31.01.2018 – To Bombala – Home of the Platypus

Another early start to our day to try and reach Bombala before work arrived for me to do.  Such beautiful and interesting scenery – a pity to rush right through it – alternating between open farming country and forests or bush country.  In places tall trees lined the roads.  It didn’t seem very long at all after leaving Tostaree that we were in Snowy River Country.

We travelled the A1, Princes Highway, through Orbost on the Snowy River, viewing the old raised train track across the Snowy flood plains on our journey.  Shortly after Bellbird Creek, we stopped at McKenzie River Rainforest Walk.  So very glad we did.  The walk was about 1km, through the rainforest with information signs along the way, crossing the McKenzie River at two points via suspension bridges.  Amazing.

Next stop: Cann River.  Quaint looking town, great bakery!  Another place we have marked to come back to.  While there, we were passed by two new vehicles being tested before release for sale.  The cars had covers all over them to hide what they were and their features.  Mike thought it looked like it might be a new Subaru model.  But no time to waste – we were behind schedule.

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Arriving at Bombala, we were pleasantly surprised by the Council run caravan park where my office view was the most beautiful yet.  Our motorhome was parked under trees looking over the Bombala River.  The facilities there were very good, and $26 for the night.  Flying foxes were grouped high in nearby trees, the white cockies were numerous, and plenty of other wildlife around.  The River Walk was beautiful.  A lot of work has gone into its creation and Bombala must be very proud of it.  During our walk in the evening, it was very windy and we not lucky enough to view any of the platypus purportedly living within the River Walk.

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30.01.2018 Sale – Tostaree Cottages & Tavern

From relentless heat, to non-stop rain.  Grateful to be free of the awful heat, but now we are camped in muddy lawn.  Not complaining mind, the area needs the rain as can be seen by the pools of rain that aren’t penetrating the very dry ground.  Poor Mike having to do all the ‘outside’ jobs, got a bit wet.

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With it still raining, it was a good opportunity to go inside and visit the Sale Info Centre and Art Gallery.  Staff at the Info Centre were very helpful and we were glad we took the time to view the Art Gallery.   We were in awe of the exhibition of the works of Annemieke Mein.  This artist compiles drawings and then turns them into sewn works of art.  Wondrous and beautiful.  Very detailed work and various materials sewn to reproduce birds feeding their offspring in amongst gum trees, as well as various pictures of flowers, fish and more birds.  She is extremely talented.

The Art Gallery is near the Port of Sale.  In 1886-1888, a 2.5 km long Sale Canal was cut to link Sale to the Thomson River for shipping.  Now, it looks like it is more for pleasure boats.

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Keeping an eye on the ipad as we drove in case work arrived, we travelled to our next camp site, an RV Friendly spot at Tostaree Cottages & Tavern, $20 per night, no power.  We drove down a very wide entrance without any trees to dodge, to a good camping spot with views of farmland and trees.  Our host, Greg, came around to let us know he had lit the fire in the tavern and invited us up for “Happy Hour”.  Once I had finished my day’s work, we joined him at his tavern where other campers were.  We enjoyed looking at the historical photos, having a drink with him and the social atmosphere.  We recommend staying at Tostaree Cottages if you are in the area.

 

 

29.01.2018 Sale, Victoria

Leaving Phillip Island, we arrived at the RV Friendly Town of Sale.

We parked near the shopping centre and went to Woolworths to top up the groceries.  Towards the end of our shopping there, Mike went ahead with the trolley towards the ice cream freezer whilst I trailed behind.   Mike didn’t see a large patch of water in front of some freezers to the left of the passageway when he walked through the middle of the passageway.  I didn’t see it either, when I walked to the left side of the passageway.  Mike turned around when he heard a large “smacking” noise as I hit the floor.  My foot went on the water and over I had gone, knee and arm hurt, and ended up on my side, in the large pool of water.

So that’s three times I’ve fallen this year and no more!   My arm was very sore and knee slightly, but again, nothing broken but my pride.  Pleased to report there were half a dozen strangers who came to my aid, concerned about me lying on the floor, offering assistance.  Of course, notice completed with the Manager, just in case.  Bet he had a laugh at the CCTV that would have recorded my fall.

