Tamworth to Melbourne 2010

24 January.  Time to hit the road again. A bit of a detour. South via Nundel and Hanging Rock. Last time we visited Hanging Rock the motor of the bus blew up. Luckily this was the non haunted version and it was a very steep clime nothing happened. Also because we were well over the 1000 metre mark it was nice and cool for a change. Next day all secondary roads to Merriwa and Gulgong. They call Gulgong the $10 town. There is a $10 note with the picture of the local pub on it. This is mainly cattle country. Green grass everywhere and the dams are full. The farmers must be happy.

 Landscape halfway between Willow Tree and Merriwa.  30KM unsealed road which starts here.

Gulgong was the surprise town. They try to keep the atmosphere the way it was 150 years ago. A bit difficult to do with modern cars in the street but the buildings are kept very well. We spend the night on Flirtation Hill, the local version of lover lane. Next day Australia Day and this was celebrated in the showgrounds. Hundreds of speeches and awards. After lunch we headed south to Parkes. Here we spend the night in a rest area. This reinforced the fact again of not following the major highways. During the night hundreds of trucks passed us and the temperature inside the bus was around the 30degree mark. The landscape is also changing. From lush green to brown grass and empty dams. The ranges you see in the photo above must have blocked the rain.



Gulgong street scene .    The oldest opera house in Australia.       Henry Lawson (famous poet) lived in Gulgong.  
This is a museum in his honour. It is still in use.

Gulgong was a surprise package. They try to keep as much of the old atmosphere preserved as possible. The day we arrived there were too many cars on the road to capture this but on Australia day early there were not that many and you felt that you walked around an old village. All the Australia day activities were at the showground and we listened to hundred of speeches and saw hundreds of awards being handed out.
After lunch we headed down south to Young.
In young we finally found the camping chairs we were looking for. The last of the old ones collapsed last week. There is a lot of stone fruit being grown here and on the way out we wanted to visit a pick your own orchard but TomTom did not guide us to one. Via Harden to Gundagai. Here is the famous statue of the dog on the tuckerbox. For those non Ozzies a tuckerbox is a large lunch box. It was lunch time so we had ours. Drove further south through Tumbarumba to Jingellic. On the way looked at some old gold diggings.  Jingellic is a village with ten houses and a pub but has a very nice campground besides the Murray River. We stayed here two nights.

                 Old gold diggings at Batlow.              Camped beside the Murray River at Jingellic.
30 January. We did the road following the Murray river towards Wodonga again. I think this is one of the best drives in Australia. Passed through Myrtleford and we were advised to have something to eat in a Beechworth bakery which we did.
We arrived in Wangaretta mid afternoon at Bill and Phil van Ruth's place. We met them in W.A. and visited them once before in Wangaretta. We spend a pleasant day with them and had to view the Women's tennis final of the Australian open.
31 January and further south again. We have been to Bright a few times before but never drove the Great Alpine Road. This was a slow trip up 1720M. Because it is summer we did not need snow chains but in winter you are not allowed to drive here without. Fantastic views and a pleasant cool day.

^^ On the way to Mount Hotham.
^^ Warning signs. You don't want to drive on the left hand side of the pole.
Mount Hotham village.
>   Mountain view.

1 February. Further towards the coast. It is all downhill from here. Omeo was supposed an old mining town with old buildings but this was a bit of a disappointment building wise. Bairnsdale is not much better. We just walked through the main street and left again.
2 February. Sale. Here are still a lot of old buildings. Had to do the usual activities when we have not done any shopping for a while.
Saw Jim and Barbara Erskin. They just came back from Tasmania. Met in a shopping centre in Sale and we had dinner in a camping area just outside Sale. It is always nice to catch up with old friends. Next day direction Melbourne via Traralgon, Moe and away from the motorway to Nojee, Yarra Junction to North Melbourne. This road really surprised us. We expected a fairly flat country, but it was very hilly with beautiful views and the last bit through rainforest with tall straight eucalyptus trees. In Melbourne we stayed the night with the brother of good friends of hours in Townsville. Bird and Ann Lucious were very hospitable and we had a very pleasant night there.
4 February. The back road to Anakie and the Goedegebuur family. It always is a busy and happy family here. We stayed a few days here and there is always some work going on. This time a large tree had to be cut down. Luckily the house was still standing after we were finished. The TV antenna was the only casualty.
10 February and off to Melbourne. Going in to Melbourne reinforced the feeling of never going to live in a big city. Thank you Mr. Tomtom.


                Susan. Susan. Ellen.                  The beast is down                This is how it started.

We wanted to go to the Victoria markets but that looked very empty when we drove past. Next step the Melbourne museum. Thanks to our somewhat extended years on this planet free entry. We took a tour which was very informative. There is a free tram which takes you around the city centre. Late in the afternoon we found a parking spot near the sea. There are a few motorhomes parked here ready to take the ferry to Tasmania.