Featured

Welcome to my Blog

I have moved my blog from its old Google server to this server. Things have not always copied across accurately and some of the links might not work so please bear with me as I try to correct things. There seems to be a particular problem with some of the maps so I am trying to correct that – apparently it is a Google Maps bug.

If you want to be notified when there is a new post please enter your email address in the box at the bottom of the right hand sidebar. I only add posts when I travel so this blog can remain static for weeks then suddenly get a series of daily entries.

Anyway I hope you enjoy them. You can follow or catch up with a specific journey by clicking on the name of the journey in the “Category” list at the right, there is even a monthly list too.

My kitchen, simple but effective.

24th October 2019–A Long Drive

Distance: 978 km
Fuel: 99 L

A lovely morning but time to go home. The original intention was to make two overnight stops on the way home at Benalla and Gundagai, then it was decided to make only one stop at Holbrook. The drive through Melbourne’s motorway network had proved uneventful, even the short stretch of normal roads to get onto the Hume Highway had been pretty easy (only took a couple of wrong turns).

We had stopped every couple of hours to stretch our legs so that when we got near Holbrook I felt quite alright to drive on to see how far we got and by the time we passed the Canberra turn offs it seemed silly not to continue on to Wollongong.

Arrived home at 8.30pm, in fact the worst bit of the journey was the night roadworks on the F6 near Northcliffe Drive. I haven’t driven that far in one day since I drove from Brisbane to Sydney in one day in the 1960s (no multilane roads then).

Bugs

Statistics

Distance Travelled: 3795 km
Fuel Used: 384 L
Average Fuel Price: $1.48/L
Accommodation Cost: $440

Not a bad holiday and we eventually saw everything that we set out to see. Some of the travelling was avoiding the cold weather which set in over SE Victoria hence the rather strange route.

23rd October 2019–San Remo & About

Distance: 37 km
Fuel: 31 L

Quite thick fog and very heavy dew this morning – great for getting bugs off the windscreen but cold and wet.

San Remo

Even after 10am the fog persisted as a sea mist.

San Remo

it cleared as the day got warmer.

Did some shopping and looking around San Remo before going to see the advertised Pelican Feeding at noon.

San RemoSan Remo

Not very excited about this as there are plenty of pelicans in Wollongong. Anyway there were a few hanging about waiting for a feed though in the event they didn’t seem that hungry.

San RemoSan Remo Pelican FeedingSan Remo Pelican FeedingSan Remo Pelican Feeding

Drove onto Phillip Island for one last time to see Pyramid Rock it has a good lookout at the end of a dirt road.

But first a quick stop to look at the Big Wave.

Phillip Island The Big WavePhillip Island The Big Wave

Then on to Pyramid Rock…

Phillip Island Pyramid RockPhillip Island Pyramid RockPhillip Island Pyramid RockPhillip Island Pyramid RockPhillip Island Pyramid Rock

Back at the caravan park spent the late afternoon enjoying the sunshine. Dismantled the gazebo at about 6pm before walking back to the shopping centre to look for dinner. Strolled across to a sculpture by the bridge before deciding on Thai food again.

San RemoSan Remo

The holiday is nearly over, the next couple of days are going to be taken up with driving home.

22nd October 2019–Penguins

Distance: 311 km

A cold Ballarat morning, no rushing to get away only 230(ish)Km to travel today. Staying at San Remo on the mainland rather than Phillip Island itself where the camping fees are ridiculous.

From Ballarat it was expressway right into Melbourne however that might have been a mistake because as we neared Melbourne the traffic got heavier and slowed to a crawl until past the West Gate Bridge. Might try to detour round Melbourne when we head north rather than use the expressways.

Despite these holdups arrived at San Remo just after midday and settled in on a very nice grassy site in an almost empty park.

San Remo Holiday Park

Because it was so early and a lovely sunny day investigated going to Penguin Parade today rather than waiting until tomorrow and booked a general viewing ticket on line. The penguins don’t return to land until after sunset so there was plenty of time for other things.

Washed a couple of T shirts and undies to give me enough clean clothes to get back home without further washing before setting off for Phillip Island. The bridge to the island is a few hundred metres from the caravan park but you forget how big the island actually is, after about a 20 minute drive found where Penguin Parade is located then drove on to The Nobbies. Spectacular scenery as usual even saw a whale in the distance which surprised me as I thought they would all be much further north by now.

