Russ on 21 July 2017

Headed East from Broken Hill for 85 Km on my way to Mutawintji National Park which is the site of Burke and Wills camp 40. Turned north on Waterbag Road and re-joined the track that was followed by Burke and Wills. The country is flat and fairly uninteresting with Scropes range in the distance that was crossed by Burke and Wills.  This photo was taken where the road crossed Burke and Wills track.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0004.JPG

 

I arrived at Mutawintji over very dusty roads and camped at Homestead Campground, which is where Burke and Wills camped. It is a pleasant campground set on Homestead Creek with lots of river red-gums around, fireplaces & picnic tables at most sites, toilets, solar showers and several gas BBQs.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0006.JPG

 

 

After setting up I went for a short walk up Homestead Gorge, a lovely gorge and in a rock cave you can see a mark made by William Wright in 1862. Wright led the depot team left at Menindee and eventually set off to re-supply Burke and Wills at Coopers Creek. In 1862 he had returned to manage Kinchega Station, he also visited the cave in 1859 and knew the area well. Burke retained him to lead the expedition to Torowoto Swamp, which is north of Mutawintji.

20170718-4062 William Wright's Mark in Wright's Cave 1862 Med

20170718-4065 Homestead Creek Gorge Mutawintji Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next day I joined a guided tour of extensive rock engraving art sites with an indigenous guide. The 3-hour walk was very interesting and covered bush food, aboriginal history and culture, rock art and rock paintings. The photos below show an emu engraving Made by hitting a small pointed rock with another larger rock over and over again. The hillside was covered by engravings, hundreds and hundreds.  The hands were done by a child and you may be able to see 5 hand prints in a vertical line that the child did to record his/her growth over time, just as we make lines on the door jamb.

20170719-4069 Emu Rock Art Mutawintji Med

20170719-4078 Artwork at Mutawintji Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rock in the photo below was stolen by some uni students from Melbourne, but they were caught by the police. The elders decided that rather than fine the students it would be better for them to have to return the rock, but instead of letting them park near the site, they were made to park 1-1/2 Km away and carry the rock to its original spot. An appropriate penalty.

20170719-4072 Rock Art Mutawintji #1 Med

 

We learnt why Eremophila’s are called Emu Bushes, only Emus can eat the berries, which are quite bitter. However if you boil up the leaves of the narrow leafed Emu Bush it is an excellent healing liquid in which to soak sores to assist healing. We also saw a spinifex the leaves of which were lemon scented and used to flavour foods. It had seeds like kangaroo grass unlike the normal grass-like seeds of normal spinifex. On the way back to base we saw a rock that had split and exposed a 400 million year old scorpion track. The bit that had split off showed the reverse of this track, like a negative.

20170719-4083 400 Million Year Old Scorpion Track Med

 

The guide, Alfred, bought some wood to the large campfire area that afternoon and I joined the others who had been on the tour and we had a very convivial night. An indigenous friend of the guide, Phil, played guitar and sang country music and was very good.  Another two campers took over the guitar and ukulele and played more music.

On the next day I completed the 6 Km return walk up Mutawintji Gorge that Marg and I did some 15 years ago, it brought back a lot of memories. It was also an interesting experience to know you were walking where Burke and Wills walked as they also explored Mutawintji Gorge, while camped nearby. The approach to the gorge was along a red-gum lined creek and then the ranges on either side narrowed to make the gorge. A bit of rock scrambling but other wise and easy walk. I completed the walk with a 5 Kg day pack with camera, drone, satellite phone, EPLB, coat, phone and sundry stuff making up the load. The photos below show the gorge from the drone both looking up and down the gorge.

 

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0003.JPG

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0004.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo below shows the gorge from ground level.

20170720-4086 Mutawintji Gorge #2 Med

 

I am now in Tibooburra which has mobile coverage but no TV or radio so I will be doing some reading.

