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.
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.
Dinner tonight was the rice, potato, tomato and bacon prepared before setting out this morning. Too cold for an evening shower!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Distance: 246 Km
A cold, sunny, windy morning, all the rain has departed, we are on the move today but only a couple of hours north west to Red Cliffs (near Mildura). No rush having breakfast, showering and packing up. The gazebo was already packed so it was really only the chairs, table and TV aerial to be stowed. Ran out of things to do by 9.30am so set off, cutting across country on minor roads. Stopped twice – once to stretch our legs and once at the Quarantine Bin to dump an uneaten banana.
The Red Cliffs Caravan Park is on the highway so it wasn’t hard to find, checked in and set up on a quite nice site away from the road next to a vineyard.
According to the local tourist guide there is an interpretive walk near the pumping station on the river and a board walk to view the red cliffs on/of the river bank which gave to town its name. Found neither… Did find the pumping station which was behind high, locked fences and the car park where the board walk was supposed to commence. In the end I scrambled along a difficult track and did get a glimpse of the cliffs (I think) but it looked as if the whole area was neglected and only used by dirt bikes.
After this fiasco drove back to Red Cliffs shopping centre to see the mural on the water tower and Big Lizzie. The latter is an amazing 100 year old engine used to clear the Mallee scrub for agriculture, it had a single cylinder, 60hp oil engine, was enormous and moved at 2mph!
BTW there is a dog show on locally so there are lots of posh looking thoroughbred dogs around the park.
Distance: 200 km
Fuel: 22 L
Nearly the worst travelling weather I have experienced since I bought the camper (the worst was definitely on my way to Port Lincoln in 2017).
It was a bit overcast when I got up about 6.40am but it went downhill once travelling. After breakfast set off for Sea Lake with the intention of exploring the area but it started raining half way there and this continued on and off until after returning to the caravan park in the late afternoon.
It stopped raining in Sea Lake briefly which gave an opportunity to walk about for a little while.
Once the rain started again it was decided to head north to Lake Tyrrell to see if it was pink (unlikely in this weather), in the event it was just wet.
After this washout the day was really over so it was a trip back to Swan Hill to buy milk and have a late lunch, before returning to Lake Boga. Even lunch was a a bit of a failure – ended up with a Macca’s Fish burger, chips and a seniors’ coffee – Swan Hill is another of these towns that charges to park in the main street.
In the caravan park the rain eventually stopped and a fairly brisk wind dried things out, at about 7pm took the opportunity to dismantle the, now dry, gazebo ready for leaving tomorrow.
Not the best day of this trip.
Distance: 358 km
It was another long drive today. With the weather further south near Phillip Island looking less than promising for the rest of the week it was decided to go west and try Lake Boga in the Swan Hill area near the NSW border.
The weather at first was grey and cloudy with light rain falling occasionally. We were travelling along C roads apart from a brief stint on the Hume near Glenrowan so there were limited opportunities to stop. It was not until a small town of Gunbower that we stopped for lunch, it is probably a town of 500 people but they provided a nice enough park to stop and eat next to the creek.
We have stayed at Lake Boga a few years ago when we first visited the Art Silo Trail. The sky was clear blue when we arrived and it was warm if a little windy, the park owner said that yesterday the lake had white caps because of the wind.
Was quite happy once the camper was set up to sit in the shade and read a book. The view across the lake is always relaxing.