A Travellerspoint blog

Roaming Victoria

Fri. Feb 25th- Wed. Mar 9th

This week has been all about meandering around Victoria. The biggest decision we make each day is deciding in what direction we are going to drive (closely followed by deciding what we are going to cook for dinner). We headed to Daylesford last weekend for a 2 night getaway. We had an accommodation voucher (thanks Alicia) so we stayed in a little cottage for the weekend- rather indulgent don’t you think, having a holiday break away from a 12 month holiday?? Anyway, it was a gorgeous (although chilly place to stay).

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We went for a ride on the Saturday to a neighbouring town, Trentham. We didn’t think the overcast day was going to develop into anything much and so we headed off and ended up riding 25kms in the drizzle and rain. The hot chocolate at the bakery was sooooo good for warming up my frozen fingers and my insides (and the beef pies that we took home were terrific)!! The Red Beard Bakery in Trentham is a must if you ever pass through.
We had a hit of golf in the afternoon (on the 3 hole course in front of the cottage) and we figured all that exercise probably justified spending the night in front of the log fire with a nice Pinot from Tassie.

We headed over towards the Grampians during the week with a vague idea of touring a bit around Western Victoria. The Grampians had 7 out of their 10 campsites closed due to flood and mudslides (not to mention many roads and a lot of their most popular walks and lookouts). We saw some pretty amazing photos of mudslides that had taken out bridges and boulders as big as cars lying on roads and had a chat to the manager of the caravan park who said it will take years for the park to recover. Still, we enjoyed our couple days there. We fit in a few good walks (and it was still chilly enough for a fire in the evenings).

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The road from the Grampians to Dunkeld was closed so we doubled back a bit and headed towards St Arnoud. We are going to head down towards Melbourne for the long weekend so that we can go to the Caravan and Camping Show. Hope the budget holds out because I think we will be like kids in a candy store.
Hope you are all well,
Ps, scrabble score is now J: 22 D: 20

Posted by jacanddan 15:09 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Farewell to Tassie

Mon. Feb 14th- Thurs. Feb 24th

We hope you have not been hanging on the edge of your seat for the next instalment!! We've had a few technical issues (again) but it all seems to be ok today. We've been staying in a few small out of the way camping spots. They do not always have the best internet coverage and now we have so much to catch up on. I last wrote when we were in the middle of Tassie. From there we headed east to the Freycinet Peninsula and then to Launceston and the Tamar Valley for a bit of wine tasting. We crammed a lot into our last couple weeks. Have a look at the photos to get an idea of what we got up to.

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We spent one day walking to Wineglass Bay. The photo actually turned out ok but the reality on the day we were there was somewhat different- you can't really get that feeling of the sand whipping around your legs from looking at the photo. Danny caught the blogging bug after our visit to this bay so here is his bit...

Today I went to the beach. Not just any beach but one of Australia’s most famous beaches. Why did I go? Well, on the recommendation of every travel writer/television presenter come jurno and tourist who has visited Tasmania. The beach is of course is the wonderful Wine Glass Bay in the beautiful Freycinet National Park.

The walk from the car park to the beach itself takes a while which gave me some time to think. And I remembered that I recently read one of Australia’s most respected Travel Writers claim that Greens Pool near Denmark in Western Australia is Australia’s most beautiful beach. Which led me to ask myself the question, what makes a good beach or a beautiful beach for that matter? The travel writer went on to say “I have seen the others and, in my considered opinion, nothing else matches Greens Pool”.

When I read that I thought that was pretty bold statement. That the Writer had been to every beach in Australia, while not impossible, is quite a tall order. You see Australia has 36,000km of coastline and in order to see each beach you would really have to walk that coastline, would you not? Granted most beaches are accessible by car but not all. So there in lies part of my problem with the statement I read. The other is that it was one person’s opinion that Greens Bay is the most beautiful beach. What makes a beautiful beach?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say and without seeing Greens Pool I could probably say that I would not think it is Australia’s most beautiful beach. When the writer was there it may well have been beautiful but the day after it may have turned ugly. I walked all the way in to Wine Glass Bay, stepped down onto the beach and no sooner did I look up than I received a face full of sand whipped up by a 15knot Nor Easter and said to myself, “ This place is crap!” There were white caps spread across the Bay and the beach had about 50 people on it, most trying to shelter from the intermittent sand blasting.