Russ on 17 July 2017

I decided to stay at Broken Hill for a few days to see some of the places we have missed on previous visits.  The town is dominated by massive slag heaps as you approach from the east, not very attractive.  Broken Hill was developed on the largest silver lode ever discovered in the world.  Most of the houses are single fronted miners cottages on small blocks, but with massively wide roads.  Many large old attractive building are scattered through the town, one of which is the Palace Hotel where they filmed parts of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

20170715-4023 Palace Hotel Broken Hill Med

 

I visited the Palace for lunch after doing some shopping.  I had headed for Coles and saw the sign but them it seemed to disappear.  Fortunately a Woollies sign appeared so I shopped there.  On the way to the Palace there was Coles, car park and all!  Must be the Min Min spirits.  The Palace is decorated inside with murals on all the walls and even the ceiling of the restaurant.  I had a chicken parma that was massive with excellent chips and salad.

20170715-4018 Palace Hotel Broken Hill Foyer Med

20170715-4020 Palace Hotel Broken Hill Front Bar Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also visited Pro Hart’s Gallery, which was next to where he lived.  You couldn’t take photos inside the gallery but I managed to find a couple of photos of the ones I especially liked.

 

St Pats Races

bush Town Gathering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro Hart had been an underground engine driver for 20 years before he focussed on painting and became world famous.  Jack Absalom had a similar unusual background having trained as a blacksmith.  His gallery is worth a visit but Marg and I had visited it last time we were here.  Jack told us he loved Mulga trees and painting them and that there were over 30 different types.  It was interesting to talk to him.  At Pro Hart’s gallery I was able to take a photo of his Rolls outside the gallery.

20170715-4016 Pro Hart Rolls #1 Med

 

Pro earned his nickname as a child when the other kids thought he was a bit smart and called him Pro, short for Professor.  He was a good organist and owned a couple of electric organs, one in his home and one in the gallery.  He especially liked Brahms and Haydn, no accounting for people’s tastes.

Next day it was off to Silverton, I now know why I haven’t visited before.  A real tourist trap made famous by the filming of Mad Max in and near the town.   It is just a few old buildings scattered through the saltbush, with lots of people and cars.  The museum in the gaol has a collection of memorabilia, lots of stuff, but no coherent narrative linking it all.  Not impressed.  Burra in SA has much more character, all the old buildings in a living village, much better than Silverton, plus you can buy saltbush lamb from the butcher and there are two great bakeries.

20170716-4025 Suburban Silverton Med

20170716-4030 Silverton Gaol Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Silverton I visited the Regional Art Gallery, well worth a visit.  It is in a renovated department store, Sully’s, that was built in 1885.  They have done a great job with the renovation and have an excellent display of paintings, new and old, pottery and sculpture, including some indigenous artwork.

20170716-4034 Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery Med

20170716-4035 Broken Hill Art Gallery Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is my last day in Broken Hill and the wind would blow the skin off a custard pudding!  I went out to the Living Desert Sculpture Park and really enjoyed it.  54 tonnes of sandstone were placed on the top of a stoney hill and a camp set up nearby for the sculptors.  The sculptors came from all over the world, Mexico, Georgia, TIWI Islands and other places in Australia to carve the various sandstone blocks.  They are in a wonderful arid rocky landscape and tell the sculptors story.  I have just selected a few of the sculptures.

20170717-4036 Sculptures in Living Desert Med

20170717-4051 Eagle Sculpture Living Desert Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

20170717-4045 Sculptures in Living Desert #7 Med

20170717-4044 Sculptures in Living Desert #6 Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sculpture Park also has an excellent picnic area with gas BBQs and toilets plus a Flora and Fauna Walk and a Culture Walk.  The flora walk has name tags on lots of plants and is an enjoyable 1 Km long.  The flora walk is in a fenced off sanctuary area and the managers have run lots of drippers through the area to help the plants survive.  I did rest at the end as you will see in the photo.

 

20170717-4055 Man Resting in Living Desert Med

20170717-4054 Flora Walk in Living Desert Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately too windy for the drone, I would have had to drive into Broken Hill to retrieve it, had I put it up.  Tomorrow I am off to Mutawintji National Park for 2 or 3 days and I think I will be out of communication for 3 or 4 days until I get to Tibooburra.