We then camped at the Sale Showgrounds in the RV area in time to set the computer up for work.  Cheap with power and amenities for $22 per night.

Fiona and Barry dropped in to say farewell for now.  They have their own plans now on travelling that don’t match with ours for a while.  It has been great having them along (for most of our travelling to date) to share the experiences.  We will no doubt hook up again later in the year.

The weather over the last week has been very hot and this day was no exception.  I don’t know whether it was the heat or my fall, but I did not feel well and rested the rest of the day, with thankfully, very little work coming in via email for me to do.

 

 

28.01.2018 – Last Evening at Phillip Island

What a great weekend we all have had and to finish off, rode with Barry and Fiona for a quick lap of the Island, stopping at Cowes beach and then at San Remo at the fishing harbour for some really good fish and chips at the Co-Op.  Building awareness of the problems of plastic in the ocean, a large statue of a pelican was there with a notice inviting people to pick up plastic bottle tops and put in the pelican’s beak.   We watched some people swimming, some floating with the strong current that would take them from one end of the jetty through the fishing boats until they chose to break from the current and climb up the jetty ladders.

We stopped at other beaches, finishing at Woolamai Beach to watch surfers in the water as the sun went down.  Fabulous!

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26.01.2018 – Australia Day!

Despite all the controversy existing about Australia Day on 26 January, we welcome the opportunity for everyone to celebrate how great this wonderful country is, no matter what kind of Australian you are.  This day should mark the unity of all Australians acknowledging Australia’s past and actively making Australia a better place for the future.

There was some racing today and we took our time walking around the pits area.  Teams present from Western Australia – Go Sandgropers! – and Australia, as well as from New Zealand, USA, UK.  Huge representation of motorbikes and sidecars for the racing as well as all the spectators’ motorbikes.

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They’re off and racing!

 

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One of the motorbike parking areas

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YES MIKE! YOU ARE A LEGEND!

 

Meet Robbo, a lovely old boy who loves company:  IMG_1365 (2)IMG_1360 (2)

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I was taking photos of Robbo and ‘conversing’ with him.  I stepped backwards to take a photo and overbalanced, falling flat on my back.  Again, another scrape, this time an elbow, and only thing broken my pride.  I looked up and took a photo of Robbo’s reaction:

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When I fell, Robbo went to the ground and started dancing. I know just what he was thinking: Again Lee, again!

25.01.2018 – Phillip Island

Awakening very early, we travelled from Mornington to be at the Phillip Island Circuit shortly after ‘gates open’ at 7.00 a.m.  The four of us had pre-purchased our camping and racing tickets and had been informed that in the camping area, “first there – best spot”.  With a 9.5 metre long motorhome and our companions having a long 5th wheeler and tow vehicle, we were glad we were some of the first to arrive.  There was a roomy camping area, however lots of trees and more akin to tent camping than these vehicles.  Being so early, it was relatively easy to secure a little corner of the camping ground to ourselves and for me to set up my office long before Perth work hours.

A short walk from the camping ground is access to great views of the track and overlooking Bass Strait.

We are camped here over the long Australia Day weekend for the 25th International Island Classic – the southern hemisphere’s largest historic motorcycle meet.

While I stayed working, Mike went with Fiona and Barry to Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate on Phillip Island and how amazing it is!  Mike ‘made’ his own chocolate while there for me to eat, so I was happy.

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Tonight, courtesy of Barry, our chauffeur in his tow vehicle we travelled to Summerland Bay to see the Penguin Parade.  Sitting near the ocean, we waited as the sun went down to see the parade of Fairy Penguins coming ashore.  It is breeding season and there were a great many chicks waiting to be fed, some too eager to stay in their burrows and were standing guard outside to wait.   Gradually the light faded and the first tentative penguins gathered at the shoreline.  It took ages before one or two would venture further onto the beach, followed by some more, but then there would be a movement, or a wave would come up behind them and they would scurry back into the water.  This would be repeated numerous times until finally, one would have the courage to keep going up the beach, followed by the rest of the group.  The boardwalks  all over the sand and dunes enabled us to look on the burrows and chicks and watch the returning penguins make their way to their own burrows.  An absolute delight!

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PHILLIP ISLAND PENGUIN PARADE – Thanks Linda & Russell at Rickety Gate, Denmark WA: You produce the best wine and the warmest beanies!

