Despite an almost empty park we crammed ourselves right up against a vacant cabin to take advantage of the shade it offered during the hottest part of the day. The advantage was that in the morning the sun warmed the camp up.
After having a shower, breakfast, coffee and all the basic necessities of life it was time for a visit to the Grampians. It is a Saturday so expected more visitor traffic than there actually turned out to be.
There was a sharp contrast between the plains and the mountains, no gradual rise, one minute you were driving along flat roads, the next climbing on narrow winding mountain roads.
The scenery was pretty spectacular.
While the route and lookouts were uncrowded Halls Gap (just visible in the last photo), the town in the centre of the area, was packed with cars and people. I had intended to stop there for a meal but parking seemed at a premium and it was pretty crowded so we moved on.
On the way back to Horsham there was a ‘Giant Koala’’ at Dadswells Bridge. For a ‘Big’ thing the Koala wasn’t bad but the cafe and gift shop had a slghtly run down feel about it but there is nothing quite like an over priced cup of tea and a ham sandwich in such surroundings.
By mid afternoon the temperature had risen to 40’C but there was a slight breeze which made it slightly more bearable than yesterday however it seemed like a good opportunity to get the laundry done.
After a quick visit to Coles in Horsham for essential supplies the washing was done, on the line and dried within an hour.
Taking the scenic route rather than a direct route to Horsham today to take in three new paintings on the Silo Art Trail. We had visited the original paintings at Patchewollock, Brim and Sheep Hills but now there are new ones at Lascelles, Rosebery and Rupanyup.
The road took us west through Sea Lake before turning south. The temperature today was 40Ç, it was a very dry heat but hard going out of the air conditioned comfort of the car.
My TomTom satnav found some interesting cross country short cuts which involved a few single lane roads, When I first came to Australia in the 1960s these were a step up from the more common dirt road but they are getting rarer now.
We arrived at Wimmera Lakes Caravan Resort at about 2pm, checked in for a couple of days, quickly set up camp and went into Horsham to visit the Tourist information Office. A helpful lady there told us all about the Grampians National Park which was our plan for tomorrow.
We decided to visit Pink Lake as it was only half an hour’s drive away. It was less than overwhelming as it was almost completely dry so just a salt pan. A pink tinge was slightly visible but that was about it. Walked on the salt and found a spot with what looked like bright pink dye (at least someone was trying to enhance the experience).
After a fairly long drive spent the first night at a Wagaa Wagga caravan park with the most run down facilities I have come across, definitely one to avoid in future.
Distance: 381km Fuel: 40L
On the way stopped at Deniliquin, a town I have always liked.
Entered the Sunrasia Quarantine area where we dutifully tried to eat the remaining bananas before disposing of them in the bin.
Originally had planned to stay at Barham in NSW but drove the extra 25km to Kerang just across the border in Victoria. Again the facilities not the best but much better than the previous night. Seem to have picked parks that have their best days behind them. This one was situated on the Kerang River and despite this I would visit again, it wasn’t that bad. .
In the evening went for walk to the town centre which was only 500 metres away.
Distance: 244km Fuel: 19ltr My camper was in Canberra so leaving home was really just a matter of packing the car with all the stuff the camper couldn’t hold.
There was 30 litres of water and 20 litres of fuel though I cheated with the water taking empty containers and filling them up when I arrived in Canberra. I spent the Friday night at Katie and Geoff’s House, in the morning I had to buy a few things like milk and ice (thank you Katie for taking me) but eventually I set off before noon.
22 April 2017 – Driving to Narrandera .
Distance: 281km Fuel: 34ltr A well travelled route but I let the TomTom take me its variation of the quickest route via Jugiong and the back roads to Cootamundra, Junee and Coolamon. Definitely saw a lot of sheep going this way and not much traffic. Arrived at Narrandera mid afternoon but having visited here only a month or go past did nothing but get fuel and eat. The weather was warm and mostly sunny.
23 April 2017 A change of plan.
Distance: 479km Fuel: 47ltr I had intended to stay the night at Balranald but after setting off at 9.30am was there just after 12pm. As I have said on other occasions the Hay Plain is not the world’s most exciting drive and apart from being buzzed by a crop duster (they are totally mad) this was no exception. Decided to press on to Mildura.
24th April 2017 Port Augusta
Distance: 550km Fuel: 60ltr The weather was fine until the SA border when it started to cloud over. Usual stop at Yamba just inside SA for the state quarantine Service to check for Fruit, veggies etc Stopped at Morgan for ice and I also bought a sausage roll (living the good life). From Bulla on the showers started and by Port Pirie it was a downpour, visibility was poor and when I bought fuel just outside Port Augusta the service station exit was under several inches of water. The caravan park was quite a big one with more vans and motor homes than I had seen in a park but this is the last place on my journey that I have visited before so from tomorrow all is new and progress will be much slower.
All is forgiven – woke to a beautiful sunny morning. Showered, had breakfast wiped the windows and headlights clean of bugs (an advantage of wet weather). Noticed A frame caravan owners are obsessed with sweeping before they dismantle their camper – a statistic based on an observation of two. No rush this morning might only be only travelling about 155km.