A Travellerspoint blog

Stunning Coastline on the Great Ocean Road

So much to see around every corner!

sunny 24 °C

Where do I start? We have seen so much on the way here.....some of the most beautiful scenery, beaches, cliffs and coastline. We didn't stop for too long, a couple of nights at a caravan park at Apollo Bay to catch up and do the washing, and of course for the lovely Dr Catriona to have 2 goes at washing Joe's ears out.....finally on our 2nd visit to her she blasted a mountain of wax out and Joe said "hello, I'm back" and we could stop shouting.

Beautiful towns along the way, loads of tourists, high prices, sidewalk cafes and great restaurants. Lorne, with its' beautiful mediterranean feel, Torquay and the famous Bells Surfing Beach, and Barwon Heads where we spent a couple of nights in a beachfront caravan park. Barwon Heads has a slower pace, lovely riverbanks and beaches, nice shops and quirky cafes. We had a day trip to Geelong, where neither of us had been before. Walking along the stunning waterfront, past landscaped gardens, ice cream parlours and restaurants, whimsical art works along the way, Stopped for lunch in the park, listening to a local brass band and watching so many people out enjoying the shores of Port Phillip Bay.

This is an area we will come back to and spend time exploring.....we could easily take 3 or 4 weeks taking in the rivers and beaches in this area.

So we had a big change to our plans......Joe had a SOS call from Eric, Mark and Phillip, beckoning him to Tassie, so instead of heading up the east coast of Victoria, we will head back to Melbourne for Joe to take a trip to Launceston to attend the Bushby 100th Birthday Party.....of course Bushby has been a big part of his life for so many years, and he was keen to catch up with his mates. We had already booked the Queenscliff to Sorrento Ferry, and enjoyed that 45 minute trip.....big discount for vans if you take the 7am or 8am ferry, saving about $80!! So we took the 8am one. Then we spent 2 nights at Blairgowrie in the lovely, grassy waterfront caravan park, heading into Sorrento for a piece of the famous Vanilla Slice - yum!

We couldn't get into a caravan park within cooee of Tullamarine - school holidays - so managed to talk Geoff at Crusader Caravans into letting us leave the car and van at the back of his yard for 3 nights. Not suitable for me to stay there, so I booked another flight for me. After a night at The Best Western Airport Hotel, we flew to Launceston for a couple of nights, staying in the Poupe Suite at Ros and Paul's once again. Lovely to see them and great for Joe to spend time with the Bushby clan. I was able to catch up with some chat with Ros and Kaye, and of course we saw all the girls and most of the grandchildren.....had a fun night at Lou and Scotty's, where Ros and Paul and Penny and Reece joined us for a wonderful dinner and loads of laughs. The kids all delved into the dressing up box and delighted us with their outrageous costumes.

So back to Melbourne, picked up the van and headed to Yackandandah, one of our favourite small places. Parked on the edge of the creek, water rushing after so much rain, and fairly boggy underfoot. We couldn't drag ourselves away and stayed 3 nights.....accepted an invitation to BBQ and damper in the camp kitchen and met some real characters there. The town is so pretty, all National Trust, close to Beechworth and Myrtleford, and has a population of about 800, a close knit community indeed. It's home to many talented artists and artisans from around the world, and so is brimming with arts, crafts and antiques. Driving in from the tree covered hills of the Stanley State Forest, past the avenue of English trees, across the little stone bridge with its sparkling creek, you find this gorgeous little town. We love it!

So from Yack we headed north towards Sydney to have just one night with Oliver and Amelia and the children, staying at Narabeen as Lane Cove was full. Unfortunately the Heskeths have had a tummy bug in the house and have all been pretty unwell. While it was great to see them, we had a fleeting visit so as not to get in the way, and to hopefully escape the bug. NOT SO! We stayed at Myall River, another of our favourite spots, for just one night. It is so beautiful, and we had a spot in amongst the paper bark trees. After a huge drive yesterday, being delayed for a couple of hours due to an accident on the road......Joe had been complaining of an uncomfortable tummy for a couple of hours, and was noticeably pale.....we pulled up at Sawtell, checked in, he backed the van in perfectly, and before he could unhitch he was vomiting - and the rest! So a very quiet afternoon and evening, and this morning he is feeling much better but understandably very tired and washed out. So far, my stomach of steel is holding out and I am OK - but I won't count my blessings out loud!

We are booked here for 3 nights, so that's a nice time for Joe to recover, and to have a look about. From our spot in the park, we can hear the roar of the waves. There are lots of people here, being Easter, but the weather's perfect and it's very relaxing.

From here we will head towards Noosa, hopefully catching up with Chris in Brisbane on the way, and also Bill and Annie on The Goldie.

So much to look forward to!

Posted by Crazy Poupes 18.4.14 18:06 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

The Stunning Great Ocean Road

Great free camps along the way

sunny 22 °C

We are actually feeling very lucky.....about 5 minutes behind us on the road between Horsham and Portland an elderly couple in their 4x4 and caravan collided with a rental motorhome, killing 1 and seriously injuring 6. The only evidence we saw, luckily, were the emergency services racing to the scene, and we heard about it on the news. This makes us realise just how vulnerable we are, and how precious our lives are. Joe is a super careful driver, and doesn't take any risks, and we have a safe tow vehicle and van. Just gotta watch out for the idiots coming the other way. The roads are narrow and often not in great condition, so avoiding the bumps and holes is a mean feat.

