This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2002 Travels September 14


John sat around and brooded for much of the day. He was still feeling really upset. I told him that the decision about what we did now was totally his. I could put up with staying at Doom, if that was what he really wanted to do. But I also told him that I would be more than happy to resume our travels.

It was not like we ever had any real sense of being welcome and really a part of the school community – quite the opposite, really. We were too old to mix naturally with most of the young staff, who were too busy just surviving anyway. They saw me as allied with the DP, who they did not relate well to. We were perceived as threats to the positions of the older staff – at least until Thursday!

I think that what was probably most disheartening of all was that I could not see that our efforts – even if we stayed a year or more in the place – would make one iota of difference to the young people of the community.

I wandered about and explored the very pleasant environs of the camp area. As with the other places we had escaped to, for weekends, just relaxed and sat about.

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The Nicholson River at Kingfisher Camp

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2000 Travels December 15


We took our time getting away in the morning, clearing the park just by the 10am checkout time. We had the day to fill in, in order to allow K to get clear and the carpet cleaners to do their job.

We had a leisurely browse around the Healesville shops and bought some lunch there.

Drove down to Lilydale and went for a walk around the Lake.

Eventually we headed for home, getting there at 2.30pm.

The carpets had been done – they must have been early – and everyone was gone. The carpets were still damp, obviously.

The house was fine inside, as we expected. But the gardens were a dreadful mess, also as we expected, but worse. It was hard to believe they had been allowed to get that bad.

The vegetable garden was a wilderness, with blackberries over two metres tall.

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Once was the vegetable garden

However, K had made an effort and the lawns were freshly and neatly mowed.

The pool was bright green, with large scummy clumps floating on it.

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We would certainly not be short of things to do in the coming weeks and months! This was not the way we’d have chosen for the travel time to end.

John discovered that the shed guttering/drains had been blocked, so water had come in onto the floor of the shed and wet some of the things that V had stored there, including a mattress and base that would now only be good for the tip.

The cats were very pleased to see us.

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Cat rediscovering bed – this is more like it!

After we’d had a quick look around, we backed the van into its parking area and unhitched Truck – for the last time for some time, we guessed.

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Resting place for ? long……..

Tomorrow would begin the tasks of unpacking our house belongings back into place, emptying and cleaning the van – that would be a sad process!

When the house was more or less in order, then the gardens could be tackled.

It seemed really strange to be in a house sized residence again, instead of the very small van that had been our home for three years. The rooms that were empty of furniture echoed!

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Most of our house is in this room!

John went and bought fish and chips for tea.

At least, with our bed permanently made up in our room, all we had to do was clear things off it and we could fall into bed.

To work, tomorrow. Tomorrow is also my birthday……..

The trip was 1076 days long – almost 154 weeks. The decision to take early retirement and do this was the best decision we have ever made!

THE STATISTICS FOR 2000   (those for 99 & 98 in (  ) for comparison)

Note that our 2000 travel was 16 days short of a full year.

Kms travelled for the year:  36,129       (32,450     29,845)

Kms towed:                             16,587       (10,827      8220)

Cost of diesel:                        $4291.91   ($3061       $2532.21)

Average fuel consumption:      8.1kms per litre   (8.1   8.3)  Approx 12L per 100kms

Dearest diesel:     $1.35cpl – Kalumburu  ($1.15 Mt Dare    93 Seisia)

Cheapest diesel:     .76cpl – Claremont  (.56 Toowoomba    .63 Charters Towers)

Accommodation cost:   $5263.70     ($4757.35     $4845.10 )

Dearest accommodation per night:  $33 – Middle Lagoon  ($26 Yulara  $19 Toowoomba)

Cheapest paid accommodation per night:  $2 – Opalton  ($5 National Parks  $10 Boulia)

Average cost fuel and accomm per week: $191  ($150.36  $141.87) Budgeted for $200

Number of different places stayed at:  58    (56   46)

Longest stay in one place:  40 nights-Hobart (over 99/2000) (26- Healesville   35- Atherton)

Number of times moved camp:  66   (60   53)

The introduction of the GST in mid 2000 did have an effect on our travel costs.


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2000 Travels December 14


We got away from the park at 9am.

We were not hurrying, because John wanted to go to the red gum saw mill, where he bought a platter making slab and some small pieces that he would make chisel handles from. That lot cost $50.

The man at the mill persuaded John that, when he makes the red gum chairs to match the table that is already done, it would be better to cut out the chair frames, rather than try to steam bend them. I was pleased about that!

It was not too hot today, so was a comfortable drive.

We travelled towards Shepparton, as far as Undera, than south through Murchison.

We had lunch by the lake at Nagambie – a very pleasant place.

