New people arrived today with the exact same caravan as us although theirs has been used twice. Because of this they ask us lot’s of questions and ask us to assist them in setting up their awning. Changed days, as for a long time we have been the ones using a help sheet given to us by a random person years ago who could see how, challenged we were in all things caravan. So like pro’s we provide info and like cabin crew demonstrate the ways in which we operate and they are mucho grateful. Interestingly they are towing with a Ford Territory which must be tough not only in pulling power but also legally due to weight requirements.
We scoff some toast and head east again to Echuca this time heading to the Echuca Market.
I actually bumped in to big Boris this morning (park owner) who told me that today he is getting his Harley Davidson out and heading like us to the Echuca Market which he recommended. 30 minutes later we arrive back in Echuca which is just as packed as yesterday. We again score a great parking spot and only have to walk across the road to the sprawling market. The market itself has the usual stuff we have seen Australia wide plus live music with two old boys playing guitars and singing the dreaded country music.
We walk row upon row of stalls and Kaz buys some hair things which she seems happy with. With the market ticked off and to be honest not that great although large, we head to the Port area to see some paddle steamers and find somewhere for a brunch type thing. We end up at Murray and Shona’s cafe on the high street. Obviously from the names there is a Scottish element here and when Murray hears our accents he has quite a number of stories he feels we would want to hear and actually produces the best Irish, supposed to be Scottish accent ever heard. Think Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
As we are moving to Echuca tomorrow we have an idea to check out a couple of parks as we have nothing booked. One park we know well is the Shady River Park over the bridge in Moama. We drive their really to remind ourselves how close it is to Echuca for using the bikes in to and out of. We then have a look at the Murray River Park which is literally just over the bridge between Victoria and New South Wales but both this one and the Shady River are jam packed due to the holiday weekend but we will return Monday after checkout has happened for those going back to work next day.
We decide we have seen enough today and point the car in the direction of Gunbower but instead of returning to the park we decide to visit the Torrumbarry Weir which is essentially a dam for controlling the amount of water which feeds in to and controls the level of the Murray river.
It even has a fish ladder which we have not seen since leaving Scotland many years ago where it is used for migrating Salmon. In this part of the world it is used predominantly for Carp as well as many other smaller fish species.
The weir cost 35 million dollars and was opened by the then Prime Minister John Howard and has been a great success since. There is also a great little visitor centre full of fantastic info and videos on the history of the area and the construction of the Weir.
Having done our educational/culture stuff it’s 10 minutes to the park. The temperature is really good with bright sunshine so it’s back to the pool for a dip which is just superb. Just before us was a group of people having a splash about and we spot a floater in the pool and decide to be safe and fish out said floater wondering if it originated from a human but thankfully it turns out to be just a leave.
Tonight there will be no pub as we have cooked our own food of Bolognese with pasta, garlic bread and yep, a glass of red. After which we will chillax and watch the sunset before lights out on another great day on the road.
Up early as usual and as it’s leaving day again, we are out grabbing supplies as our next stop will not have much .
Aldi first, Bunnings then fuel and back to the camp where there is a mass exodus happening but later the opposite will occur due to the holiday weekend this place is fully booked out.
We hook the car up and we are gone and back on the road.
Kaz score’s today’s turn to drive, it’s a trip of about an hour and a half to the tiny town of Gunbower which is about 30+k’s west of Echuca, Victoria. We have booked this one for a change due to the numbers on the road due to the holiday. We will be there for three nights which is great as we can set our camp up fully. The weather is also about to improve and it should be sun, sun and sun for the next week and temperatures around 27 degrees, nice.
The drive is uneventful except for the huge road trains giving us shockwaves which keep pushing our mirrors in but in no time we arrive at the Gunbower Caravan Park and get booked in and guided in to our allocated space.
The space seems quite small but it is a great grassed area and is really clean. We unhook the van, set it level as usual and then bring out all our stuff for a long stay and that’s when it happens.
There is a Peppercorn tree we didn’t notice and when the wind blew, a heap of seeds get released and hit the roof of the van which turns it in to a snare drum. Without missing a beat I am back in the office requesting a move to another spot due to said rata tat tat. The woman is really nice about it and to push our luck even further we request a particular spot of our choosing which she thankfully agrees to but on the condition that we wait till her hubby return in half an hour and he will assist us reversing in to the space. Long story short, we move all our stuff to the new spot and then hubby arrives to help us. Boris is an absolute giant of a man who gives me the biggest hand crushing handshake I have ever had and with his expert help we have now moved and set up fully at last.
We take a walk in to town which consists of a Roadhouse/Fuel Station and of course a local pub. Gunbower also has Australia’s largest inland island (Gunbower Island) which is home to protected populations of Kangaroos, Emus, Goannas, Possums, snakes and over 160 varieties of birds.
Plan today is just to chill out which we are masters at.
We do however get the Webber on later and it’s Aldi eye fillet steaks with baked spuds, mushrooms and onions all washed down with a glass of red or maybe two.
Later we head in to the local pub named the Gunbower Hotel for a Friday night drink and see what the local action is.
The pub is actually heaving with people including most of our fellow campers and the owners of the park. We watch as the locals all order and get stuck in to what looks like great food and we hatch a plan to come back and eat here tomorrow night. We also get our doggie fix as there is a Golden Retriever called Max who is the pub dog and has his bed outside and welcomes people as they arrive. As the sun starts to set we head off and return to base to sit outside and watch yet another sunset then lights out on another great day.
This morning the rain seems to have moved on and it looks like the sun will be back. Today we have breakfast and soon after head for the Pioneer settlement which is a bit like Sovereign Hill in Ballarat.
It has lot’s of old buildings including a school house, Dentist, Blacksmiths, local pub from back in the day and lot’s of machinery including a Glasgow Tractor.
We also get a ride in a horse drawn wagon and then we are taken on a drive in an original Dodge car.
The horse is a beautiful Clydesdale and pulls the wagon along easily and at his own pace.
We head in to the olde shop and meet a fantastic lady who demonstrates an original record player from back in the day and an old harpsichord which still worked fine.
Later we take a cruise down the river on an original paddle steamer PYAP and see some amazing house boats and homes as we cruise along.
Afterwards we have a caravan chat with the two couples next to us who have the same van as us but one of them is the new model and we all discuss the merits of it.
Tomorrow we will leave this site and town due to this weekend being a holiday and the camp is a sell out. We will travel along the road a short distance to the town of Gunbower which is close to the town of Echuca which is also a sell out for the coming weekend.
Later we head back to the Swan Hill Club for happy hour and grab some food whilst there. On the way back we take the park path which has a range of free gym equipment which we have a go at as we walk back to the van.
We pack up all our gear which will make life easier in the morning and our drive will take about an hour and a half tomorrow. No Survivor tonight, bugger.