Left Lake Hume heading north east

Today was another move on day.  We left Lake Hume early on the Sunday having packed up the previous day.  

A strange thing I will remember from this place is going to the bathroom one early evening and as I walked in a guy comes out of one of the many shower cubicles stark naked complaining that he couldn’t get the water to heat up.  He then covered his modesty rapidly and retreated mumbling that he was sorry.  Question I had was who was he expecting and why be naked anyway?  Not that I asked him whilst making a sharp exit.

Heading north today we will get to our next stop at Jugiong, NSW which will be for one night only.  On the way we stopped at a great little town called Holbrook.  This place is amazing with a real good vibe, very clean with great old buildings and oh a submarine in the Main Street.  HMAS Otway is strangely located in a town 400 kilometres from the nearest sea port but was commanded by Norman Holbrook VC.

Check it out here: https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw/the-murray/holbrook

Back on the road and having made good progress we stopped again.  This time it was a longer break for lunch, give Max a walk a wee treat and some water in a town called Tarcutta.  This town is the opposite of Holbrook with a look of abandonment about it.  There was however a highlight in the Main Street of a mural on a wall  on the Tarcutta Memorial Hall.  This was to commemorate the people of Tarcutta who had served in the various conflicts. And returned soldiers who returned and were given plots of land in the district.

Fed rested and watered we got back on the road with another stop planned in Gundagai and the famous “dog on the tucker box” if you don’t know the story look it up and be amazed (not).  It was great for Max to meet a dog he would get on with.

This drive seems longer when writing it down and really wasn’t that much.   Next stop was in Goulburn and the famous “Big Merino”  we have stopped here so many times but it’s a good town with everything you would need including a great bakery where we grabbed a pie for me and a rats coffin (sausage roll) for Kaz.

We arrived at the town of Jugiong and found the campsite at the Showgrounds which were really good with well kept grounds close to the Murrumbidgee river and with bins everywhere.  We headed down the back of the massive grounds and drove on to a great level area with the bonus of not needing to unhook for an easy escape next day.  The town is really small but has a large restaurant and close by a real country style pub with a beer garden where we could take Max to and enjoyed some chips washed down with a couple of ciders.   When darkness fell it fell hard and was in fact a complete black out and so quiet that the three of us enjoyed a fantastic sleep.   Next morning was a piece of cake with the van still hooked up.

Where to go next – we rolled the dice and Berrima, NSW came out the winner.  WE booked in to the Berrima reserve (with only 4 spots for camping) by the Wingecarribee river. Then set up camp and took a walk to the beautiful  wee town. Had a wander and of course as it was a bit chilly we found our way to the Surveyors General Inn Australia’s Oldest Continuously Licensed Inn 🤷🏻‍♀️ no surprise.  We are usually sat out side however BONUS the barmaid allows Max into the bar which has a wonderful open fire Woo Hoo.  We settle in and have only one drink……. then we head back to the van for dinner Mince and Tatties were on the menu👌

Now the idea was maybe to stay here for a couple of nights however the temp was so so cold in the morning we felt it was time to roll the dice again.  We did meet a fellow camper Fran who was from Melbourne.  She was travelling on her own for roughly four months and was driving in a converted van.  You can see Frans van in the pic above. However Berrima has some great walks and great history. There was a World War One German Internment camp close by and unlike other camps the prisoners were allowed to leave the camp between 6 am and 6 pm.  base yourself there and you can do some great walks giving a great insight in to the lives of the prisoners.  We then headed for a lovely little terrace cafe and shared a bacon and egg sandwich and scones, jam and cream with coffees. Max also received doggie biscuits and a tint piece of bacon.

We opened up our travelling bibles of Wikicamps and the weather app to help us decide our next destination.  We really have to get north and find some warmer weather and sunshine.  We decided on the district of Richmond which has a great stop at the Richmond Sports Club who allow parking across the road from their club.  It sounds a bit strange and kinda is as across the road is a huge car park where caravans, motor homes and buses can park really cheap.  We just needed heat and although not crazy hot it was nice to be in the 21+ range.  Close by were the usual Aldi, Woolworths and Dan Murphy like every other city district.  We laid low and stayed pretty chilled for a few days.

