170408 Walhalla

It was time to ‘get-a-way’ again. The past three weekends’ fixtures had kept us at home and we were ready to get out in the motor home again. It was also the first trip since changing our number plates back to GR8L1F, which we had on our previous ‘Free Time’ Paradise Motor Home – feels much better to drive too!

I had found a CMCA Members Stop Over Point at Erica about 2 hours drive away in the direction of Walhalla and after calling the owner, we decided to try it out. The owner, Sue, is also a motor home owner and was to return from a 2 month trip to Tasmania on the Saturday afternoon. Her daughter met us at the door and told us where we could park, but the site was on too much of an angle for our automatic levelling system to return us to a level position. So we went down the road a little and ‘camped’ there. In little country towns, there are very few people that would complain about having a self-contained motor home in the main street parked opposite the local ‘watering hole’.

The morning dawned with brilliant sunshine and the promise of clear blue skies. After breakfast, a healthy CHIP breakfast (Complete Health Improvement Programme), we wandered around the town past an acorn tree, the seed of which came from a tree at Buckingham Palace, and on to a walking track. This took us past paddocks of grazing cattle and into some great territory for a 4WD enthusiast; I imagined us in one as we hiked up steep inclines to view the surrounding landscape.

Sue had mentioned that Walhalla was not too far from Erica and that there was a free camp there that many who stayed with her, travelled to. So our journey took us into, what was, a very rich gold rush town of yesterday. Up towards the end of the road was the free camp, and we were fortunate to be able to park on a level site for the night. The weather forecast for that night and the Sunday wasn’t too encouraging, with even snow to fall on Mt Baw Baw not far away. It was a good idea to see as much of the town as possible before the weather did an ‘about face’ from the beautiful sunshine.

The track around the cliff face commenced just behind where we were parked. Steep but worth the effort, we climbed to the track. About half-way along, there is a tunnel entrance to the maze of other underground avenues gold prospectors used in the days when gold was rushed for. Further around, we took the steep descent into the village and walked to the railway station. The train leaves for its journey to Thomson 3 times a day on weekends, but we decided that the $20 per person return ride was not on our desire for moment. After our CHIP lunch of fruit and nuts, we wandered through the restored gold miners town. At one point, we could hear a bag piper, but could not see anyone. Eventually we could see him standing out on the edge of the cliff face where we had walked. His walk up to his ‘stage’ would have been followed by a long break before blowing into a bag for half an hour. If he had a buskers tin, he would have made a killing.

On up to the motor home, we passed the shops of old and some quaint restored houses of years gone by. Leaves were changing colour making a brilliant pictures to be captured. After an early dinner and the sun had set, the lightening started emblazoning the sky and thunder claps sounded like trains were ramming the motor home. Rain fell for the next 12 hours or so and we were bound to the confines of our comfortable motor home. Eventually, the rain stopped mid morning on Sunday and we were able to clear the water from the top of the slide out before pushing a button to bring it in and we were off to finer weather.

The drive out towards Moe is picturesque and colourful during the autumn months. The road is windy and undulating for the first part towards Erica. Moe was a lunch stop before the busy drive back to home.

170109 Great Ocean Road

We’re back on the road again, if only for 7 or 8 days.

Our daughter Sharlee, and her husband Paul, have flown down from Grafton to join us in our tour of the Great Ocean Road region of Victoria. Lyn and I had been before we purchased our Freetime motorhome and  have done a few walks along the interesting coastline of the area. So what better way to visit it again than with family?

We chose to stay away from the known touristy areas and take the car with us to use for transport to and from those very busy spots at this time of the year. Our first town was Colac. It’s kind of difficult to book a spot so close to New Year but we managed to be placed overlooking the nearby Lake Colac. Management allocated us a pull-through site, with an ensuite, which worked out well for Paul and Sharlee; the ensuite became their wardrobe as well.

Lorne, for breakfast at the sea-side cafe, became our first destination for Day 1 followed by a drive to Apollo Bay and a 10km walk along the coast from Marengo. The weather was a little too overcast for much of the day but some sun poked through for short periods. Paul is an enthusiastic photographer and had recently purchased an iPhone 7 to accompany his Canon (we are not Canon people). So he was enjoying giving this little phone ‘thingo’ more than just a test. Throughout the week, he became very proficient in taking panorama selfie shots of the 4 of us with an ‘ace’ background. At an early stage of our week, he had shot 2,500 photos; goodness knows when he’s going to weed and edit all of those, and then find time to make his photo book. But there will be some very good photos in the book, that’s for sure.

