This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


2010 Travels The rest of 2010


John completed the rest of the six month trial on the new anti-clotting drug, with no apparent adverse effects. But then, trial period completed, it was back onto warfarin, with the accompanying weekly blood tests and see-sawing INR readings.

A while later, the trial drug was approved for use for a different condition, and our GP managed to obtain supplies of it for John to take, replacing the warfarin. Eventually, a couple of different drugs containing the trial substance were approved and put on the PBS list, and John moved to taking one of those. 

The puppy came home. The little female we had chosen had been the runt of the litter, but was so lovable – initially! She had some of the blue heeler markings of her heeler cross stumpy tail cattle dog mother – the tan eyebrows and facial marking, and paws. But she had a partial tail only.

We called her Birdy, just to confuse people!

Until now, I had not known anything about the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog – or even that such a breed existed. But some research revealed that the breed was developed in Qld in the 1800’s, from a mix of ancestry similar to our blue and red heeler cattle dogs, but also a naturally bob-tailed dog used in stock herding work in some English markets, and probably some dingo. Those involved were seeking a dog with great cattle working instincts but also the stamina to work in the outback conditions. A “proper” stumpy is either mottled red, or mottled blue/black, but not a combination. A pure bred one does not have the brown facial markings and feet of the blue heeler breed. Our pup was definitely a mix of heeler and stumpy.

A red stumpy

The breed fell out of favour for decades and almost disappeared, but some enthusiasts bred up the line again, and had the breed officially recognised as distinct, with listed breed characteristics. So, a pure-bred stumpy is either blue-black mottled, or red-white mottled. They do not have the facial markings of the heelers. They have a naturally occurring stump tail no more than 4 inches long.

A “blue” stumpy

Birdy proved to be a very determined little lady. She did not like being shut in the laundry at night, and her crying kept us awake. Bit like having a new baby! Toilet training was not a concept she fully grasped, for a long time. She proved to be an inveterate chewer, not only of her toys, but also of anything with a wooden corner – like skirting boards! But she was very lovable and clearly trying to do the right thing – just having difficulty figuring out what that was. We eventually concluded that, being the runt, she may have been a bit brain damaged at birth.

Taking her for her daily walks at the Lilydale Lake was good for our fitness.

In September, John turned 70. I put on a pizza party for some of his surviving siblings, all older than him. The Bendigo family came down for a weekend, and grandson stayed on for a week of the school holidays.

Grandson and Birdy adored each other. Because of her scatty ways, he called her “mad dog”. She was very different to the two docile whippets he had at home!

Late in the year, after five month old Birdy had been neutered, it was time to see how she adapted to caravan life. She had already demonstrated that car travel was quite acceptable, and she behaved alright when she encountered other people and dogs on her walks.

With M, we went to a caravan park at Cowes, on Phillip Island, for three nights. Set up on a site that was a good distance from other campers.

We did some sightseeing and a lot of walking. Introduced Birdy to the beach. She took to the waves – literally. But made herself sick trying to bite the waves and thus taking in lots of salt water.

However the trip was not a great success. Birdy had no sense of boundaries. As far as she was concerned, anyone she could see or hear from the van was an intruder and she barked and growled accordingly. At night she spent a lot of time – in the van – barking and growling at noises only she could hear.

We concluded that we would have to be pretty cautious about travel with her, because we didn’t trust that she wouldn’t have a go at other campers if they came too close. Could just hope that, as she matured, and with more practice, she would settle down.

Birdy was definitely a two speed dog – either full tilt into running, digging, chewing…..or dead to the world.

Any gardens we didn’t want excavated had to be fenced….
That was my knitting!

And so ended 2010.

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2010 Travels May 22


In the morning, I went with daughter and grandson to the central shopping area.

While we were away, John tried to set up the new TV/DVD player they’d bought, so the record function would work for them. He wasn’t sure he’d managed it though.

After an early lunch, we went off with them to watch grandson play soccer, parking Truck and van near the soccer ground. It was only the third game the kid had played, and he didn’t seem to have much idea about it. Actually, none of the little players did!

