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July 12, 2014

The morning we left Molesworth was raining- surprise, surprise. Headed down the Melba (Dame Nellie M highway towards Croydon Hills to visit my very good friend’s son whom we have not seen for about 15 years. We had to return to Yea then head south for about 90ks. It was not raining but no sun either. Was a very quiet highway with rolling hills either side and once again cattle & sheep .

Above is just another example of farmer’s hedges. Driving past the Kinglake NP there are still signs of the bush fires which swept through there back in 2012 causing mass destruction. There are many new homes with an occasional burnt shells of homes.
Vineyards came into view again as we got closer to Yarra Glen.

Sign reads De Bortello Wines. Some of the vines are on such steep hills.
We arrived at Croydon Hills & set up at Adrian’s home until Tuesday. We felt very welcome with offers of anything we needed, eg washing, a bed in the home, as well as offering to drive us to see other friends. I contacted yet another friend who lives in the city & she offered to come to see us to save us driving into Parkville. Sunday Adrian took us driving to show us where to go to have a meal with Lesley. Thanks Ady once again.
Monday we met at Croydon (only 4ks) & for the next 3 hours we never stopped talking.
We had left the camera uncovered in the car so Bruce went back to collect it & this is what he took.

The next day we said good-bye to Adrian after he made us a goodbye cuppa. He had drawn us such a good mudmap to get down to the Princes Highway that the Navman was not even needed! The roads took us through beautiful hills & valleys with cattle & sheep properties. Started to rain as we passed through Lilydale unfortunately but getting used to that situation.

Before we entered the town of Noojee took a detour to see the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge, which was about 2 ks up a dirt road. Photos not good when driving into the rain!

There was a walk way so naturally we had to walk the bridge! Was impossible to get a photo of the details during construction because of glass reflections on the notice board.

It is much higher than it looked from the ground and there were good steps up one side then rather slippery ones the other side to walk down.

Through these hills there is big timber logging business with timber mills in the valleys. Not easy to get photos as not easy to stop beside the road which was mainly double lines.


Stopped for lunch beside the Blue Rock Dam at Willow Grove.

The forests which we have driven through the past few weeks have been literally full of tree ferns. It is easy to imagine what fuel there would be through here in dry seasons/summer. Still folk persist in building in these forests! Some of the homes we have noticed with the roofs totally covered in leaves is unbelievable.

The above photos show just one of the grazing properties with mostly dairy cattle.

The city of Moe was where we had to join Highway 1 (Princes Highway) and back into traffic again. Driving past Yallourn there were power stations emitting large plumes of steam.

Just one example of fire aftermath down near Morwell along the Princes Highway.
We all hear complaints about the condition of our Queensland Bruce Highway (Highway 1) but noticed that the condition of the surface of Highway 1 really seems to be worse than the Bruce!
We decided to book into the Sale Show grounds (recommended) for a few days to do some touristy things. Had checked prices etc- $19 for power, water, toots, dump point. I rang them the morning of 1st July to check that all was correct. Sorry went up to-day to $25! The caretakers were in Darwin when she answered the phone but she promised to contact the folk who there now & tell them to let us have it for the $19/pn which was very much appreciated. Booked in for 2 nights to see what weather was going to be like.

Fortunately the next day was full sun so we decided to back track to Traralgon then up to the old mining township of Walhalla.

Experience life as it was in historic Walhalla. Once one of Australia’s richest towns and home to over 4000 gold seekers, this sleepy mountainside town is now frozen in time and is home to only 20 residents. Walk through the lovingly restored centre full of heritage buildings, try your hand at panning for gold or take a tour of the surrounding area. Revel in the history that followed the discovery of Cohen’s Reef, a three kilometre vein of gold running through Walhalla. Learn about the tough lives of miners, pan for gold down to Stringers Creek then explore the old hotels, shops, school and churches built in the 19th century when the town was at its peak.

The road up from Traralgon was continual climb until the junction to go up to Mt Baw Baw snow fields then we started to go down into the valley.