The Nobbies Phillip IslandThe Nobbies Phillip IslandThe Nobbies Phillip IslandThe Nobbies Phillip IslandThe Nobbies Phillip IslandThe Nobbies Phillip IslandThe Nobbies Phillip IslandThe Nobbies Phillip Island

After spending quite some time there drove to Cowes for dinner. Decided on a Thai restaurant near the pier, it turned out to be an excellent Thai meal. By the time our meal was over it was just after 7pm and time to make our way back to see the penguins.

Cowes Phillip IslandCowes Phillip IslandCowes Phillip IslandCowes Phillip Island

Managed to get a girl at the ticket counter to print out the bar codes of the tickets from the receipt emails because I was not sure that I would be able to find them for scanning at the turnstiles. Smile

The Penguin Parade building was massive with food, souvenirs, information, rest areas, the lot – just before sunset made our way out to the viewing platforms. A fellow gave a talk about the penguins which was repeated in Chinese (I would guess that 90% of the visitors were Chinese tourists). I learned that of all the 18 species of penguins the Australian Fairy Penguins are the only ones that spend all day at sea and only come ashore en masse after sunset. It keeps them safe(r) from predators like raptors (Fairy Penguins are only about 33cm tall – ie snack sized), apparently the other 17 species come and go between the land and the sea as they please.

It was cold and got colder. At about 8.15pm the first penguins appeared at the waters edge and thereafter more and more came ashore. They all gathered at the waters edge before rushing across the sand to the undergrowth. To be honest at first I couldn’t see them at all but eventually made them out – should have taken my binoculars. Watched them arriving for half an hour or so before the cold decided that we would leave. Walking back along the boardwalks we saw dozens of them making their way back to their burrows.

Penguin Parade Phillip IslandPenguin Parade Phillip Island

Visitors are not allowed to take photographs but they let you download theirs, here are a couple.

PenguinsPenguins

Personally I thought the penguin tours in Tasmania were better, far less crowded – ten people instead of hundreds, you seemed much closer to the birds and you could take photos (without flash).  I am glad I went but it is added to my “Do Not Bother Going Again” list which includes – Scenic World, Great Ocean Road, The Stockman Hall of Fame, Waltzing Matilda Museum and now Penguin Parade.

Arrived back at the caravan park at nearly 10pm, overall another good day out.

21st October 2019–Sovereign Hill

Distance: 17 km
Fuel: 19 L

Woke to a cold, foggy morning…

Shady Acres Caravan Park

…which turned into a beautiful sunny day.

Shady Acres Caravan Park

After breakfasting, showering etc we set off for a visit to Sovereign Hill. We have been to Ballarat before and seen the lavish city buildings, the Remembrance Arch, Lake Windermere and the 1956 Olympics site but we missed Sovereign Hill.

It was not cheap – $99 for the two of us just to get in. The reality is that we had a really good time, think Old Sydney Town with a gold rush. It was very well done, we ate in a bakery advertising 3d pies (ha ha) $27 for fish and chips, $23 for salt and pepper squid, $7.50 for a bottle of Tooheys Dry but it was very nicely cooked and presented with all the staff young, cheery and in costume.

Sovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill Ballarat

Sovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill Ballarat

We also took a mine tour where we descended 90m on a rail cable car to view sections of the old workings.

Sovereign Hill Gold Mine TourSovereign Hill Gold Mine TourSovereign Hill Gold Mine TourSovereign Hill Gold Mine TourSovereign Hill Gold Mine TourSovereign Hill Gold Mine TourSovereign Hill Gold Mine TourSovereign Hill Gold Mine Tour

From the top of the mine gantry was a great view over Ballarat.

Ballarat

Finally a ride in the carriage pulled by four carthorses (three Clydesdales and a Percheron).

Sovereign Hill BallaratSovereign Hill Ballarat Carriage RideSovereign Hill Ballarat Carriage RideSovereign Hill Ballarat Carriage Ride

Also included in the ticket was entry to the nearby Gold Museum which we visited. Personally I was not that interested in it which might have been because I was tired after walking about for 5 hours.

Gold Museum BallaratGold Museum Ballarat

Outside the museum was a statue of Henry Bolte who I thought was the Victorian equivalent of Bob Askin and corrupt as hell.

Gold Museum Ballarat

20th October 2019–To Ballarat

Distance: 461 km
Fuel: 38 L

Packing up was easy this morning – took a quick trip to the local shops for milk but once the TV aerial had been dismantled and breakfast eaten there was not much to do apart from stowing the chairs, cleaning the mats and preparing some food for the journey. We were on the road just after 9am.

According to the weather forecast warmer weather will arrive for South East Victoria by the middle of the week so instead of  heading north to a very warm, dry Broken Hill we were driving south along the Calder and Sunraysia Highways to Ballarat.