After that, we parted from the family, and headed for home. Again, it was familiar and routine. The countryside was lovely and green. There was noticeably more regrowth in the bushfire ravaged sections across the Dividing Range.

We arrived home at 4.30pm. Got the basic unpacking done.

Bought a cooked chook from the local shop for John’s tea. I couldn’t be bothered foraging for myself, so had some of the chicken. It was quite nice and we didn’t have any ill effects after.

It had been great to get away for a break, but was also good to be home, where there was a bit more space – and I can get away from the background TV.

Tomorrow, we would go to select our new puppy, though she wouldn’t be ready to come home for a few more weeks yet. That was such an exciting prospect.

Our pup on her first day home

On Monday, John would be off to see the folks at the ECRU unit again. He had managed this trip so much better than we had expected. It was probably good for him to have distractions from the state of his lungs and general health.

I wondered, though, when and where the next adventure would be? The events of earlier this year had demonstrated that we could no longer automatically count on being able to tackle an extended trip, every year.


*  away for 32 nights

*  accommodation cost $690.30 out of pocket

*  accommodation discounts $15.70

*  towed van 3520 kms


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2010 Travels May 21


We were up at 8am, away at 9.30.

It was a routine drive, done so many times before, to Bendigo.

Fuelled at Sea Lake. Lunch was at a rest area near Culgoa – a pleasant spot, but very littered. There were very few locusts about now. The cold weather must have accounted for them.

Reached Bendigo right on school finishing time. Had just finished backing into the driveway, when daughter and grandson arrived home.

I’d had our mail re-directed here, for the trip duration, to save having to ask a favour of the flat tenant. Grandson had been responsible for collecting it from the box and storing it. John paid him $20 for doing this, then tried to work out what his daily rate of pay had been. The kid was a bit young, yet, for that sort of maths.

Daughter was concerned to hear that helping with her resume had inadvertently led to John “breaking” his laptop.

Fish and chips for tea, which we bought.

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2010 Travels May 20


I got up at 8.30am.

M had already gone from her site. She was off to Swan Hill, further along the Murray, today. Friends were doing a house sit there and she would spend a few days with them. I felt a bit lonely!

Gol Gol site

Today was to be a lay day for us, to give John a rest from two long days of driving. Even though I took a turn at the wheel when he needed a nap, he still did the bulk of the driving – his choice.

The impatient man from yesterday was equally impatient this morning, hitching up to move on. He would not be a delight to travel with, for sure.

After John got going, we drove back across the river, into Mildura.

At the Information Centre, I collected a number of up-to-date booklets about Victorian regions. It looked, now, that our travels would be confined closer to home, for at least the short term, so I needed such material.

Needed a quick supermarket visit to get food for tonight.

It was then John’s choice to visit Woodsies Gem Shop, where we spent some time browsing. The very comprehensive displays were interesting. I managed to buy a pair of turquoise earrings – my birth stone. I will be able to remember this trip by the assorted earring purchases!

We had a Subway lunch. I was used to the bacon in my usual order being microwaved before being put in the sub. Here, it went in raw – and was still raw after the roll had been toasted. Not nice at all.

Back across the river but turned left, towards Wentworth and thus to Orange World. This is quite a slick citrus marketing outlet, much more so than the more common roadside stalls in these parts. I bought a bag of oranges  for each of my offspring plus one for ourselves, a bag of mandarins ditto, and some  grapefruit for us. John’s impulse buy was a citrus peeler – rather a clever gadget.

For most of the rest of the afternoon relaxed back at camp, though we did summon up enough energy to go walking along the road that parallels the river, again, for a little exercise.

Gol Gol area. Caravan park beside Punt Road. Prime river side real estate….(Zoom)

Chicken schnitzels for tea, with some salad.

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2010 Travels May 19


We gave our remaining fruit and vegie stocks to the caravan park lady, knowing that we would be reaching the fruit fly exclusion zone of the irrigated regions along the Murray River today.

It was a pleasant day, sunny, just warm enough.

We were travelling a familiar route, interesting enough though. I still could not make up my mind what I really thought of the long march of wind farm towers that dominated the ridge lines as we travelled along the western side of the low ranges. There seemed to be more of these every time we came this way. They do have an eerie kind of beauty.