The views you come across when walking the Great Ocean Walk, are to be experienced best when the sun is shinning brightly in the morning for the eastern part, and then in the afternoon for the western section around the Port Campbell National Park. Each turn along the track presents a new and exciting vista. And, there are ice-cream shops in most of the towns nearby; a bonus. The one in Apollo Bay is very popular.

Hidden away in the Otway Ranges is a well constructed tree walk. The walk is quite extensive in the high tree tops with a bit of a climb up a tower for an all over view. There is a zip-line run as well that you can enjoy, at a price.

After the tree-walk, we drove down to the lighthouse at Otway Point. We had visited the Rainbow Falls before which are nearby. Paul and Sharlee wanted a longish walk for at least one of their days away. The trail is mainly sandy and is around 5.5km in each direction. Once on the beach, there is another kilometre to the falls. These falls are formed from spring water seeping through the cliff face. Over years, the cliffs have become a golden colour with areas of green and red. With a blue sky and the sun shinning on the cliff, the falls stand out along the coastline.

The next day, we packed up the tent and motorhome and headed towards Warrnambool. Our booking was from 2:00pm, but seeing the sun was shinning and the air was clear, we parked the motorhome at the intersection towards Port Campbell and took the car to the magnificent coastline in the Port Campbell National Park. The coast line is made up of cliffs and islands with ‘flat’ tops. Various sections are named due to their land formations such as London Bridge or The Grotto, or the well known Apostles originally made up of 12 but now a lot less. They have eroded over the years and fallen into the ocean. So you can’t call them “The 12 Apostles” anymore; “the Apostles” is fine. With the blue sky as a background, we were able to obtain some good photos as we moved along the coastline. We missed seeing the Loch Ard section; but another day will eventuate.

On the way back to Warrnambool, we stopped of at the ice-cream shop in Port Campbell. They have a great supplier from the local town of Timboon. If you ever get through there, check the store out for delicious, “end-of-the-day” ice-creams.

We had never been to Warrnambool but found the campsite quite easily. It was right on the beach almost, with a bike/walk trail and a line of scrubs between our site and the sand. The walk along towards the breakwater is easy and deserved a visit. A guy was perched there to take some evening photos. He had a 600mm lense on his camera attached to a large tripod. We got chatting and he had been a well known wedding photographer in the Warrnambool district and had joined up with another photographer in business. The business went bust and he had lost everything, so to say. He sounded destitute. Recently, he had submitted to channel 9, a photograph of a surfer coming down a wave with the spray ascending up behind him. Beyond the surfer, is the tail of a migrating whale. What a picture to own! He had been paid good money for the use of the photo, but still he felt he needed some new emphasis to his life. His expertise is really in people photos so we suggested he join a cruise team of photographers, which he is now pursuing. Our chatting ended around 11:00pm.

Moon rise at Warrnambool
Moon rise at Warrnambool

The rain turned up the next day so we visited the Maritime Museum for the morning and a cafe lunch of soup and home made scones; it was cold and wet, so the soup went down well. The museum is well worth a visit as there were many shipwrecks near Warrnambool during the time of the setting up of the British Colony of Melbourne in the 1800’s. Many artifacts and valuable treasures are on display in the museum such as a diamond ring found attached to one of the female survivor’s inner garment, in a cave from a shipwreck. There is also an expensive sculptured peacock, some $4.5 million worth.

Sunday, we travelled to Port Fairy just 20 or so kilometres away to the west. This town is well known for the Port Fairy Jazz Festival and the Port Fairy Folk Festival. It is also a fishing village where trawlers bring back their overnight catches of abalone and crayfish. The walk around the small island close by known as Griffiths Island, is the breeding grounds for the migrating mutton bird. We wandered the main street of upmarket gift and fashion shops with of course, an ice-creamery at the end of the street (amazingly not as good as Port Campbell).

We returned to Warrnambool in the early afternoon and unhitched the bicycles for a ride along the waterfront trail towards the whale viewing platforms. Normally, when the whales are migrating, this area would be very busy with tourists. But the ride has done us good after being a little too tourist-type visitors.

In the evening, I thought I would send a message to some friends we had made while on our South American trip in 2015. They live in Toowoomba. Would you believe they were in the RSL at Warrnambool, just visiting. What a coincidence! So we met up for the evening to reminisce on the past few months since we had travelled the Mekong River together in September.

