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Melbourne on the Yarra
 

Wednesday 7th July 2004

Goodbye Merimbula and New South Wales, and after 50 km, travelling south along the Princes Highway (1), we crossed the borders into Victoria, our first stop in Victoria was the town of Genoa, then went on to Mallacoota, Cann River, Cabbage Tree Creek, Broddrib River, Orbost, newmerella, Tostaree, Nowa Nowa, Lakes Entrance and at last Bairnsdale.

Lakes EntranceLakes Entrance EsplanadeLakes Entrance Esplanade

We checked in at the Bairnsdale Tourist park for one week so as to have enough time to tour the surrounding towns. The town of Bairnsdale sits on the Mitchell River and is a major regional centre. In the main street you will find St Mary's Roman Catholic church which was built in 1913 and is noted for its exquisite murals. The town of Lakes Entrance is 35 km away, offer sailing and cruising on the Gippsland  Lakes.

Sandra and Marica Silt JettiesSilt JettiesMarica Silt Jetties
To the south of Bairnsdale is the boating resort town of Paynesville to the south, sits amongst the sheltered waters of the McMillan Straits in Gippsland. The most unusual church we ever seen is St Peter by the Lake, built in 1961. It has a limestone spire that is shaped like a lighthouse and a pulpit designed to resemble the bow of a fishing boat. From here we took the car ferry to Raymond Island where we saw the koalas enjoying there natural habitat. We took the cruiser along the Silts Jetties and had a wonderful time. We visited the small town of Metung and had lunch at the park on the water front. Another day we visited the small historic town of Bruthren 50 km north along the Great Alpine Road, where we had nice drink at the Bruthren Hotel. So you can see how quick the week has gone.
  
 Lunch at Metung   
    

Raymond Island Car Ferry

Raymond Island KoalasBruthren Post Office

Wednesday 14th July 2004

On the road again early in the morning for the long drive to Melbourne City via the Princes Highway (1). We stopped at Sale for a breather then we continued on via the South Gippsland Highway to Yarram, Welshpool. Toora, Foster, Meeniyan. Stopping at each town stopping for photos and souvenirs. Next came the town of Leongatha were we stopped for lunch and a longer rest. From here we continued on to Korumburra, then Dandenong where we stopped for an afternoon coffee. We arrived Melbourne at 5.30 pm and checked in at the Ashley Gardens Big 4 Tourist Park in Braybrook. The park was a five star, 10 km from the city centre, expensive but all the Big 4s and Top Tourist Parks are overpriced (monopoly) , after all we are only renting a small portion of land and an ablution.

Assembly Square - MelbourneFlinders St Railway StationChina Town - Melbourne
Melbourne

<< From Sunshine to Rain >>

All in One Day

Melbourne is a big and beautiful city. It is the financial focal point of Australia and the Capital City of Victoria. There is many fine buildings in the city, many of which were financed by the gold rush of the mid and late 1800s. Examples of such buildings are the Magistrates Court, Town Hall, State Library and the impressive Exhibition Buildings which have been restored and are surrounded by magnificent gardens. There are also some impressive churches like St Paul and St Patrick Cathedrals. Melbourne is the home of Australian Rules Football and a visit to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) is a must. The city of Melbourne has a large migrant population and the food and restaurants are influenced by this diversity of cultures: almost any international cuisine is available in this city and we sure enjoyed many of the different dishes and take away they offered. The suburb of Southgate, an area situated on the banks of the Yarra River, features restaurants and the Crown Casino. Public transport is very efficient especially the electric Trams which reminded us of the old days.

 
While we were in Melbourne, we visited Philip Island and spent our time touring the island. Cows is the main town of Philip Island. This seaside town has everything from restaurants to shops and cafes etc. One of the most fascinating attraction of this beautiful town is the fairy penguins parade, every night these small birds come from the ocean to their nests on Summerland Beach.

Philip Island and San Remo

            

We visited Dandenong, Frankston, St Kilda, Mornington, Sorrento, Port Sea, Williamstown and many other suburbs. We also spent a whole day in the beautiful town of Ballarat (pictures above Lake Wendouree and Town Hall). This town prospered during the gold rush era, and it is here that the world's second biggest gold nugget was found, the biggest attraction for us was Sovereign Hill  a theme park recreating the old gold rush days, its staff members dress in period costume, and it contains realistic stores and banks. The botanic gardens near Lake Wendouree (picture above) are a tranquil spot in this beautiful city. Life never felt boring to us in Melbourne because there was always something to do and see and we enjoyed very much our stay and decided to come back again.