Had a coffee break at the punt area at Morgan, just as we had a few weeks ago.

The Morgan punt

Refuelled and ate lunch at Renmark. Again, John wanted to continue on. So I phoned the caravan park at Gol Gol and booked us into an ensuite site – a touch of extra comfort for our last camp of the trip.

We traversed the rather monotonous stretch between Renmark and Mildura. Crossed the Murray into NSW and went on to Gol Gol, some nine or ten kms from Mildura.

Our site at Rivergardens Caravan Park at Gol Gol cost $27 a night. M had an ordinary site, some distance from us. Our site was on the small side, the access road in front of it was narrow, and it took some backing and forwarding to get us into it. We could not stay hitched up. It was not a particularly attractive site, just gravel.

The site to our left was a corner one. We had just about finished out setting up when a larger caravan than ours arrived by that site. The man stopped to look at it, then drove around the loop road past us, in order to approach his site from the back and drive through onto it. He was clearly in a foul mood which we could tell from his comments and expression, was not improved upon viewing his site. He drove far too fast around the loop road, charged onto his site – and clipped the security light post, taking off a van mudguard and scraping the van side down the post. It made a really loud noise. His lady, who was standing watching, didn’t say a thing. We tried to look as if we really were not paying any attention!

The man got out of his 4WD, began to unhitch, then – when he went around the other side – looked at the van damage and said “When did that happen?”. Maybe he was deaf as well as bad tempered. It really was quite a mess – but what a clown! We avoided any interaction with him, though I felt rather sorry for the lady.

With M, went for a walk along the road near the park, past a lot of very substantial homes that had frontage to the Murray River. As did our caravan park – but its river frontage, and views, were occupied by cabins, not van sites.

We did note in our walk, that there were some much nicer, grassed sites on the other side of the park – but they were not en-suite.

We had our happy hour by our van, with M, talking over highlights of our trip. It certainly had gone by really quickly.

Tea was chicken noodle soup, with added creamed corn, ham and egg.

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2010 Travels May 18


The alarm went off at 7am. There was a heavy fog outside – a real pea-souper. M’s tent was very wet. We did not hurry breakfast and our pack up, knowing that she’d be delayed. Left the park at 9am.

It was a pretty drive, along the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula. As we’d told ourselves on earlier trips, some day soon we must return and really take our time down this section, exploring the small places.

We had a coffee break at Cowell, and a lunch stop at Whyalla, in a sort of park, overlooking a wetlands development. That was a pleasant place for the break.

Fuelled up at Port Augusta, as we had done so many times before, over the years since 1993.

John was feeling fit enough to continue on to Peterborough, rather than stay a night here.

We suggested that M lead the way through the uphill, winding Horrocks Pass. Usually she preferred to follow – at a good distance – but we knew our rig would be slower than the Troopy through here.

Just after reaching the top of the Pass, a whooshing noise was to be heard. It was immediately obvious that a tyre on Truck was going down. John thought it was maybe a valve issue – related to having let down the tyres at Coffin Bay. Fortunately, there was adequate room to pull over and change the wheel. In one sense the fates were on our side – it could have been quite tricky if we’d had to change the wheel part way up the Horrocks Pass climb.

Meanwhile, M was waiting for us in Wilmington….. and waiting….. Our CB’s wouldn’t connect, due to hills and distance. Eventually, we were able to exchange text messages, and we caught up to her in Wilmington.

Then, about 30kms short of Peterborough, M radioed us, from behind, that it was her turn for a flat tyre! The passenger side rear one, just like ours had been. We managed a U-turn and went back to help her change the wheel.

So, we were considerably later than intended when we reached Peterborough. It was almost dark.

We got adjacent sites, for $26, and did a basic set up only. M put up the roof tarp that would give her a bit of shelter while she cooked her tea at the back of the Troopy.

Peterborough camp the next morning

Tea was Mongolian lamb – with help from a packet mix – and rice.

All were tired after the long and eventful day, and went early to bed. It was a freezing cold night.

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2010 Travels May 17


Yesterday a new outfit came onto the next site. Someone in there snored really, really loudly, through most of the night. I felt besieged – snorers within and without.

