Day 36 & 37: Cobram to Echuca
Waking up again in the free camp at the Boogara Ski Beach at Cobram alongside the mighty Murray River. The scare guns have started again and the white cockatoos and galahs are coming back into the state forest. The guns go off on an irregular basis between 7.00am and sunset. It keeps the birds away from nesting and feeding in the orchards. At first we didn’t know what it was so a quick google search soon enlightened us.
We almost ran out of water this morning so we called into the Cobram Showgrounds to fill up before departing. Andrew has to miss out on his shower and wait until we reach our destination. We are heading for Echuca which is only 105km away and we are going to camp at the Rotary Park which is alongside the Campapse River. It’s 31 degrees and tonight’s low is expected to be 12, such a variance in temperature.
As we travel we pass many orchards, turf farms, acres of hay, dairy properties and horse adjistments. We have noticed in Victoria that there are a lot of power nap rest areas. A great idea to remind travellers of the importance of taking a break.
It’s overcast in Echuca when we arrive so we register at the gate of the park and take a walk around the area to choose a spot. The park charges $10, there are no toilet facilities but there is water available, a dump point and picnic tables along the riverbank. It’s a little unusual as there is a large multi use area and then a small mini railway which is located further down along the river. We meet another couple who have just set up and talk about the options of where to camp. After we set up I head back into town to do our weekly shopping. The township is busy & some of the streets are quite narrow.
It’s hard to drag myself out of bed today when it is only 12 degrees. Andrew keeps reminding me that it’s still summer, how on earth will I cope in winter.
We take the scenic drive route through Echuca along the Murray River. I was disappointed that I didn’t see any paddle steamers. There are a lot of flash river boats moored along the riverbank though. We cross the river and for the third time we are back in NSW again and take a drive around Moama.
Tomorrow we will head off to Bendigo and check into a caravan park for a few days so that I can catch up on some work.
Wildlife: Dairy cattle, sheep, horses, cockatoo, galahs, kangaroos, magpies, minor birds, rabbits and ibis.
Day 38: Echuca to Bendigo
Leaving Echuca this morning and it’s 11 degrees. We are expecting a top of 26 at Bendigo so it should be pleasant when we arrive. Our first stop this morning is Rochester to see another 2 silos. They certainly don’t disappoint me. Jimmy DVate is becoming one of my favourite silo artists. The Azure Kingfisher is feasting on a golden perch that it has caught from the Campaspe River and the endangered Squirrel Glider is clinging to a red river gum. Silo art is bringing visitors and tourists to rural communities that have been struggling, it’s hoped that the works will rejuvenate the small townships economies. If you are visiting any rural communities, please sign their visitors books and leave a donation.
Wildlife: Pelicans, galahs, cockatoos, rabbits, sparrows
Day 39-40: Bendigo
We’ve developed a habit of sleeping in… Most unusual for Andrew and I, however Cinta has developed the habit too. Back in Mission Beach we would be up at 5.00am, now we’re getting up at 7.30am. Sunrise in Victoria is around 7.00am and we’re missing that too! We are staying up later though because of daylight saving and not going to bed until anytime after 10.00pm. We’ve become a bit addicted to Netflix of an evening, thanks Julie (you know what I mean).
We are staying at the Gold Nugget Caravan Park for 3 nights which is about 8km out of Bendigo. It’s a large park with cabins, a residential village, putt putt, games room, camp kitchen, dog wash, pool and large grassy drive through sites. The amenities are relatively new and spotlessly clean.
Starting the day off with a drive into the city and we come across road works on the main road. What a nightmare with traffic banked up everywhere. It appears that they are converting 2 lanes into 4 and we feel terribly sorry for the residents on either side as the dust is horrendous. We discover Lake Weeroona and decide to stop and walk around the lake. It’s a lovely walk with wide pathways, plenty of shady trees and lush green grass. The ducks are obviously used to people and don’t scramble for the water when you approach. Birdlife is prolific in the trees as well. There is a lone kyaker doing laps across the lake in the middle of the day, how hot would that be.
The next stop is the city centre to view the amazing heritage buildings. Bendigo became the world’s richest city between 1850-1900 due to the gold rush. It is now enjoying a cosmopolitan revival. There are over 100 buildings and monuments designed by William Vahland a German architect. The Vahland Drinking Fountain which was designed in 1881 was recently restored in 2016 and after photographing it, I got quite a good spray while waiting to be able to cross the road!