 

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21-24.01.2018 – Mornington Peninsula

21 January:  “Chill Day” – a drive around Mornington, a bit of shopping, and setting up motorhome for work on Monday.   Located someone to fix my camera which packed in yesterday and it needed a good service as well.  Part of maintenance on the road you expect, just like at home.

We joined up again with our friends, Fiona and Barry who are staying at same caravan park and “chilled”.  Also we met our ‘neighbours across the road’, from Bridgetown, WA.   Our own little WA corner of the park.

The fabulous Mornington Peninsula!  We need to come back and spend some more time here when work doesn’t get in the way.  It was fortunate that we were able in the evenings, to catch up with extended family and friends living in the area whom we had not seen for a long time.  Our travelling companions, Fiona and Barry, rejoined us to camp at Mornington Gardens Holiday Park.  The park was central to where we wanted to spend time and the facilities available to us were more than we required and very clean.  Lots of birdlife in and around the park and grassed sites with hedges and bushes separating each site, making sitting out of the motorhome very pleasing.

Note to self:  At night, take a torch with you and do not rely on the park lighting.  One night I did not the speed bump nearest our site.  I should have remembered it was there, but tripped over it as I was walking quickly back to the motorhome.  I landed flat on my belly (the padding probably saved me from further injury) with hands outstretched on the bitumen and skinned my palm.   Silly me.  Only thing broken was my pride.

We took a short walk to the bus stop early on Wednesday into Mornington to visit the weekly markets along Main Street before I had to start work.  These markets have been every Wednesday for over 30 years – the longest running street market in Victoria, which started in 1983.  There were a great variety of stalls of fresh produce; bread, cakes and other food; crafts; paintings; clothes – everything you could imagine.   There is so much more to see and do on the Peninsula.  Definitely worth spending time here.

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20.01.2018 – Photos

As of 22 January, we have approval to use photos taken during our visit to the Australian Gardens, part of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Cranbourne, Victoria.

The clever use of colour, materials, and textures make for an interesting and enjoyable walk (or bus ride) through the gardens.

The photos do not do the gardens justice and if you are in the area, would recommend you go.

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For the flower lovers, some of the flowing plants, mainly flowering gum trees/bushes and kangaroo paws:

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20.01.2018 – It’s Saturday!

No time to waste – It’s the weekend!  No work and ample time to go exploring.   One last look at our view from our campsite.

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Our next booking is to stay at Mornington Gardens Holiday Village, therefore I looked at the map to see if anything was marked that we might want to call in at.   The Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne caught my eye.  We had never heard of it before.

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Were we very pleasantly surprised when we spent a great part of the day within the Australian Garden at Cranbourne.

Mike and I rode the “Garden Explorer” that circled the Australian Garden with an excellent host who was very informative.  Without having experienced this ride, I think we would not have appreciated the garden fully.  Entrance to the Gardens is free, and $8.80 for an adult to ride the Garden Explorer.  There are tours available too.

Following a lap in the Explorer, we walked the entire garden, going up to higher vantage points and pathways off the route of the Explorer.

The garden aimed to show the differing types of areas of Australia, from the red dirt, dry desert areas of middle Australia; to where underground water comes to the surface to create flows towards large pools below high rock gorges; where water is more plentiful and lush plants thrive; forests of eucalypts, the sandy shores of a beach …  The symbolism of all the areas and the way they were presented were very effective and we were in awe.

Research is carried out and more Australian plants produced and developed for the gardens of the future.  There were examples for water savings home gardens and volunteers available to answer questions.

The colours of the flowering gums, kangaroo paws and other Australian flowers were beautiful.

Within the garden was a brightly coloured piano, one of 20 placed on streets and in parks of Melbourne for January 2018 to be played by anyone and enjoyed.

Every area has very wide pathways that change with differing areas and very interesting surfaces.   There are warnings about snakes in the park and signs on pathways to remind visitors to stay on paths.  We witnessed the quick response by staff to protect visitors from any snakes observed off the paths and to stand guard.  As we left the main complex, staff were on the entrance path halting people from walking on the side of the path close to a snake that was moving in the garden.   Despite this, I would not hesitate to visit the park again.