Thursday 27th March 2014

Thursday morning saw us heading to SA.  We stopped at Beachport.  We stopped here last trip and Peter loved the place so much he had to come back again.  The day we arrived was stunning weather but overnight it rained and blew gale force winds with below 10 degree temperatures for 24 hours.  It was hard being cooped up in the motorhome so we decided it was time to come home.

Beachport jetty - one of the longest jetties in SA

Beachport jetty – one of the longest jetties in SA

Beachport sunrise

Beachport sunrise

Next morning we headed off from Beachport in SA and crossed Victoria and stopped for the night at Barham on the Murray River in NSW.

Murray River at Barham

Murray River at Barham

Next day we left Barham went through Dubbo and spent the night in Forbes

Dubbo Zoo

Dubbo Zoo

Next day we made it from Forbes to Goondiwindi and spent the night in a truck stop.  We wanted to surprise the kids but had to tell Shane to leave a key out for us as we forgot to take a house key when we left.  Donna was very surprised and happy to see us and Shane is glad to have some home cooking again.

It’s a very long drive from SA to Qld and one I’m not too keen to do again in a hurry.  We will stay home for a few weeks now before heading off up the highway to North Qld where the weather is warmer.  I’ll sign off for now and look forward to new adventures when we head north.

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Wednesday 19th March 2014

Thursday morning saw us head off down the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay a lovely seaside village surrounded by farmland and mountains.  There is a seal colony on some rocks not far off the beach, a bit hard to see in the photo.  Unfortunately I caught a gastro bug and we stayed at Apollo Bay for 3 nights so I could try and recover.

Apollo Bay

– Apollo Bay
 
Seals on rocks

Seals on rocks

Sunday morning we set off to Otway National Park and Lighthouse.  We have been here before and it was 6 degrees and sleeting, this time was slightly warmer but pelting rain and wild winds.  Still a beautiful place but I don’t believe it is anything other wild and windy.  Otway National Park is also home to koalas, I’m a sucker for a cute cuddly koala.

Otway Lighthouse

Otway Lighthouse

Otway National Park Koalas

Otway National Park Koalas

We stopped in Port Campbell overnight a pretty small seaside town then headed off the next morning to see the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and the Bay of Islands.  It was still raining but every so often we’d get a break in the rain so we would quickly have a look and take photos.  There was the steepest  boat ramp that I have ever seen at the Bay of Islands, we spoke to some National Parks guys who pulled up and they said that the boat ramp gets very busy when the weather is just right, the fishermen catch crayfish and abalone from here.

Port Campbell

Port Campbell

12 Apostles

12 Apostles

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge

Bay of Islands - the steepest boat ramp in the world I think

Bay of Islands – the steepest boat ramp in the world I think

We stayed in Warrnambool that night, unfortunately there aren’t any photos because I was still feeling sick and Peter doesn’t take many photos.  Went to see a doctor and she has given me antibiotics (thinks I caught Giardia) so am now on the mend.

Next stop was at Port Fairy another pretty little seaside town.  This place is full of historic buildings so if you like architecture this place has all different types.

St Johns Anglican Church Port Fairy

St Johns Anglican Church Port Fairy

St Johns Anglican Church Port Fairy

St Johns Anglican Church Port Fairy

Wednesday saw us heading off to Portland.  We decided to catch the Portland Tram and get a commentary about the place, it’s a huge shipping port where they export wheat, barley, pine logs and blue gum wood chips to Japan and import aluminum to go the smelter inland from Portland. The highlight of our stay in Portland was when we went to the boat ramp to see what fish some guy had caught (King George Whiting) and some seals turned up for a free feed.  These seals live in the harbour and are very used to humans but are still wild creatures.  There were 3 of them but the baby stole my heart.

Portland Tram

Portland Tram

Seals on boat ramp - Portland

Seals on boat ramp – Portland

Baby Sammy the Seal

Baby Sammy the Seal

Wednesday 12th March 2014

Friday morning we set off, first stop was Agnes Falls, the highest single span falls in Victoria.  It was cold and raining.  We met an interesting german couple who took a picture for us.