Then it was the usual route from Seymour, through Yea to Yarra Glen and then Healesville.

We reached the familiar Badger Creek Caravan Park by mid-afternoon. We had a drive through site, for $20.90, so were able to stay hitched up.

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Our last night……

We had to phone K to get him to contact Telstra to authorize handing over of the home number to us. He’d told us a week ago that this had been arranged, but did as we asked and then John was able to arrange what he needed to with Telstra.

We went for a walk around the grounds and up into the bush. There were lots of birds – parrots, doves, wrens, cockatoos, and there were currawongs calling. It was so long since we’d heard these that I’d forgotten how melodious they sound.

Tea was sausages, potato, salad.

There was a cool tinge to the night air. The tropics are so far behind us now.

So – this was the last night of our life on the road. Very sad.

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2000 Travels December 13


We were away by 8am.

Today was a very pleasant one. We had an easy drive along the Murray valley and were at Echuca by lunch time. Getting so much distance covered on that first day has enabled us to do wind-down stages at this end.

We stopped at Kerang to refuel – $1.05cpl.

The old Riverside Caravan Park has changed, being taken more upmarket, but it is really nice now. There is a lovely big pool. Our site cost $20.

We walked up to the old wharf tourist precinct and then further on to the redgum sawmill, to look at timber.

Late in the afternoon, I went for a swim in the pool. I couldn’t persuade John into the water – he stayed back at the van and read. I really enjoyed my swim.

Tea was roast potatoes that I cooked in foil, in the electric frypan outside. With that, John had some tinned fish, I had strasburg.

The evening sky was a vivid mid-blue colour – beautiful.

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2000 Travels December 12


We got up at 6am and were away at 7.

Today seemed slightly cooler than yesterday.

We paralleled the Murray River much of the way to Renmark. Occasionally we caught glimpses of the river down in its valley.

Refuelled at Renmark – $1.06cpl.

Eastbound traffic does not have to stop at the quarantine checkpoint near the Victorian border, but we still did not want to carry plant material from other areas into the fruit growing area along the Victorian Murray, so I had not stocked up.

Thus, we stopped at the shopping centre on the edge of Mildura where I bought bread for lunch, and some salad materials for tea. Also bought an Age newspaper – great to have one of these again!

We had decided to follow the Murray for a couple of days, rather than drive the more arid and hot route to Melbourne through the Mallee. So we headed off into NSW for a short time, then crossed the river back into Victoria at Robinvale, and from there along the river to Swan Hill.

Ate lunch as we went.

We lost more time today as we crossed the border back into Victoria.

The Swan Hill Caravan Park, beside the Murray, was very pleasant. It cost $20 for the night. We were able to stay hitched up.

John holed up in the van, being justifiably tired, and read, with the air-con going. I walked along the river bank to town and back.

In the late afternoon, we sat outside the van, watching the sunset being reflected in the river water – beautiful.

Tea was again cold chicken pieces and salad.

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2000 Travels December 11


We got up at 5.45am, and were away just before 7am, after a final feed of our magpie friends.

Today was a long, hot, day of driving.

The first stage was along the eastern coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Our schedule did not allow for stops to look at, or explore, the number of potentially interesting small settlements along that coast.

We reached Port Augusta in good time. Refuelled truck at $1.02cpl.

The forecast here was for 38 degrees by midday!

We continued on, up through the Horrocks Pass, where the long climb up did raise the temperature level on Truck, somewhat.

Then it was on through Wilmington, and the rather flat grain growing country of the mid-north. As the road bent around, there were occasional glimpses of the blue Flinders Ranges behind us.

We stopped for lunch near Orroroo, at the giant red gum tree, an impressive specimen thought to be hundreds of years old.

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Very elderly red gum tree at Orroroo

Rather than stop at Peterborough or Burra, we decided to push on to Morgan, because that would break the back of the hot, arid country driving.

The last part, through the hottest part of the afternoon, was really hard going, but worth it because the dreariest part was over.

We got to Morgan at 4.15pm. It was still very hot.

At the Riverside Caravan Park, beside the mighty Murray River, we were able to stay hitched up. That cost $15.85.

I bought a few salad items from the park shop, to go with tea, but not much because I was not sure about fruit fly quarantine checks tomorrow.

With a salad, we had the chicken I’d cooked yesterday – very nice.

After tea, we walked along the river and through the historic area of this once busy riverboat port. Watched the vehicle ferry or punt, take the odd vehicle across the river.

The river level was surprisingly high.

With the sun gone, the walk was quite pleasant.

There was a huge, pink, anvil shaped cloud in the distance and, later, a huge full moon.

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2000 Travels December 10


In the morning, we worked on Xmas card making, and I cooked some chicken pieces for tomorrow.