Not a lot to report today as there was a long distance to cover so we only made brief stops to stretch our legs or for toilet breaks – rest stops were pretty inhospitable being generally bare dirt without even a table or rubbish bin. What started off as a cloudless, sunny day in Red Cliffs became an overcast, cold day in Ballarat – I think it was 12’C when we arrived but the forecast is for warmer days to come and that gusty wind has been left behind.

Between Red Cliffs and BallaratBetween Red Cliffs and Ballarat

Arrived at a caravan park mid afternoon, paid for two nights and settled in. The park is a bit run down but quite adequate There is a covered BBQ area behind our site so no need for the gazebo, not that there is any sun anyway.

Ballarat Shady Acres Caravan Park

Dinner tonight was the rice, potato, tomato and bacon prepared before setting out this morning. Too cold for an evening shower!

19th October 2019–Rural Mildura

Distance: 147 km
Fuel: 46 L

Woke this morning to a beautiful sunrise, still air and clear skies yet within an hour or so it was completely overcast and the gusty wind had returned. Decided to take down the gazebo because, even though it was not as windy as yesterday, with the cloudy skies its shade was not needed and the wind had certainly stressed it.

Decided to go for a drive west of Mildura and just explore the countryside. Headed to the small town of Werrimull where there is a National Trust listed Church called Our Lady of Lourdes.

WerrimullWerrimull

As well as the church the town had a interesting pub, houses and post office, Werrimull might have a population of 100 (perhaps? – my guess).

WerrimullWerrimullWerrimullWerrimullWerrimullWerrimull

On the route, and shown on the map are “towns” like Merrinee with their own sign board but the place consists of a silo and absolutely nothing else (though one did have a Telstra hut).

MerrineeThat is every building in Merrinee in one picture  While the following pictures show Karawinna and Pirita.

KarawinnaPirita

After yesterday’s dust it was no surprise to see more picked up from neighbouring paddocks as we drove.

Dust near Pirita

Anyway on to Mildura for fuel and lunch the latter taken at a cafe next to Mildura Wharf where there is a walking/cycling track along the bank of the River Murray. We ate our lunch looking across the river at NSW where we are heading tomorrow. The weather had improved markedly from early morning to sunshine with the occasional cloud. After eating lunch we walked along the river track in both directions before returning to Red Cliffs mid/late afternoon.

Mildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura WharfMildura Wharf

Late News – Change of Plan

There is a break in the weather down south so instead of heading north to Broken Hill we are going to Ballarat and aiming for Phillip Island mid week.

18th October 2019–Mildura

Distance: 52 km

It was cool last night I woke up at one stage and thought my thermometer was reading 0’C (in fact it was 8’C). After my shower I got a load of washing done – That might last me until I get home.

There was no wind early on but that changed during the day. Drove to Mildura to do some shopping and visit the Tourist Information Office, the latter was in a terrific council facility which housed the library, cafe, tourist bureau and an aquatic centre.

Mildura Civic & Aquatic CentreMildura Civic & Aquatic Centre

Drove across the Murray river into NSW to visit a Holden Museum, it was probably smaller than the Motorlife Museum at Kembla Grange but the cars gleamed and they were Holdens. Not every model was represented, for example they didn’t have an HK or HJ Kingswood but they had an FB – those are the Holdens I have owned – but I did enjoy the museum and it was only $10 entry. Stayed for a coffee afterwards.

Mildura Holden Motor MuseumMildura Holden Motor MuseumMildura Holden Motor MuseumMildura Holden Motor MuseumMildura Holden Motor MuseumMildura Holden Motor Museum

Returned to the caravan park for a late lunch then went off to re explore the sights of Red Cliffs – found the lookout which looked out on virtually nothing unless you ignored the, ‘Unstable Cliffs” sign and climbed the fence. also found a dirt track which led to the cliff edge but the views from that were disappointing too.

Red CliffsRed CliffsRed CliffsRed CliffsRed CliffsRed Cliffs

Near the  Red Cliffs shopping centre found and walked along the Peace Walk which was not particularly exciting but it did have some interesting information about the town. The area was originally settled after WWI when the land was cleared to provide soldier/settler blocks for returned servicemen and the town only really got going by 1925 when the post office was built.

Red Cliffs Peace WalkRed Cliffs Post Office

Returned again to the caravan park about 3.30pm to find the wind gusting and brown dust clouds on the horizon. The dust arrived shortly after 4pm – not a thick dust storm, just enough to cover everything with a thin layer of red soil.

Red Cliffs Dust Storm