The Bendigo Art Gallery is also on my “to do” list and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Founded in 1887 the rooms are of European design with highly polished floors, ornate plaster arches and cornices and diffused natural sky lighting. There were 3 new galleries added in 1962.
The current exhibition that I viewed was Body Politics. The works were from the galleries permanent collection and were from leading artists such as Emily Kngwarreye, Michael Cook, Abdul Abdullah, Petrina Hicks and Polixeni Papapetrou. Depicting the significance of those who push the boundaries and challenge dominant narratives through their art.
Rosalind Park is located in the city centre and it’s where you will find the Poppet Head Lookout and Bendigo Heritage Mosaic, the Rotunda and the Conservatory, just to name a few of the attractions in the precinct. The lookout was originally a poppet head from the Garden Gully United mine and was installed in 1931. There are 124 steps to the top with a magnificent viewing platform as a reward for completing the climb. I didn’t realise how scared of heights I was until I completed it. Andrew waited under the trees with Cinta.
At the foot of the poppet head lookout is the Bendigo Heritage Mosaic completed in 1987 and designed by mosaic artist Maery Gabriel and completed by local volunteers. The mosaic depicts various aspects of the towns history and is designed to be viewed while looking down from the lookout.
I’m a lover of flowers. I love the smell, the colours, different textures and I love photographing them. Next up the Botanic Gardens. We spend quite a bit of time wandering the gardens taking in all the senses that are being awakened. There are several precincts within the gardens including the Cottage Garden, Habitat Garden, Edwardian Garden, Indigenous Garden, Northern Victorian Garden, National Lavender Collection and the National Canna Collection gardens. There is also a bird aviary and the Arch of Triump (which I was going to photograph on the way out and can you believe I forgot!).
I can’t resist a visit to Bendigo Pottery, Australia’s oldest working pottery. Established in 1858 and operated at it’s Epsom site since 1863. There are 10 kilns, 5 bottle, 3 circular and 2 rectangular which are no longer used as they are part of the museum and heritage listed. The pottery is a tourist attraction which also includes a cafe, function centre, artist studios and antique centre. There are some lovely local handmade artworks for sale, I really appreciate the value of this important tourist attraction.
Wildlife: Ducks, swans, parrots, cockatoos, galahs.
Day 41-42: Bendigo to Kerang
It’s travel day. Time to do the pack up and head off again. First stop is Pyramid Hill. We couldn’t come this close and not visit. A friend of ours grew up in Pyramid Hill from the age of 3-16, so we thought we should stop in and see her old stomping ground. As it turns out Leanne’s cousin owns the local coffee shop, but unfortunately it was closed the day we visited so we had to buy our morning tea from the Bakery Cafe. Another vanilla slice for Andrew.
We travel on to Kerang. Our home tonight is at the Kerang Turf Club and it’s a free camp with water and toilets. We’ll stay 2 nights and explore Kerang. We’re both hoping to see some local track work in the morning at sunrise (that’s if we can wake up in time…)
It’s a lovely afternoon, perfect for getting the drone out of the box again and having another trial run at flying. I didn’t play video games as a child so I’m struggling with the joy stick. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually! My first flight is a disaster and I land in the dirt. The second flight is much better after reading the instructions on the joy stick. I’m in the air for 5 minutes and quite excited about the vision I’ve viewed on my phone while flying. Next step to look at the video in the app. No, can’t find it. It appears I forgot to press record. Time to charge up the batteries again and take a 3rd and 4th flight. Note to self; press record after take off. Success. I’ll post the video on my Facebook page as I can’t work out how to post a video on my blog at the moment.
The wind has picked up this morning, it’s blowing a gale so the awning is coming in. We decide to give the caravan a really good clean inside as we’ve been on the road 6 weeks and the dust is really starting to show. While the caravan is only 19’6, it’s a bigger job than we both thought. The car also gets a wash.
Sunday is always budget day and next weeks funds have arrived in our account. I keep a small notebook that I record every expense we make and then on Sunday I enter all the expenses into a detailed spreadsheet. Any funds left over for the week are put to a separate account and this is already starting to build. We’ll use those funds to extend our trip or purchase something that has not been allocated in the expenses for the year.
Wildlife: Sheep, horses, shetland ponies, cattle, crows.
Week 6 total expenses: $685.26 – under budget!
If you’d like to see more photos of our journey, you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram:
That’s a wrap for Week 6 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!