan bays. As there were only about 50 other campers there we had no problem in finding a spot to stop. Judy soon befriended the people next door, Bill and Faye, a couple from NSW and we had our 'sundowner' with them. Wednesday 21st April 2010
Mt Oberon was our objective this morning and after driving some way up the side to the parking area we set off. Several school groups were in the area, one a primary school group going our way, the other a secondary group hiking through
the ranges for a couple of days. We discussed the Risk Management the leaders had to go through, Judy just having marked this topic in the Online Uni of Aust course she is tutoring.
From the carpark the walk was 3.4 km to the summit, at what is described as a 'subtle incline'. Judy would like to discuss this description with the author! Halfway up, Rags rang his grand-daughter, Ella, to wish her happy birthday, the wonder of mobile phones .
Eventually we reached the summit only to be greeted with a total 'white-out'. The cloud was thick and you couldn't see more than 20m. As we had a snack here we talked about the risks and management the teacher had to endure with the class of kids nearby, both of us glad that this was now in our past.
After lunch back at the park we prepared for our departure and then had a nice hot shower before leaving. From here we drove to Port Albert, where we found the stop-over park at the waters edge just as we had been told. The town has put aside a section of their waterfront carpark to allow visitors
to park their vans at no charge. They ask that in return visitors make use of the town' shops. We responded to this with having a couple of drinks at the hotel with a WA couple, we re-met from Rosebud, and then went on to buy fish & chips and have with a couple of wines at our campsite.
Sue & Steff, the couple we met, intend traveling with us tomorrow. Thursday 22nd April 2010
Today was a day of travel, made a bit more interesting as we were in company and Sue was having a great time with our handheld radio, chatting to us when various sights came up.
Lunch was on the banks of the Thomson River at Sale, a most picturesque spot.
From here we continued to Paynesville as from here Sue told us she had read that we could catch a ferry to Raymond Island to see koalas and wombats in the wild. We are finding tourist information not easily found in Victoria. Yes, we can get some lovely glossy booklets but they tell you little of the tourist "must do" and more of where you can
stay, eat or view at a price. They are obviously sponsored by businesses so information is far from objective!
As it was getting a little late we thought that this would be a good place to spend the night but after checking out the caravan park in town decided to push on to Lakes Entrance!
We were all surprised to see that for pedestrians the ferry crossing was free, but even more surprised when we realised the crossing was only about 100m to the other side. A friendly local gave us directions as to where we would see koalas, this being much closer than another chap Sue had spoken to thought. In fact we saw our first one no more than a couple of hundred metres from where we landed and from then on it became a competition on who could find the next.
Another local we met told how 500 koalas had been moved from the island as it was felt there was insufficient trees to feed them all. He was quite cutting on the National Parks methods, saying the locals should have been consulted more. Even so, after he mentioned how he got on with
his neighbours and their dog, we took some of what he said with a little cynicism.
Raymond Island would be a little bit of heaven to live on but the cost of real estate with basic houses was a little over the top. $500K for what was little more than a beach house seemed to be the norm. Easily checked using Stefan's Iphone when we saw a "For Sale" sign.
Stef & Sue had rung ahead to ensure there were vacancies at Eastern Beach Caravan Park, about 3 kms east of Lakes Entrance. Therefore we followed them out in the waning light, arriving just after 6pm. Great place with good facilities and spacious camp sites.
Our evening meal was a shared one with good steaks, salad and potatoes being on the menu. Friday 23rd April 2010
We had planned a few things over drinks last night but we must have got carried away as none of us felt like doing anything this morning or perhaps it was the fact that the 30degree heat made us feel lethargic!
We eventually got into town and on seeing a fishing trawler selling Moreton Bay Bugs
bought a kilogram of them, Rags returning them to camp whilst Judy window shopped. Stef and Sue rode out on their bikes and did similar, they buying a kilogram of prawns.
The afternoon was spent having a dip in the cool pool at the camp area before Stef went for a swim in the local pool as he's done the Rottnest swim and is keen to maintain his fitness. Rags went for a ride around town on Sue's bike whilst the 2 ladies played with their computers and Judy showed Sue how to compress videos so they were small enough to upload.
Before dinner a lady came knocking on our door. We had seen their rig earlier, nice and new and we noticed they came from Mandurah. Their hot water system wasn't working and we were asked to help. After trying everything we could think of to get it going Rags had a brainwave and checked their gas bottles. Brand new & empty! We all had a chuckle afterward.
Dinner was again a joint effort, Stef doing BBQ prawns Thai style, Rags the Moreton Bay bugs and Judy a great salad. With several wines, the food and
stories about ourselves made we had a most interesting evening. Saturday 24th April
We awoke to drizzling rain and this continued into the morning. We spent the time in the comfort of the van, glad that we weren't in a tent like some, Judy doing her uni work and Rags catching up with his photos and the blog.
Stef & Sue agreed with us that the boat tour we had planned on taking would be too washed out, they going to the pool (indoor & heated), we continuing with what we were doing.
Mid morning we decided we should move ourselves so decided to go for a walk in town. Here while we were looking for somewhere for Judy to replace some makeup that had been accidentally smashed while Judy was in the shower and Rags decided to move the van in preparation for leaving The Prom. We found most places closed but we did manage to find a local fish store open where we bought some flathead strips and some curried scallops. After this we saw that they had prawns on the wharf for $8 kilo - half of yesterday's price so some
of those were also purchased. About this time the sun decided to shine and we rethought our idea of the cruise but we were too late. It was already 2pm and we needed to get our seafood back to the van and refrigeration.
After unloading the seafood we went to set off again only to have 4 people riding fold up bikes ride up. They stopped for a friendly chat and Rags had a ride of one of their bikes. We'd considered buying them in the past but hadn't. Rags is missing his riding and when they said they'd bought their bikes in a town only 35km away we set off on a mission! Our hopes were dashed when we got to Bairnsdale and found the main street shops including the Riviera Bike Shop closed until Tuesday. It was Saturday and they weren't open, being a country town where everything closes at 1pm.
The local Kmart wasn't closed however and Judy managed to get her makeup and some moisturiser before we drove back in the early twilight brought on by the ominous dark clouds enveloping us.
Tonight, Steff was cooking a herbed rack of lamb - what
a gourmet camp cook! So with our scallops as entree, flathead strips, roast lamb, chilli mashed potato and Surprise peas we had a feast! Sunday 25th April
Sadly, today we said goodbye to Steff and Sue who are traveling around Australia so continuing along the coast road. We decided we'd have another day here and take the cruise before heading north along the Great Alpine Road tomorrow.
The morning was sunny so we made the most of it and washed our clothes before draping them on our home made line under cover of the caravan awning. Luckily there was some wind about to help it dry.
Our morning was spent exploring Lake Tyers Forest Park. We enjoyed driving along the dirt roads that suddenly gave way to an expanse of water very scenic.
After lunch back at the van we arrived back at the dock in plenty of time to purchase our tickets for the cruise. Although the weather was intermittently rain and sunshine the we enjoyed the scenery of lush forests to the waters edge interspersed with houses with private jetties. The boat, Thunderbird wasn't full but it was still quite crowded for this
time of the year. We did pass the entrance to Bass Strait, which is the real lake's entrance.
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