YASS TO WA
This will be something of a 5 month catch up to bring everyone up to date with where we are at in our travels.
Last entry was when we returned from NZ to “Call Australia Home” – a fair bit of water under a fair few bridges since then, so here goes.
We decided to come back to WA for a while as our precious little Sammy has been going through an assessment for autism, and we figured we might be able to provide some support for Clare and John while they went through the process. The assessment has been finished now – quite a challenging process – and Clare and John are now waiting for the outcome and a plan of action. Watch this space.
Before we left Yass we spent a fabulous weekend with the Tritschlers at Batemans Bay on the southern NSW coast. What a lovely area, sea and sand and a paradise for energetic kids, who rode bikes, payed tennis, volleyball, surfed, kayaked, ate a lot and generally ran riot!! The olds were able to relax and enjoy the peace and relaxed atmosphere.
We left Yass in October and initially spent a few days in Wagga Wagga, where we looked at a collection of transportable homes – Wagga is the “Plonkit” homes capital of NSW –(‘Plonkit’ as one ‘plonks it’ on a block of land) and we got some interesting ideas for future home building.
From Wagga into Victoria where we stayed at Seymour – a really beautiful area on the banks of the Goulburn River, where we were entertained by a group of students going on a canoeing trip down the river.
Then to Beechworth, an old goldrush town where Ned Kelly plied his bushrangers trade in the day. The heritage buildings, including the old goal where Ned and his mother Ellen were incarcerated, the excellent Beechworth museum, were well worth a visit. We were amused by the honourable status that Ned is held in by the locals – only in Australia could a criminal and murderer be held in such high esteem!!! The Bakery in Beechworth is justifiably famous!
We explored the high country a bit – the snow had all gone by then, but how beautiful are the areas of Bright & the villages of Porepunkah, Wandiligong & Harrietville! We attempted to drive up Mt Hotham – a very challenging road, with signs of what must have been a very severe bush fire several years ago, but were turned back when the weather set in and we could not see a metre in front of the car! Given the road had a precipitous drop just there we decided to be sensible and turn around! The lovely man at the café in Bright where we holed up for lunch told us that “one had to respect the mountain” – we did!!
VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY
AAH FEEL THE SERENITY!!!
We bypassed Melbourne and went to Torquay, the start of the Great Ocean Road, one of the must-do road trips in Oz. The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 kilometres (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, the road is the world’s largest war memorial. And its absolutely magnificent. We stayed at a number of lovely coastal villages along the way, explored some of the hinterland, saw Koalas, and the 12 (although there are only 8!) Apostles.
HIGHLIGHTS OF GEELONG
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD – one of THE road trips of Oz
From there we meandered into South Australia, where we spent a few days at Mt Gambier, with the stunning Blue Lake, The Limestone Coast where we stayed at Meningie on the shores of the beautiful Lake Albert.
ON THE BANKS OF THE BEAUTIFUL LAKE ALBERT – SA
Kathy was keen to see The Coorong, where the Murray River meets the sea, and where Storm Boy was filmed years ago. The last time she visited this area was almost 40years ago, and she had wonderful memories of a very magical place. Sadly, the years of drought have taken their toll and it didn’t live up to expectations. Hardly a pelican in sight!
THE BLUE LAKE AND UMPHERSTON SINKHOLE – MT GAMBIER SA
We explored the Adelaide Hills from Strathalbyn, where we stayed for a week. This area is just lovely – the historic village of Hanhndorf was settled by German immigrants and has the most wonderful buildings and quirky shops and eateries. We went south to Victor Harbour, gorgeous area, and looked at Kangaroo Island (didn’t visit as the ferry to get there was waaaay too expensive !)
Next stop was the Barossa Valley, where we indulged at Maggie Beer’s Kitchen, visited the Barossa Valley Farmers’ Market, saw thousands of grape vines, and waved to Prince Charles and Camilla when they visited the town of Tanunda. All we saw of them was a fleeting glimpse of a white gloved hand, but the Royalist Liz was a happy camper.
SA -HAHNDORF, THE BAROSSA, MAGGIE BEER’S KITCHEN (Yum!)
Then a few days at Streaky Bay, girding our loins to tackle the Nullarbor. The Nullarbor journey was uneventful until we got to the western side when we encountered 44 degree temperatures and a major and catastrophic fire near Esperance, which we had planned to visit. The smoke was pretty scary and the roads closed, so we thought it better to head north to Kalgoorlie. We spent a few days in Kalgoorlie, where we caught up with family members and were lucky enough to go to niece Rhiannon’s 16th birthday party.
We had planned to go to Hyden and see Wave Rock, but another fire threatened, so we went to Bruce Rock instead, which was fun, then on to Dardanup to Kevin and Sue’s beautiful property. We left the van there and finally to Perth.
We have shuttled back and forth between Perth and Dardanup since then. We had lovely Christmas celebrations with family – Sammy is exactly the right age for finding out about Santa and presents! We’ve had a great time being Nana’s. Sammy is a beautiful little man and we are totally besotted. He calls Liz ‘Lili’ which is too cute.