There was some light drizzle overnight and a heavy sea fog. This morning, there was much condensation under the awning, and drips everywhere.

Straight after lunch, John phoned Telstra because his laptop was not working properly and would not connect to the internet. A couple of days ago, he received an email from someone unknown, asking him to check the attached resume. He didn’t pause to read the sender information, just saw “resume” and assumed it was from daughter, whose resume he’d helped with a few weeks ago. He opened it. Bad mistake. There was, apparently, nothing there, of course. Then his protection program told him his computer was under attack. Now, he couldn’t get onto the internet.

John spent a lot of time talking to Telstra. No solution was found. He didn’t tell them about the email he’d opened – too embarrassed! So now they think he has a problem with the modem.

We drove to the town centre and returned the Whalers Way key. Yesterday, we’d arranged that, thinking we could well be back after  closing time at the Information Centre.

In the Lincoln National Park

We walked the ship commemorative walk along the foreshore. Plaques along this pathway featured ships that had, at some time, been associated with the town and area. Boston Bay was a natural deep water harbour and so shipping had been an integral part of the town. The wharf complex still provided an import/export facility for the Eyre Peninsula – evidenced by the big grain silos there and the rail lines to the jetties.

Port Lincoln foreshore walk

As we walked, out attention was drawn by much bird noise. We could see flocks of seagulls following and trying to land on loaded trucks that were leaving a wharf. We realized that these trucks contained the food used at the tuna farms – obviously seagull food too.

Did a small grocery shop. Had coffee at the good coffee shop. It was unusual for John to partake of same – but he was outvoted this time. Had a Subway lunch.

Bought up big at the seafood outlet shop – whiting, kingfish, tuna, all of which I then froze, and some oysters too.

We did a partial pack up of the camp. Took down our awning in case it got wet in the night to come.

Tea was an oyster entree for John, then we both had sausages and mash.

We had squeezed as much time in these parts as we could, given John’s appointment schedule, but now it was time to head for home. I planned our stages to provide some slack, not knowing how John would manage on any given day.

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2010 Travels May 16


I woke feeling somewhat better, but still not one hundred percent. However, the forecast was for a weather change for the worse after today, so it was decided we had to do the Whalers Way drive today.

Whalers Way is a route around some absolutely brilliant coastal scenery to the south of Port Lincoln. The gravel track is on private property and access is strictly monitored. As the name suggests, there are some associations with the whale hunting of the early colonial times.

Off we went to the Information Centre in town, where we paid $30 for our permit to do the drive, and were given an access key, and map.

Initially, our route was the same as a couple of days ago – to Tulka. But then we kept straight ahead, passing the Sleaford Mere Conservation Park. Sleaford Mere is a large lake, at the area where the Jussieu Peninsula – where the Lincoln National Park is – joins the main land area. If Sleaford Mere was a bit larger, the Peninsula would be an island.

There was whaling activity in these parts, briefly, in the period around 1840. The names of various features around the drive, developed by the local farmer on his land, are largely whaling related. The actual whaling “settlement” was at Fishery Bay, by which the drive starts. This was as far as open public access went.

Fishery Bay

At the entrance station was an old blubber pot, in which pieces of whale would have been boiled down for oil.

At the Information Centre, we had been shown which of the side tracks off the main drive, to various features, were able to be driven, with 4WD, and which were best walked the relatively short distances involved.

First stop was by a track to be walked, to the Swimming Hole. Or, to be more accurate, to the cliffs above same.

The Swimming Hole

There were superb coastal views, the cliffs, and a very small, smooth pool.

Despite its name, attempting to try for a swim there would have been a foolhardy exercise, given the cliffs and the unpredictable nature of rogue waves in these parts. But it looked lovely.

Next, we walked the track to Whalechasers Crevasse. As named, a narrow inlet.

Whalechasers Crevasse

It was clear that more than this one day would be needed for us to visit every named feature along the drive. Our aim was to get a fair sampling of the variety on offer, so we did not detour to every possible place. Ate our packed lunches at the designated picnic area.

Cape Wiles was where the coastline “turns the corner”. The coastal rock formations here were unusual – small triangular shaped islets of rock.