Cowes Isle of Wight Hotel

Wednesday 18th August 2004: On the road again, we left Melbourne in the morning heading to north to Wangaratta via the Hume Highway (31). We Stopped at Seymore where we had breakfast, toured the town, took lots of photos and bought some souvenirs, then we continued on to Wangaratta arriving here in the afternoon. We checked in at the Wangaratta Painters Island Caravan Park. Wangaratta with a population of just over 16,000 is a large regional centre at the intersection of the King and Ovens Rivers in far north Victoria. It Has lots of historic buildings, reminders of the pioneers that first settled here. The impressive Holy Trinity Cathedral took 56 years to build, the main features of this magnificent cathedral are the stained glass windows and the timber belfry which houses eight bells cast in England in 1806.  While in Wangaratta, we spent a whole day in Benalla, a small town about fifty kilometres to the south west, and Shepparton about a hundred and ten kilometres to the south west. We enjoyed both trips and took many photos, some of them are above.

Painters Island Caravan Park Wangaratta

Sir Dunlop Memorial -BenallaMarica with Ned Kelly - BenallaBroken River - Benalla
Saint Paul's Church - SheppartonCommercial Hotel - BenallaBroken River - Benalla

 

Saturday 21st August 2004

On the road again and this time heading south east via the Ovens Highway to Bright arriving at the Pine Valley Tourist Park in the afternoon, we checked in for a week. The small but picturesque country town of Bright in the Ovens Valley is a gateway to the high country and has a population of 2000. The caravan park is a Top Tourist Park, very clean and shady ( although you don't need the shade at this part of the world) and very close to the town centre. The Hosts were very welcoming, helpful and friendly. They explained to us how to tackle the snowy high country and that was very appreciated since it is our first experience with the snow. We spent Sunday sightseeing the town and the surroundings. Monday morning we went to visit the small but historic town of Beechworth about 75 km away. Beechworth nestled amongst the natural beauty of the Northern Victorian Alps is a goldmining town boasts for its historic buildings and is currently the most preserved gold town in Victoria, besides it has a bakery which we rated number one and that where we had our lunch. On the way back we stopped for a break at the town of Myrtleford where we took some photos of the big Phoenix tree with the big roots on display in the town centre, then we went to Lake Buffalo and took some magic photos of the lake and the clouds reflection in the water (photos below).

Myrtleford Phoenix Tree Bright Town CentreMyrtleford Phoenix Tree
 Old Jail Beechworth Post Office BeechworthOld Telegraph Stn Beechworth
Clouds reflection Lake BuffaloClouds reflection Lake BuffaloClouds reflection Lake Buffalo

We all love to see snow but always thought it will be too cold to be there, but now and while we are already here in the Alpine country it is an opportunity for us to see, feel and enjoy it, so we all decided to forget about the cold, hit the road to Mount Hotham and join the hundreds of skiers who come here from all around the world. And now here we are on top of this beautiful, picturesque and breath taking Mount Hotham. We've spent all day here enjoying every minute of it (as you can see in the photos below). We also visited the small town of Mt Beauty, the Bogong, Falls Creek and Dinner Plains and they were great places as well.

Farewell From BrightBright Town CentrePine Valley Tourist Park
 Amazing how dry this place looked when we visited it in summer last time and how alive it looked this time around 

Magnificent View

The Champions

On The Lifts

  
Learning How To SkiSinking In The SnowEnjoying A Cuppa
Magic LandscapeWhat a Place for a DrinkDinner Plains Hotel

Saturday 28th August 2004

On the road again (but this time with everlasting memories of the past week) and heading north to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales along the Ovens Highway via Beechworth to the small but historic town of Yackandandah. We had our breakfast at the old but cosy Sticky Tart Cafe, then we toured the town, took some photos and hit the road again across to Wodonga the last town in Victoria's North. then across the borders to Albury via the Hume Highway, then further north via the Olympic Highway arriving at Wagga Wagga late in the afternoon and checking in at the Beach Caravan Park for four nights. Wagga with a population of 54,000 is situated on the Murrumbidgee River and forms the hub of a vast district that supports the production of wheat, fat lambs, dairy industry and mixed farming. The city has many elegant old building and magnificent gardens and parks. We spent most of our time exploring the city and the surrounding towns like Coolamon where we bought some souvenirs and jumbo strawberries, and Junee where we took a tour of the Liquorice factory (yummy) and had lunch at the Railway's Cafe Restaurant and that was delicious.  (Some photos below)