Just to show the very winding roads you have to travel, only the normal 2 lane sealed road but not a very good surface as the above blurred photo shows- Bruce seemed to hit a bump just as I took a photo!

Crossed the Thompson Rv over the high level bridge opened in 1995. Rail bridge on the right.

The photo on the left above goes up to the top of the town with the photo on the right coming down to leaving the town at the railway. Tried to stitch them together but it would not work. Those 2 show the length of Walhalla with all the buildings named.

On coming down into this valley & Walhalla there was a magic feel about the place. There was a tiny crystal clear stream running right beside the street, with some buildings spanning the water, one being the fire station.

In the fire station building there is a history of the many fires through the valley & which buildings survived & which ones have been restored.

There is a short walk which can be undertaken along a part of the Great Alpine Trail which runs from Walhalla to Canberra. You would have to be a dedicated walker to attempt this trail, especially in winter- if that would be at all possible!

Took a walk up & down the road/street to see the individual buildings & their history.

The mine tour was available but we decided against an underground trip.

The bottom photo shows a small part of the road through Walhalla. It was taken from where we did the short walk.

This is just a small stretch of the Great Alpine Trail. The undergrowth is just so thick with beautiful ferns, especially tree palms.

There are signs in this wall asking people not to try to pull stones out of the wall.

Sat in one of the parks (thank goodness for the sun) and had our lunch before heading home.

As we drove past the little old pub did not notice these ladies at first so took another photo of them!

On the southern approach to the town is the railway but there was a closed gate into the yards.

Tried to get some photos of the line down in the valley as we left Walhalla & as there was no where to park, it was not easy.

Just before we got back down into Traralgon pulled into a lookout which we had noticed on the way up. Once again because of the glass was hard to take a photo of the notice board.

Back into Sale & headed out to view the National Trust classified Swing Bridge at the junction of the Latrobe & Thompson rivers. It was built in 1880-1883 & it is the oldest surviving,intact, Swing bridge in Australia & can still be swung manually. Was amazed at the perfect reflection with the water being so calm even though it was flowing!

As can be seen, the water was very muddy.

We left Sale in still good weather heading east towards Bairnsdale where we had lunch at a beautiful park beside the river.

Decided to spend that night down at the Eagle Point VP. Once again the road is bounded by cattle, mainly dairy herds. Everything is so green but locals comment that not so in summer. This spot is on the western end of the lakes at Lakes Entrance. First swans we have seen for a long time so had to take a photo, they are such graceful birds.

I was hoping that there would be a great sunrise over the water but guess what, rain started again during the night. I still got out of bed, everything on over PJs & headed towards the water as there was a slight glow on the horizon but that soon vanished with the heavier rain. Fortunately I had taken a umbrella. Got back to van to see Bruce out of bed- expected to see him still as I had left him- sound asleep!

The good man had heard the rain & was about to bring me an umbrella!

Onto Lakes Entrance – last here in 1982. Stopped at the lookout for the obligatory “Kodak” shot, which did not stitch too well and one looking through the entrance.

It was only 11.30 so decided on an early lunch and pulled into a park opposite the tourist centre. Basically Lakes Entrance is all about tourists, fishing, boat cruises.

Sitting eating lunch when a guy wandered out from the park where there was obviously a children’s birthday party in progress. The men got into an animated “caravan/vehicle” conversation as they do & his wife came over. It is always good to put a face to a name as she is also on the Caravanner’s Forum so we exchanged our forum names.

There is just a continual row of boats on the water, ranging from the tinny to huge private yachts to cruise boats/ships.

Driving along & noticed a sign into another bridge so naturally we went in to investigate and this is what we found.

We came to a Y junction & did not know which way to go & fortunately a couple of ladies told us to keep going about 2ks the way they had just come from so that is what we did. Got in only to find that the parking was not the best for a big van! Naturally the driver did not have a problem turning around with the good navigator guiding the way.

We should have walked in around the corner in front of the car where there was a larger parking space. Ah well!

