SUNDAY APRIL 17 HOME TO POREPUNKAH 305kms
John wanted to take another short trip before having more surgery, scheduled for the end of April – the 28th.
That date limited the time we had available. Unfortunately, the time also overlapped with Anzac Day, this year falling on a Monday and thus creating a long weekend. Usually, we avoid school holidays and long weekends like the plague, but it couldn’t be helped, this time. Maybe it wouldn’t be as busy as we feared? Decided that returning home on Tuesday 26 would avoid some of the worst holiday weekend traffic, at least.
A goal for some time had been to explore along the Murray River, from its upper reaches to the sea. We had already covered some sections, but there were plenty more to go. So the thought was to spend the eight or nine days we had available to us, this time, visiting the upper Murray. I had in mind Corryong, Yackandandah, and maybe one other place.
Plans, as usual, were made for amending…
John decreed that we would not rush to be ready to leave early, but would take our time and maybe only aim to reach Yea for our first night. This was code for wanting to play bowls on Saturday and leave his packing until Sunday!
It also enabled me to make a roast lamb dinner for M, on her birthday. We’d invited her along on our planned short trip, but she had other things to do. She didn’t even mention the idea of further travel with us to C!
In the event, we left, without any dramas, at 11.50am.
The day was gorgeous – sunny, just warm enough, blue sky with little cloud. One of the glorious autumn days that Victoria does so well.
We took the usual route north towards Yea.
Refuelled at Glenburn. $1.045 cpl.
In Yea, the many deciduous trees were making a brilliant autumn show of red and gold leaves. Autumn burning off made it fairly hazy in the area.
As it was only early afternoon, we kept going. Took the “back” way, for something different – via Merton and Bonnie Doon, to Benalla. This made a change from the usual route to Seymour and up the Hume Freeway.
Track cutting on hillside beyond Yea
Being Sunday, there was plenty of weekend traffic on the roads. Near Yarck, there was a sign indicating radar speed checking from a helicopter. I didn’t know they could do that! Gives a new meaning to “Eye in the sky”. I thought the sign might be counter-intuitive for road safety, with drivers peering upwards for helicopters and not looking at the road?
At Bonnie Doon, below the bridge that spans what is sometimes an arm of Eildon Reservoir, there was only a small trickle of water. Lake Eildon was again down to about a third full. This is bad news for water sports enthusiasts and tourism-based businesses.
I had packed us a healthy salad lunch before leaving. We stopped at Lake Nillahcootie Park for our lunch break. This was a great place for a stop. Plenty of room to park, toilets, picnic tables, and we were able to give Couey a good off-lead run. She clearly was very interested by the lake, but we were parked just far enough away from the water to deter her from running off to sample it.
Lake Nillahcootie park
The Lake Nillahcootie water level was also somewhat down, but there were some people fishing and doing other boat based things.
As we ate lunch, discussed a possible destination for the night, as we were clearly well past Yea! I suggested maybe having two or three nights at Porepunkah, thinking that the autumn colours displays would be brilliant in that area now, if what we’d seen to date, today, was any guide. We had stayed at a caravan park there in 2011, and liked it, so I phoned to see if they could fit us in. Yes, they’d just had a cancellation for an en-suite site and could do three nights. Good.
2.45 when we left Lake Nillahcootie. That had been a late lunch.
Cloud building over Lake Nillahcootie
As we continued north, began noticing a cumulus cloud build-up over the distant mountains – a nice contrast with the surrounding blue sky.
Took the Hume Freeway from Benalla to Wangaratta, then the Ovens Valley Highway, east through Myrtleford, arriving at Porepunkah at 4.20pm. Nice timing.
The drive along the Ovens valley was lovely, with superb autumn colours displays. The early settlers in that region planted so many European trees – poplars, oak, claret ash, in particular.
Our en-suite site at the Porepunkah Pines Caravan Park cost $48.60 a night, after discount. Our site had a cement slab. The bathroom was clean, with bathmat, hand towel and soap provided – not items one always gets in these places. This park has a very good camp kitchen/BBQ area, and an attractive pool complex.
While we were setting up, a car cruised through the park, selling local berries and walnuts. I bought a kilo of walnuts in the shell, for $10. The raspberries were really tempting, but were in frozen packs that were too big for my freezebox. The lady said she’d be round again on Wednesday, with fresh berries then.
After setting up, took Couey for a short walk, across the nearby suspension bridge over the Ovens River – pedestrians only – and along a track through the scrub on the other side of the river.
When we were here in 2011, Couey was only five months old and we’d only had her a month or so. She was still extremely timid about any new experience. It took us days, then, to persuade her to walk across the suspension bridge. Now, she charged across ahead of us!
One of the several attractions of this park is having tracks along the river where she can free range when we walk her. And, yes, from her viewpoint, free range into the river!
Had an abbreviated happy hour, sitting outside Bus, luxuriating in the surrounds.
Tea was cold roast lamb, left over from the special roast dinner I’d made last night, for friend M’s birthday. I used the camp kitchen microwave to cook asparagus and zucchini to go with the meat. This morning, I’d picked a lot of small zucchini from the plants at home and brought some of those away with us.
We were both really tired, and were in bed by 9.30pm. Unheard of, for John!