Russ on 14 July 2017

On the last day at Balranald I went out to Redbank Weir on the Murrumbidgee, which had been inaccessible on my last visit as the road was flooded. The Redgum forest surrounding the weir is the second largest in Australia (and the world). Used the drone to get some photos, lost sight of it and had to use return home function. It landed safely right where it took off from. It was interesting at Mungo as the wind was quite strong and when I used the return home function its landing would have been off by a metre or so into a bush, so I had to interrupt the auto landing and move the drone and land it myself.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0003.JPG

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0005.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a swing bridge over the Murrumbidgee near the caravan park and 6 months ago the ends of the bridge were under water.  They are now 20 feet above the water.  The walk along the river has some interesting historical information signs and an interesting artwork

20170711-3971 Swing Bridge Balranald Med

20170711-3972 Grasshopper Artwork at Balranald Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next day I headed off to Mungo National Park via Prungle Mail and Arumpo Roads.  Prungle Mail Road was closed by rain 6 months ago, which is why I missed going to Mungo.  Very flat country and even the Prungle Hills that Burke and Wills had to cross were hard to see on the horizon.  The road was good and fairly straight with Mallee scrub for about half the trip.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0001.JPG

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0002.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The campground at Mungo is much better than I remember with big camping bays covered with pebbles, many trees, relative to the arid area, drop toilets and rubbish bins. If you are lucky some bays have water and a covered table, I wasn’t. But every bay has a fire drum, BBQ and table.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0023.JPG

 

After setting up I went on a drive to Zanci Station which was added to the park in 1984. The original Gol Gol station had been divided into a number of Soldier settlement farms of around 16,000 hectares and Mungo and Zanci were two of these. Because of the small size, grazing was intensive and the park is still recovering, even though Mungo was purchased in 1978 and gazetted in 1979 as a National Park. At Zanci the homestead has gone, but there is the original log stables and a wonderful classic country dunny.

20170712-3975 Zanci Station Pine Log Stables Med

20170712-3982 Zanci Station Classic Dunny Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this drive I went on a guided tour of the Walls of China on the eastern shores of dry Lake Mungo. It is here that Mungo Lady and Mungo Man were discovered dating back between 45,000 and 65,000 years, depending on what dating method is used. Mungo Lady is the oldest cremated remains that have been found worldwide. Mungo Man was covered in Ochre, which had to have been traded from Wilcannia around 100 Km away.  So he was an important person.  We were shown fireplaces dating back 50,000 years and found some emu shell shards in the hearth. Aborigines also used anthill stones to form a hearth and then would bury these under the sand and sleep over the top to stay warm. We learnt lots about how the aborigines lived and traded with adjoining tribes. To trade they had to learn the language of the other tribe as well.

The Walls of China were formed by the prevailing westerly wind that blew sand off the lakeshore to form a dune. When the lake dried out clay from the mud formed the next layer and on some pillars the base is orange, the colour of the mud. Later on, more sand was blown onto the dune to form the walls of China that we see today. Erosion has created the shapes.

20170712-3998 Walls of China #1 Med

20170712-Walls of China #1 Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2010 Mungo received 25 inches of rain in one hour, which is amazing given the average rainfall is only 11 inches (280 mm). After this rain access to the park was not possible for 6 months and a number of roads within the park were closed for 12 months. The erosion gully in the photo was formed at this time.

20170712-3997 Erosion Gully Walls of China Med

 

Mega fauna lived at Lake Mungo when the lake held water, but all the carnivorous mega-fauna were driven out by the aborigines, leaving only the giant Wombat, which eventually died out as well.  The wombat’s nickname is Ziggy, same as Nadine’s much loved ragdoll cat.  Ziggy was a truncation of its zoological name, Zygomaturus trilobus.

Behind the hard sand of the Walls of China are dunes of loose sand that are moving eastward at 0.5 metres per year.

