We again spent a great two weeks in Wallington with our friends Dennis and Christine. The time just flies by with Chris helping Dennis do those two man jobs that are saved for our visits. This time it was re-grading the driveway but first they had to tackle the neighbour’s old grader which had seized and there was a fair bit of banging and swearing going on. We all enjoyed feeding Polly, the young calf that had been rejected by her mum and I especially enjoyed the invite to Jade and Addison’s grandparents and special friends day at their school. I missed out on morning tea but got to see both girls in their classrooms and the morning assembly.
When we left Wallington we headed for Green’s Lake at Corop which is about 50kms out of Shepparton. This was a stop recommended by Dennis and is a great spot by the lake, although it was cold and windy while we were there.
Next stop was a bush camp on a property at Benalla. We were there over the weekend of the host’s daughter’s wedding but were around the other side of the property and well away from their celebrations.
From Benalla we found yet another Silo Trail. These silos were closer in distance to each other than the last Silo Trail we experienced, so were easily accessible within a few hours driving. We still wonder at the skill of these artists and are seeing painted silos popping up everywhere as they are great for tourism in these small regional towns. We also went out to the wetlands and saw some weird and wonderful painted cows and trees etc.
On the Monday we went to a race meet at Benalla where we enjoy a great day in beautiful sunshine and best of all with our race winnings, the day only cost us $5 including all expenses. Not bad for a good day out.
From Benalla we went to Corowa to again catch up with our friends Colin and Renate. The day we got there was Colin’s birthday and I could hear my dad’s voice in my head telling me to “buy the old fella a bottle of scotch from me” Colin and Dad used to be good mates/drinking buddies and Colin was quite emotional as we handed the bottle over. Later that evening we all enjoyed a dinner at the local pub along with Colin’s daughter and son in law, Jenny and Gus.
We left Corowa with promises to catch up again soon and then headed to Adelong, staying at the Showgrounds. We hooked up to water but no power though as it was now a free camp, we were definitely not complaining. Thank you Adelong!
Adelong has a big history of gold so we took a trip out to the old gold mining settlement to do the walk and read the information boards. It took us three drives out there as heavy rain showers hindered our first two attempts. We then went to the town museum to read more about the history of the area and talked with the local guy who was on duty that day.
The next day we drove to Tumut and wandered around the town exploring the old part where the famous bush ranger Ned Kelly and his gang made their final stand before being captured. We then drove back to Adelong detouring to Batlow (known for the apples) and passing lots of yellow bicycles along the way. We later found out from the guy at the orchard shop where we stopped that the bikes were on a part of the old rail trail and was an attempt to encourage tourism to the area. Stocking up on apples, honey and apple cider vinegar we then headed back for our final night at Adelong.
After we left Adelong we headed to Talbingo and are now in The Kosciusko National Park. We found another great camp at Yachting Point along side Lake Blowering which is part of the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme. We drove up around the Tumut 3 hydro plant and both lookouts of the area, then back down to read the information boards at the picnic area. Now as it was Melbourne Cup day we were on a mission to find somewhere with a tv where we could have a late lunch and watch the race that stops the nation. As Talbingo is a small town of under 300 residents our choices were limited. We found the local country club and on entry we saw what looked like a private party so thought that we may be out of luck but no, we were invited in by the locals to share in their champagne buffet lunch. We were made to feel very welcome and joined in the fun with sweeps and best dressed competitions. Thank you Talbingo!
I was looking forward to our next free camp at Yarrangobilly as the many comments on the WikiCamps app mention brumbies and I was hoping to get up close and personal with these wild horses. I was not disappointed as there were several brumbies there to keep us company. From this camp we drove about 10 kms up the road to the Yarrangobilly Caves and did a tour of the Jillabenan Cave. We both agreed it was probably the best cave we have seen. It was easily accessible, wheelchair friendly and the stalactites, stalagmites and crystals were amazing. As we drove away from the caves we stopped and walked down the steep 750m hill to the thermal pool at the bottom. We felt it was too cold to go for a swim, (the water was warm but getting out would have been the killer!) but did watch other brave souls enjoy the experience.
Adaminaby, the home of the big trout, was our next stop. It was a long drag for our caravan to get there, up over the great dividing range and reaching a height of nearly 1900kms above sea level. In Adaminaby we found the Op shop and enjoyed a brunch at the bakery before moving on to Cooma.
