SATURDAY 30 APRIL POREPUNKAH
The dog woke up just before 7am. John had not tied her to the table leg, so she bounced up to us and onto the bed, doing that “Aren’t you glad to see me?” act. I got up and gave her breakfast and took her for a walk; dog might be a morning creature, but John isn’t. We walked for about half an hour along a trail beside the Ovens River – very pretty. Dog stayed firmly on the lead as I didn’t want to risk her running off in an unfamiliar area.
When we got back, I made a coffee and sat outside. Couey seemed content to be tethered to the van – as long as I was in reach. She surveyed the caravan park activity around us, with interest, but quite calmly. Very encouraging. M appeared, and that did elicit some excitement; she and dog are already firm friends.
Eventually John got going. After breakfast, we walked along the riverside track to the Porepunkah shops, where I bought a paper. On the way back, I stopped at the site of a couple I “knew” from a caravanning forum site – had known they were camped here for a period of weeks. Made myself known to them. It was nice to finally meet up in person and we chatted briefly.
The townships of Bright and Porepunkah, only a few kms apart, are located beside the Ovens River, in a valley surrounded by ranges. In this part of the State, settlements and farms follow the little creek and river valleys. The surrounding hillsides are covered by a mix of native forest and plantation pine trees.
The annual Nut Festival was happening this weekend, at Wandiligong, so we drove there. “Wandi” is an interesting, historic village, the location of a minor gold rush back in the 1860’s. This has left its legacy in old buildings and other structures associated with those times. These days there are orchards in the valley, and chestnuts, walnuts and hazelnuts flourish.
We found lots of cars parked in the narrow main street. Figuring they knew what to do, we parked also, and followed a small stream of people walking, eventually getting to the park where the events were – and where there was lots of parking available! How do these herd movements start?
The festival was fairly small and rather disappointing. There were some produce and nut stalls, some food, some live entertainment. Half an hour saw us having been right round the stalls and with really nothing else to do there. One of us had to hold the dog, on her lead, and that really wasn’t conducive to browsing. But she behaved quite well, rather bewildered and a bit scared by all the people – and other dogs.
I bought a kilo of walnuts, in shells, and some home made pasta. John bought a chorizo sausage for his dinner tonight.
On the way back from Wandiligong, we stopped for a few minutes on the roadside, to watch para gliders landing in the adjacent paddock. The area is a centre for this sport, and hang gliding too. The idea of jumping from a great height in the hope of defying the laws of gravity, definitely held no appeal for me.
Went to a supermarket to buy a cask of water, as I’d found the tap supply very heavily chlorinated. There are few things worse than chlorinated coffee. As this was to be a relatively short trip, John had not bothered to refresh the van’s tank water. Bought some ciabatta rolls too.
The autumn colours in the district were wonderful, as was the crisp, fresh, air.
It was back to the van for a late lunch, after which we sat round reading the paper.
I’d asked the acquaintance couple to our camp for happy hour. M was there too. It was pleasant chatting to them about our respective travels, although it got rather chilly sitting outside, which put a natural end to proceedings.
Tea was soup, followed by sausages in bread rolls. I had a couple of lamb and rosemary sausages, from the freezer, John had the one he bought earlier.
John watched football on TV. I intended to read, in bed, but quickly fell asleep, despite the TV noise.