I came away thinking, ‘it took me 2 hours to walk to the beach and back (which included a couple hundred steps carefully built for tourists such as myself) and all I can remember was it took quite some time to clean the sand from my every orifice.’ And I mean every orifice! But had it been a nicer day with less wind and less people I might have come away with different thoughts. You see when I think of good beaches, beautiful beaches I not only think of Port Douglas, Cable Beach, Bondi and Surfers Paradise , I also think of the places like Fishery Bay south of Port Lincoln, Long Beach at Robe or anywhere along Adelaide’s coastline. And who could discuss beaches without can talking about Noosa? Each of these have something great like seclusion, surf, toilets or just plain good access so you can unload the kids and all of their paraphernalia without carting it too far. Each location has some attraction that makes it great or beautiful to someone.

Beaches are no different from other travel destinations. We should not expect the image that we see on postcards or travel brochures to be the scene we survey when we get there. Still, my journey around Australia has just had another must do location squeezed into the itinerary it’s a little place called Greens Pool, it’s near Denmark in W.A., have you heard of it? No? Me neither.

Posted by jacanddan 13:27 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Hobart and Surrounds

Saturday, Feb 5th- Sunday, Feb 13th

We spent last weekend camping at Lake St Clair. It was chilly again (0.9C overnight apparently) and the rain settled in in the afternoon so we couldn’t do much other than play scrabble and read our books. (This is no great hardship)! Danny is currently winning the scrabble-athon, 10 games to 8 (and it’s killing me)!!

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On Sunday we caught the ferry to a place called Echo Point and walked back along the lake to our camp ground (about 12kms). We were the only ones to get dropped off there so we had that section of the track to ourselves and it was a truly beautiful walk. It was a little hazardous though, walking up and down, over tree roots, over logs and around muddy puddles. It took us 3 hours to get back and we slept very well that night!

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We made it into Hobart on Tuesday. We visited the Cadbury Factory on the way which was interesting enough –but it was the cheap chocolate that really made it worth it! Now we have 9 family blocks of chocolate sitting in the van and with a bit of luck we might have some left when we catch the ferry back to the mainland in a fortnight.
We also visited Mona on Tuesday and we both agreed it was one of the most amazing museums we have ever visited. The $120 million building was built into the side of the cliff and is fascinating in itself let alone the $80 million of art it houses. It’s an entirely private museum and opened to the public free of charge. The guy who built it has a bit of a fascination with the way death and sex is portrayed in art but there are also mummies, Ancient Greek coins and a 49 metre art work by Sydney Nolan. The artworks are not labelled but each visitor is given an i-phone and it can locate where a person is in the gallery using gps and brings up info about the artwork nearby. Visiting Mona should definitely be on everyone’s must do list.

We spent the night with Pete and Melissa Thurling (Danny worked with Pete during his Gibbs and Cox days). We had a great night catching up with them and meeting their two very cute little girls (Georgia and Amy).

On Wednesday we made our way down to Fortescue Bay- a lovely camp spot in a National Park on the way to Port Arthur. We spent Thursday at Pt Arthur which was quite an incredible place to visit and on Thursday night we stayed at Dunalley. There was free camping for RVs (that’s us) and caravans in a grass paddock at the back of the pub. How handy is that?? 

It’s a long weekend this weekend in Tassie. The Wooden Boat Festival is on in Hobart so the harbour area is very festive (and also very busy).
Last night we camped at Kempton. It’s not a very big place but rather quaint in its own right. We wandered around the cemetery and found the grave of a woman who came out on the First Fleet. There are also a few beautiful grand homes here that were of course built with convict labour. And one of the most appealing attractions for us was that it had free camping for rvs and caravans including power and water.