Memorial Flame WaggaMemo Gdns Entrance WaggaCouncil Chambers Wagga

Commercial Hotel Wagga

Market Place WaggaSt Michael Church Wagga
Coolamon Post OfficeShowing the Souvenir C'lamonCoolamon Hotel
Junee Town CentreJunee Railway StationLunch at the Rail Stn
Yackandandah Soldiers MemorialLunch at the Sticky Tart Cafe YackandandahYackandandah Main Post Office

Friday 3rd September 2004

We left Wagga Wagga and headed south via the Olympic Highway passing through the small towns: The Rock, Henty and Culcairns buying some souvenirs until we arrived the City of Albury and checked in for one week at the Motor Lodge an Caravan Park. The park was very clean but did not cater for too many caravans, but instead they replaced most of the sites with Cabins (more money I suppose) Albury with a big City with a population of 42,000 in NSW and its twin City Wodonga, lie on the banks of the Mighty Murray River and boasts everything a traveller could want, from restaurants offering international cuisine to plenty of things to see and do. They were not wrong, we had some excellent meals and we took a lot of walks around town admiring the architecture, some of it dating back to the nineteenth century. We also took a 15 km drive to the north and visited the famous Ettamogah Pub, immortalised in the cartoons and comics of the same name (some photos below). We also had a picnic at Lake Hume, 12 km from town. We spend a whole day in Wodonga across the Murray River and that was great.

   
<< The Famous >>

Ettamogah Pub Albury

Friday 10th September 2004

We crossed the borders from Albury NSW into Wodonga in Victoria, then we travelled west along the Murray Valley Highway. The first town we stopped at was Rutherglen, a small but historic town with lots of vineyards and wineries and the main attraction was the old water tower shaped like a wine bottle. We continued on to next town where we stopped for lunch in the park along the banks of Lake Mulwala, then we crossed the lake into Mulwala NSW, we took lots of photos of these two wonderful towns, then we continued on passing through the small town of Cobram until we reached the town of Nathalia, we stopped for a rest and visited the War Memorial Gardens, then we continued travelling until we arrive Echuca late in the afternoon and checked in at the Echuca Top Tourist Park for one week. The park was very clean, spacious and with lots of shady trees and most of all the staff were very pleasant and helpful. Echuca (Aboriginal word meaning "meeting of the waters") has a population of 10,000. This major regional centre was built were the Campaspe and the Goulburn Rivers meet the Murray. A wood shortage at the turn of the century meant that the paddle-steamers could no longer run as often and the port slowed down. By 1944 the wharf was in disrepair, but has since been restored by the National Trust. The old port is now a museum and there are a handful of paddle-steamers which have been done up and returned to their former glory, including the Emmylou, Canberra and Pride of the Murray. We also visited the small town of Rochester about 47 km south of Echuca and also Moama, Echuca's sister city on the other side of the Murray and we had a great time there (some photos below).

Echuca Bakery VanOld Port of EchucaRail Wagon Port of Echuca
Shamrock Hotel RochesterEchuca Town Centre ArchRich River Golf Club Moama

Friday 17th September 2004

We left Echuca and continued along the Murray Valley Highway passing through Gunbower then stopping at Cohuna for breakfast at the bakery, then we stopped at Kerang for lunch at the park. We bought some souvenirs from all of these towns and took lots of photos, then we continued on arriving at Swan Hill in mid afternoon and checked in at the Pioneer Top Tourist Park for one week. The park was clean and close to the town centre. Swan Hill with a population of about 9,600 is sitting on the banks of the Murray River, was named for the large black swans that kept the explorer Thomas Mitchell awake when he camped here in 1836. The main attraction in town is the Military Expo and the Giant Cod, a tribute to an elusive fish that was prevalent in these waters: the replica stands more than 11 metres tall on the banks of the Murray in the town1=++ centre. We also enjoyed a day's picnic at Lake Charm and Lake Boga.

