Oct 19, 2009

Baileys Rocks - Coorong

Cherrypool Camp was a nice camp site ideally suited to owning some Kayaks as the river was so close and picturesque, far enough off the highway so the noise doesn't annoy. We stayed a night and moved South to the town of Hamilton and then started our journey West to Coleraine & Casterton where we decided to take the road North to the Dergholm State Park and Baileys Rocks Campground #646 CAW5.

Bailys Rocks was an interesting place, huge boulders laying around similar to the Devils Marbles in the NT. Again the weather was unkind to us with showers & cold winds, we saw no one else whilst we were there which was surprising as it really is a nice camp site.

Narracorte was busy with a local field day, we needed fuel but it was too busy trying to get the rig into a service station without blocking traffic so we drove another 40klms to Padathway where things were quieter. Just past the townsite we turned South again and headed to Kingston SE where Vickie did a small shop whilst i waited with the rig. Parking was limited so i parked in the main street, even though there were no signs or painted lines saying not to park i was aware i had blocked an entrance to the main parking area but with two other entrances to enter & leave i wasn't to concerned untill i started getting abused by some locals who didn't have the brains nor courtesy to exit the car park at either end, one bloke actually drove up to the rig expecting it too miraculously part in the middle. I guess i didn't make too many friends that day but i don't really give a damn, cars have steering wheels, use them.

We have been through these parts previously and decided to head to a nice camp site along the Coorong, 42 Mile Crossing. This is a popular camping / fishing spot with the Ocean Beach 1.2klms over the sand dunes, last time here we walked to the Ocean and up & down the beach and we didn't feel the urge to check it out again preferring to just relax, Vickie busied herself in the van while i went and looked for Wombats, plenty of burrows around and it didn't take long to find one with a large Wombat sitting at the entrance. We also saw lots of Emu's and plenty of birds, 3 other van's came in but they kept to themselves and we had a quiet night.

Onto Meningie and a stop to get some milk & bread, and then down to Narrung where we checked out Long Point #42 CAW5 a lovely spot but inundated with millions of sandflies or midgees, I also saw two 3' Brown Snakes not far from where we were camped, Vickie hates snakes so that was the icing on the cake to leave and check out Mark Point, here it was a lot less bugs and with short green grass no snakes to be seen, we did have plenty of Pelicans to watch and the Mark Mill Point to look at, it is a lovely camp area and we are staying here for two nights at a permit cost of $5 per night which is very reasonable. Vickie spotted a strange object floating in the water and with our binoculars we tried to work out what it was, Vick got to the stage of trying to wave down a passing boat much to my embarressment, luckily they did not hear her as moments later the 'object' gave a flick of the tail and we could see it was a large Seal just floating along on it's back with no worries in the World.

If we were to camp here again we would take the dirt track off to the left and through the gate to the Mark Point Mill, here there is a windmill, trough with plenty of water and lovely grassed camp area.

Oct 14, 2009

St Arnaud Nat Park - Cherrypool Highway Park

St Arnaud National Park gets a thumbs up from us, a lovely camp site in the bush with basic amenities and a water tap, plenty of fire wood and fire pits and picnic tables, well done to the Shire.

Vickie and i walked to the damn wall it was hard to believe that 10 years ago the valley we were looking at was full of water. We walked around the rim along a man made walk trail, plenty of Kangaroo's grazing and flocks of Major Mitchell Cockatoo's squarking their calls. Back at camp i decided to get some firewood cut to take with us, i went to start the truck and was surprised the battery's were down on power, the truck has two large starting batteries and both were less than a year old, no accessories run off the starting batteries and with no warning they had decided to pack it in.

I have a 3rd battery fitted under the truck to power the accessories but it was down on power due to running the engel but i gave it a go with some jumper leads but with no luck. I could have stuffed around and got the batteries out of the van but being AGM deep cycle and worth a few dollars i didn't want to risk damaging them when i knew there was a farmer down the road, so the next morning i set out to go get some help. The walk was around 5k's and i saw hundred's of kangaroos, this area is very picturesque now that it is green with recent rain.

Peter the farmer drove me back and after letting a good charge get into the batteries i was able to start the truck. With much thanks we said goodbye and drove to Stawell to see about getting the batteries checked out as they were still under warranty. Peter Baker owner of Baker Automotive and authorized Century Battery agent confirmed the batteries had failed and organized two new ones to be delivered the next day, so we went and camped up at the Gateway Caravan Park in Stawell. That evening i had some very painful chest pains, Vickie insisted i get to the Hospital to be checked over. The Stawell Hospital staff were excellent, i was seen straight away and had an ECG and oxygen the local Doctor came in and thought it best if i stay in overnight and have a heart monitor fitted and another ECG, X-Ray plus some blood tests done in the morning. That meant Vickie staying in the van by herself overnight so i was concerned that she was comfortable with that, i shouldn't have been as she jumped at the chance to have a peaceful sleep by herself.