We had decided to stay in the region an extra day and moved to Port Campbell Campground, much closer to the Loch Ard land formations which we had passed by a few days ago. The weather was brilliant for photography. We stayed there for 3 or 4 hours, finding different viewing platforms to view and photograph the various land formations. Paul managed to shoot another 1,000 photographs and numerous panoramas on his iPhone. The ice-cream shop took our interest again and deserved  another visit before we returned to the Apostles region. Our plan was to climb down the Gibson Stairs for some sea-level views at sunset.

From ‘sand-level’, the pillars of rock tower above. However, the sunset didn’t give the impression that it was going to present good a picture. So we moved over to the touristy area.  We didn’t have to wait long for a magnificent sunset to begin painting the western sky. It is amazing that there are no National Park Rangers on duty as so many overseas tourists jumped over the safety fence to get a better picture. Imagine the picture if someone had slipped on the ‘ball bearing like gravel’ on the narrow ledges they were tip-toeing on and fell to their death.

When Sharlee and Paul visited again for the next day’s sunrise, a local photographer, who had been returning to the Apostles for 30 years, told them that he had never seen a sunset like it. That made us feel special. Paul was very happy to have returned for a sunset visit to this Victorian icon.

The Tuesday became our ‘return home’ day, so clean the inside of the motor home and get the laundry ready for the arrival back home. Paul and Sharlee wanted to visit the Apostles for what turned out to be a ‘dull’ sunrise and then complete the full length of the Great Ocean Road while we made our way in the motor home to Torquay where we found a lunch spot overlooking the ocean. Our son Jay and family live in Geelong and we managed to have pizza for dinner before returning to Jeanette Street; refreshed and with cameras full of photos. (When shall I find time to do the editing and movie making?)


Here’s a suggestion for anyone who visits the Great Ocean Road. Pick the days you visit by taking out at least 7 days and then choose according to the weather forecast.

As a kiwi writing this on Australia Day, and knowing that New Zealand has some terrific land forms to view, I have to concede that Australia’s Great Ocean Road region is superb and well worth the visit. And guess what, we’re having ice-cream for dessert tonight.






161225 Snowy River

With all the beauty in Australia, we chose to head east in the State of Victoria for Christmas. One of Lyn’s clients suggested that Marlo was a pretty place beside the ocean and well worth a visit in our gr8l1f motorhome (Ah!! the one that still has Queensland licence plates.) We set off around 12ish and after a stop for lunch, headed out past Bairnsdale and turned right at Orbost. Marlo is just a small village on the mouth of the well known and written about, The Snowy River.

We drove through the small town, and headed further east along the coast towards Cape Conran. Cape Conran has a lookout to view even further east towards Mallacoota, a well known lakes region 30-40kms off the Pacific Highway. Our main reason for the extra distance was to look for a nice free camp on the coast without venturing onto gravel roads. Yes, we did a U-Turn and back to Marlo.

There are great fishing facilities for the angler but as fishing is not our ‘thing’, we decided to stop in the local caravan park and try to enjoy the sunset from a motorhome parked in a caravan park. After dark, we sent Christmas wishes to many of our sites and friends. In the morning, we realised that we didn’t have any 240 power so checked out the power supply and switches, and had the wife of the owner check the power (with her trusty electric power drill). No solution, so she called her fisherman husband who was out in a dinghy for that elusive early morning fish. He returned, to even find out for himself, that there was another isolation switch that had tripped – problem solved.

Without too much discussion before deciding, we exited the caravan park and headed back towards Orbost where we had noticed a lot of small free camps along the Snowy River. Ah, found one that didn’t take much to convince us to stay. The reflections in the river were just so relaxing and inviting. So we set the motorhome up on its ‘pegs’ and extended the slide-out to make this 48 hour stay enjoyable. (The notice said 48 hours – the site needed our presence for just a little longer. It is Christmas and the authorities are having a long break. LOL.)