Agnes Falls near Toora

– Agnes Falls near Toora

Agnes Falls near Toora

Agnes Falls near Toora

We drove through the Strzelecki Ranges, beautiful green rolling hills with lots of farmland till we got to Mirboo North.  This sculpture was made to honour the fire fighter who gave the koala a drink of water in the Black Saturday fires in 2009.  This area and north of here was destroyed by those terrible fires.

Mirboo North

Mirboo North

All around Victoria there are rail trails for people to walk and ride their bikes, this is one of the trails Peter and I went for a little ride on, very beautiful and quiet and peaceful.  This rail trail was behind a brewery.  The owners allowed us to free camp there so we took advantage and sampled their beers (Peter more so than me) and had a lovely meal.

 

Mirboo North

Mirboo North

Sunday morning we left Mirboo North and headed towards the water again.  We found Inverloch and Cape Paterson, lovely seaside towns but incredibly busy with the million or so Melbournites away for the long weekend here in Victoria.

Inverloch

Inverloch

Cape Paterson

Cape Paterson

We went to Philip Island and it was packed. Decided not to go see the fairy penguins, there had been 2,500 people the night before and there was no way Peter was going there. We’ll have to catch them next time.  Eventually we found a free camp site at Grantville overlooking Western Port, not much there but met a dutch couple who free camp everywhere they go.  He shared his zoute drop (salted liquorice) with me, yummy.

Grantville

Grantville

Monday morning saw us heading down the Mornington Peninsula, the last 2 days had been very hot and all I wanted to do was swim, unfortunately the tide goes out for a half a kilometre in these bays so had to make do with a paddle.  In true Victoria style 2 hours later the weather changed and became cool and raining.  Below is a picture of how they camp Victoria style.  These huts are dotted all along the peninsula overlooking Port Philip Bay.

Camping Victoria style

Camping Victoria style

Sunset over Port Philip Bay

Sunset over Port Philip Bay

Tuesday morning we were up very early and caught the 7 o’clock ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff.

Looking back to Sorrento

Looking back to Sorrento

We had a good look around Queenscliff and Pt Lonsdale.  Lots of very old buildings and a lighthouse and jetty.

Pt Lonsdale

Pt Lonsdale

We stayed in Torquay Tuesday night.

Torquay

 

Wednesday we headed off to Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.  Found this replica of a bark hut that the first settlers lived in 1852.  They must have been short people because even I had to duck my head to go inside and very small living quarters.  I thought the motorhome was cramped.

Bark Hut at Aireys Inlet

Bark Hut at Aireys Inlet

Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet

Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet

We made it to Memorial Arch the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road built by 3,000 returned soldiers from the first world war.

Memorial Arch Eastern View

Memorial Arch Eastern View

Next stop was Lorne.  A trendy boutique style seaside town.  It was very busy here, we can’t believe the amount of travellers with caravans and motorhomes are here in one place.  We couldn’t get into a park here so went on to Wye River.

Lorne Jetty

Lorne Jetty

View from Teddys Lookout Lorne

View from Teddys Lookout Lorne

Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Wye River

Wye River

Thursday 6th March 2014

Wilsons Promontory

What an amazingly beautiful wild uninhabited place this is.  Great place to visit if you like hiking, unfortunately for us Peter’s not able to do that (not sure I could do it either) so couldn’t get to the more exotic parts of the peninsula.  There is a lot of bush and mountains and beaches and a lot of it you can’t get to unless you hike for miles.  There’s supposed to be a lot of wildlife too but apart from a couple of wallabies we didn’t see any.  Still even whilst driving there are a lot of wow’s and oooooh’s when you come around another corner and see the majesty of the scenery.

Welcome Gate to Wilsons Promontory

Welcome Gate to Wilsons Promontory

Tidal River

Tidal River

Tides out at Tidal River

Tides out at Tidal River

Big boulders on Squeaky Beach

Big boulders on Squeaky Beach

 

Big boulders on Squeaky Beach

Big boulders on Squeaky Beach

 

Big boulders on Squeaky Beach

Big boulders on Squeaky Beach

Squeaky Beach called that because the pure white sand squeaks when you walk on it

Squeaky Beach called that because the pure white sand squeaks when you walk on it

 

View to Norman Island

View to Norman Island

Whisky Bay

Whisky Bay

Pete catching his breath and resting his knees before climbing back up the hill

Pete catching his breath and resting his knees before climbing back up the hill

Wildflowers.  Can't work out what kind of flowers they are.  Anybody know???

