Posts Tagged With: Murray River

Bushman’s Rest, Lake Cullulleraine – Weethalle Showground – Narrabri – Scarborough (South Australia – Queensland)

20161223  Saying goodbye to our camping buddies Charles and Joy at World’s End Reserve, we followed the Goyder Highway east through rolling hills, golden fields of wheat and endless sheep pastures. The Murray River soon appeared on our right, and from the top of the Golden Limestone Cliffs, we looked out on the swollen river. Flood waters had breached the banks and spread out through the river red gums on the broad floodplain to the far cliffs. It was wonderful to see the mighty Murray so full and replenished by recent rains. There was a downside to the flooding, though. The many scenic bush camps dotted along the river were under all that floodwater.

Consequently we motored on, following the meandering river east and crossing it just beyond Renmark via the Paringa Bridge. This heritage listed bridge has a single railway line in the centre (now disused), with a narrow road lane on each side of it. A lift span allows river traffic to pass underneath. The road lane felt very tight for the Kruiser and we were glad it wasn’t any wider.

A little way down the road, we crossed into Victoria, intending to stay at a bush camp on the border. The Landy, though, was showing an outside temperature of 38C and rising, and we opted instead for a powered site. We spent the night beside Lake Cullulleraine at the Bushman’s Rest Caravan Park with the aircon keeping us cool and comfortable. The next morning was overcast with a forecast of rain. It was our wedding anniversary and we stayed on a second day beside the lake to celebrate.

img_3089Between the small towns of Goolgowi and Rankins Springs on the Mid Western Highway, we were happy to sit a long way back from a caravan that was travelling along at our pace. Suddenly, the van tilted and pulled over to the roadside, having lost a wheel. We stopped and gave them a hand to find the wandering wheel, got their details and went ahead to Rankins Springs to arrange a tow vehicle to get them into nearby Griffith where the broken wheel studs could be replaced. We were the first on hand to help them, and two other caravans pulled up to offer help as well. Aussies are a great bunch, quick to pitch in and do what they can when someone’s in trouble, especially for travellers on the side of the road.

That night, we camped in the showgrounds of the small town of Weethalle, among a group of rustic buildings facing a white-fenced trotting track sitting idle between infrequent race meetings. A local contact person was very helpful in opening up the facilities and making sure we were comfortable for the night.

From Lake Cullulleraine in upper Victoria, we had three big motoring days that took us home by Christmas Day, firstly 547kms to Weethalle in New South Wales, then 578kms to Narrabri where we stayed the night with Deb and Stu, and the final leg of 611kms to home. North of Narrabri, broad sheets of water lying in the paddocks and across the road at one point was evidence of recent rains. We’d crossed three State borders in four days to spend the festive day with family.

Since commencing in 2014, we’ve travelled 65,740kms with the van. Here are some facts about our overlanding to WA this year:

2016-overview

“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve travelled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.” – The Landy 

The Landy

The Landy and Kruiser

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - Multiple States, Travel News - New South Wales, Travel News - Northern Territory, Travel News - Queensland, Travel News - Victoria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Robe – Narrung – Strathalbyn (South Australia)

26/05/16  From Millicent, we headed north on the Princes Highway to the town of Robe on Guichen Bay. We were told it’s a popular tourist spot for South Australians and Victorians, with a population of 1,500 that grows in the summer holiday season to 15,000. We were there at the bottom of the tourist season and the town was very quiet. What draws the tourists is the combination of many historic stone buildings around the town centre, scenic cliff shoreline and bushland surrounding the town. Many parts of Robe are straight out of the 1800s. We were fortunate to have a cloudless sky while looking around the town, but the breeze continued to come off the Southern Ocean direct from the polar ice shelf and our coats and beanies stayed well and truly on. Robe is a base for a large fishing and lobster fleet; the budget couldn’t stretch to a lobster meal unfortunately.

Next morning, we were woken to the sound of rain on the roof and the rocking of the van in the wind. The water tanks were topped up and we travelled north through the Coorong National Park to a free camp at Narrung on Lake Alexandrina. The campground is located next to the landing for the vehicle ferry that operates across the narrow waters of Albert Passage joining Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. It’s one of eleven vehicle ferry services operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Murray River crossings, provided free of charge by the South Australian government. Different from the “You want it, you pay for it” attitude of the government back home in Queensland.

Already in camp when we arrived was Dave Jacka and his support team. Dave is a quadriplegic adventurer and motivational speaker who is currently 88 days into a solo kayak paddle of the Murray River. We didn’t get to meet him, unfortunately, as he was resting up but we did meet Paul and Peter, two members of the support team accompanying him. We missed them in the morning as they were up before dawn and off to finish the circumnavigation of Lake Alexandrina. Check out his story on the link above.

We had an early night which translated into an early morning. The van is dark inside with the window blinds drawn down, and I usually tell that it’s after sunrise by the light coming through the ceiling hatch at the end of the van. Light was coming in so we got up. It was only 3:45am and the light was from a floodlight on the nearby pole. Needless to say, we had an early start that day to the next camp at Strathalbyn.

IMG_4616

Looping north around Lake Alexandrina and across the Murray River, we stopped in at Bleasdale Vineyards at Langhorne Creek, looked through their original National Trust listed buildings dating back to 1880 and I did a tasting of their lovely reds.

A little further on, we set up in the town of Strathalbyn, had lunch at The Victoria pub and spent the rest of the day browsing through the many antique shops for which the town is renowned and dodging intermittent showers and flocks of corellas in the Soldiers Memorial Gardens.

In a blog entry when we were on the Yorke Peninsula last year, I wrote “This place must be miserable in winter if it’s like this in November.” Prophetically, I was right! The day at Narrung hit the Miserable Mark on my personal weather gauge. Have a look at the rain radar image below. In the whole continent of Australia, the worst weather is where?! Right where we Queenslanders are. The locals are lapping it up, sploshing around in shorts and moaning that it needs to rain a bit more to make it worthwhile. I’m starting to grow mould because of the damp.

Guess Where We Are?

Guess Where We Are?

“You know it’s cold outside when you go outside and it’s cold.” – Me

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - South Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hay To Hamilton – Mallee Country (New South Wales – Victoria)

10/05/16  Heading west from Hay in NSW, we crossed the Murray River into Victoria at Tooleybuc via the quaint historic bridge that was designed to rise up to let paddle steamers through. Regrettably, none was to be seen, of course, but it wasn’t hard to picture one churning down the river, bellowing smoke from its stack and steam from the whistle.

With the scenery mostly unchanging and monotonous, podcasts and albums had copped a flogging on the drive. Before leaving home, I’d stocked up on a lot more “Conversations with Richard Fidler” podcasts from ABC Radio which we’d found great for passing the time while we tootle down the road.

Further south on the Sunraysia Highway (sounds like the road is sponsored by a dried fruit company, doesn’t it), we overnighted at a camping ground in the small Mallee country town of Lascelles. It was a pleasant spot, and very conveniently located beside the old Minapre Hotel. We were both knackered after the long drive and, up for a meal cooked by someone else, we tucked into a delicious home-made steak and roasted veg dinner, washed down with cold beer and good conversation from Wally, the publican. The population of the town was 44, Wally could name each one, and he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else because it’s a great lifestyle. Good on him.

South of Lascelles the following day, the country changed and we were soon passing through very picturesque sheep and cattle grazing country with the Grampian Mountains in the background. From dead flat and dry to green mountains, it’s amazing how the country quickly changes.

There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want – Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

Categories: Travel News, Travel News - Multiple States, Travel News - New South Wales, Travel News - Victoria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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