We drove to Cooma and stopped at the Snowy Hydro Exhibition Centre where we watched an interesting DVD on the history of the Snowy Mountain Scheme. We heard of the immigrants of many nationalities that worked under very primitive conditions to produce this world famous engineering feat. Then we spent time wandering around the centre, looking at the diorama, trying to understand the computerised information board and talking with the knowledgeable young tour guide.
We left the centre and drove to our next camp just out of Cooma, a basic camp tucked down away from the main road and close to the river. Next day we decided to drive to Jindabyne so back through Cooma we go. We saw the thick snow on the top of the mountain range and also the sprinkling of snow that had fallen overnight through the town. It was a cold and windy day but sunny as we checked out Jindabyne visitors centre and also walked down to the lake. Later we drove out to the trout farm where we wandered around but were too late to do the guided tour.
On returning to Cooma we visited the old museum which is a bit different to most museums we’ve seen, as it shows crime through the years and is attached to a still functioning prison. We were shown around by Rob, one of the prison wardens and met a couple of inmates. It was good to be able to ask those questions that we all want to know about prisoners. Locked up for nearly 16 hours in small cells with very few basic comforts, it’s definitely a bleak existence. The prisoners are expected to work 5 hours a day and earn a wage on top of the $15.50 a week they get from Centrelink. If a prisoner refuses to work he spends that time in a locked cage doing nothing. The inmates have access to education and retraining and their religious, medical and dietary needs are all catered for.
We left Cooma and headed towards the Boorowa Jones but our last stop before this was Bungendore, the other side of Canberra. We stayed at the Showgrounds which at the time was very busy with a dog show, horse events and many caravaners like ourselves. We took the opportunity to catch up on washing etc. before heading into Canberra the next day for Remembrance Day. (11/11) We decided as we were so close we should celebrate the day in this nation’s great capital along with all the dignitaries. We drove to near the airport and got a courtesy bus into Canberra where we sat in beautiful sunshine and watched the ceremony before then going into the war memorial. Chris laid his poppy on the tomb of the unknown soldier and we looked around the museum.
When we left to catch our bus, we returned to the spot where our bus driver had told us to wait, and we waited, and we waited, and we waited. 3 bus drivers had told us we were in the correct place but we still didn’t see the No.54 bus that we needed. After more than an hour of waiting in the hot sun we rang the information number on a board (with no timetable!) and was told we were in the wrong place so a quick walk down and around the other side of the war memorial we waited again, this time about 30 minutes but then we were on our way, yeh! Not the best end to a good day but if that’s all we have to moan about, we are not doing too bad.
We left Bungendore and got to Emma’s in a sand storm and the town with no power but it wasn’t long before the electricity was back and the dust had settled a bit. We were excited about seeing this little family again.
We had a good week with Emma, Graham, Josh and Ellie with another school grandparents and special friends day to attend. We visited Josh and Ellie’s classrooms and saw the work they had been doing, had a yummy morning tea and went to the library to buy the kids some books. After that we all went into the hall for an assembly. It was good to see all the kids up on the stage and Josh, like his dad, Mr Jones the principal, spoke very well.
Our week went quickly for us with Ellie coming into our caravan in the mornings, and us doing baking together. Josh taking us to Young for the day to pick cherries and go to Macca’s (twice) and the Chinese gardens. I met a guy in Boorowa high street with his 5 camels who was walking around the country raising money for outback Queensland skin cancer clinics and Emma and I met Rosalie Hamm, the author of “the dressmaker” while she was giving a talk at the local library. We all enjoyed time at the pool and on one visit, Ellie managed to fall in fully clothed while mucking around. Good one Ellie! Josh, Dad and Grandad played golf on the Sunday with Grandad nearly scoring a hole in one while Emma and I spent the day making new curtains for their caravan.
We left Em’s early on the Monday morning, saying our farewells and looking forward to seeing everyone again at Christmas. We made the 6 hour trip to Coolah stopping halfway at Wellington to pick up a click and collect food shop from Woolworths that Jo had pre ordered. We had just got to Coolah, set up the van and put the shopping away when the Coolah Jones all returned from work, school and preschool, all very exciting. We are now looking forward to having a good time here with the girls and having sleepovers in the caravan.
I feel I should mention in this entry the bad bush fires and extreme weather conditions that Australia has been experiencing lately. Although we have not been near the fires ourselves, they have been raging in many parts of the country, with 50+ fires burning in NSW, 70+ in QLD and catastrophic fire conditions in Victoria and SA. Its heartbreaking with so many properties and lives lost. Only two weeks ago we were in temperatures of near zero and now this week we are looking at highs around the 40s! Typical Aussie weather. Bring on the rain and stay safe everyone!