At Cape Wiles

Between Cape Wiles and Cape Carnot, to the west, the cliffs faced south.

At Cape Carnot we investigated the Blowhole and Baleen Rock Pool.

Baleen Rock Pool at Cape Carnot

From this Cape, the coast swung away to the north west.

Coast beyond Cape Carnot, and windfarm

The geology of the rocks here is such that the pounding of the huge seas of the Southern Ocean has been able to open up long narrow crevasses along lines of weakness, or joints in the rock. Theakstone Crevasse was a great example of this – so narrow you almost felt you could jump across it, so deep that common sense prevailed!

Theakstone Crevasse

We continued on to the end of the track, at Red Banks. On the distant hills, there was a large wind farm.

Red Banks

Red Banks had obviously been named for a distinct red layer of rock occurring in the otherwise white/grey cliffs of the area. There was a rough camp area here, open, exposed, on sandy gravel.

We wandered about there, for a while. I’d gotten tired, after lunch, and left M and John to do some of the walking to features without me, whilst I waited in the parking areas.

Whalers Way was a dead-end track so we had to return the way we’d come. The main track was a good firm gravel surface, with no tricky driving at all involved. I suspected that the lack of a sealed road, plus the cost, deterred many visitors to these parts from tackling it. That was probably good in conservation terms, preventing “over love”, but it was certainly an experience we would recommend to any of our friends visiting here.

It was a great day and worth every cent of the $30 fee.

We got back to camp about 5pm. Tea was whiting and fries.

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2010 Travels May 15


I woke in the morning feeling poorly, after a restless night of bad dreams and disturbed sleep.

John had come to bed late, after playing games on his laptop, and that woke me. Then his “heavy breathing” kept me awake. It was a really cold night, too.

After I got up, couldn’t stop shivering. I didn’t feel like Weetbix – or even coffee, so decided I must be sick! Bugger – for a while there, thought I had whatever bug it was, beaten.

We took me off to a clinic, where a temperature of 40 degrees was measured, and urinary tract infection confirmed. A strong antibiotic was prescribed, with orders to drink lots of water and cranberry juice. We bought the necessary items and went back to camp.

I went to bed. John went to bowls. M went off for a drive and a walk in the National Park. They enjoyed their various afternoon activities.

M’s outfit about to take off – Port Lincoln

Food did not interest me, so John and M went and bought themselves KFC for dinner. Always a welcome treat for John!

An early night was had by all.


2010 Travels May 14


After breakfast, we set off to explore some of the Lincoln National Park.

We followed the coast around from Port Lincoln, along the Proper Bay road, to Tulka, then went east around Proper Bay Road to Cape Donington, at which point we were directly across the bay from the town, which we could see in the distance.

We left the vehicles at the parking area by the Cape Donington Lighthouse, and then walked the 6km Donington Circuit Walk. This took us over rocky outcrops. through coastal scrub and along some sandy beaches.

On the eastern side of Cape Donington
She wouldn’t be doing this if it was still alive….
September Beach and Cape Donington Light

From September Beach, the track cut back inland, supposedly to the other side of the Cape and then back to the start. However, we mislaid the track on the inland section, where there were lots of vehicle tracks, and no signage. So we short-cut the last part, walking up the main road instead.

We probably walked about 5kms in all.

After that foray, drove around to Fishermans Beach and ate our lunch there.

Fishermens Beach

The coves and beaches, and rocky points, out here, were really pretty.

Drove around past Spalding Cove and Surfleet Cove, to the parking area below Stamford Hill. A short walk track went up to the top of the hill – only about 500 metres – where there was a monument to explorer Matthew Flinders. John was very tired by now, so we didn’t do the Hill walk, but watched birds whilst M went off and did the walk.

We got back to camp about 4pm, after a great and scenic day out. The Lincoln National Park was definitely worth visiting – for day trippers like ourselves, or for campers. As with Coffin Bay National Park, if we’d had more time, we would have thought very seriously about bringing the van out and staying a few days in the Park.

Tea was kingfish dipped in tempura flour, and fries. Very nice fish. The availability of good seafood was another plus of staying in these parts.