Breakfast was late but holidays for us, is commonly a two-meal-a-day formality. What a sight to enjoy breakfast at; the reflections were just superb. We have 4 still cameras and a movie camera with us and all of them were getting over-worked; in just the first two days, our iPhones alone took over 100 photos. A friendly lizard comes by regularly for his food supply of insects and foliage. I just wished he had an appetite for flies; millions of them reside here. The local kookaburras are joyful in the morning as he hunts for worms and other insects that may have died in the last 24 hours or so. The cicadas seem to switch on their ‘sound blaster’ around 7:00pm for an hour and then are gone. But they are not like the all day ‘music’ we had at Seymour a few weeks ago. We have to stop talking sometimes due to the close proximity of the main road to Marlo, but the scene before us and the nearby ‘friendly gum tree’ is in the right place for us to be shaded during the afternoon; we have a heat-wave happening.

Christmas Day was very quiet but there needed to be some gardening done. The shire has been regenerating the river banks by fencing off much of the vegetation along the Snowy. There are a number of spots along the banks that have been cleared, lawned and made beautiful for the Free Self Contained motor homers and caravaners. However, in the cleaning up, they had poisoned some of the large weeds just in the foreground of our view. These browned off weeds needed clearing, so I donned the gloves, shoes and gardening shorts to pull them out and move them to a pile for the council to collect at their leisure. The view is now more enhanced.

The only ‘real’ problem with ‘free camping’ is that the facilities in the motorhome need to be serviced. For the uninitiated, at free camping spots there are no water faucets, no toilets, no power, and no drainage. To service the power problem, we have 3 x 150w solar panels feeding into a pair of 100amp truck batteries. If there is no solar energy available, we have a 2.6kva generator to charge up the batteries and also run the convection/microwave oven and air conditioner, when needed. We have water storage to 250 litres and ‘grey’ water storage to around 100 litres. Leaving a neat and appropriate site with great reflective views, is hard. We thought we could find a site on the other side of the river, but first, we needed to drive into Orbost to empty the cassette and grey water at a dump point, and refill the fresh water tank. After a ‘hot’ breakfast of tea and toasted raisin bread at the local bakery, we drove the road on the other side of the Snowy River. Before we came to any free camp sites, we came upon a fallen tree that was preventing us getting any further. A year ago, I purchased a pruning saw in case I wanted to saw off some branches from fallen trees for a fire. The saw came in very handy clearing the way as if a chain saw had done the job – but a little slower and with more sweat. Each site was a little too difficult to get into so we drove back to the Marlo Road side of the river, and after checking all the vacant sites along the river, believed that we needed a further 48 hours in the site that we had left earlier in the day.

The weather is overcast with a little rain falling making the atmosphere humid but cooler. In the morning, we decided to venture on towards Lake Tyers. I had researched the free camps at Nowa Nowa and one photo there of the site, provided by a camper, showed a suggestion on a tree, “why stay here when you can come on down to Lake Tyers Waterwheel Pub where we have power, water and en suites for free?” So, after checking with the pub owner, we took the last spot available for the night, so we thought.

While at dinner, a horde of little backpacker vans arrived and filled in the gaps. The ‘wide open spaces’ had become their kitchen, their clothes line and their socialising point. They are all good kids from Germany Belgium Switzerland and Holland. I say “good”, because they all cleaned up their sites well, before leaving. (Often that is not the case at free camps in the bush.) At 10:30pm, we heard a “Beep, Beep, Beep” of a vehicle reversing over the sound of our air conditioner. It was this Japanese guy in a hired motor home who ended up about 18” from our motor home. He had clipped his van on the roof of the en suite beside us, in the process of reversing. Karma, I say. No one should arrive into a free camp at that time of night, and trying to park on the side of the ‘road’ is not a good selection.

The beach is not too far away so we took a walk in the very humid overcast conditions for an hour or so. The main problem with the camping sites is that there is no TV reception, no radio reception, no phone connection and therefore no internet connection. Just near the pub you get a weak communication signal. If we want to know the cricket score, we have to find out inside the pub. So we feel like an arm has been taken off us. LOL!

A couple of days ago, I got a chill and have a tap-nose that won’t turn off. Many of you know, I am also an excellent sneezer. (I got that from my mum.) And so for me to have 3 or 4 sneezes is a disappointment for Lyn. She loves to count up to 7 or 8 before she’s satisfied.

After a morning sunrise that needed viewing, breakfast and another walk along the beach, we headed towards Lakes Entrance to fill up with diesel. I had noticed the price in Orbost was 135.9 cents per litre so was ready for a hike in the normal prices we pay, only to be surprised we picked up some for 115.9 cents per litre – a holiday period surprise. Lyn felt she was back in Melbourne and didn’t want to be in the ‘busyness’ of shopping so we quickly exited and made our way to Metung. There is a free spot just prior to arriving in the village, close to the water and the moored yachts. (I had seen a great spot for taking a morning sunrise if it was like today’s, so watch out for tomorrow’s sunrise shots.)