20170712-3994 Sand Dunes behind the Walls of China Med

 

The next day I went on a self drive 70 Km tour of the park which was enjoyable and interesting, apart from the corrugations. The first part was through the lakebed of saltbush and then saltbush and scrubby trees which was a bit boring. But then the drive went through an extensive forest of Mallee and was really pretty with the road now being orangey-red sand. In this area is a short walk through the Mallee bush with signs explaining different aspects; it was a relaxing interesting walk. There is a remote camp in the Mallee forest with tables and drop toilets that you can use.  People who ride the loop on bikes usually overnight here, which breaks the 70 Km ride into two halves.

20170713-3999 Mallee Scrub Walk Mungo NP Med

 

There are a number of “tanks” along the way which I presume were used to hold water pumped from underground, given the low rainfall and little hope of runoff. After the Mallee, it was back to saltbush country to Vigars well, which was a watering point for Cobb and Co coaches, which then had to travel over the dunes, not an easy task. Cobb and Co used to harness 60,000 horses a day around Australia at their peak. The well was dug in the area of a natural soak but has collapsed.  There are still soaks in the area and I was able to watch an Emu drinking from one of the soaks. The soaks are semi-circular sloping holes that you could imagine being clawed out by animals as the water receded. The Emu was sitting in the hole drinking until he saw me and ran off.  The thing that looks like the dead trunk of a small tree in the centre of the photo is the Emu, you have to believe me!

20170713-4008 Emu Drinking at Vigars Well Med

 

To the west of Vigars Well are the dunes behind the Walls of China that I saw yesterday from the other side.  As you drive up to them it looks like you are approaching an ocean shoreline.

20170713-4003 Sand Dunes Behind Walls of China #3 Med

 

Today I was on the road before seven on my way to Broken Hill, and I was able to take photos of the sunrise over lake Mungo.  I had to take the photos as evidence, because no one will believe I was up and on the road that early.

20170714-4009 Sunrise over Lake Mungo Med20170714-4014 Sunrise over Lake Mungo #2 Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry about the length of the post but there was a lot to talk about.

Russ on 10 July 2017

I left Elmore in fog which continued for the first hour of the journey.  I visited Terrick Terrick National Park hoping to get a good photo from the drone.  It was still foggy which was disappointing, but I took a photo anyway.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0001.JPG

By the time I got to Burke and Wills Camp 13 it was sunny so I decided to have a picnic lunch in the delightful picnic area.  I got tricked by the BBQ, checked that the light came on, back to the car for all the picnic stuff, thinking of a hot sausage in bread.  Back to the BBQ, stone cold!  Anyway the salami sandwich was really good.  Got the drone out and took a couple of photos one shows the lake.   Camp 13 was on the far side.   The other photo is of the picnic area.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0007.JPG DCIM100MEDIADJI_0008.JPG

After lunch off to Balranald via swan Hill.  It was interesting at the Wakool river to see that Camp 13 was not flooded and the river now looks like the standard inland river, deep banks and not much water.

20170709-3964 Wakool River Camp 18 Med 20161111-view-to-flooded-camp-18-med

Along the way I took a photo of the Mallee scrub that Burke and Wills had to traverse, imagine taking 20 men plus lots of horses, camels and 6 wagons through this.

20170709-3967 NSW Mallee Scrub Med

Set up at the delightful caravan park at Balranald ready to visit Yanga National Park tomorrow.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.12.39 PM

At Yanga it was out with the drone and increase the max height to 50 metres, at which, to me, it looks like a fly.  Took photos of the woolshed and the woolshed picnic area.  The woolshed looks far more imposing from the air.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0012.JPGDCIM100MEDIADJI_0014.JPG

I then went to Mamanga Campground a couple of K’s further on.  It is on the murrumbidgee River and an attractive spot.  It got a bit exciting as I had the drone at max height away from me over the river and it sounded an obstacle alarm and I couldn’t see it!  Had to resort to the automatic “return home” and it was a relief to see it appear over the trees and then it landed exactly where it had taken off.  You have to set the “return home” spot before you take off (the drone sets it but I like to make sure).  At Reedy Lake I had forgotten to take off the gimbal clamp and had to land it.  When I hit “return home” after taking photos it headed off the wrong way as the drone had reset the home spot automatically.  Fortunately I was able to take over control and bring it back to me.  You can see the Murrumbidgee River in the photo which is right next to the campground.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0016.JPG