Having had enough of sleeping in a car park we packed up and moved on once again heading north avoiding the Sydney cbd as much as possible. This time Kaz is driving and in our mantra of getting north we arrive at the Showgrounds at Morisset where we see that it is extremely busy. There is also Covid testing happening and I manage to speak to a women in a Jayco Journey just like ours who tells us that the place is full. We aren’t too disappointed as having left Richmond the rain has been constant and this place is waterlogged and miserable. Plan b is now the go and we drive on to Lake Macquarie where we book in to the Big4 Mannering Park. The rain is still on but we are spoiled with the new van we just reverse in, put out the awning and get inside to take shelter. Forecast for tomorrow is better.

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Lake Hume, Albury NSW

So we spent two weeks at Lake Hume near Albury-Wodonga NSW.  We arrived on the Sunday after a short drive from beautiful Bright, got set up and then headed back over the border to Victoria.  Heading ver the Bethanga Bridge to a small town called @bellbridge ( more on the bridge later) visiting a friend(Sarah M). Champagne was popped and ginger beer (not together) and we settled down and watched a spectacular sunset in a beautiful home.  A perfect way to start our time here. 

The next day through the rain and a spectacular storm we discovered we had no 240 power. We reported it to the park, they came down and tested, turned out problem wasn’t their power it was our new van🤷🏻‍♀️.

We called a few places who all mentioned the trip switch which we had already tried.  No caravan repair place could send someone out or were booked out until June😒. We called Jayco head office who came to the rescue and said call an electrician out and they will reimburse us.  We called Rohan @johnbelectrics who came out on Wednesday afternoon and fixed the faulty RCD switch which had been terribly put together.  Thankfully it happened early in to the trip and not in the middle of nowhere.

On Thursday we had planned to head to Albury for supplies ( mostly wine 🍷) and were meeting up with Sarah and her family at a great wee country pub @bethangahotel.  We left Max in the van and with darkness having fallen we headed along the windy roads which were a challenge at times but arrived to see a great roaring fire. The food and company were lovely and lots of laughs were had.  We returned to the van where Max had certainly missed us.

The next few days we enjoyed lots of walks to the lake and the dam.  Max loves the lake especially when it gets too deep and Steve has to go get the frisbee. We headed for a walk over the rocks towards the bridge I think Max just swam the whole way and also managed to find 2 🎾 so ball count begins. 

Back to the van we decide to have a quick swim in the pool. Steve jumped in first could hardly breathe when he surfaced, now with Steve being prone to exaggeration I thought it would be 👌 OMG so so cold 🥶 just about managed to swim to the stairs quickly jumped out, headed for a hot shower and then an early shout for FOCC ( @somewhereintheworlditsfiveoclock).

The Cats were playing Richmond so we setup the TV outside and watched the game with a nice bottle of red. And an equally nice result.

Pretty relaxed time after that although we did have a visit to Kinross where we had a great pizza lunch at the Woolshed pub complete with Max in tow.  The pizza was so big we only managed to eat half but got the rest to go which was scoffed later for tea.  Recommend the cider at this place in addition to the cool country vibe.

We went for a drive on Sunday and visited the Sunday market in Albury which was at the bottom level of the car park.  It was worth the visit but we only bought some treats for Max.  It was then back over the Bethanga Bridge.  We do like to look for a Scottish connection when we go places and were not disappointed. Seemingly the Bridge was originally a Swing Bridge at Leith Docks in Edinburgh which was dismantled and brought over to Australia and looks great in its current position.  We head to the Kurrajong Lookout which provided amazing views over the lake.  We decide to finish off with another visit to the Bethanga Hotel Max in tow where we sit outside enjoying a roaring fire 🔥 and treated ourselves to lunch.

One of the times we took Max to the beach, I threw the frisbee which sailed out further than normal which Max decided he was not swimming out to get it. That left one choice me or Karen. As I say one choice, “me”. Lucky I was wearing shorts I thought as I waded in to the lake which was quite similar to the pool but not quite as cold. As I continued to wade out the water level increased and was getting to the more uncomfortable parts of me and that’s when it happened. As I stretched out to grab the prized frisbee I slipped took a step to far and suddenly I am waist deep in water and Karen is just about falling over with laughter at my expense. I waddle out of the lake and squelch my way to the van grab a towel and it’s off for a hot shower.

Leaving Freeborough.

