We did a few of the sites around the Grampians National Park – MacKenzie Falls, Silverband Falls, and a few of the lookouts. It turned out to be a lot hotter than originally forecast this morning so we did most of our physical activities before lunch then headed into Stawell to checkout the Pickers Market and have nice iced coffee in the main street. The wind is starting to come up now so zi guess we’ll be in for the cool change shortly. Tomorrow we will just meander over to Avoca for one last free camp by the river – we might even go out for tea.
Just a short run today. Visited Stawell to do some grocery shopping and the usual camping shop run through. Lovely little city. We then made our way out to Halls Gap and booked into the caravan park for a couple of nights. We thought we should because the cloud of flies following us around was becoming embarrassing. We had coffee up the street and a lovely hot shower back at camp. It’s pretty hot today so we’ll leave any walks until tomorrow when it’s meant to be 10º cooler. So we did some housework, cleaning the floors etcetera and just relaxing doing some reading and contemplating our navels.
We left our camp at Lake Lascelles, Hopetoun and started the balance of the Silo Art Trail. The sites were at Roseberry, Brim, Sheep Hills and Rupunyup. My favourite one was at Sheep Hills, but they were all outstanding. We decided we would start to head to Stawell and stay a couple of nights at the Grampins before we head home. We found a great free camp at Lake Lonsdale about 15 kms North West of Stawell so have set up camp for the night. Everything is running fine and we are all alone in the bush (for now at least). I haven’t started telling axe-murdurer stories yet – I’ll wait till its dark.
We started out from Walpeup campground (excellent small camp $10 night for 2 people) and headed onto Underbool and then onto the Pink Lakes in the Murray Sunset National Park. Good road in and lakes looked good. There was anice campground in there but we thought pulling up at 10.00 am was a little to grey nomadic so we returned to the highway and started the Art Silo Tour. First one was at Patchewollok, very impressive. We were cornered by a lovely group from Bendigo, of which one couple has just bought a motorhome and wanted to check ours out as well as talk motorhoming in general. From there we moved onto Lascelles to checkout the rusty shearing shed. We decided to stay the night at a free camp at Lake Lascelles which, confusingly, is located at Hopetoun. Lovely lake, a bit breezy but very picturesque.
Well things didn’t go quite as planned today. We went to leave at 9 am only to discover the motorhome had a flat battery. We had plenty of power in the auxiliary batteries but couldn’t access it for long enough as the motorhome automatically shuts down all systems if the battery continues to fail. Add to that the fact that I didn’t put the jumper leads in which meant I had no choice but to ring the RACV. After waiting an hour, only to be told that they would be at least another hour before they could reach me, I tried switching through the auxiliary batteries and this time I was able to get it started. So we decided to do some shopping in Mildura (jumper leads top of the list : ) ) then head out along the Mallee Highway and pulled up to a lovely little camp in the middle of Walpeup – showers, toilets and power for the princely sum of $10 per night. A chance to put our feet up before tackling the Silo Art Trail tomorrow.
We stayed the day at our camp on the bank of the mighty Murray River, enjoying the sunshine and all it had to offer. Jenny tried her hand at fishing with no luck and I tried out our solar blanket which was a huge success, recharged the motorhome batteries in quick time. In fact it was so successful that we were even able to run the 12 volt hot water service and still have power to spare. this means that we will have no problems staying out in the bush for long periods as long as the sun is shining. After our successful stop here we will head south to start doing the Silo Art Trail at a leisurely pace.
We headed into the Information Centre before we left Swan Hill just to see what was available. We discovered that the curse of Lake Mungo has struck again, with all the unsealed roads in the Wentworth Shire closed due to heavy rain, so we won’t be going to Mungo. We decided we would head to Merbein to camp by the river and Jenny could have another crack at catching a Murray Cod. We will stay here for a couple of days before moving on to who knows where.
We departed around ten to head back to port. Fortunately our sister ship was able to dislodge us from the bank. We made ourselves busy on the run back, packing everything to be unloaded when we made landfall. We made a grand entry into the Port of Echuca. After unloading all our goodies (including Melva) it was time to bid a fond farewell to all. If I was an American or a politician, I would same I’m blessed to have such a family, but because I’m an Aussie I’ll just say how lucky I am, and how proud I am, to have such a family of kind, caring, beautiful people. Life cannot get much better than admiring this lovely lot.
Now we’re back into the motorhome and heading to Swan Hill for a stay at a caravan park so we can get some clean water to shower in and get an early night.
Moved a bit upstream today so that we can have a good run back to port on Tuesday. We still managed to find a good spot – it must have been because another houseboat decided it would moor next to us. Ben out did himself with the fire tonight – red gum logs blazing away furiously in the night. We left early (around 11 pm) while the youngsters decided they would party on into the wee morning hours. Ahh, to be that young again!
Black Ben cooked up a storm aboard the good ship Opulence and all on board were treated to his scrambled eggs, mushrooms and bacon. then it was off further down the river. We eventually found a good spot to pull in only to be confronted by a snarling dog as we were pulling in. A few conciliatory words from our group seemed to temporarily sooth the savage beast, but I’m guessing she won’t win any tourism awards for customer service. Once again it was around the fire for another night of fun and games. At this rate I’ll have to go on a holiday to get over the late nights.