I didn't get the results back untill 2pm the next day and was given the all clear, feeling silly i was told that i had done the right thing and better safe than sorry. Then it was back to have the new batteries fitted and another night in the van park, the weather was cold & wet so we just lazed around playing cards. The next day we drove down to Ararat and then back up to Halls Gap and into the Grampians, what a lovely area this is, but the weather was still wet & cold but we did get to visit McKenzie Falls and walk some of the walk trails. We stayed a night at a camp site called Smith Mill Campground, [# 545CAW] in the Grampians and left this morning to drive to Horsham and then head back down again towards Hamilton.

Tonight we are camped beside the river at Cherrypool Highway Park [#706CAW] at present the sun is out but temperature is still around 11 degree's outside, thankfully we have the Webasto diesel heater working perfectly to keep us warm.

Oct 9, 2009

Paringa - St Arnaud Nat Park

Back to Paringa but this time we had the company of Kimbo & Ned, before getting to the camp we stopped at the cemetary and filled our non potable water tanks whilst the girls walked around reading the headstones, We like visiting cemetarys to get an understanding of the local history but it's always a sad time reading of people who die far to young.

We had the camp area all to ourselves and relaxed and watched the houseboats cruise up & down the Murray. We shopped in Renmark and visited the local Antiques store at Paringa and two days later we moved on down to visit Mally & Lynne at Maldon Victoria, Mally is Bro # 3 and the oldest, another Internet mate from the 'old' Campertrailer days whom i met years ago when my Father died, Mally was there with his huge arms & shoulders. Mal & Lynne have visited us at home in Perth and we showed them Ningaloo, between the 3 Bro's we manage to catch up as we all travel around / some more than others but this was to be the 1st time we had all been together, the Inaugral Bro's Muster ....

Mally met us at Maldon town center and showed us where they lived, a lovely old timber home full of character on 5 acres with a large shed that Mal uses as an Art studio, he has quite a talent and should do more. We were shown around the district and as Mal & Lynne were heading down to Melbourne for the weekend to help their Mum shift we decided to go down and visit Vickies sister Sue again and take Kimbo & Ned with us, so we unloaded the boat and gear out of the ute and travelled down to Mt Eliza together, Unfortunately when we arrived Sue was in bed with a migraine so we entertained ourselves untill Greg arrived home from work, for tea we bought some delicous Pizza's, washed down with a few drinks.

The next day Sue was feeling better so the 5 of us drove down the coast to Portsea stopping at Arthurs Seat along the way. Arthurs Seat was the site of the famous Chair Lift that Vickie and I have ridden on many years ago, it has closed now due to maintaince & Insurance issues. At Portsea we again visited Fish Fetish for another great meal of Fish & Chips and then headed back to Mt Eliza as we were going out that evening to the Melbourne Crown Casino. Greg & our Neice Lee drove two cars which was great as the F250 is not Melbourne Parking friendly.

Vickie & Sue played their usual games, Ned tried her luck but ended up watching and Greg, Kimbo and myself put in $50 each and played Blackjack. Things were going up & down and then started to get worse, we were sharing the playing around and it wasn't untill i got in the seat that things picked up, i'd like to say it was the skill but more so the luck of the cards. Regardless we managed to scrape our money back with a small profit plus drinks etc paid for.

I am not known as a lover of Casino's but we all had a good night and we all enjoyed myself, even the looser Wife's.

On Sunday we drove Kim & Ned up to St Kilda and showed them the street markets and had lunch in Ackland Street, took them to the Tasmanian Ferry terminal so they could see what they had to deal with when they eventually head to Tassie in the future.
Monday it was time to head on back to Maldon and catch up with Mal & Lynne again. We spent the rest of the week being shown around the surrounding districts and just generally having a good time. The Gold detector was given a workout with no luck and the Music Machine was cranked up with plenty of singing and throats being lubricated with cold beverages.

Friday it was time to say our goodbyes as Mal & Lynne were heading back to Melbourne and Kimbo & Ned home to Newcastle, we headed for Saint Arnaud Range National Park where have set up camp in beautiful surroundings, the Satellite dish is set up in preparation for the weekends Bathurst Car Racing event, and here we will stay untill Monday.

Dinner for tonight was a camp oven roast beef & vegies which was superb.