Wildflowers. Can’t work out what kind of flowers they are. Anybody know???

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 5th March 2014

The sand crabs and prawns are different from we get in Qld but is just as yummy.  Fresh off the trawlers – crabs were just $6 a kilo, bargainCrabs and prawns at Lakes Entrance

Crabs and prawns at Lakes Entrance
Very pretty around Lakes Entrance and flat so easy for bike riding
Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance

Found this amazing St Marys Catholic Church in Bairnsdale, the ceilings and walls and stained glass windows are something to be seen.

St Marys Catholic Church Bairnsdale

St Marys Catholic Church Bairnsdale

Painted ceilings at St Marys Catholic Church Bairnsdale

Painted ceilings at St Marys Catholic Church Bairnsdale

Stained glass windows at St Marys Catholic Church at Bairnsdale

Stained glass windows at St Marys Catholic Church at Bairnsdale

We had a ferry ride from Paynesville to Raymond Island.  There are heaps of wild koalas in their natural habitat, we rode the bikes around and admired the koalas

Raymond Island famous for it's koalas

Raymond Island famous for it’s koalas

The real koalas

Koalas on Raymond Island

Koalas on Raymond Island

Found this very old swing bridge just past Sale.  It’s still operational.  Runs horizontally with the water when boats sail past.

Swing Bridge near Sale

Swing Bridge near Sale

Free camped at Golden Beach, part of 90 mile beach.  Lots of sand and water and not much else.  Would make a great place to watch whales

Golden Beach overlooking 90 mile beach

Golden Beach overlooking 90 mile beach

Free camped at Port Albert, lovely historic township right on the water.  Beautiful sunrise and yes despite what Peter says I do get up to see sunrises sometimes.

Sunrise at Port Albert

Sunrise at Port Albert

Lookout from Toora overlooking Wilsons Promontory

Toora Lookout to Wilsons Promontory

Toora Lookout to Wilsons Promontory

Wind Farm at Toora

Toora Wind Farm

Toora Wind Farm

We are staying at Foster for 3 days.  We will be going down Wilsons Promontory tomorrow and check out surrounding areas on Friday.  This weekend is a long weekend here in Victoria so we will have trouble finding somewhere to stay.  We are planning on heading inland away from the popular spots till next Tuesday when the 4 million people in Melbourne all head home. Then we plan on going to Philip Island to see fairy penguins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 27th February 2014

Friday we had a call from the friends we made when we were in Red Rock asking us to catch up with them in Moruya.  We were about 40 minutes south of them so we packed up and headed north and spent 2 days with them.  It was an unpowered site and we were able to have camp fires.

Camp fire at Moruya Heads with Johnno and Sandy

– Camp fire at Moruya Heads with Johnno and Sandy

We went exploring with John and Sandy and found a very old cemetery from the original settlers in the area

A very old cemetery in Moruya Heads South

A very old cemetery in Moruya Heads South

Sunday we left John and Sandy and stayed in a council camp ground at Dalmeny.  Beautiful views but very windy

View from our camp site in Dalmeny

View from our camp site in Dalmeny

Monday we went through a historic town called Tilba, beautiful old buildings and they have a cheese factory.  Taste tested the cheeses and had to buy a yummy camembert and a creamy blue cheese. Mmmmm Mmmmmm!!!!

Tilba Cheese Factory

Tilba Cheese Factory

The countryside around Tilba was stunning

Beautiful Tilba countryside

Beautiful Tilba countryside

Next stop was Bermagui, another lovely seaside village.  Had a man made swimming pool at the bottom of a very steep hill.  Called the Blue Pool it looks more green than blue to me

Bermagui Blue Pool (not so blue, rather green)

Bermagui Blue Pool (not so blue, rather green)

Bermagui Blue Pool

Bermagui Blue Pool

Next stop was Tathra, they have the only open sea timber wharf on the east coast of Australia surviving from coastal steamer trade era. It dates back to 1862 and is a popular fishing spot.  While we were there we saw 4 huge stingrays swimming below us.