Not possible to walk over this one as in very poor condition. All of these bridge histories can be “googled” which is a great thing about “the net”. Not like we used to read the Britannica or go to the local library for information.

Had already decided to spend the night beside the Snowy rv , #18 in Camps 7 as had been told about these spots by the tourist lady in Bairnsdale. Got into Orbost & turned towards the tiny town of Marlo where the Snowy meets the ocean. On one side is the Snowy rv and on the other still cattle properties.

Headed back 4ks to the rest area & set up for the night. I took a walk back along the road as had seen lots of swans as well as a pair of ducks. Needed a good walk anyway as not easy to walk everyday when it is raining.

Two different pairs- one on either side of the road. Once again I was hoping for a sunrise over these hills & lagoons- it did not happen as started raining again during the night.

Certainly need to be in the outback!

SUNDAY 6.7.14

Thinking about daughter Sally once again doing the Gold Coast marathon this morning as well as our granddaughter Emily’s 12th birthday.

Once again on the road & still in the ranges. Not good driving weather as wet, hilly & winding roads as well as the highway 1 road is not in good condition & naturally there is a lot of traffic but fortunately there are many passing lanes as double lanes most of the way over to Cann Rv. Why do folk drive in rain with no headlights? This is up in he clouds as well as raining.

Had rang the number for the Cann Rv van park & got a message saying to “rock up & find a spot” then pay the $20 at the pub. Ok we set up but did not unhook as decided to spend a couple of nights here & would walk over the bridge to the pub to pay.

Knocked (or bashed) on the pub door, could see a man inside but he did not answer the door. Finally got an answer the next time we went back.

This is an unmanned council owned park, power, water, showers, toilets, broken washing machine but even though beside the highway not terribly noisy.

Cann Rv is basically a few coffee spots, pub, general store,( managed to get a couple of bottles of wine at a good price) motel, garage & servo and a black church.The river was in flood a few weeks ago which is evident by the debris.

Can not remember ever having seen a church painted black before but this one in Cann Rv certainly stands out.
Once again we were soon travelling through forests, up hill & down dale. Could see occasional sheep & cattle properties along the highway. Had already decided to spend the night at the Genoa 3 day stop beside the Genoa river. Before stopping though we once again turned east to go in to have a look at Mallacoota. Sure enough same type of scenery- trees on either side. We are getting rather used to not being able to see the countryside while driving.

Had to take the next photo!

As it was lunch time found a spot beside the wharf to make a cuppa.

The caravan/camping park here runs right around the foreshore, with the largest numbered site we saw about 560!

There were folk wandering around the water edge & even this fellow lounging back as he peddled his water craft.The lighthouse in the background is on Gabo Is.made out of red granite and stands 47 metres high & was completed in 1862 Gabo is known for the largest known colony of little penguins in the world.

We retraced our steps only about 20ks, back out to the highway and the tiny town, if you could call it that, of Genoa. This spot used to be a caravan park so we were told. Power points non existant now but clean amenity block. It is also a small sports ground for the locals & we would have loved to have a game of tennis but all locked.
Mallacoota inlet in the photo below.

Wandered over the old bridge then around the 3 or 4 old buildings- only the pub/motel is in business from what we could see. Took a walk over the traffic bridge to get some reflection photos of the old bridge.

The first 2 are towards the old bridge & the bottom one if towards the highway bridge.

The parking area is behind the buildings & would hold a lot of vans.
The following signs are along the road (old highway) between the highway & the park then the river.

After spending the coldest night I think we have ever experienced while travelling we finally got out of bed about 9.30am. It had been 3 degrees in the van that morning so Bruce woke up to a chilly morning for his birthday! We made a comment that how far apart we had been the past 4 years for his birthday. Last year over in central Western Australia, 2012 we were up at Cape York, 2011 managed to be home but 2010 we were in SW of WA.


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One Comment
  1. Leaving Traralgon tomorrow we think, travelling the way that you have just left, the weather is getting colder and wetter

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