Tomorrow we hope to make it to the Freycinet Peninsula and spend a couple of relaxing days around Wineglass Bay.

Posted by jacanddan 21:26 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

BIG flowers, a BIG mountain and a busy week

Sunday, Jan 30th- Friday, Feb 4th

We started our week at the balmy beachside village of Boat Harbour. It was 28C on the day we were there - just glorious (but still way too cold to go swimming)! Boat Harbour is full of quaint little shacks and beautiful gardens. I just have to share with you a couple photos of the BIG Hydrangeas (maybe not an official BIG icon of Australia but we think these are pretty amazing)! They were practically growing wild on the side of the road with individual blooms the size of dinner plates!

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We drove to Cradle Mountain on Monday (the first day of the school year for some of you). Whilst Adelaide and much of SA was sweltering in 40+ temps, we were huddled inside ‘Dette’ while the rain and fog settled in over the campsite and temp gauge hovered around 12C! However, we woke to a beautiful morning on Tues and wasted no time in getting into the National Park and out on some of those board walks.

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We did the first part of the Overland Track (just enough to know we have to come back and do the full 6 day walk sometime) and then we walked around the Dove Lake circuit. The views of Cradle Mountain across the lake were simply stunning.

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We went back again the next day to walk another 3 hours of trails through the National Park. On Wednesday we headed over to Strahan on the West Coast. We spent today doing a boat cruise down the Gordon River with a stopover at Sarah Island (Tasmania’s first penal settlement). It was quite a thriving shipyard in its time, turning out a new ship every 2 weeks. The original slipway (several well placed huon pine logs) can still be seen at the edge of the water 160 years later. It must have been a brutal place although we were lucky it was a beautiful day when we visited.

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Hope you all enjoy your weekends- We start making our way slowly to Hobart from here.

Posted by jacanddan 22:54 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

3 State borders and a ferry trip

Sunday, Jan 23rd - Saturday, Jan 29th

sunny 25 °C

We've had a bit of a tech issue with our blog this week. The password was preventing people from leaving comments so for now we have taken off the password and if you would like to leave a comment it should now work for you :)

We left Joanna and Andrew’s on Sunday morning after a leisurely breakfast. Pat and Meg were keen to come along but thought a whole year might be a bit long to be away from mum and dad!

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Dan and I climbed Mt Shank (extinct volcano) on our way down to Port MacDonnell.

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We had the obligatory fish and chips on the beach for lunch and made it over the border to the Lower Glenelg National Park to set up camp for the night. We had a spot nestled in amongst the trees beside the Glenelg River- it was just gorgeous. We sat outside and watched the blue wrens hop about but couldn’t get one to stay still long enough for the camera.

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We spent the next night by the side of Lake Colac and made it to Williamstown for Australia Day. The Esplanade was filled with people enjoying their public holiday with picnics on the lawn and wandering through the streets. The Roulettes entertained us overhead and we took a cruise around the harbour which was very relaxing. We camped the night (such as it was) adjacent to the BAE shipyard. It wasn’t the most scenic spots to camp and it was ok until the first shift started arriving around 5am.

The trip to Tassie on the ferry was just terrific - very calm and we had a room with a view over the bow. The weather has been great since we arrived with lots of sunshine and very pleasant temperatures around 22-24C (we empathise with everyone in SA who is sweltering at the moment)!

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We made it to the far North West Coast of Tassie last night after travelling through Penguin (home of the big Penguin) and Stanley- impossibly gorgeous little town with weatherboard buildings and surrounded by the most beautiful of beaches. We were so taken with Stanley we had to check it out on Realestate.com!

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Today is Sunday and it's time to relax so we are spending what is left of the afternoon sitting under a tree reading our books looking out over the water. Don't forget to check out our other photos by clicking on the 'more photos' link.

Posted by jacanddan 20:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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