After lunch, went to bowls. There were few people, due to there being a couple of large parties on today. So we just had practice with another man. It was a good practice.

Storm clouds built up during the afternoon, and there were a few drops of rain.

Fuelled up Truck – $1.03cpl.

Back at camp, we packed up much of the stuff around the van and the inside.

Then we went on the Oyster Walk, around to the jetty.

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Paddling hard – young Pacific Gulls



Due to the clouds, the sunset was superb, and the reflections on the water were brilliant. Of course, I did not have the camera with me.

The sunset was a nice “goodbye” from here – and, essentially, the end of the trip. It really does feel like this is the end, as what is left is only a few days of driving and overnight stops.

For tea, I cooked John whiting, I had a tin of tuna and we had salad.

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2000 Travels December 9


It was a hot day.

I walked to get the papers and then we read them and had an early lunch.

After lunch, we went driving. Skirted around Kellidie Bay, the upper part of the large inlet system, and went around that and onto The Ledge – a narrow promontory of land that juts into the inlet, opposite Coffin Bay.

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The Ledge coast

John tried fishing at a couple of locations along The Ledge, but, again, no luck.

We saw a couple of really large stingrays that came right close to where we were on the rocks, and hovered in the water, looking at us. I’ve never seen them so close in the wild.

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I am watching you…..

Backtracked a little and then went through Wangary to Farm Beach. This fronts onto the open part of Coffin Bay and is another lovely, long, sandy beach. A few kms to its north is Gallipoli Beach, used in the film of that name.

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Farm Beach

Farm Beach was different in that there was a long line of caravans parked at the back of the beach. Presumably, these had been brought in by owners and set up for the summer; we doubted they would be left there all year, in the sometimes wild winter weather. As a setting it was superb, but we wondered about practical matters, like toilets, of which there were none! It was my guess that the low dune area behind the line of caravans, would not be all that pleasant at summer’s end!

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Caravans set up at the back of Farm Beach

Another novelty at Farm Beach was a large tractor “farm” – a collection of older tractors used to tow boats across the sand to launch them, and also to tow the caravans up the beach to their summer spots.

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The tractor “farm”

We enjoyed a long walk along the really attractive beach.

Then it was back to Coffin Bay, having driven some 80kms.

We bought another dozen oysters each – indulging in these local delicacies while we can! They are so much nicer having been gathered fresh the same day.

This morning, I bought some mince for the magpies – there are four regularly visit us now. They turn up and carroll and warble until they are rewarded with blobs of mince.

For tea we had the oysters, done as yesterday, followed by steak, potato and vegies.

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2000 Travels December 8


In the morning, I phoned a dentist in Port Lincoln and managed to get a 4pm appointment for the afternoon.

We drove to the Lincoln National Park, south of the town,  and followed several tracks that went to interesting sounding bays. The coastal scenery out there was really impressive. With more time, it would have been interesting to take the van and camp out there.

John tried some fishing, but no success. We had lunch out there, though I had to be very cautious about eating!

We were both feeling rather down, because of all the home stuff.

Back to Port Lincoln to the dentist. He put a new filling on the tooth, but said it might not last long. He still charged me $190!

On the way back to Coffin Bay, we bought another dozen oysters each.

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The waterways of Coffin Bay

For tea, we had the oysters half natural, half Kilpatrick style. We followed these with bought fish and chips – John had whiting, I had flake. All very yummy.

We drove 186kms today.

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2000 Travels December 7


Collected the mail from the Post Office and went through it. There were a couple of personal letters to provide some enjoyment. But K had not paid the water rates, as we’d asked him to do, so John had to pay those via phone.

Whilst John was thinking home business, he phoned the electricity and gas suppliers and ensured these accounts were changed back to us, as of December 15. It is getting horribly close!

Whilst at the Post Office, we’d sent off S’s Xmas presents.

I extended our stay by three more nights. This only cost $15.30 a night. I had no idea why they were cheaper.

After lunch, we walked this end of the Oyster Walk, which comes away from the town direction. Followed it along the shore, then up to the Lookout, around and then back into town. It was a bit hot, but good exercise.

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We bought a dozen local oysters – already opened – to share for tea, and followed those with baked potatoes with cheese topping.

Phoned K to let him know what we’d done about accounts. John would have to follow up with Telstra tomorrow about that account. K was not happy, because he’d just found out that he will not be able to access the new house until the settlement is done. After the banks open. Apparently, this was a surprise to him. Told him that the carpet cleaners are coming at 3pm, so he needs to be out by then – that was not well received. Well – none of this was our idea!

Clearly, we will not be welcomed home with open arms!

My big loose filling became even looser today.