Motorhomes Australia

 Part 11
The travel adventures of
Geoff & Margaret Clifton
CMCA Member



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Tuesday 04/05/04
3.8/14.5  24.3/-38.5

Yesterday really turned it on for us and the GOR was everything the tourist
brochures promised.  Vast stretches of gorgeous blue ocean, spectacular waves
crashing over reefs and onto the shore, narrow winding roads climbing to scenic
lookouts and sunshine.  Some of the lookout parking areas were very busy with up
to five cars and R2 squeezing in.  This is the beginning of winter.  I cringe to
think what summer would be like here.  Crowds, slow cars & short tempers as they
all queue to take their turn.
We stopped at Lorne pier to have another go with the rod having been blown and
rained off the idea on Saturday.  This smart arse told a couple of onlookers
that he would only be there for ten minutes to catch a couple of big ones for
dinner and guess what, as soon as the line hit the water, bang, Mrs. Salmon
grabbed it.  I was having a fine old time reeling it in with the surf rod
bending then the rotter took its freedom.  I reeled in to find the bait intact
so it was the good ‘ol surf popper that had done the trick.  Re cast and bang,
number two.  This one came in putting up a grand fight leaping out of the water
and collecting two neighbours lines and doing a fine knitting job with all three
tackles.  That was the run and half an hour saw no more so we packed up and
moved on with dinner in the fridge.
We looked around Apollo Bay and did find a NANS (not any nasty signs) spot at
the boat ramp but did not feel comfortable.  AB is very  touristy with lots of
caravan parks and it smelt like a hassle waiting so we moved on.  Not far out of
town was a signed track to Shelley Beach picnic area car park in the Otway NP. 
Turned out to be a beaut little NANS with table, loo and walking tracks down to
the river and beach.  The shorter one was half a Km down and up again.  And I
mean UP.  Woody would love it ?.
This morning is cloud covered and raining so we might pass on the other walk and
cruise onwards.

Wednesday 5/5/04
5.3/12.9  24.7/-36.5

Lavers Hill has the highest rainfall in Victoria and yesterday was a
demonstration along with gale force winds with some intermittent calm before the
next onset.  We’re so happy the days of camping with a tent are a thing of the
past.  First stop not far out of the Shelly beach picnic area was Cape Otway
lighthouse.  $10.50 per person for the privilege of a half Km walk and a look,
no thanks.  A slightly longer walk where we see only about a third of the
attraction was free we were informed by a condescending kiosk attendant.  She
didn’t even crack a smile when I asked if the admission fee included dinner so
we and others took the free walk.  A lighthouse on a hill in the distance. 
Coming back we detoured on a track to Crayfish Bay which got a bit too narrow
resulting in another panel beating job on the hws cover.  Me thinks cover MkII
will be checker plate with no openings for bushes.  Even better, fit the next
one on the back of the truck.
The drive to Princetown, just before the Twelve Apostles, was mostly inland on
narrow winding roads through the forest.  Pleasant enuff although the weather
was gloomy.  Then we suddenly arrived at the Gibson Steps, entrance to the
apostles, and Wow!  Even in howling wind which would have Scott of the Antarctic
looking for his beanie it was great.  Crashing foaming surf against vertical
cliffs and towers of rock in the sea.  We drove the Km from there to the 12A’s
visitor center and car park.  Coy is this place set up for visitors.  Parking
for hundreds of cars, coaches and caravans.  Hilton quality amenities including
a stainless squat for those foreign to porcelain and well appointed walkways and
viewing platforms.  Again, everything the brochures promised.
We spent about half an hour in fading light getting wind blasted around the
viewing area and had to make a decision on where to camp.  I reckoned we were a
chance to stay right where we were at the back of the huge car park and so we
did.  Rather wary for the first hour I relaxed a bit and opened a beer.  That
means grounded in a truck.  Cooked some lovely crumbed chilli chicken for
dinner, a glass of wine and a movie on the DVD.  By 11pm, totally by ourselves
and following a full moon walk down to star attractions we turned in and were
not so gently rocked most of the night by the winds.  First visitors arrived at
daybreak so we also did an early morning viewing.  Just had breakfast, now a
shower and we head for Port Campbell.

Thursday 6/5/04
4.9/14.9  24.5/-46

Sheesh.  Just how many statuesque, monumental obelisks can a bear bare to stare
at in one day.  Gibson Steps, 12 apostles, Loch Ard Gorge (probably my
favourite) and then a dozen more bridges, grottos, bays, islands, coves and all
from super elevated perches high atop sheer limestone cliff faces.  By late
yesterday afternoon we had nearly walked and climbed our bums off and were
almost viewed out.  With each bend in the road came another signpost promising a
wreck, lookout or historic sight.  Just one more dear?  Had to be done, we may
not get back here for some time.
We called time at about 4.30 and made off towards Warnambool.  The weather had
really been quite ordinary again.  Overcast skies unfortunately giving poor
light for photographs and cold winds with occasional shattered scours. 
Fortunately the really strong winds had eased up.  Port Campbell was described
as having once been a ‘sleepy fishing town’.  What’s this once?  Someone forgot
to tell them it still is.  The only petrol garage offered diesel for $1.13 along
with fish & chips and a laundry service.  The newsagent sold beer and doubled as
a supermarket.  The jetty was very much a fair weather job, we couldn’t get too
close with the waves crashing into it.  There is a fair bit of tourist
development and accommodation but it looked real lean and hungry out of season. 
The road goes a little inland for a way through some green and wet farmland
where we kept a close eye out for a spot to stop.  A little sign directed us
left and down about 12Km of narrow road to Childers Cove where with the cliffs
in view we nosed into a sandy 4wd track.  Bingo Baby!.  I must have missed that
one little tiny sign with a tent in the failing light and we found ourselves
backed into a tailor made clearing at the head of a steep sandy track down to
the beach and with 180deg of those awesome views. 
A comfortable night and a promising morning with no wind and patches of blue
sky.  I treated myself to eggs & bacon and got out the fishing tackle.  Then it
started bloody raining!  Ah well.  We’re going to have a rest day here anyway. 
So far we haven’t seen a soul.  With little chance of solar charging today and
as we shan’t be driving I’m giving the genset a run for the first time this
trip.  It’s been started a few time for a short period but does need to be fired
up and worked for a couple of hours.  Getting 12 amps in from my super charger
which is less than expected.  Terminal voltage 27.3V and back from –50Ah to –
30Ah so I’ll leave it to sub 20 and that’ll do.
A quick note on our new heater.  I had really wanted a compact lpg gas unit with
a couple of safety features like tilt and oxygen cutouts but had only found a
Palermo which was not only a few hundred dollars but far too big.  So we made a
snap decision and bought a little 1.25 liter cylinder and dish reflector heater
in Kmart.  With the proviso that R2 is properly ventilated with permanent vents
in the door and 4 seasons hatches I can tell you it works damn well easily
bringing the inside up from 11 to 21 deg C.  Even more surprising was the label
which promised gas consumption of 106 grams per hour.  Yeah sure, nearly 12
hours from that little bottle.  Well blow me down that’s exactly what it does. 
Rough calcs show that if I can decant 7 fills from a 9Kg cylinder into the
1.25Kg that’s say $24/7 = $3.40 for 12 hours or $0.29c per hour or as low as
$0.19c when I can get $16 fills from BBQ Gals at Nowra.
Now go away rain so I can go get a salmon for dinner.  In the meantime I’ve got
about 150 photos to edit and cull from yesterday.  I’ll end up with slanty eyes
if I keep this up ?


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