Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Cold weather... warm welcome

Day five of the trek to the centre

Today was our third day in lovely Echuca with our travel buddies, John and Julie. The caravan park here is really good (the Discovery on the river at Echuca) A fabulous camp kitchen... last night Chef Ian cooked fish, and we shared the table with 8 travellers from the Central Coast and Dubbo, who are also heading our way.
Ian and Anne
Julie and Anne

Today we went on the only authentic paddle steamer, the Alexander Arbuthnot at Echuca for a VERY chilly ride downstream. Alexander Arbuthnot (or “AA” as she is affectionately known) is special because she is the last paddle steamer to be built as a working boat on the Murray River during the riverboat trade era.
We had a smile as the engineer heated up his chunky soup on the edge of fire box.
Lunch for the engineer

Beechworth Bakery... great vegie pasties

When we disembarked we headed straight to the Beechworth  Bakery for the second day in a row. Yesterday we met up there with friends Alan and Cathy (from Tamworth) who have come to town especially for my library talk! Today the pies and pasties and huge coffees warmed us up before we headed to the collectable shop in the old part of town. An Old Timer knife that Ian collects (at a bargain price)  and two original edition Enid Blyton books added to the goods to take home.

The car was lighter however after a fabulous afternoon at the library where I sold some books and enjoyed the interaction with a wonderful audience.
 https://www.facebook.com/CampaspeLibrary Regional Library Service made me very welcome.

Home to the caravan park and Chef Ian cooked a hot chicken and potato curry to warm us up. Barman John was in charge of the flagon of port that somehow made its way into the shopping today.
Another great day in pretty and welcoming, albeit cold, Echuca!
Tomorrow we make our way west.
Sunset from the camp kitchen

Monday, 3 June 2019

How to cope with the cold

So we're from the coast and we aren't used to the cold. AT ALL!
Did we cope? We did!

 I found an awesome second bookshop that had TWO Annie Seaton books... Whitsunday Dawn and Daintree and some fabulous 1930s historical books on Alice Springs  that now belong to me (research gold!)

 we learned:
  • a fan heater in the caravan works wonders for keeping warm
  • as does a singlet, many jumpers, a coat and a beanie
  • a tasting of liqueur muscat before lunch was VERY warming, as was a purchase of a pretty bottle of said muscat
  • the crazy three on our trip went for a SWIM while the one sensible person (me!) observed.
  • We visited the Port of Echuca, called into the library to prepare for tomorrow's talk.
  • Found a warm camp kitchen to cook dinner, drink wine and rum, and meet fellow travellers.. one of the best parts of touring
Tomorrow... the library talk at Echuca

Today in pictures:
Mad travellers in 12 degree temperatures!


The mighty Murray
St Anne's Muscat

The highlight of my day!

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Heading west and south

On a brilliant sunny (but chilly) morning on the last day of May, we set off from our beachside home, heading off on our latest adventure.
Our two goals:
  1.  Have a fabulous seven weeks exploring parts of our wonderful country that we haven't seen before
  2. Gather research material for my 2021 contracted novel East of Alice.
At Wellington Caves Day 2
Snow clouds?
We headed south for three hours before turning west to the Golden Highway. Conscious of the long distance we had to travel on our first day (680 kilometres) we warmed up with a quick coffee as we refuelled at Raymond Terrace and then a couple of hours later, had a banana each for lunch as we travelled west.

SES muster!

Our first stop was the Wellington Caves Caravan Park for a quick overnight stop. Ah, a very nice park, but we weren't expecting to see the 1000 State Emergency Personnel to be camped around the park (in flimsy tents on a freezing night.) I suppose if we'd got locked  in the van or the amenities block, there were plenty of rescuers on hand! They were there for three days of simulated cave rescues. We were tired and it was too cold to cook outside, so creamed corn on toast and a very early night completed our first day on the road.

The Learys and the Careys

The following day we turned south and travelled through previously unvisited locales: Parkes, Forbes and West Wyalong heading for our destination of Coolamon, where we caught up with friends I had met n a Trafalgar tour of Europe three years ago! A great afternoon was spent and the Aussie Rules local derby and then a night at the local pub. My dinner of merlot infused beef ragu with gnocchi and parmesan was the best meal out ever!

The Murray River at Tocumwal
Keeping warm with Julie
Up the next morning and through previously unexplored territory, excited to meet up with our travelling buddies, John and Julie, in Echuca.  A pretty drive on a sunny day to the Victorian border where we had our first sighting of the might Murray river at Tocumwal. We set up camp and then headed into explore Echuca. Another lovely meal in front of the fire at the Shamrock hotel topped off a great day.  We met two fun locals who were full of interesting stories:  a nuclear physicist and an accountant who have promised to drum up business for my library talk on Tuesday! 

