Mildura to Townsville 2008


12 May. After a few more adjustments to the airbags we are on the way east again. A few years ago we had a marvellous few days at Boundary Bend. That time the weather was good and the river level high. This time cold and the river very low. We also heard that the water had too much algae in it, not that we had any intention to go for a swim. On the way we bumped in to a couple we know from the motorhome club in Townsville. Next day even colder and we have the heater on in the bus and Susan is wearing gloves.

               Boundary Bend.           Old paddle steamers don't die, they just get stranded in a pond.
14 May. Echuka. The old jetty precinct is made in to a tourist attraction. If you want to see paddle steamers this is the place to go to. All the way upstream from Mildura the water level is very low. We camp beside the Murray every night now and the low level is really noticeable.  From Echuka east it is as if we are driving through Holland. Flat, dark green grass, irrigation channels full of water and Friesian cows. No windmills or churches in the background and the Eucalyptus trees are a bit of a giveaway too. The weather is Dutch. Cold and it is just about to rain.  16 May. Wangaratta. When we were in a rally in WA we met a Dutch couple we clicked with and we visited them here. We had a very pleasant two days. Went out for dinner with more Dutchies and played bush rummy. The second night got a bit cold, 4 degrees in the bus. That day we bought a gas heater. We are heading for ski country and it is just before the season. But you don't realise how cold it can get till you are in it. 18 May. Via Bright we went to Mount Beauty. The trees display fabulous colours. Spend the night besides a lake with a view over the mountains.

           Echuka wharf. The sandbar should have been at least 1 M under water.       Bill and Phil.

  Mount Beauty. View from our camp site.     Overlooking-Mount-Cosciuszko with the Murray river in foreground.
19 May. Heading north towards Albury and Wodonga. It is a misty morning and the views with the mountains in the background are  fantastic. We spend a few hours in Albury and Wodonga and head east following the Murray. Camped beside the  Hume dam. 20 May. Still following the Murray it is called the Upper Murray now because we are getting closer to the origins of it which is the Kosciuszko National Park. The drive is certainly worth the detour. On the way we also saw three wombats but they all had their legs sticking up in the air. The photo is of the largest one we saw. We are heading for higher ground. Second gear and 15 KH. It is also getting a lot colder. Found a camping spot beside Tooma Dam. On the way up here there is a bit of snow beside the road.

                      Wombat                               Plenty of road kill in here.  Parliament House Canberra                                                                
21 May. Spend the day driving around the Snowy Mountains and spend the night near Cooma. 22May. Arrived in Canberra and the Parliament House. Made a booking for question time on Monday.  This was exactly as I expected a lot of children who can speak well without saying much and a lot of noise. These are our leaders!!  We should not be complaining too much, as we still have our Dutch passport. We stayed with Ria van der Zandt. A comfortable warm hospitable house. We had a wonderful time here. Susan cooked a meal for Ria, Norma and Martin Black on Sunday. She had not seen this much family together in Australia for a long time.
26 May. Left Canberra late in the afternoon after visiting the Museum and Portrait gallery. 26 may. Not as cold as we expected but rain and mist. The first 20 KM we drove already two car accidents on the road.

             Ria and Susan in Canberra.                                 Norma and Martin Black
28 May.  It is getting very cold and rainy. Every morning thick mist. Finally in Bathurst and the V8 track. Last time the road was closed but this time we drove the circuit in both directions. It is very steep in sections and very sharp bends which is difficult to see on the TV, but the bus had difficulties getting uphill. We spend the night beside a lake near Lithgow. 29 May we took the scenic route to the coast via Windsor and Wiseman's ferry. It was a pity that it was cold and rainy because the scenery is wonderful. We decided to take the coast route home because the temperature along the coast will be more favourable. We can expect a lot more rain.

               Bathurst.   Mount Panorama         Swansea pelicans waiting for a feed.     Swansea view from camp spot.
30 May. Gosford. Just drove trough town and Susan did the washing. It is no fun walking through a place when it is cold and raining.
On to The Entrance. There are a lot of lakes just behind the dunes and they have a narrow spot where they are connected with the sea. This one called The Entrance. A holiday destination with a lot of cafe's and restaurants. We camped at a similar place, Swansea. On the way we had the heaviest downpour this year. The pelicans are waiting there for the fishermen to return and clean their fish so they can have the offcuts. Next day to Newcastle. we could not remember anything about this place but it has a spectacular coastline. The weather helped as well. Overcast but not cold. Susan's birthday and we had difficulties finding a cafe' for a cuppa but ended up in Mc Dondalds for a cappuccino. Could also do the emails here. We met some people in West Australia half year ago and gave them a ring when we were in Newcastle. They invited us for coffee and we stayed for dinner. A very pleasant day was had and especially for Susan's wedding. The orange boat belongs to a Dutch couple we had coffee with.

                   Newcastle.                                                                           Lemon Tree Passage. View from bus.
1 June. Followed the coast to Pacific Palms. It rained off and on. We meandered slowly up the coast taking all the scenic tracks. In Port Macquarrie we visited the spot where we lost the roof of the previous bus. We drove on till 6PM in the dark and rain, to a rest area and the next day to Casino. where we met up with Jean and Ron Edwards which we have bumped in to several times over the years. We visited them in W.A. The motorhome village is getting bigger and bigger. Still only a small group for happy hour. Most have left for a warmer part of Australia. On the way in Coffs Harbour we went to a Dutch shop where they had a clog  making demonstration.

    Coffs Harbour. Dutch shop.       Bundaberg Rum factory.                                Ron and Jean.

6 June. Left Casino and a very winding road to Kyogle and Rathdowney to Aratula. Here we stayed with Lenie and  Rudie. They have a 500 acre property which is at the end of a long small unsealed road but the view from their house is fantastic. Next day we joined them for an Indonesian meal at the Dutch club. We visited several friends in Brisbane. We are glad that we don't live in Brisbane any more. The traffic is horrendous. They are working on the roads everywhere. But it was great to catch up with old friends. 11 June From Brisbane north through Gympie to Bundaberg. Here we stayed with Darryl and Barbara which we met in Banka Banka station at the start of our trip and bumped in to several times along the way. We did visit the Bundy rum factory and were tasting their wares already at 11AM. 13 June. In Rockhampton we visited Chris and Dough Whyer. They used to live in Ingham while we were there and kept in contact.  The temperature is slowly improving. 15 June and arrive in Mackay. Luke had a day off and is home all day. Good to see him again. After two days in Mackay north towards Townsville. Spend one night in Home Hill. We just came back from a Chinese restaurant when a car parked in front of the bus and to our surprise Paul and Kristie drove 130 KM just to see us a day earlier. 18 June. Visited some friends in Townsville and spend the night with Paul and Kristie. 19 June and a weekend with the Tropical coast wanderers. We started the trip with them in Fletcher Creek. The holiday is over. On Monday we had the inspection of the house and everything was spotless. Tuesday the container with all our worldly possessions was delivered and with the help of Paul everything was inside the house. All the contents of the container was in perfect  condition. It will take at least a week before everything is in it's place.

                         Delivery of container.                                                                Still a bit of arranging to do.

        Only one day in the house

 Only one week at home and away again for a week.  Dam fine rally.

 Till the next adventure.   Tasmania in 2010