Having spent an amazing few days here already it is time to move on and we are up early where Kaz cooks up a magnificent breakfast of egg, Bacon, black pudding, toast, orange juice tea and coffee. This was devoured speedily and having packed up earlier we are ready to grab one more stop at the Freeborough Market. To be honest blink and you would miss it although the thing got lively when the local fire guys got a call and they legged it to the truck then left with lights on and sirens blaring. Shortly after it was time for more goodbyes. Brian and Rhonda heading back to Geelong and us taking the road north to Lake Hume, NSW. A bit surreal crossing the border after so long. Glad to be heading north to hopefully sunnier weather.

After a short drive we arrive at the Lake Hume caravan park. We have a great deal here of stay 14 days pay for 7. This is a place we have been before and thoroughly enjoyed. We get to our allocated site and are pleased to see that we have four empty spots next us and the camp kitchen just along a bit which is spotless and well equiped. Max is keen to get down to the lake with his frisbee and he is in and out having a splashing time. I then throw the frisbee a little further out where he decided one of us can fetch it. I wade in and the water is getting deeper as I reach the frisbee I lose my balance fall forward and the water is up past my waist which Kaz finds hilarious.

Later, Kaz gets a call from a friend Sarah who’s family live across the lake and we head round for a visit. The property is a stunner with impressive grounds and a swimming pool to boot. We spend a few hours and head off back to our tiny home in the dark having viewed a fantastic sunset. We will meet up later in the week at the local pub for dinner.

Freeborough, Victoria

Today, morning arrived with a bit of a kick and a low 4 degree outside temperature.  It was however bright and sunny.  Our intention this morning was to sort out the gear we are carrying between cold, hot and hotter.  We managed this after about three hours, sorting both the inside of the car and van then the roof top storage bags.  These have been really good and we would recommend them so far.  With that job completed we head to the nearby town of Bright and find a spot for some food and coffee.  The drive in is breathtaking with the tree lined roads full of amazing autumn colours.  The town is bustling with tourists including ourselves all lapping up the great vibe.

We are hooking up with Family today, Brian, Rhonda and of course Hazel and Lily(Max’s cousins😜) arrive later in the afternoon. Perfect time for us to start 5 O’clock cocktails a bit early and enjoy the show of them setting up their roof top and ground tents (we did offer to help honestly).  Once set up we enjoy some  music and chat.  Brian provided a big surprise by opening a bottle of tawny port from @Rockford wines which is a beautiful drop.  This was demolished in no time and then it was time for bed.

Next day we headed to the market at Mount Beauty. Again a spectacular drive with amazing colours all of it along the twisting and turning road.  Having negotiated our way past the crochet tables adorned with toilet roll holders we found the Jam and chutneys woo hooo, some crazy concoctions going on here.  We then headed back to Bright for lunch which is now even busier and lots of places are booked out for lunch.  We manage to find a spot where Max and the other dogs would be allowed and grab some much needed food.  The bright local talent show is on and all we hear is bagpipes. With the Melbourne Pipe band doing a bit of a gig still not sure who won.
next stop was the Alpine apples orchard where they produce some of the best cider in the country as well as their super tasty apples. Time for some beers @bright brewery. Then back to the Freeborough for more 5 o’clock cocktails and chat. Now some of you may know but Max is not the most sociable 12 year old puppy🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️so this was his first time meeting the cousins let’s just say they are working it out still😳

Bright, Victoria

After leaving friends and family we took off and headed towards Melbourne, joined the western ring road then the Hume highway north to the Victorian alps region. This would be probably our longest drive which with stops would take five hours. This might demonstrate the sheer size of Australia. The drive was great with no incidents as we drove being overtaken by hundreds of trucks.

All important fuel and tyre pressure check.

We stayed 8k out of Bright in the little hamlet of Freeborough for three nights.  This is a place we have visited before but always wanted to return in Autumn to see all the colours changing on the trees.  We were certainly were not disappointed.  I will let the pictures do the talking as I don’t have words good enough to do them justice.  

We had Thursday to ourselves and spent some time sorting out all the stuff we are carrying in to some order.  Hopefully soon we can pack away our winter gear and live in our singlets and shorts as we head north.  

Having set up the van as usual and with darkness descending soon we head inside where Kaz attempts to turn on the interior lights and, nothing.  None of the lights turn on and we have a slight panic having only just started the trip.  We check fuses, then the control box where all seems good.  Kaz suggests we ask the question of the Jayco Journey group brains trust on Facebook.  So on I go and ask said question only for Kaz to press the power button for a second time and all the lights come on.  Answers are arriving amazingly fast and I then have to confess to our rookie mistake.  By this time we are both relieved, happy but also tired and decide we would have a ridiculously early night.

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