Tathra Wharf

Tathra Wharf

Tathra Wharf

Tathra Wharf

Monday night we stayed in Merimbula just outside of town on the lake.  All these towns are built on waterways and are all beautiful.  The camp site we chose was kind of country on a lake and we even had kangaroos come visit us in the morning.

Merimbula Wharf

Merimbula Wharf

View from our camp site at Merimbula Lake Tourist Park

View from our camp site at Merimbula Lake Tourist Park

Kangaroos at Merimbula camp ground

Kangaroos at Merimbula camp ground

From Merimbula we went to Eden the last town in NSW before entering Victoria.  It’s a beautiful fishing town and harbour, had lunch here before we headed on down the highway

Eden Whale Museum

Eden Whale Museum

 

Eden Wharf

Eden Wharf

Yay we’re in Victoria.  We’ve discovered it’s a long distance between towns in this part of the country.  We spent Tuesday night at Mallacoota another pretty fishing village miles from anywhere, seems to be the place to holiday there’s a huge camp ground of 700 sites.

Mallacoota

Mallacoota

We left Mallacoota Wednesday morning and drove through Cann River and Orbost.  Lovely historic country towns with beautiful old buildings.  We had lunch at Orbost then headed on down the highway to Lakes Entrance.  We will be staying here for 3 days to rest and explore the area.

Thursday 20th February 2014

We spent 3 nights in Ulladulla. It rained for 2 of those days so spent time inside resting and watching TV. Went shopping and generally relaxed.

View from our campsite at Ulladulla

View from our campsite at Ulladulla

204 Ulladulla harbour

Ulladulla Harbour

From Ulladulla we went to Batemans Bay and stayed 2 nights.  Stopped on the way and picked up some yummy oysters.

Clyde River Oysters

Clyde River Oysters

Batemans Bay bridge

Batemans Bay bridge

We went on a river cruise from Batemans Bay to Nelligen.  The bridge lifted up in the middle so we could go under it.

Going under Batemans Bay bridge on our River Cruise

Going under Batemans Bay bridge on our River Cruise

Nelligen is a quaint historic little place.

Nelligen

Nelligen

 

Bushrangers Tree Nelligen

Bushrangers Tree Nelligen

There are some beautiful old churches in the district.

Sacred Heart Church Moruya

Sacred Heart Church Moruya

All Saints Anglican Church Bodalla

All Saints Anglican Church Bodalla

We are really enjoying the bike paths around Narooma, beautiful scenery and able to ride for miles.

Bike path around Narooma

Bike path around Narooma

Friday 14th February 2014

Thursday morning saw us heading off to Wollongong an industrial city with a lookout called Hill 60. There were hang gliders jumping off the lookout that day and the views even though we were looking over a city was really quite pretty. We didn’t hang around there too long then went on to Shell Harbour, another pretty little seaside town where we stopped in a car park at the beach and made some lunch. We decided to head off to Kiama after lunch, a most beautiful town with old historic buildings and lighthouse. One of the “things to see” is the blowhole which wasn’t working when we were there because it only works in a south easterly wind and we had a north easterly. I really wanted to stay at Kiama but Peter didn’t want to stay because it is very hilly around there and he can’t walk or ride the bike up hills. When he gets new knees we’re going back there. We went on to Gerrigong which was also pretty but ended up staying in a caravan park at Gerroa, not the nicest place we have stayed, kind of stuck beside a tidal creek that wasn’t real clean. Amenities block was really good, you could shower without having to push a button or put 20c in to get hot water.
This morning saw us go off the beaten track and head inland to Kangaroo Valley. We had read about this place in the caravan books. Well it was amazingly beautiful, we went up a mountain covered in tropical vegetation it was very steep and narrow. We found a cute little fudge road side stall, an honesty box system, of course I couldn’t resist and bought some macadamia crunch toffee and rocky road. When we finally got to Kangaroo Valley they had their Show on (country Ekka) so it was very busy. We found the best pie shop ever, I had a caraway spiced cauliflower and gorgonzola pie, yummo!!! We had a look at Hampden Bridge a beautiful old bridge in a picturesque setting. We headed to Nowra from there on another tourist drive over another mountain with gorgeous views. From Nowra we decided we wanted to stay at Huskisson at Jervis Bay. Another lovely beachside town which happens to be hosting the Worlds Hobi Cat races this weekend. We sat beside the beach watching them race, very pretty and entertaining.

