Motorhomes Australia

 Part 8
The travel adventures of
Geoff & Margaret Clifton
CMCA Member



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Thursday 01/04/04
4.4/15.1  24.6/-33

Last night was an emotional roller coaster.  After the depressing call from P&O I rang our tenant.  He had sms’d me two weeks ago after being unable to get thru to my dud phone and of course I never received it.  We talked for ten minutes about his promotion to Brisbane and he has assured me that the lease will be honoured by P&O and execs coming from London may well take over.  Phew!  That was like being hit over the head with a cricket bat and getting a double Swedish massage three hours later.

This is possibly the prettiest camp we’ve had this trip.  Waters edge is just outside the door step with ruler straight bay waves crashing onto the beach like a slow heavy breathing metronome.  Tho there is still a lot of cloud on the horizon we can see the full stretch of peninsular leading to the Prom on our left, the rocky coast to our right and islands in the middle.  Walkerville was a lime burning township in the 1920’s tho little remains other than a few hidden kiln walls and foundations.  It was mostly destroyed by road making but Vic Parks are doing a great job of resurrecting the area as a coastal park and putting in some great walkways and viewing platforms.

Last night I thought ‘this is bullshit’.  Here we were backed up to a lushly vegetated cliff face with incredible views, the sky cleared for the moon & stars, perfect TV reception without even putting up the aerial, booming mobile phone coverage, internet access, talking to our kids and friends on the phone, looking at the digital photos on the computer screen, hot water, dinner ready to cook, double bed waiting and Margaret in a happy mood.  It don’t get much better than that J.

This morning began with ABC news reporting a new Gippsland giraffe farm hoping to make big profits from neck steaks, an RSPCA spokesman incensed about an endangered species being farmed for table meat and the abattoir employees union complaining about an unsafe workplace and demanding a height allowance.  Add the news that the great ocean road is to be made one way and it must be April first J.

Today we continue hugging the coast with Philip Island our Target.


Well we almost got to go to Philip Island.  We got packed up and took the camera with us to retrace our steps from yesterday evening.  Leaning over the edge from a newly built lookout we noticed some old structures that we had to go down and across the beach and rocks to see.  Turned out to be the remains of the original big lime kiln.  It has been partly ‘restrained’ rather than restored and had a couple of explanation boards.  Interesting stuff reminiscent of the shale operations at Newnes but nowhere near the size.

Decided on the way out to take a look at the camp we had been heading to before we discovered Walkerville.  Bear Gully is OK.  Probably 50 sites and not well described by the book.  It does not allow dogs, is on the beach not 5Km from it and there is limited space for big rigs.

We drove back out to the bitumen in very strong winds with gales forecast for this area.  10Km down the road got a hell of a surprise when the remains of the damaged awning decided to give in to wind and water and ripped off, the roller and remaining strut dangling by the trusty coat hanger restraint and the fabric flapping madly at 70Km/h.  A hasty pull over and out with pliers and Stanley knife to remove the mess and strap most of it to the roof.  Thanks be it did not do any more damage to the truck.  But uh oh.  We had a large dark hole on the other side which used to be covered by a nice white hot water service cover.  Remember the bush I dragged past getting out of Bear Gully said a little voice.  Bugger!  Backtrack.  A few steps from where we had parked lay a lump of bush and a savagely customised HWS cover.  It’s at times like these that I’m grateful for a few tools and a bit of initiative. An hour later and after some gentle tapping, bending and persuading it was a fair representation of its former self albeit some greenish scuff marks and dimples.  It’ll do and another new coat of paint will fix it.

That done, going on for 2pm, blowing a gale and raining I decided it was a nice arvo to stay put and try to get the map software to fire.  Margaret curled up with a book but I don’t think she’s getting far with her eyes shut J.

Friday 2/4/04
6.6/17.1  24.3/-38

Crazy Melbourne weather.  It cleared to a cool starlit  night but this morning is covered in cloud again.  At least the wind has dropped.  I seem to remember that it was also last year that the weather seemed attached to the same switch that ended daylight saving and went from summer to winter overnight.

A couple of power notes. 

The redarc relay which charges the house batteries from the truck when driving has been invaluable this past week.  Our solar input has been negligible but we get almost 30 amps into –70Ah batteries when we drive and recover well in a couple of hours on the road. 

Much smaller power, rechargeable AA’s for the camera.  I’ve had 6 of 10 NEXcell 1800mAh NmH ($6 each at Jaycar) fail inside 12 months with little use.  I bought a set of Arlec NiCads for half the price and initially they have outperformed the so called top of the range.

We’ll try for Philip Island again.  Watch that bush!


A pleasant drive into Wonthaggi.  Old coal mining town with a big shopping center.  A local reckons house prices here have gone up by 270% in the past 3 years.  If true that’s one heck of an investment.  Where are my 20/20 hindsight glasses J.  Found a tap and garbage bin at the cemetery (always a good spot) so filled the tanks, packed the shopping and binned the packaging.  We picked Hamer’s Haven off the map as a place for lunch and maybe a fishing spot.  Small car park, no views, 2 dunes with a wade between for the beach and a mile of shallow water surf.  No fishing, nice pommie beef sango sambos for lunch and a good remember for an overnighter as there were none of those unsociable signs.  On the way there we passed the local tip and disposed of the awning struts.

Philip Island.  A landmark in the trip but I really couldn’t recognise much from what I thought I remembered from 30 years back.  I probably also saw some bits I hadn’t been to.  The Nobbies and the blowhole were just brilliant.  Explosive surf, rugged views, penguins and a lot of hard work gone into a couple of Km’s of boardwalk, viewing platforms and car parks.  The penguin area is totally overdone for coach loads of tourists.  Cowes is like a southern Byron Bay and for the whole island, beware the $1000 fine if you dare to park your motorhome on council land.  I.e. everything but chockablock caravan parks.  Margaret was uncomfortable about even looking for a freebie and I didn’t need much encouragement to get outa’ town.  We took off into the sunset with the gps set goto Yallock Creek rest area, some 35Km out.  Probably only 10Km out we came across a signed roadside picnic spot called George Bass Reserve in where we think may be the town of Bass.  Pulled off down to the small river bank and under a timber trestle road bridge that sounds like cracker night every time a car goes across.  Hopefully they will all be home in bed when we are.


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