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"Rockytoo"
 Part 7
The travel adventures of
Geoff & Margaret Clifton
CMCA Member

 

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Sunday 27/03/04
3.8/15.3  24.4/-34

Set off towards Sale and ended up in the back blocks of that very place, somewhat lost owing to the fact that someone must have souvenired the signposts.  As we found wider bitumen and drivers honking horns at the old fart driving a slow truck we worked out where we were.  McDonalds & KFC were a bit of a giveaway that we were in a major population center and soon after a big green sign told us which way for the tourist coastal drive to Melbourne via Wilson’s Prom.  The landscape was ever changing through hills and rivers and then across parched and geometric farmland. 

I’d pulled out the GPS and punched in the waypoints for two campsites east and west of Golden Beach.  The further we went the further we got away from our target which gave a bit of a clue something was wrong.  I had selected the wrong goto.  That corrected over lunch the GPS told us, much more believably, that we had 21Km to go and led us right to the campsite driveway.  Clever toy.

Paradise Beach campsite is a gem freebie.  Room for big rigs, pit toilets, huge rainwater tanks which are empty and right on the beach.  Tip for others, bring water as the whole area is on tank water and the nearest tap is 34Km back at Sale.

I bought some fresh bluebait at the corner shop coming into golden beach and the lady told me that ‘they’ were getting salmon on surf poppers.  What?  A hook with a small marble sized white head and bright blue feathers an $3.45 each.  Armed with the knowledge that fresh bait is best I declined.  I spent an hour and a half in the late arvo and got nothing.  Others had got fish earlier of course.

This morning I set out early to try again and while watching my rod barely stir in the breeze had to tolerate the guy on my right pull in FIVE salmon.  I asked for his recipe and, you guessed, blue surf poppers.  You don’t even cast and wind them, just clip them on like bait.  Duh!  He ‘loaned’ me one which I clipped on and casted.  It had barely hit the water and I was struggling with a 3Kg salmon.  Next cast my line snapped, I lost the tackle and his popper.

Elated, embarrassed and frustrated I decided to hitchhike to the shop to buy some poppers.  What a town.  Two minutes for a lift in and the same for a lift back.  Just in time to pay my debt and get told by the expert that fishing wouldn’t be much chop for the rest of the day.  I spent a few more hours confirming his judgement J.  What the heck, there’s two oversize fillets in the fridge for dinner.

Has been a good campground with some friendly people and good chats.  Tomorrow, after a morning fish, we’ll head through Seaspray, back to the hiway and to Woodside Beach.

Monday 29/03/04
4.6/20.1  24.1/-62

Bit low on power this morning.  My body clock goes crazy with daylight saving time changes.  We watched the DVD specials for Forrest Gump and then the movie.  It’s so well done, smiles & tears.

Went fishing before breakfast and did just fine.  Landed one (just eaten), kissed and released a small one then lost a big one right on the sand.  Margaret reckons one a day is all you can eat, OK but two are fun.

Either side of Golden Beach, that is 3Kms east to Paradise and 20 or so west to Seaspray, are 20+ fabulous ocean front and FREE campgrounds.  East is pets & pit loos, west is no pets and no frills but views and surf.  I have never seen anything this good for free so get in while it still is.

Water is rare here but Seaspsray is on town water.  Driving in we came past their ‘Neighbourhood Park’ and saw a big tap and water meter feeding the retic watering system for the not too well maintained garden beds.  A discreet park, well pull up on the grass with the tap on the blind side of R2, swap the watering connection temporarily for our hose and we were full and on our way.  It feels a bit naughty but you gotta do it J.

Worked our way down to Woodside with strange stuff splashing on the windscreen.  Remember rain?  They got about 10mm over 2 hours here today and that’s the best news in months.  We were heading for Reeve’s Beach  which was in the camp site book.  Some sites have GPS waypoints listed and it’s a nice feeling to see the distance to the destination counting down when we’ve guessed a couple of turns on unsignposted roads.  As Reeves had no listing I judged the bearing from the touring atlas knowing that the GPS standard (WGS84) differs a bit to common map formats.  Don’t know why as degrees east of Greenwich should be the same regardless but anyway my rough judgement was within 10Km and good enuff to show us that the camp book description ‘10Km south of Woodside beach’ did not mean go to Woodside Beach then south.  Neither did it mention head for McLaughlins Beach and you will accidentally find Reeves Beach Road which ends in a reserve that you have to guess actually is Reeve’s Beach.

Today was a milestone for Margaret.  SHE DROVE THE TRUCK for the first time and for about 10kms including gear changes, small bridges, intersections, pulling up using the exhaust break and applying the maxi break.  Well done Margaret.