Yanga is a new park formed around Yanga Sheep Station in 2005.  It is interesting and worth a visit.  I also visited the homestead and took a photo of the homestead from the drone which also shows Yanga Lake that surrounds the homestead on three sides.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0018.JPG        20161112-yanga-homestead-med

On Wednesday I will head off to Mungo National Park for a couple of days and will probably have no mobile coverage so it may be a few days before another post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russ on 8 July 2017

My journey following the travels of Burke & Wills has resumed.  Last year I reached their depot camp at Menindee and turned south because it was too hot.  Having just started the trip with 8 °C outside there is a danger that I will head east to the coast for some warmth.   Today I travelled over areas I visited last year so not much to report.  But I did visit Camp 8 this time on the Campaspe River at Barnadown near Lake Eppalock.

20170708-3962 Campaspe River & Camp 8 Med

The photo shows the river and where Burke and Wills Camped.  They crossed the river in Kennedy’s punt (Kennedy owned the Barnadown pub near the river so he made money taking people to and from his pub across the river and also selling them grog).  You can figure that the Kennedy’s originated in Scotland.

One of Burke and Wills camels died just after crossing the river and some contend that this is when their bad luck started.

On the way I visited Woodend (6 °C) to see Marg’s brother Barry and his wife Cas, who had just got home from hospital.  An enjoyable visit and good to see Cas in better health, but still recovering.  Tonight I have stopped at Elmore Caravan Park, not much of journey today, but I have plenty of time.

Journey Mt Eliza to Elmore

Russ on 9 April 2017

Unfortunately Mel had to return home on Wednesday for an important meeting so we decided an easy day was in order with a visit to Nicholson River Winery that is nearby.  Great wines and a lovely location.

We had an enjoyable, rough and hilly drive to Deptford passed Bruthen on Thursday to a great picnic area on the Nicholson River.   Rhys, Millie, and Cooper played in the river at the road crossing while we prepared rolls for lunch.

20170406-3939 Picnic at Deptford Med 20170406-3940 Playing in Nicholson River Deptford Med

Deptford was an alluvial gold mining area and we walked alongside the river to a diversion tunnel dug in solid rock in the 1860s to allow mining of the river bed.  It is amazing what the miners achieved with hand tools.

20170406-3946 Nicholson River Diversion Deptford Med

It was a delightful walk in the bush with the bubbling sound of the river and bird songs for company.  A fireplace was the only sign of a boarding house built in the late 1800s.20170406-3942 Nicholson River Deptford Med 20170406-3941 Old Fireplace Deptford Med

Friday saw us at Bruthen at the Bullant Brewery for Pizza lunch and beer tasting.  The sampler pack we had with lunch included 4 small glasses of beer for $15 and everyone enjoyed the ones they chose.  Well worth a visit if you are in the area.  Cam had to take the boys home on Saturday, which was our 50th wedding anniversary.  Deen and I went to Lake Tyers Forest Park for a BBQ lunch, a lovely park, but all the fireplaces/BBQs had been removed in the picnic areas.  The photo shows Toorloo Arm, great for Kayaking with easy launch spots.

20170408-3947 Toorloo Picnic Area Med

So off to Colquhoun State Forest to Log Crossing Picnic Area near Swan Reach (Marg and I had been before so we knew it had a fire BBQ) and it was still there.  A great area with lots of friendly birds.

20170408-3949 Log Crossing Picnic Area Med

We have been having wonderful fires every night and tonight we remembered my wedding and the good times we all had with Margie.  My neighbours, Ivan and Olga, had given me a Tahbilk 1933 Vines 2000 Shiraz for the occasion, which was delightful.  We started with a 2011 Seppelt Sparkling Shiraz and finally a glass of Morris (Rutherglen) 1967 Vintage Port.  We did sleep well!  The Para Port was a 1947 vintage that we had on April first, Margies birthday.   Today we are finishing off our camping trip at the Windmill Pizza Restaurant that is near here and tomorrow we head home.  We all enjoyed the break, but would have loved to have Margie with us, she would have loved it all, especially being with the family for the 10 days.