Cohuna Town CentreKerang Court HouseKerang Beautiful Hotel
Swan Hill Town CentreThe Giant Cod Swan HillLake Boga's Welcome Sign

  Friday 24th September 2004

On the road again and heading to Mildura along the Murray Valley Highway passing through the towns of Robinvale and Euston, stopping for a short break and then continued on, arriving at the Coachman's Caravan Park at about 3 o'clock and checked in for one week. The park was clean but too far from the town centre, a matter of fact it was 17 km away in the suburb of Irymple on the Calder Highway and it was the only park with vacancies, apparently the country music festival was on and we were not disappointed, we celebrated the festival with them and that was great. Mildura with a population of just under 18,000 is a town surrounded by hundreds of hectares of farmland producing grape vines and citrus fruit in the heart of the Sunraysia region. The heart of the town is the Murray River and it is home to many boats and old paddle steamers like the Melbourne. During our stay here in Mildura we visited the town of Wentworth just across the borders in NSW.

                

Country Music Festival at the Caravan Park in Mildura

  Abbottsford Bridge WentworthHeritage Building Mildura   Lots of Wine in the Region

Friday 1st October 2004

We loved Melbourne so much so, that we decided to go back and spend a couple of more weeks, and by doing that we will have the opportunity to cross the State of Victoria from north to south, so on the road again from Mildura heading south along the Calder Highway. Our first stop was Ouyen for breakfast then continued on stopping and touring each of these towns: Nunga, Woornack, Mittyak, Pier Millan, Nandaly, Sea Lake, Boigbeat, Berriwillock, Culgoa, Nullawil, Dumosa, Wytcheproof, Teddywaddy, Charlton, Woosang, Wedderburn, Glenalbyn, Inglewood, Bridgewater, Marong and at last the City of Bendigo. We checked in at the Central City Caravan Park for three nights. Bendigo was a goldmining town, a matter of fact more than 595 million grammes of gold was produced here, making it one of the richest goldfields in the world. As well as gold, Pall Mall, the main street in town features numerous historical buildings dating back to the nineteenth century including the Post Office, Law Courts and the impressive Shamrock Hotel which is still in operation. A quartz fountain standing in the city centre was given to the City of Bendigo by the 'Quartz King' George Lansell in 1881. Other superb buildings include the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Wattle Street, believed to be the last Gothic cathedral built in the world. Another attraction in the town is the famous Bendigo Pottery and the talking tram. Well now you can see how you can spend your time in this wonderful city of nearly 70,000, and not to forget to visit the museum at the Information Centre and the magic gardens behind the Law Courts on Pall Mall Street in the town centre. We sure enjoyed our stay.

Quartz Fountain-BendigoShamrock Hotel-BendigoBendigo Town Hall

Bendigo

A Magic City full of

Old Time Memories 
Sacred Heart Cathedral-BendigoLaw Courts Bendigo
City Mall-BendigoBendigo City from LookoutBendigo Trams
Botanic Gardens-BendigoBotanic Gardens-BendigoLola Montez Entertains the Diggers

Monday 4th October 2004

On the road again heading south along the Calder Highway to Melbourne, our first stop was Keyneton for breakfast and a tour of the town. Keyneton with a population of just under 4,000, has more than 30 buildings classified by the National Trust, resembles an English town, with its large ornate buildings hedges and extensive grazing land was named after Keyneton in England. We continued on passing through the towns of: Carlsruhe, Woodend and then Gisborne where we stopped for lunch then we veered off the Calder Highway and took the road to Melton then we got onto the Western Highway heading to Braybrook in Melbourne to avoid entering the city at peak hour. We checked in again at the Ashley Gardens Tourist Park in Braybrook for two weeks. The two weeks we spent in Melbourne we full of exciting activities like: touring the city centre and China town by horse and cart,  travelling on the Melbourne trams, visiting many suburbs, walking along the foreshore of Port Melbourne (we've done it few times for exercise), shopping along Sidney road and best of all a trip to Williamstown, Dandenong and Cowes in Philip Island.