As I said, the village of Metung is not too far away, just 2 kilometres, and so we took the walk along a delightful boardwalk. Along the boardwalk, Lyn realised that we had brought our bikes for just such an occasion and they were still attached to the motor home. Metung is a quiet little village with quaint shops that overlook the Gippsland Lakes. An ice-cream is always on our list of an afternoon, before making our way back to the camp site. There are only 3 other vehicles here tonight, 2 of them are residents of Australia and we haven’t spoken to the third. The forecast, ‘lots of rain’, hasn’t hit us yet but looks like it is on the way for tonight.

Yes, it did rain over night. We noticed it when we brought the slide-out in. Some of the water on top of the slide-out came in and then ran down the sides and into the motor home, making a bit of a wet mess to soak up. Lesson learned? Brush the top of the slide-out before bringing it in; you may get rid of both leaves and water accumulated on the roof. The weather was looking promising for a short distance and then more rain to travel through. We headed to Bairnsdale and on to Maffra to do a little supply shopping. Not knowing exactly where our destination was, and the phone GPS not looking like it was doing a good job for us, we had to sort of guess our way to Cowwarr Weir. This is a very nice spot but only for self contained vehicles, which mean the vehicle should have storage tanks for waste water and its own toilet. However, there is a toilet block here.

What a great ‘hidden-away’ gem? The grass is green and mown and the weir is shallow and looks inviting to the kayak enthusiast. There were just 7 other ‘seniors’ in their caravans for the first night we stayed here.

The weather turned cold and bleak on New Year’s day so out with the warm jackets, even during the day. Finally, we decided to come home the day after, stopping for a meal at Yarragon along the way and arriving home early evening.

161210 Seymour

It’s time to ‘get-a-way’. Seymour is just 100 minutes away and the weather forecast is for sunny warm days over the other side of Australia’s Great Dividing Range. We had a steel ramp installed in the gutter where the gr8l1f.com parks so may as well give it some work to do.

The free camp across the Goulburn River near Seymour is a great spot to veg out. Lyn’s blood pressure has been up over some things at work and we are both just about over a cough/flu/cold, so the being away will bring us back to the ‘slow life’ again.

Water in various forms is a great healer and relaxer, even though we can’t bring ourselves to taking a swim in the murky Goulburn River. The cicadas started their one and only tune by 9:00am so ‘listening for silence’ was not on the agenda. There are a few campers along the river but none of them seem to make good talkers; no stories of their exploits around this great land.

The river is not a fast torrent here but sure does heal. We have quickly moved into grey nomad mode. This new motorhome is good to live in. There is a nice feel about it and everything works well. A cuppa in bed looking over the river is always the order of the day but the early arrival is not what today is all about. At home, the cuppa comes along at 6-7:00am, but today, we have slept in and 9:00am starts our day – after the cicadas have revved up. Days of ‘doing nothing’ should be part of everyone’s life. Interrupting ‘busyness’ should be on every agenda. Lyn needed the break and it sure did wonders.

Sunday came and so did the 9:00am cuppa tea and the fruit salad and waffles for breakfast. Another glorious blue sky day, and the cicadas on their finely tuned rendition of ‘a day in the life of a noisy member of Noah’s ark’ were at it again. A massage on the banks of a river is always hard to knock back and Lyn was able to enjoy that; I missed out again.

In the late afternoon, we took the long way around to the town of Seymour. The ride on the trail across the river from our camping spot, is sealed and easy to enjoy. Shady trees arched across the path which at some places camouflaged the pot holes in the trail causing a sudden shudder in the bike. The free camp at Seymour doesn’t have a toilet like many of the free camps around Australia, but we hear one is to be constructed – soon. (Soon is a word often used by councils to describe a time period meaning ‘a day in the distant future’). We found the closest toilet to the camp site. It is so far away that if you had to walk to the loo each time you wanted to use it, you would forget why you had made the 4 or 5 km trudge in the first place. (Shsssshhh I used the loo in the motor home for the first ever time – don’t tell the family).

Our decision to return home early Monday morning was a good one as the traffic was good and the early morning mist hanging around the farms was a great sight to enjoy. Seymour? A great spot for a couple of days of R&R. We recommend it and will be back.

