Motorhomes Australia

 Part 6
The travel adventures of
Geoff & Margaret Clifton
CMCA Member



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Friday 26/03/04
7.3/17.1  24.3/-38

One of those mornings where I found myself laying in bed, eyes wide open and waiting for the birds to wake up.  Camped up on the lookout at Eagle Point near Paynesville I grabbed a coffee and walked out to see a sunrise.  Bugger!  Lots of grey cloud.

Great day yesterday.  Thinking that Laurie and Keith were too busy with their cottage business to take time out for coffee we were just about to head off when Margaret’s phone rang as soon as she turned it on.  ‘Where are you?  Been trying to get you since 8am.’  Laurie met up with us down the road and took us on an hours guided tour of the Paynesville area which she is clearly very fond of.  And bloody nice it is too.  Largest tidal lake system in Vic, Oz, the World, one of them,  Boats, marinas, homes of all descriptions, parks, lookouts and lots of special little camping spots and facilities areas.  We went back to Laurie’s home and were treated to bacon & eggs and a phone line, wonderful.  Next to the house L&K have a corral with two pet small horses, no they must be llamas, hell they’re giant goats.  Two half brothers they saved from the sausage factory at a few days old that are now firmly placed as loved family members and entertainment for the guests.  L&K have two modern new cottages on their 10 acres which are especially planned to accommodate wheelchair guests and have a very high occupancy rate.  Good planning for a niche market but as we already know from friends Joe & Elaine there’s a lot of work in maintaining a guesthouse. 

A little smile.  Our first stop this morning was at the Paynesville Marina.  We had done about 10Km with a bit of rough road and plenty of turns.  Still on bull bar was my coffee mug, three quarters full.  Maybe I drive this beast too gently J

Said farewell L&K and, on their recommendation, headed into to town to find Bairnsdale Electric’s where Laurie said she had seen Kyocera phones and I dearly wanted to get back on line.  As soon as we walked in Margaret pointed to the display case and said ‘is that the same as yours’.  And sure enuff, Kyocera 2135 demo stock $129 outright purchase.  Too easy, I’d be dreaming to think the dud one would get fixed for any less and of course I already have the data kit.  One and a half hours on the phone (well after push 3 if your stupid, repeating for voice recognition and the first wait) to Telstra begun with ‘no we can’t, it’s an Optus phone’.  ‘Bullshit’ the shopkeeper called out.  ‘It just needs a SPID change but that’s the too hard basket for Telstra’.  My Telstra lady had clearly heard the comment and politely said she would get back on to the National Activation Centre and see what they had to say about a SPID change.  More than an hours waiting with apologies at 15 mins from my Telstra lady who was in turn waiting on NAC got ‘Oh they have to ask Optus to release it and that may take an hour’.  Fine thanks, just do it please.  Needless to say come 7.30pm there was still so service so another half hour (note that a cdma phone without an account can dial 125111 into Telstra Mobile customer service) got me speaking directly with Simon at NAC.  Optus had released the phone but nothing else had been done.  Simon fixed things up on the spot.  Yippee, back online at 8pm.  I was awfully tentative about hooking the phone up to the laptop with that little FUD demon making me wonder if any fault there had contributed to the demise of phone one.  I have however vowed to connect the serial data cable before turning on the laptop as hot plugging may not be a good thing.  Any’ow, ava whiskey, away she went.  Emails up and down plus the contact list I had stored was 90% up to date and I synced that to the phone.  Happy happy.

Bairnsdale is a large and well serviced town, maybe it’s a city, dunno.  Competitive prices, big supermarkets, cheap diesel and stores like Myers, Spotlight and Supercheap Auto.  We got no further than the phone shop and Safeway yesterday so today shall have a wander thru town and then do what we were going to do yesterday.

We found the SFR account (that’s Self Funded Retiree which is a bit close to SFA J) dangerously low on funds yesterday as we’ve given it a bit of a hiding in March.  Ah well, topped it up out of the inheritance account (or was that meant for the taxman?).  We must stay away from shops in April.

Saturday 27/03/04
2.7/14.3  24.5/-44

This morning finds us in a very different and particularly aromatic location, Victoria Lagoon near Holland’s Landing.  It’s a huge and very shallow tidal backwater which is water birds heaven.  Taking the southern road below the Princes Hiway from Bairnsdale to Sale we turned left on a no through road for the 10Km to HL.  The run down really drove home the devastation of the drought again.  Big yellow acreage of dusty soil and stubble.  Small herds of cattle and the odd sheep we saw were in surprisingly good condition feeding off the long paddock (roadside) and I guess being hand fed and watered.  A few dams that were not bone dry had a couple of inches of mud in the bottom.

HL is a strange place.  A single lane strip of bitumen runs into ‘town’ and to the wharf on the river.  The centerpiece is the caravan park with signs for bait and coke plus a demanding sign stating no pets, payment in advance, no refunds.  Doesn’t look like the Ritz either.  The town streets are sign posted one lane dirt tracks with a few dozen, acre sized, blocks.  Coming in to ‘suburbia’ was a sign proclaiming No Camping, Council Rule 4 1999.  $200.  Closest thing I’ve seen to quoting the ordinance under which the sign is displayed and I’m told is required to give it legs in court tho I don’t plan to be the one to test it.  We drove back outside the sign and checked out the ‘streets’ to the east but quickly found ourselves on an overgrown wombat trail and did a thirteen point turn.  On the west side the terrain was very sparse and the track led down to the water and an obvious campsite clearing.  That’ll do.

Just round the corner from us we soon found the left behinds of our predecessor, may the bastard be boiled in oil.  A frame with dunny seat on top, deteriorating plastic bag below and paper on a branch.  A big heavy duty garbage sack full of rubbish, cans and litter everywhere.  How on earth can a decent camper ever expect trust from local authorities when these mongrels stuff everything up.

A leg of lamb went into the oven and we set out to explore.  As much as beachfronts are my favourite we’ve had some stunning contrasts in our campsites.  Beaches, paddocks, forests, lookouts, roadside rest areas, rivers & lakes.  Victoria Lagoon is a new experience. 

A few Km’s long, it looks shallow enuff for a short legged bird to walk right across, and there are birds by the thousand.  No big pelicans, a few gulls and everything else which I can’t identify.  The foreshore is covered with sparse tea tree and small low pigface groundcover.  The higher parts of the tidal area are covered with a dryish crust of the fine weed which plagued my fishing line last week and over two hundred meters down to the water line this gives way to mud then slimy smelly ooze.  Probably a bait pumpers dream but I’m not keen to get up to my knees in it.  The lagoon has a dozen or so derelict timber frames, the size of a garden shed, out in the water and some grown around with mangrove and shrubs.  I can only guess they are the remains of hides for duck shooting which must have been banned and left to rot.  It is duck shooting season now and thrice this morning I’ve heard pop, pop in the distance.

There is no wind today, nor yesterday evening, and the lagoon is a mirror.  Got some great sunset shots.  The roast lamb dinner was fab.  The night breeze rich at times and sunrise was a bit like that bird call album Macca plays on Sundays.

Filled up with diesel at Safeway in Bairnsdale yesterday.  $0.83.7 with the discount.  That’s 24c/L less than Wonboyn.  Haven’t done the calcs yet but consumption doesn’t look as good as last fill.  I’m sure R2 is not as efficient running at 75Km/h (flat out J) down the highway as she is pottering around in the bush.

Today we shall try for Golden Beach via Sale.  Hoping to pick up some fresh bait and test out the new rod bucket (belt rest) and star weights.  Salmon for dinner?


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