Monday 18th October 2004

Back on the road again and this time to the City of Geelong via Princes Highway about 75 km (a short trip for a change). We checked in at the Geelong Barwon Tourist Park for one week, the park was very clean and close to the town centre. Geelong with a population of about 150,000 is the second largest town in Victoria and is a beautiful city in its own rights, featuring many outer suburbs around Corio Bay at the western side of Port Philip Bay. The Barwon River runs through it and Eastern Beach on the edge of Corio Bay is within easy walking from central Geelong and features piers, the Bay City Marina, along with saltwater swimming pools and lawned parkland. We took many interesting walks in Geelong including Bayside Bollard walk, along its sealed route there are a number of large colourful bollards representing characters from Geelong's past. We visited the elegant seaside town of Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula, and we spent a whole day at Barwon Heads, we travelled along the scenic "Great Ocean Road" visiting the seaside towns of Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven and Lorne, then we turned back to Geelong and left the rest of it to visit from Warrnambool (some photos are below)

Horse And Cart-GeelongEastern Beach From Lookout-GeelongThe Sphinx Motel Entrance-Geelong
Torquay Welcome SignThe Sphinx Motel-GeelongBarwon Heads
Lorne Beach FrontAireys InletThe Great Ocean Road
 
Monday 25th October 2004: We left Geelong heading south west via Princes Highway to Warrnambool, we stopped for a breather at Winchelsea, took some photos, bought souvenir then continued on to Colac where we stopped for lunch and a tour around the town, then continued on to Terang and stopped again for a breather and then straight to Warrnambool where we checked in for a week at the Fig Tree Top Tourist Park. The delightful town of Warrnambool with a population of 25,500 is set on the western coastline on the Great Ocean Road. During our stay we visited the magnificent gardens surrounding the popular Fletcher Jones clothing factory, we visited Cannon Hill which offered panoramic views of the Bay and Lake Petrobe. We spent half a day at Tower Hill Game Reserve on the Princes Highway west of town, Tower Hill is based on an extinct volcano and has a large island in the middle. We climbed to the top of the rim where we were rewarded with excellent views of the volcano and the surrounding country side. Another day we visited the small town of Koroit about 20 km north west of Warrnambool, Koroit with a small population of about 1,500 mainly Irish is most popular for the production of onions and potatoes, the town has many wonderful historic buildings dating back to the 1,800's.

As we planned in Geelong, we left one morning to complete our tour of the Great Ocean Road; our first stop was the town of Peterborough then to London Bridge which was once a double arch resembling London Bridge but it collapsed in 1990 and is now a detached land mass, then we continued on to Port Campbell, a small Cray fishing town. Here we had lunch then we visited the Loch Ard Gorge, but the most spectacular landmark on the whole of the Victorian coastline The Twelve Apostles, offshore stacks which have eroded over the years, with eight now standing above the waterline. From here we continued on to Princetown, Lavers Hill, Glenaire and through the most spectacular, hilly and windy and panoramic Great Ocean Road until we arrived Apollo Bay, the last town in our journey where we settled for a fresh fish and chips dinner, then we drove back at night to Warrnambool.

         Warrnambool          Hotel

Great Ocean Rd., at Night

        
Port Campbell Beach  Port Fairy Post Office                     Colac Post Office - ColacKoroit Hotel - Koroit
 
1st November 2004: On the road again heading west along the Princes Highway (1) to Port Fairy where we stopped for lunch at the Port Fairy Bakery. this town of 2,500 is situated at the mouth of Moyne River and is a major crayfish and abalone port. A walk through town highlighted many historic buildings, and another walk along the jetty on the Moyne River where the fishing fleet docks is a must, then we stopped at the park for a coffee. We continued along the Princes Highway (1) for another 70 km, arriving at the town of Portland at about three o'clock in the afternoon and checked in for a week at the Centenary Caravan Park which was close to the town centre.
Cape Nelson Yellow RockCoffee at Port Fairy

       Portland Main Street

        Magic Nigretta Falls

The historic town of Portland has a population of 11,000 and surrounded by rich grazing land and has a number of buildings which are classified by the National Trust. Farmers used the port to ship their goods to Melbourne, as this was quicker than travelling by road. The area still seems to rely on grazing and fishing along with tourism as well as the aluminium smelter which has been established in the town. We took a day drive around the coastline to Cape Nelson and Cape Bridgewater. Another day drive to the town of Hamilton in the heart of the state's west and is Victoria's centre of fine wool. Here we visited the Big Woolbales centre and learnt a lot about the wool industry, then we toured the town and the Nigretta Falls, 

And that wrapped up our travels in the State of Victoria, so we move on and head to Mount Gambier in the State of South Australia.

Good bye Victoria and Hello South Australia

 

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