Bays, Rivers and Babbling Brooks

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Monday, October 29, 2012

Leaving the gorgeous water of Venus Bay and the Eyre Peninsula behind we moved over to the Yorke Peninsula and the charming seaside hamlet of Stansbury. With a foreshore that stretches around Oyster Bay we were able to back the van right up to the beach then sit back and soak in the pretty vista.  It would have been the perfect place in which to launch the kayaks had the weather been conducive.

With a mass of dark clouds building and the wind getting stronger by the minute our plans to visit Innes National Park at the tip of the peninsula also got shelved.  We had to be content with a visit to Yorketown and Port Vincent before returning to Stansbury, soaking up the local scenery with a walk along the foreshore and out along the jetty.  In the early evening the wind abated, the water calmed and we were able to watch a pod of dolphins frolicking close to the shore.

Of course on the morning of our departure we awoke to a glorious day, too late… Rod's parents had spent the last couple of nights on the Ghan as it traveled down from Darwin and we were looking forward to meeting them in Adelaide.  Setting up at West Beach was ideal, not only for its coastal location but also for its proximity to the city and Glenelg.

Cleve and Eileen were spending a night in the CBD before joining us and so we joined them for a couple of drinks in the early evening.   It was here that a couple overheard us talking about the races and entered into our banter, as it turns out it was jockey Michael Rodd’s mum and her partner, which was apt for the following day (Rod’s birthday) we were frocking up and heading to Morphettville for the races.  Rod had managed to arrange members’ tickets and so we enjoyed our day in style.  Cleve and Rod could wander off and watch what was happening around the betting ring whilst Eileen and I thought for some reason we should pick trifectas rather than backing one horse!

Whilst enjoying the company of Cleve and Eileen we also got a chance to catch up with a few other friends.  Kym and Felicity (we have only just finished all those homemade cookies), Allison (thank you for lunch) and Manou (our William Creek buddy).  We only wish we had had the time to catch up with Kim, Jack and Sue as well.  Our time in Adelaide and indeed with Rod’s parents went far too quickly and before we knew it we had bid the Browns farewell and hitched up yet again.

Whilst we had been going to hug the coast and visit some friends on the way back to Melbourne we would have been retracing a route we had already traveled and so we decided to head inland to follow the Murray River. 

Heading out of Adelaide and through the stunning Barossa Valley I was almost salivating as we passed each magnificent winery entrance, however it was to no avail as Rod took great pleasure in driving right past without a second glance, mean and sacrilegious! 

We joined the mighty Murray River at Blanchetown and set about following her upstream as best we could as she winds her way through South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.  The stunning colours of the limestone cliffs, the massive river red gums and the charming little towns through which she flows kept us captivated throughout the drive.  Our original plan to stay in the Murray National Park had to be dropped as it had been inundated with water and still had roads and campsites closed, so we set up camp at Martins Bend just out of Berri. 

A popular recreational reserve on the banks of the river, Martins Bend was rustic yet neat and a great place to spend our first night along the Murray.  Once darkness fell upon us the possums were out in full force.  Ever so cute we soon realized we should not have parked so close to the trees for one was traipsing up and down along the roof whilst the others swung from the tree trunk beside our door keen for a handout and happy for a pat.

A short drive further along the river was the stunning town of Renmark.  Here the foreshore is covered in lush green grass that runs from the immaculate wide streets down to the timber docks which are lined with paddle steamers.  The sound of music drifting through the air warranted further investigation…  A quirky pontoon style boat was alongside and for a small donation we could step aboard.  As it turns out it was the 'Chook Man’ who used to entertain at the Daly Waters Hotel, a great outback character.  The boat was an eclectic mix of all things Australian like the classic outside dunny, water tank (used as his bedroom), pot belly stove and a couple of chooks for good measure!

Winding our way along through Mildura, determined to spend each night of this journey on the banks of the Murray, we found a nice riverfront park in Swan Hill in which to set up camp.  Here we could sit back as the sun set watching the river flow by with ducks at our feet.

Moving on to Echuca we couldn’t resist a stroll around the gorgeous waterfront admiring the old paddle steamers before continuing on through Tocumal and settling down in Corowa for a couple of nights.  It was a funny little council park with lots of static holiday shacks and very few other sites, we had lucked in though and were once again backed up to the Murray River.  As we sat in New South Wales looking across the river to Victoria we were in awe of the splendor and calming powers of the Murray River, always a hive of natural activity it manages to retain a certain serenity about it. 

Having spotted a quaint old hotel just across the river in Wahgunyah we decided to stroll across the rickety old timber bridge and have dinner in Victoria.  Being a Friday night the Old Empire Hotel was filled to the brim with locals and served up a brilliant meal along with a friendly atmosphere.

Now you may not believe this however here we were in the fabulous Rutherglen wine region and yet again we did not venture into a winery, oh how things have changed!  It is here that we bid farewell to the Murray and headed across to the high country. 

Arriving in the delightful village of Bright we enjoyed a stroll about the tree lined streets before continuing along the Great Alpine Drive to Harrietville.  Here we nestled into a gorgeous little site set on the edge of the Ovens River, which here in its infancy is just a narrow stone lined babbling brook.  The only ones there, we were surrounded by tall green trees and lush green grass.  With a fire pit by the side of the brook it was the perfect place in which to sit back and unwind after a day in the car watching the flames dance up and down along the logs. 

Using Harrietville as a base from which to do a loop incorporating both the Great Alpine Road and Bogong Alpine Way, we set off.  It was only once we had wound our way up to Mount Beauty that we learnt that the Alpine Way was closed between Falls Creek and Omeo putting paid to our plans of completing a loop.  (It would have been nice if there was notification at the ‘Alpine Drive’ turnoff outside Bright before venturing all the way to Mount Beauty!)

Being that we had come this far we decided to continue up to Falls Creek.  The place was deserted with most of the businesses having closed up shop for the season.  To our delight there was still snow on the peaks and it was ever so pretty making the drive worthwhile, we were however both feeling a little queasy from the winding roads.  A drive in the mountains is just not what it is cracked up to be, give us the Oodnadatta Track any day!

It was so nice to get down off the mountain, back to the tranquility of our babbling brook and sit by the camp fire watching kookaburras swoop down on their prey, ah the serenity.  We needed to drink it in for tomorrow we would be heading back into Melbourne and the chaos of city roads.

Highlights of bays, rivers and babbling brooks:

-          Charming Stansbury Foreshore

-          Spending time with Cleve and Eileen

-          Morphetteville Races

-          Catching up with Manou

-          Following the Mighty Murray River

-          Charming Corowa and Wahgunyah

-          Camping by the babbling Ovens River

-          Sitting around the campfire
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Col n Marg on

great to meet you at Barwon Heads, and read your adventures, hope our trip next year is as good!!

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