Day 3: We have woken up to steady rain but that will not deter us from exploring Echuca! 
Stay posted.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Beautiful Rollingstone Beach Resort

You may have wondered why we have been so quiet this week. 
The picture above says it all... that is where we camped for the last five days. We left Airlie Beach and headed north to Rollingstone Beach, 60 kilometres north of Townsville.  A camping spot that we will be sure to return to. Our van backed onto the beach and we listened to the sounds of the waves lapping the sand as we drifted off to sleep each night. We met up with our longtime friends, Christine and Peter Toth, and had a very relaxing time. Walking, reading, eating, drinking and laughing for five days.
Our campsite on the edge of the beach

The beach there was beautiful and Ian and Peter spent a lot of time fishing and putting out crab traps. A few small fish were caught, but alas no crabs.

The highlight of the week was barracking for the maroons (me) in the outdoor bar as we watched the second state of origin on the big screen.

Fun with the Tothies!

Fishing, fishing, fishing

Great scenery

Relaxation plus

Are there crocodiles?

Great walks every day
One of the best things...and you know I love them...were the sunrises, sunsets and a spectacular moon rise!

The colours of the beach were amazing as the tide went out (A LONG way) and the sunset lit up the rocks.

The setting sun also made us look red! But that could have been the time we spent in the sun.

Watching the boys fish!
Watch out for crocodiles!

A very enjoyable few days... the pictures tell it all.  We've now packed up and moved back to Airlie Beach... stay posted for the fishing charter reports and photos!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Murphy's Law

Is is really a week since we left Lake Awoonga and headed north! Time flies when you are relaxing.
So we headed off from the Lake on Monday morning and headed for Cape Palmerston Holiday Village on the coast from Ilbilbie. Ilbilbie has been a regular fuel stop since we first headed north with the kidlets in 1988 in a small 16 foot caravan with no luxuries. There used to be a big concrete tank there with live barramundi but it has disappeared some time over the years.
The trip north and then the short drive to the coast took us past sugar cane fields and then past Mount Funnell which overlooks Cape Palmerston.

 The caravan park there was one of the best, great facilities and drive through sites. Best of all, it was only a one hundred metre walk though the bush to a magnificent deserted beach with a deep creek at the north end of it. We explored on our first day, and then set off with towels and books, on the second, but alas we were chased away  by the biting midges. The beach walk was one of the best we've done and the tide went our for miles, leaving cowrie shells for us to add to the collection. On our second afternoon, we walked along the road and discovered a small village called Green Hill not far south of the park. The cheapest beach side houses we have ever seen on our travels.
Mount Funnell
Cape Palmerston stay
Cape Palmerston sunset

We packed up on Wednesday morning and headed  north to cover the two hundred kilometres to our favourite destination-Airlie Beach. On the way north we stopped for morning tea at Kuttabul and remembered how the kids had disappeared into the sugarcane there back in 1988!

Smith style morning tea on the road.

Love pulling up and being able to make a cuppa as we travel.

The first sight of the bay at Airlie Beach is one we enjoy every time we see it. Whether we are off sailing or camping at the Island Gateway, there is nothing to compare to that brilliant vista as you come over the hill from Cannonvale into Airlie Beach.

Our favourite place

For the first few days at Airlie we were favoured with brilliant weather. Clear, deep blue skies and no wind, and winter temperatures in the low thirties. We walked for the first few days, up to ten kilometres each day, explored the local coffee shops for morning tea, and the tavern across the road for dinner on Thursday night. One brilliant morning was spent reading  by the lagoon pool and only a short stroll away from the Beach Book Boutique  and coffee shop next door. Evenings are spent strolling along through the marina to watch the sunset and take some photos. We're doing it tough.

Airlie Beach is truly our favourite spot!

I called into the Beach Book Boutique to meet BJ in preparation for the book signing on Saturday and was excited to see all the advertising!

The weather stayed clear for Saturday and the book launch was great fun. I was interviewed by the local paper and it made the paper online the very next day!

It was good to catch up with reading and author friends, David R Garms, and Lea and Peter Payne. I first met Lea in the bookstore back in 2000 and we used to stock up our reading material before our sailing trips out to the islands!

A successful day and lots of new readers met, and books sold. It was great to meet local author Gail (Gi Gi) Harvey who will also be at the Whitsunday Writers' Festival in September.

Sunday dawned bright and clear but with the forecast of rain and wind,we squeezed in a huge walk before the weather turned, which it did late in the afternoon.

So Murphy's Law kicked in today (Monday) 

Torrential rain and I had decided to wash! While we were over in the park laundry waiting for the dryer to finish and brave the heavy rain back to the once cosy van, a water pipe decided to let go beneath the kitchen sink.
Luckily Ian came back before the van could completely flood, but was still greeted by a Niagara Fall of water when he opened the door.

It took us two hours and all the freshly washed, clean and dry towels to clean up the flood! A quick trip to the caravan place, a new connection, back to the laundry to wash again and all is well.
The weather is lifting slightly, but the winds and rain are forecast to stay around for a few days.

So no more sunsets for a couple of days, and we have bunkered down in the cosy van to catch up on our reading ...and blog. Maybe heading north later in the week... tune in to follow our next adventure.
Some of the fun photos taken on our walks below.