Tuesday  30/03/04
5.4/16.8  24.5/-45

Reeves is a nice camp with grassy area and a pit loo.  It sits in a tunnel between dunes parallel to the beach so there are no views but it would be protected in windy weather.  Fishing was disappointing.  I can only describe the difference between our last location where things were great and here.  At Paradise the water deepened quickly from the shore with waves breaking up to 100M out.  I reckon I can cast all that lead, bait and lures out about 70-80M which gets close to the back waves.  I’m told the salmon chase into the waves from open water diving through the churned sand but don’t like it too shallow.  Reeve’s Beach is currently very shallow with the waves starting 300-400M out and churned sand clearly visible that far.  There is also a monster east-west rip running which will take a 4oz lead star sinker from 50M left to 100M right in two minutes.  Bottom line, lamb chops tonite J.

Heading out this morning taking the closest coastal roads & tracks towards Wilson’s Prom.

Wednesday 31/03/04
5.0/14.5  24.5/-39

Just pleasant slow driving on narrow back roads yesterday.  First detour was to Port Albert which fronts the islands off Gippsland, French, Snake etc.  Grey cloud and drizzle for most of the day which ain’t the best for touring but we have been spoiled with good weather while the farmers went thirsty.

We picked Barry’s Beach off the Map as a lunch stop and last fishing spot before we got into Marine National Park.  They need to rename this place.  It’s 6Km in from the hiway but the first sign says ‘no beach access’.  Then you get ‘no through road’ and finally ‘trespassers prosecuted’ with everything gated and fenced.  All we found at the end was a building material crusher, hay transport depot and the main event, an Esso depot with no entry and cameras.  No swimming or fishing down here!

Lunch at a rest area on 9 mile creek and on through Toora where we came across a stunning array of wind turbines on the hilltops.  There were signs nailed up all over declaiming them as environmental vandals and protesting against any more.  OK they sure are big, visible and noisy (wind whooshing on the blades) close up but surely they have to be considered as an alternative to fossil fueled power.  Anyway I pointed R2 at the road up to the viewing area, selected low range third, wound on the hand throttle and sat back for 10 minutes while we chugged up at 15Km/h.  For anyone who’s awed by big machinery as I am it’s well worth a look.

A quick stop at Foster to get ripped off by a little supermarket and we headed into our overnighter at Yanakie with the GPS counting down to the very doorstep.  Two motorhomes and two caravans using this official rest area which has loos and an electric bbq which may be best suited as a foot warmer if you cared to stand on it for 20 minutes.  We are 5Km east of Wilson’s Prom.  Have found out the entry fee is $9.30, camping fee unknown.  Shall go in today for a check out and decide on camping later.  Grey day again and threatening shattered scours.

Wednesday Evening.

We headed into Wilson’s Prom under grey clouds and showers.  Unfortunately it didn’t get any better.  At the gate we found that entry is indeed $9.30 and camping an additional $9.70 which does not have to be paid on entry but can be paid later at the visitor info center 30Kms in at Tidal River.  They accept visa at the entrance and although supposed to be a $15 minimum the entrance fee was accepted.  Even tho we could see only intermittent spectacular views through clearings in cloud and rain the place is Nike.  Southern most part of the Oz mainland and a national park since 1890 you have to be thankful that developers didn’t turn it into an expensive suburb.  We checked out the camp sites, muddy ground, no views, cold and raining.  Drove and walked to the beaches, very shallow protected by with lovely white sands.  Went up to the Mount Oberon car park and walking trail departure point, looked down on cloud with some glimpses of promised fabulous views.  And decided it would be a great place to come back to on a fine day.  The main camping area is a tad more organised and developed than we usually care for but would probably have a nice communal atmosphere if people got out of their tents and caravans.  As for the wildlife I think they were all somewhere sheltering from the cold wind and rain while laughing at the silly tourists walking around outside.

Drove out around 2.30pm and headed for our next camp at Bear Gully Reserve.  Once again the GPS did well.  We misjudged a turn and ended up at Walkerville North which was not such a bad error.  Earmarked a spot beside a bbq and loo for later if nothing better came up.  Back up the hill. left, left, and with the GPS counting down to a couple of K’s from our destination I decided to follow my nose down an unsealed road and we ended up in a little gem.  Walkerville South boat ramp up against a sign for Cape Liptrap Coastal Park.  As the weather was clearing we walked up some newly constructed timber stairs and off along a narrow walking track which took us around the headland via some good lookouts.  And I do mean good.  Even tho visibility ain’t great yet we can still make out the entire shoreline to WP with mountains and islands in every direction.  Being a large protected bay the water here is very shallow and there is a great deal of submersed and washed up big seaweed so it’s not a fishing spot.  Ah well, pork chops and salad tonite.

A most unexpected and unwanted phone call came in after 5pm.  A young lady from P&O to tell us that their employees, our tenants, are being moved to Brisbane and no longer require the house.  Shit their only 11 months into a 2 year lease.  She said that P&O will continue to pay the rent but want to offload the lease.  I can smell some fun and games (not) coming up here, the best laid plans etc.!

 



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