Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Wednesday 25th May 2005 to Friday 27th May 2005

Wednesday 25th May 2005

Our day ended yesterday with a great fried rice dinner that 'One of Us' prepared and then a walk back to the Pioneer Village where we joined a group of Hay Primary School children on the light and sound show. This show could not be compared with the Sovereign Hill light and sound shown, however it was well worth the time to take part in this evening experience. It entailed sitting in an open carriage or trolley and being towed around be Pioneer Village whilst particular buildings were highlighted with light, and voices recounted what it was like and what the role of this business was, back in the late 1800s. This show lasted about 35 minutes in which time the schoolchildren were on almost perfect behaviour, we particularly loved a little girl called Jessie who sat in front of us and really loved the Clydesdale horse named Harry. We strolled back to the caravan at about 8:45 p.m. and settled down for the night

It was time to move on this morning , so everything was packed up, the patrol hooked up once more, and we were on the road by about 9:15 a.m. This drive took us through Tyntynder South, Beverford, Vinetera, Nyah and Wood Wood before Miss Bossy B. decided she wanted to take us along the B12 Highway to Manangatang, however we chose to travel further north to Robinvale and eventually turned her off because she kept harping about going the other way. We followed the Murray River and passed through Haysdale, Piamble and Boundary Bend before reaching Robinvale where we drove around the town site. Then it was over the Murray River into New South Wales and left onto the Sturt Highway through Euston before a fairly long drive without passing through towns until we reached Monak, Gol Gol and Buronga, which are just on the New South Wales side of the river near Mildura.

We crossed a bridge back to Victoria and into Mildura, where we found our way to the Golden River Caravan Gardens Park which is situated on the Murray River. By this stage 'One of Us' was ravenous so after setting the caravan up the 'Other One' took her into Mildura where a Subway Restaurant was located and she made good use of its services. Next we located a teller machine to replenish the damage that had been done to the 'Other One's' wallet, before returning to the caravan park for the rest of the afternoon. Then 'One of Us' noticed that there is a Happy Hour on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in this caravan park and was ready to attend right then, however it was still only 3:45 p.m. so the 'Other On'e had to restrain her until it was almost time to attend. (I'm sure everybody will believe that!!!!).

'One of Us' on the Murray River - Mildura

Caravans among the Redgums
Golden River Gardens Caravan Park - Mildura

Thursday 26th May 2005

We attended the 'Happy Hour' in the caravan park last night and found it to be a great event to meet and talk to other caravaners staying in the park. There was a quantity of beer and about six casks of wine, a mix of reds and whites, along with real glasses and lots of nibbles,all provided by the caravan park free of charge. The hour came and went and it was just over an hour and a half before we returned to the caravan, still deep in conversation with Peter and Ruth from the caravan next to ours. We finally had our BBQ chicken thighs and vegetables for dinner around 8:pm.

This morning was fairly cool early (five degrees at 9.30) and we didn't plan to do too much so it turned out to be a pretty lazy start to the day. Finally, after one of us finished watching the cooking show at about midday, we set out in the Patrol for a drive around Mildura.

Our first port of call was the Port of Mildura where there were a couple of paddle steamers tied up on the banks of the Murray River and by the signs nearbye it appears there were three or four paddle steamers plying the waters with paying passengers at that time.

Next we drove out the Calder Highway until we reached a little place called Red Cliffs. This is the site of Big Lizzie, a rather huge tractor I suppose it would be called, although it doesn't really resemble a tractor or a truck, which is more what it had been made for. It weighs 45 ton, had a pay load of 10 ton, is 10.36 metres long, 3.35 metres wide, 5.49 high, had a turning circle of 61 metres and towed two trailers at a speed of about 1 mph. One of the interesting parts about it is the wheel setup which lays down its own pads to roll on then picks it up as the wheel turns until it puts it down in front again. It took two years to travel from Richmond (Melbourne) to Ouyen on the Murray. There is a fairly long story attached to the construction and use of Big Lizzie, however it is a little too long to include in today's journal entry.

From here we drove down to the Murray River where we walked along a boardwalk on the edge of the river to a point where we had views of the red cliffs from which the town obviously derived its name. A short distance further we visited another lookout over these same cliffs from a different angle.

After this we followed a two wheel track along the Murray River for quite a number of kilometres and enjoyed the views of the river through the huge red gums and other flora. We eventually left the two wheel track near Mildura, returned to the city where we filled the patrol with diesel before calling it a day and headed for the caravan park at about 4 p.m.

As the weather is starting to get colder, tomorrow we intend to leave Mildura and head further west, stopping wherever it takes out fancy. This could be anywhere from Berri to Port Augusta, only tomorrow will tell.

Big Lizzie on show

Red Cliffs on the Murray

The Mighty Murray River

Friday 27th May 2005

The cold weather is arriving in Victoria so it was time for us to head for a warmer climate. Our intention was to drive through Renmark and Berri then if we didn't stop there, we would move on toward Burra. This being the case we didn't think we needed to leave too early, however were happy to get under way by about 8:50am.

The drive to Renmark took us along the Sturt Highway through Merbien South, Cullulleraine and Meringur North before crossing the border into South Australia. Arriving at Yamba we had to stop at the Fruit Checking Station and remove the remaining vegetables that we had on board.

Next it was Renmark, then on to Berri where we drove around the town centre before moving on to Barmera where we drove into the town centre and then stopped for an early lunch on the edge of Lake Bonney. When sitting on a bench with our lunch at the side of the lake, we had a visit from a very friendly pelican, so friendly that if we didn't throw the food into the air, he would have had our hand as well.

Once lunch was over we set off again past Cobdogla and on to Waikerie where we turned off the Sturt Highway and headed out to Cadell where we had to cross the Murray River again. As we came over a rise and down to the river, we were very surprised to find that we had to cross the river on a car ferry. This was really pretty simple, however the length of the caravan with it's overhang did mean that it dragged the back end both getting on and getting off the ferry.

From here we traveled a short distance to the west until we came to Morgan, where we drove through the town and down to the waterfront on the Murray River where there was another ferry in operation. Once we left Morgan we had a longer drive to Burra and arrived there at about 2:45pm South Australian time. This last part of the drive had been into a pretty strong head wind and it seemed up hill all the way so our first call was in to a service station and to our surprise, diesel was only 116.9 cents per litre.

We drove around Burra then decided to continue toward Port August as it was only about two hundred and twenty kilometres from Burra. This took us through Spalding, Gulnare, Georgetown and Gladstone before heading across to the Stuart Highway near Port Pirie. This only left the next eighty kilometres up this highway to Port Augusta, which we arrived at about 5:30pm.

We booked in to the caravan park for the next two nights to give us a chance to stock up on food and other necessary items ('One of Us' says that is white wine) as well as check out the caravan and Patrol before we head north toward Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Darwin.

Thought of picking up some oranges in Berri

Sharing lunch with a pelican at Lake Bonney

Ferry crossing the Murray at Cadell