The Re-Birth

Birthing can be a messy, difficult experience or a joyous occasion. Making the decision to go through a re-birthing procedure can be one that brings on unthinkable procedures to enable life itself. No, there was no forceps required, nor was a caesarean section performed in the emergency room. All was completed ‘out in the open’ for all the gloating passers-by to notice and enjoy the elation on the proud parent’s faces.

The smell of new leather and empty cupboards awaits as our new “Great Life” is draped in its big red bow in the “to be delivered stand”. After an all day handover and with Queensland number plates, we set off after transferring all our “stuff” from the ‘old’ great life to the ‘new’. (That’s a story in itself). Heading north towards Bundaberg, we spent our first night about 30km north of Caboolture at a roadside free camping spot (our first of what will become thousands of free nights in the next ten years or so). In the morning, we had a ‘first accident’; not with the vehicle but with us. We had brought some articles for the new motor home up from Melbourne in a cardboard carton. After emptying the carton, I ripped it up and placed it in a pile outside the motor home door. Lyn went outside and stood on the pile and down she went. No injury, but first accident.

Later in the morning, we met up with some other motorhoming friends, Eric and Joy, to travel on to Maryborough for a couple of nights and then on to Woodgate Beach Caravan Park. It appeared that the ‘look around’ was happening at lightening speed with Joy in control of the tour of the local areas, so Lyn and I decided to slow things down by getting out the lounges and setting them up on the beach to enjoy the sunshine for an hour or two looking out over the ocean view. After awhile, Joy commented that it WAS good to ‘feel’ a place, not just breeze through it. We mark this as the start of our grey nomading in the new Great Life. The BIG slow down is on its way.

After a try out at a CMCA members stopover, which turned out quite good, we drove on to Bundaberg and met up with some friends from years ago. That night, we spent at another ‘side of the highway rest stop’. As we were in our first week of our ‘shake-down’ and needed to try various types of locations for a week, we tried most styles of “glamping”. This helps to find any problems with the motor home, or our understanding of how to use the various facilities we were now the proud owners of.

Monday was our day to report back to the motorhome builders for the checkup appointment. There were just a few things to repair, instal or understand, and the builders were very happy to oblige. We spent the spare time at Harbourside Shopping Mall looking for various colours and ideas for the motorhome. The motorhome was ready soon after 2pm and when we arrived back at the factory, we were notified that a couple had just signed up to buy our traded-in motorhome. That made us happy that someone else thought our “old” motorhome would suit their needs in the future.

We needed to get to Grafton before dark and so the journey south had to begin. We stayed with our daughter and her husband a couple of nights during the Grafton Jacaranda Festival. That town sure is painted purple for the occasion.


Each time we are north of Newcastle, we return to the Foster Tuncurry region to spend a few days on our favourite beach. Bob and Lyndal included a visit on their way home from attending a funeral at Port Macquarie. I took Bob’s role when I first started clerical work and he was an usher at our wedding while Lyndal played the pipe organ. Heaps of sunshine and heaps of whales and dolphins, some breaching as they played in the bay. Then it was time to take the long drive home to Woori Yallock.

We broke the drive by visiting some friends we have kept in contact with from our camping summer holidays at Valla. Thanks Judy and Ian. And a ‘show-off’ to long time friends, David and Elaine at Ourimbah. The night was spent free camping at Pheasants Nest.

While traveling the following day, we encountered lots of insects and our brand new motorhome was instrumental in killing them ‘splat’ on the windshield. At Logic rest stop, we needed to refill the windshield washer container. I recall saying to myself at our hand over time, “I must remember where the bonnet latch is”.  Do you think I could find it? Nup. The manual didn’t give a very clear idea as to where it is. I tried YouTube and the movie was very dark and virtually useless. I then went to the makers owners Facebook page and a guy came back quickly with the same YouTube link I had viewed. He then must have deleted it after looking at it himself. Then Helen came back with the comment “yes, it’s hard to find but keep feeling around under the glovebox and you’ll find it”. Lyn tried again, I tried again, Lyn tried another time and eventually found it. (We will not forget). Thanks Helen, the ladies do it again. We arrived home an hour later due to the bonnet latch problem.