20170409-3952 Celebratory Vintage Port Med 20170409-3955 Tahbilk 1933 Vines 2000 Shiraz Med

 

 

Russ on 6 April 2017

Cam, Mel, Deen, Rhys, Millie, Heath, Cooper and I decided to camp as a family at Lakes Bushland Caravan Park for a couple of significant dates.  April 1st would have been Margies 70th birthday and the 8th our 50th wedding anniversary, so it has been a bittersweet holiday.  Ken, the manager here, gave us four sites together for the price of three and allocated two of Cam’s boys to my site and Deens to save cost, which was great.  The park is very quiet with only one other camper and a few people in cabins.  The weather has been perfect, sunny, and low to mid 20s, lots of birds to enjoy and a few persistent possums to chase away.

20170401 Camp at Nicholson MedWe remembered Margies 70th around a campfire with some delicious wines and food and toasted the memory of a wonderful woman.  We shared good memories and shed a few tears.  We finished with a 1947 Penfolds Para Port, which was excellent.  There was only one thing missing!

20170401 Toasting Margie at Nicholson Med

Sunday took us to Parks Victoria’s Nyerimilang Homestead, a wonderful old holiday home with beautiful views of Lake King and Fraser Island (where we stayed with friends a few years ago).  Gardens surround the home with a grassed picnic area and an electric BBQ that would have cooked our lunch for breakfast the next day!  Fortunately we had packed wood so in no time the sausages were sizzling on a fire BBQ.  After a BBQ lunch we strolled around the house and gardens and read about the history of Nyerimilang.  Originally built as a gentleman’s holiday home, it became a working farm until purchased by the government in 1976.

A very cool breeze on Monday saw us off to Metung for a counter lunch at the Metung Hotel.  Good food, great views.  On the way we looked at Cam and Mel’s land in Metung which has a view over Lake King

20170403-3929 View from Metung Hotel Med

20170403-3925 Cam's Block at Metung Med

Our visit to Metung was completed with a walk around the foreshore.  On the way we passed a model of Charles Edward a steamer that used to ply the lakes.  I blocked out the supports of the steamer in the photo so it would look like it was on the lake, now it just looks like a flying ship!

20170403 Rhys and Millie at Metung Med20170403 Charles Edward at Metung Med

 

 

Tuesday was roast lamb day so we had 3 camp ovens on the go and 2 fire drums to keep up the supply of coals.  Lamb was accompanied with potatoes, parsnip, pumpkin, and asparagus, topped of with gravy I made – all delicious.  On Wednesday Deen and I visited Fairy Dell rainforest near Bruthen for a picnic lunch and a walk through the rainforest.  A lovely walk and very cool compared to the eucalypt forest surrounding it.

20170404-3937 Roast Night at Nicholson Med 20170404-3933 Walk at Fairy Dell Med

 

 

Russ on 3 January 2017

We had a very enjoyable new years eve at Walwa with good food and wine.  But we piked out and pulled stumps early, however fireworks in the park made sure we were awake to see the new year in.  Some campers decided to take to the Murray for a group float with 5 boats tied together floating down the Murray.  There was no pain being felt!

20161231-party-on-the-murray-med

After the storms the atmosphere became very humid, which created a mist over the Murray and some wonderful sunsets.

20161230-mist-on-the-murray-med 20170101-sunset-at-walwa-med

Deen and I visited Pine Mountain (in Pine Mountain Burrowa National Park) which is a monolith like Uluru, i.e. one rock, but it is 50% bigger than Uluru.  Unfortunately the trees growing on it disguise what is beneath.

20161230-pine-mountain-monolith-med

So the holiday is over and I am back home at Mt Eliza, after a long drive of over 500 Km.  It was a good break and it helped Deen and I through the first Christmas without Margie.  I will be doing some mentoring work in a primary school through U3A in the first term, but after that I will head off and resume following Burke and Wills journey.