We did find a couple of great free camps (well, $3 a night's almost free) along the Limestone Coast. Wright's Bay was green and lush, quiet, right on the beach and we stayed a couple of nights. We met the lovely Mario and Linda from Mandurah.....had lots of laughs and a couple of drinks, and we hope to catch up with them again sometime. They are Fremantle supporters, so we might even share a Grand Final with them again this year.

We had a night at Fitzroy River, another great camp where the Fitzroy river meets the sea......just perfect, and only $5! Joe said the toilets were clean, but as you can imagine I have my own boudoir, so need for me to even check them out!

So we've had lots of lovely beach walks, the weather's been fair, chilly at night.....last night I had a hottie for the first time. We have great heating in this van, so nothing is uncomfortable. Joe's bought a roof rack cradle for his inflatable SUP Board, so looks like it will be emerging from its' back pack any day.

My Aged Care Nursing has come in handy just lately.....Joe's ears are blocked and he can't hear a thing! So I try and speak clearly and loudly, looking at him face to face, although he still says I mumble!! Off to the doc for the third time tomorrow morning for ear washouts after I have been filling his ears with wax solvent......Uncomfortable and annoying!!! But not life threatening and tomorrow should be the last. It will be nice to be able to chat again in the car without having to make an appointment! And have the TV volume so just we can hear it.....not the whole world. Ha Ha!

I can't believe it's Friday again.....we are at Apollo Bay, having negotiated the Great Ocean Road, coming dangerously close to double decker buses full of tourists, rental cars going way too fast, cyclists struggling up the hills and log trucks laden to the hilt! Stunning scenery along the way, cliffs and ocean, and of course the 12 Apostles which neither of us have seen before. So many tourists, it is actually quite difficult to take photos without people in them.

Joe's giving the van a wash, surprise, surprise! It did get quite dusty along the way. Tomorrow we'll keep heading east, to be at Queenscliff to catch the ferry to Sorrento at 8am on Monday. Saves us about $70 on the caravan fare if we catch the early one. So lots more of the Great Ocean Road for us in the next couple of days.

Posted by Crazy Poupes 3.4.14 19:07 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula

We love Port Elliott

semi-overcast 22 °C

Our first drive was to McLaren Vale, just 40 km south of Adelaide. We thought we would do a couple of short trips so we know everything is OK. And it is. What a nice little town, nestled somewhere between the mountains and the beaches. Nice caravan park, big sites, just a short walk to town. We drove to Port Noarlunga, where Joe used to be a surf life saver (!!!) to do a few shopping jobs. Just 15 minutes away and we were on the beach at Port Willunga. We found a gorgeous restaurant called Star of Greece, looking out over the stunning turquoise waters of Gulf St Vincent, the beach and the cliffs, and enjoyed a dining experience a bit like Angasi at Binalong Bay used to be. What a unique and stunningly beautiful part of South Australia's coastline. Joe had his favourite, King George Whiting and Hand Cut Chips, and I loved my Red Snapper, cooked Sous Vide which apparently means slowly poached.....absolutely delicious!

So we headed to Goolwa, just 45 minutes south, where the Murray River comes out into the Southern Ocean.....to find that the caravan park is being closed and they are building a retirement village. So we kept going another 20 minutes up the road to Port Elliott, and are so pleased we did. This is a lovely quiet little town, 2 pubs, 3 churches, a couple of boutiques, a few coffee shops and restaurants and NO FAST FOOD CHAINS! Lots of lovely little stone cottages, and they're building a huge new nursing home. There is evidence that the population is an ageing one, but we can see why- it's flat with lovely coastal walks and amazing ocean views.

Today we drove to Cape Jervis and spotted Kangaroo Island and the ferry that goes to the island, across Backstairs Passage.....we're not going this time, it would cost $400 return for us and the car, not including the van. A beautiful drive, passing olive groves, vineyards, natural bush and loads of pine plantations. So we had a walk and a sandwich at Victor Harbour, then back to the van for a walk on Horseshoe Bay. This is one of the best positions for a caravan park we have ever seen, right on Horseshoe Bay, a sweet little beach, and looking out to the ocean. Along the beach is the legendary Flying Fish restaurant.....we tried to get take away fish 'n' chips tonight but they only do it at lunchtime, and it becomes a very expensive restaurant at night, so we gave it a miss.

So here we are, sitting in our recliners, watching the Hawks beat the Bombers. Our van is so comfortable, lovely comfy bed, everything in its' place. We have everything we need. I have quince paste cooking in the slow cooker tonight.....definitely the way to do it, and it smells delicious.

Missing everyone at home, but it's so easy and so nice to keep in touch with all our gadgets. We are looking forward to seeing Ollie and Meals when we get to Sydney, can't wait to see Chris when we get to Brisbane and Bill and Annie on the Gold Coast.