Our nice new Paradise Inspiration Supreme Black Edition, now has its new home. It was time for me to stumble and end up on the ground while carrying stuff between the house and motorhome; accident number 2. The proud parents are both well and eager to take the new “Great Life” out for weekends and holidays well into the future.


151123 Rubicon Free Camp

“It’s time we got away in the motor home for a weekend”, said Lyn a few days ago. So we have.

Victoria has so many spots to be checked out and we have been so slack all this year with only 390 kilometres used since before Easter through to mid October, with my recent drive up to Mullumbimby in October being the only real trip for the year. “Where shall we go, then?”, I asked. “I do enough choosing holidays for other people during the week, so you choose.”

I found this spot on Wikicamps, which probably millions of others know too, just 90 minutes away from home. The weather on the south side of the Great Dividing Range looked pretty bleak for the weekend so across we drove to Tagetty and towards Thornton in search of warmer and brighter weather. Turning right just before Thornton, we ventured in the rain down towards Rubicon. Free Camps still exist in Victoria and this one is not controlled by some Government National Parks organisation; hence “no charge”.

There are lots of sites spread amongst the shading trees beside a river, which you can hear, but have to venture over towards to see it. We drove right in and found a great spot just near the start of a walking track. The grass is mown and the fireplaces are tidy. I parked the Motorhome so we would have a good view of the bush and privacy from other campers. Although we are parked near where the trail begins, we aren’t bothered too much by the passing parade, making their way to the river bank for fishing or in search of firewood.

The rain had stopped just as we arrived, and we didn’t have any rainfall during Friday night. By 10:00am Saturday, the weather started to warm and we were able to find a nice rocky part overlooking the river/creek to “park” our camping lounges while we napped and read.

After a baked beans and spaghetti lunch, it was time to put on the hiking boots and enjoy the 7 kilometre walk around the river and up a few hills for a view of the campsite. How pleasant walking in the bush on a warm day, enjoying the filtered sunlight again. “Have to do this again sometime soon.”

We were just resting after the walk when we had a feeling that a bird had flown into the motorhome. This little tiny guy had decided that motor homing is not a bad idea but the windows don’t open just because you fly into them. He was stunned a little when I picked him up and took a few minutes to ‘come to’ and be on his way. Makes a good couple of photos to include in the post for today.

Sunday was a bit of a sleep-in day with blue skies but chilly atmosphere until we arose and started into our normal breakfast of pancakes, fruit, yoghurt and maple syrup. The maple syrup had been hiding for a number of years but has matured over the time.


The day was brilliant; not too hot and just nice to lay out in the sun to get some vitamin D and enjoy a book or complete a few more sudoku puzzles. After lunch of McSpains, we cleaned out the motor home ready for our Christmas/New Year trip followed by another walk around the loop. There were so many more parrots this time. Leaving at around 5:00pm, we collected some nice cherries at Taggerty before picking up some chocolate specials from the Beechworth Bakery in Healesville.



151022 Trip North to Mullumbimby

As I mentioned on Facebook a month or so ago, my sister, Margaret passed away after a 13 month battle with throat cancer. I am off to attend the event in Mullumbimby. With Lyn in France on a Scenic Tours Travel Agent’s ‘famil’, I’m on my own and so it takes that much longer to get ready each time I leave a stopover spot.

I left home at 7:00am on Tuesday morning after a successful Garden Club Spring Flower Show on Monday evening. I managed to reach Ourimbah by 8:00pm for a well-earned night’s rest.

Along the way, I was being followed or chasing Leigh who was heading north. He delivers motor-bikes up and down the Australian coastline. Would you believe we never met but were in contact via messaging services.

The weather has been fantastic until last night when a cracker of a storm passed through shortly after sunset, and today has turned out overcast. Yesterday, I called into the Halliday’s Point region and with the sun so brilliant, I decided to stop here for the night. What a great place this is to retire. Who knows? It may become our retirement destination.

I took the time to check some of the equipment out on the motor home and found one storage bin quite damp and all the chairs, travel blanket and hammock, needing to ‘hang out to dry’. I’m the only rig in this part of the park and so used the space to lay out and dry all the wet stuff.

I also found the entrance door has a problem and through Paradise Motorhomes Facebook Page, have found out that a tiny spring has broken preventing proper closure of the door. I plan to drive up to the Gold Coast on Monday after the gathering, to have this and a couple of other problems seen to and fixed.

Today, I will drive to Grafton to spend a couple of nights with Sharlee and Paul before Sunday’s gathering.