 

Russ on 28 December 2016

This year I am Christmassing with Deen and her friend Dey at Walwa on the Upper Murray, it was about a 500 Km trip from Melbourne, which we did on December 23rd.  Our site is right on the Murray under the shade of massive Cottonwood trees, just as well, as it has been in the mid 30’s everyday.

20161224-camp-at-walwa-med20161224-deens-camp-and-hills-at-sunset-med

The nights have been pleasant in the low 20’s and we get a display of the sunset on the hills over the river as you can see in the photo of Deen’s camp above.  Deen is a teardrop camper fan, so our Christmas lights are a small string of teardrop camper lights!

20161224-sunset-from-walwa-camp-med 20161224-teardrop-campe-xmas-lights-at-walwa-med

We went to the Courabyra Winery for lunch Christmas Eve and enjoyed an excellent meal with delicious wines.  I had salmon with salad, Deen a hamburger with the best chips ever and Dey, Deen’s friend from Kyabram, had a vegetable stack.  It was cool on the shaded elevated verandah overlooking vineyards and rolling hills.

20161224-courabyra-winery 20161225-mala-at-walwa-med

Dey has a dog, Mala, with her, and he has been delightful to have around, but it means that Dey cannot go into National Parks.  On Christmas day, Deen and I had a stuffing pie that I made.  It was was very tasty and followed by a Christmas pudding with Brandy Butter that I also made.  The remains of the stuffing pie.

20161228-stuffing-pie-med

Yesterday we went to Corryong along the Murray River Road that follows the Murray most of the way and you get good views over the river to the Alps most of the time.

2016122-murray-valley-near-corryong-med

Corryong is home to the grave of Jack Riley who was Banjo Patterson’s Man from Snowy River.  He was born in Ireland in 1841 and died at Tom Groggin in 1914.  There is also a wonderful sculpture of a mountain horseman in the main street.

20161227-mountain-horseman-corryong-med 20161227-jack-rileys-grave-med

On the way back, Deen and I walked to the Bluff Falls in Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park.  It was a scenic drive through the park and the falls were quite impressive by Victorian standards.

20161227-bluff-falls-burrowa-pine-mountain-np-med20161227-burrowa-pine-mountain-np-med

Tomorrow we hope to get some rain, which may cool things down a bit, bit sick of the continuous hot weather.

Russ on 28 November 2016

That’s Nelson the place not Nelson the man!  I had an enjoyable drive from Goolwa to Nelson around Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and along the Coorong.  Lake Alexandrina was named after Princess Alexandrina who later became Queen Victoria.  The drive along the Coorong was very enjoyable with views over the water alternating with coastal bush alongside the road.  I’m staying in Kywong Caravan Park in Nelson right next to Glenelg River National Park.  Nelson is in South-West Victoria on the coast near the SA border.  Glenelg River National Park is a great park with a number of wonderful campsites right on the river, some even have septic toilets, all have fireplaces and picnic tables.  Great pace for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing either from a boat or off the jetties that are at most campsites.  I had a picnic at Pritchards camping area and enjoyed conversing with a couple of grey nomads camping there.

20161126-glenelg-river-at-pritchards-camp-med 20161126-glenelg-river-glenelg-np-med

On another day I went to Port Macdonnell in SA, the home base of the largest lobster fishing fleet in Australia and enjoyed a meal of calamari at Periwinkles Cafe, Marg and I went there once before for lunch and the wind nearly blew us back to Nelson, 30 Km away.  Also visited Picininni  Ponds, which are water filled sink holes in limestone rock, beautiful crystal clear water, craggy limestone walls and lots of water plants.  They are very popular with divers.  Unfortunately the ripples stop the photo showing the clarity of the water.

20161125-picininni-ponds-med

Tomorrow I start the journey home so this will be my last blog until next trip.  Thank you for your many comments and positive feedback.  You have helped me get through what has been a very emotional and nostalgic trip, my first camping trip without Margie in a very long time.  To say that I missed her would be an understatement, but you all have helped.  Thank you.