Wollongong city

Wollongong city

Hang gliding from Hill 60

Hang gliding from Hill 60

Kiama Lighthouse

Kiama Lighthouse

Kiama Blowhole

Kiama Blowhole

Fudge stall on side of road to Kangaroo Valley

Fudge stall on side of road to Kangaroo Valley

Hampden Bridge Kangaroo Valley

Hampden Bridge Kangaroo Valley

Hampden Bridge Kangaroo Valley

Hampden Bridge Kangaroo Valley

Hampden Bridge story

Hampden Bridge story

Tourist Drive

Tourist Drive

World Hobi Cat races at Huskisson - Jervis Bay

World Hobi Cat races at Huskisson – Jervis Bay

 

 

Wednesday 12th February 2014

Sunday morning saw us talking to another traveller who told us about an app called Wikicamps.  It’s a site that gives you all campgrounds and free campsites as well, best $4.49 I’ve ever spent.  We planned before we left Stockton where we would stay Sunday night then put it in the GPS so travelling went a lot smoother.  We avoided Newcastle beaches as it was Sunday and they were packed, one thing we have learned is to find somewhere to stay on Friday and stay put for the weekend.  We found a campground on Lake Macquarie at Swansea, it was a lovely area with lots of bike paths so we rode everywhere, even to the amenities block which was quite a walk.

I spent all day Monday writing the blog (while Peter slept off and on) and Tuesday I was feeling unwell so took it easy.  We went out for a buffet lunch at the Swansea Workers Club which we could ride to on the bikes.  This morning before we left Peter went fishing and caught a yellow tail kingfish.  He filleted it and it will be dinner tonight.  We left Swansea about 9.30 did a bit of shopping then headed on down the highway.  It was a bit hair raising driving from Gosford to the M2 but it was fairly easy going once we were on the motorway.  We stopped and had lunch at Campbelltown then drove to Bulli Beach just north of Wollongong.  We came over Mt Ousley a stunning tropical rainforest with some very steep roads.  This area is just so pretty, tropical rainforest meets beach.

Lake Macquarie beach in Swansea caravan park

Lake Macquarie beach in Swansea caravan park

Hot fish spot in Swansea

Hot fish spot in Swansea

Yellowtail kingfish for dinner yum yum

Yellowtail kingfish for dinner yum yum

Bulli Beach tidal swimming pool

Bulli Beach tidal swimming pool

Mt Ousley.  We crossed that to get to Bulli

Mt Ousley. We crossed that to get to Bulli

 

Saturday 8th February 2014

Left early in the morning (don’t have a choice with Peter) and headed off down the highway to Seal Rocks.  Long way off the beaten track with a couple of kilometres of gravel road (oh no not again) to come upon this gorgeous place with a heap of people camped there.  Don’t know where all these people came from but talk about busy.  We stopped on the side of the road in a shady spot with a lovely view of the water and cooked up breakfast.  Then we moved on again.  Stopped at Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest also pretty spots, then moved on to Port Stephens.  What a beautiful area, we had a look at Nelsons Bay, Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay and Soldiers Point.  Tried to find somewhere to stay but absolutely flat out and no vacancies.  So we head off towards Newcastle and found a place called Stockton which is on the harbour at Newcastle.  The camp grounds were full.  By this stage we were desperate to stop.  Found a few vans parked near the boat ramp who had been free camping so we joined them.  It was a lovely spot, we could see Newcastle city across the water and we sat and watched the big freighters coming and going.

Seal Rocks

Seal Rocks

Nelson Bay Port Stephens

Nelson Bay Port Stephens

View from Stockton to Newcastle city

View from Stockton to Newcastle city

Big freighter filling up with coal

Big freighter filling up with coal