Yesterday we returned from our six-week trip across Australia from our home on the southern coastline to the north coast. We left our bushland campsite amongst kangaroos in historic Maldon, an old goldmining area and motored home almost entirely by freeway, across Melbourne, through the Burnley Tunnel and out on the Citilink tollway, Monash Freeway, Eastlink tollway and finally Peninsula Link, arriving in time for lunch at home.
Our son called in with two of his daughters, then our daughter wielding an electric screwdriver to relocate some bunks, then our daughter-in-law and another granddaughter. Together we shared the cake that one of them had brought and rearranged the rooms to give David an office. Then washing and sorting through piles of mail, shopping and preparing for Probus tomorrow. Back to the bustle of our other reality and joys of family life.
Our blogs will be less frequent for a while (weekly?) until our next trip which will be in October to the seaside town of Merimbula. Thanks again for following our trips, Australia’s a great country for camping and we do enjoy sharing our discoveries with you.
We left the Murray River and Mallee scrubland and are once again bush camping, this time outside the historic gold town of Maldon. We were surprised on an afternoon walk down the old railway line by a diesel tourist train.
It is nearly spring, and the Early Nancy and Golden Wattle, Australia’s national flower are in bloom. Tomorrow is our last day on the road – we are homeward bound.
We crossed the Murray by ferry one last time at Lyrup and headed back to our home state of Victoria, stopping for coffee and devouring our remaining fruit prior to reaching the fruit fly exclusion zone. After passing vineyards, almond orchards and orange groves, we arrived at Hattah National Park, only to find the campground closed due to environmental flooding.
A friendly ranger who had been pig shooting directed us to The Boiler campsite, in the adjoining Murray Kulkyne Park. This campsite is free as there are no facilities (shucks). So here we are. The river is outside our door -river red gums surround us on the other sides and black box behind. Higher up are red sand dunes with buloke and Mallee eucalypts that join at the base. There are flocks of birds, including those golden regent parrots. David was inspired to build a little campfire. It is magic.
Banrock Station is a winery incorporating a beautifully maintained wetland. An eastern grey kangaroo led the way up the drive. We did the 8km walk and recorded our sightings at various bird hides. They included red kneed plovers and yellow spoonbills perched high in the trees. By then it was lunchtime so we had soup, a glass of Pinot Gris and montepulciano and shared a pizza.
In the afternoon we drove up the Murray River to the historic Customs House Store, which dates back to the 1800s before the Federation of Australian states into a single nation. Each state used to charge taxes on goods entering from another state. Now it is an idyllic riverside setting where you can rent houseboats. We returned by a lookout over the river at Murtho Forest Reserve, where the setting sun showed the red cliffs to effect. The river looked like a wide, silver ribbon stretching into infinity..
Kingston on Murray lies on the flight path of the endangered Regent Parrot. We have proof in the form of three rather poor quality photos. For $30, Loch Luna Tours will take the visitor on a half day cruise on a shallow bottomed pontoon boat. We sighted over 40 different birds, including several that I hadn’t seen before. Our guide, Carl, served a great morning tea of home made chocolate chip cookies and gourmet choices of instant beverage (I had minted hot chocolate). We cruised around the River and adjacent creeks and noted an Aboriginal canoe tree, from which a bark boat had been carved.
In the afternoon, we retraced part of the trip on foot, returning as a pair of wood ducks were leading four young around.
Today we crossed the Murray River three times: at Morgan, Cadell and Waikerie – just for fun. The third time we were behind a farmer with two sheep in a trailer behind his vehicle. We stopped for a look at Lock 2, where pelicans and cormorants waited for fish. At dusk, we wandered among river mud and dead trees.
Today we did the rest of the Burra passport, first returning to the copper mine, where we photographed Johnny Green, who has been the mine’s mascot since its inception in 1847. He now stands proudly on a chimney moved to the entrance of the Monster Mine.
The town is actually an amalgam of several mining villages and ruins abound, like these old stables.
In order to avoid rent, some of the miners chose to live in dugouts that they had made. This was fine till the river flooded and washed most away. A few have been conserved by the National Trust.
David used the passport key that we were provided with to access the police lock-up.
There was a very fine fire engine in the Bon Accord museum.
But if you were poor AND sober, you could live in one of the pretty cottages that was provided.
We ended the tour of Burra, which had a copper rush that predates Victoria’s gold rush, with a walk along the pretty pond that has been formed along the creek.