Memories of our daily morning walks along the beach at Valla when we used to camp for annual holidays have come back after last night’s beach walk and this morning’s view of the sunrise. The only problem? the lady in the red dress was not with me. I hope you are feeling jealous, darling.

141103 Murray River

Years ago, we came here in the Camry to find out what it is like camping on the Murray. We have returned again while others are having their yearly flutter at the famous Melbourne Cup Carnival.
It was cold over in the Yarra Valley when we left Friday, and the weather wasn’t looking promising for the weekend. We weren’t sure where we would end up but with night approaching, Yea became our overnight stop.
The morning wasn’t too much better weather wise, so we decided to stay a second night and just ‘sit’ while the storms went through during the morning. The afternoon showed us a few blue spots which enabled us to get out and explore the little town of Yea.
It is an agricultural town with much ‘country’ history. The wide Main Street boulevard is busy with travellers checking out the local cafes and shops. Lyn finds a new rose in the memorial garden to replace the ‘wrong choice’ of a few weeks ago. It is an “ebtide”, a purple colour with a nice bloom shape.
The annual Cup Weekend Photography Show is on at the well cared for Beaufort Manor. Outside the front door is a delightful hanging basket with red and white blooms cascading over the edge of the container. Inside, is a well laid out photographic exhibition. After walking through the display, we were given the opportunity to be part of the viewers choice and chose a beautiful picture of an owl. When we submitted our choice, the attendant said that the picture was the second choice of the judges, so we did pretty good really.
Sunday morning looked a little brighter with less chance of rain, so we packed up and headed towards Wangaratta where its annual Jazz Festival was the main event of the year. One of our clients had invited us as he is a keen ‘jazz festival man’ and goes each year. The town was a buzz with people and after a quick stroll through the market, we found the first community stage where a big band was performing. They played very well with quite a few school aged kids in it. At the main community stage, we were entertained by the Australian Army Jazz Band. What a difference daily practice makes to a band quality. They are of a very high standard and were well received by the large crowd that was there, some even getting up to dance in the front of the stage.
We were headed towards the Murray River really, and after a look at a few spots, found what we had always wanted as a ‘view to kill’ of this famous River. We are perched in the Motorhome overlooking the river that has had so many songs and poems written about. Once we were comfortable with the level of the motorhome, we started shooting memories. The river invites you to relax, unwind and to enjoy the reflections which invite many clicks on the cameras. We have taken over 80 photos while the sun sets for another day. The small scatterings of cloud became a slight pink haze.
We decide it’s time for our evening meal of pre-prepared cauliflower and potato soup with my bread made on Friday. Ah! It’s all gone now. – sorry. None left for you.
Monday commences with that ‘get up early for the best photos’ call. And then back to bed for a sleep-in that delays breakfast until nearly 10:00am. Water skiers are also tired and seem to be enjoying the peacefulness of this majestic river. That’s my style too.
The sun lures us to enjoy the benefits of Vitamin D for a few hours, and we set up our outside eating and sleeping area for the day. Does man need 8 weet bix each day for breakfast? Certainly not when the pancakes, fruit salad and yoghurt come along. Delicious, again, Lyn.
Skiers still not up and roaring up and down the river until after our late breakfast is had. I set the hammock up as Lyn’s office for the day but she only received three phone calls in all. A sleep here and there is thrown in and in the later part of the day, we get the bikes ready and take off for a tour of Yarrawonga. It is the first ride for Lyn for over 12 months, while it is the first ride for me since before my active Meniere’s Disease subsided. That drop Attack sure brought some blessings to me as since then 15 weeks ago, I haven’t felt any symptoms or had any signs of the Meniere’s Disease. Great stuff – keep away Mr Menieres. And that ice cream along the way was good stuff – thanks for staying open long enough to serve us.
Day two is more of that relaxation stuff beside the river. The sunshine is nice and warm while campers pack up and head on home or, head on home via the pub so they can watch the Melbourne Cup on the way. At 2 minutes before the race, we turn on the TV, watch the race, then turn it off, not knowing anything about who was who and if any of our friends got themselves on TV in some fancy outfit or not.
We have really taken to this ‘beside the river’ mode and we’re looking forward to returning for another bout; when? We do not know.
We tried starting the Motorhome. It looks like we need a new vehicle battery as the starting up procedure required the generator on to kick over the motor. Lucky, lucky! All good and a safe drive home.