Tomorrow we'll head towards the Limestone Coast, and hopefully find a couple of nice bush and beach camps along the way

Cheers everyone, love Jill and Joe

Posted by Crazy Poupes 28.3.14 02:30 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

Smooth Sailing, then a bit of a bumpy ride!

sunny 22 °C

We had a great crossing on The Spirit......nice dinner in the Leatherwood Restaurant, catch up with Peter and Jen quite by accident and a reasonably good sleep.

Found our way to Campbellfield to the caravan shop and of course we had an hour to wait till opening. As you can imagine we were anxious to see and collect our van. Wow! it is amazing. A couple of small hitches.....the pot drawers aren't big enough for our pots, but we will make do. The van wasn't quite ready for collection......disappointing, but not a train smash - just needed a bit of detailing. We wanted to register the van in Victoria, which required us having a Victorian ID.....so off to Vic Roads to stand in a line for 40 minutes, only to be told we needed a stat dec verifying we have an address in Victoria where the van could be garaged if necessary. So, round the corner to the Broadmeadows Police Station for the stat dec.....what an experience, in the queue for nearly an hour with a diverse bunch of citizens waiting to see their loved ones in custody, waiting to report bail, a lawyer trying to explain to a mum that her 15 year old son couldn't be released, because he had broken into a house and tipped paint around, and had stolen and crashed his mum's car!! Then back to Vic Roads to stand in line again to collect our Victorian ID. Not what we expected for our van collection day, but it did pass the time with some amusement while we waited for the van to be ready. What a busy day.

After all this it was too late to take off to Adelaide.....the towing system had to be fitted, and a couple of other last minute jobs to be done. We were offered a spot in the caravan yard so bedded down after a delicious meal at the Italian restaurant next door and stayed the night. Up in the morning, set the GPS and headed for Gawler SA where we would collect our stuff and pack up the van.....750km and we estimated about 9 and a half hours.

The van just wasn't towing very well, jumping and jerking, a bit of sway so we stopped and had a look. Called Geoff at the caravan shop and he suggested it might be because we had a big load in the car and not much in the van yet! So we moved a few boxes of wine into the van, redistributing the load. Set off again, not much difference, stopped and let some water out of the water tanks. try again, thought maybe it was better so kept going for a while. I googled all sorts of things, so we stopped and let some air out of the caravan tyres, moved the load around again, had a fiddle with the hitching system etc. By this time we were getting used to the jumping and jerking so continued along the road, at not more than 80 km/hr, until after a few more stops we got to Gawler by nearly 9pm.

After a great BBQ with Andrew and Ann and the girls, we spent the night in the van, absolutely exhausted. Up in the morning to unhitch the van and to find that the towing system had been put together incorrectly.....a crucial part had been left out, causing the tow ball and all the fittings to be sloppy and worn away quite considerably. A potentially hazardous situation, and no wonder we bounced our way across the country. We have since spent many hours trying to get it rectified and much time worrying about what might have happened. The manager of the caravan dealership is doing all he can to calm the waters, and the fella that put it all together is being dealt with, we believe. Hence, we are still in Adelaide, staying with Marion and catching up with family which is just lovely.

Tomorrow we will have one more small job done on the tow bar, we'll hitch up and take off in our beautiful new home. It's packed to the hilt, every little space has been filled. Maybe when we have got through the 8 dozen bottles of beautiful wine we brought with us, we will have a bit more room to move!!

Posted by Crazy Poupes 22.3.14 14:56 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Hitting the High Seas on The Spirit Tonight

Not too high, we hope!

rain 16 °C

The day has finally come for us to leave beautiful Tassie and our wonderful family and friends. We have had so many fabulous times while we've been home, spending quality time with so many.

But it's time to go.....our new caravan is waiting for us in Melbourne. We haven't seen photos yet, so are hoping to be pleasantly surprised when we get to Melbourne tomorrow morning. The Black Cruiser is polished to perfection, we have boxes and bags to pile into the car, a few more jobs to do around town, and we'll be off.

So thank you to everyone who has made our time here so special......we just hope we haven't outstayed our welcome. We have spent a lot of time in "The Poupe Suite" at Ros and Paul's.....we have our own self contained room and en suite where we have had sole occupancy over the past few months. They have made us so welcome, we feel we are a part of their family. We've loved staying with all the girls, we've wined and dined with our friends, we've got to know our beautiful grand children again. We've caught up with Vicki and all our staff at Joe's Place For Hair, who are doing an amazing job of keeping the business going, and maintaining such high standards. We've spent time with our lovely neighbours in Legana who keep an eye on our place, from a distance. It's been great to see how beautifully our tenants are caring for our house and gardens.

We'll miss everyone, but will keep in touch with the technology we have available. I'm doing this blog on my new MacBook Pro which I got for my birthday last week.....it's taking a bit of getting used to, and I think I may have to actually have a bit of a lesson, it's so different to the old PC.

Bye for now, Tassie.....we'll be home in November for a few weeks!

Posted by Crazy Poupes 16.3.14 14:32 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

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