This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2013 Travels November 15


Today was Couey’s third birthday. Does that equate to her 21st in human terms?

Well, it wasn’t being used….

It was a pleasant enough day – not too hot for travel.

We left the park just before 10am. Hadn’t hurried the packing up too much.

Took the Up River Road again, on the Victorian side of the river. This eventually took us to the Murray Valley Highway, and hence onto the wonderful Hume Freeway. Had we remained on the NSW side of the river. we’d have had to negotiate the streets of Albury.

There is no doubt that the Hume Freeway is a great route, these days, making travel so much less stressful than it once was.

John forgot about refuelling until we were well underway, and we eventually did so at Tarcutta, by which time the tank was well down. Took 83 litres, in a 90 litre tank! $1.589cpl.

Gave Couey a quick run on the grass behind the servo, while we ate the sandwiches I’d made for lunch, and had a coffee – from my thermos.

Tarcutta was our first stop after leaving Corowa. John had been put onto pills to ease the issues he’d been having due to enlarged prostate, and there was no doubt now that they made a huge difference, compared to what our mornings had been like on the earlier trip this year.

Didn’t stop again until we reached Sutton at 3pm – staying on the highways and definitely not deviating via Gunghalin!

Driving towards Canberra from Yass, there seemed to be an early afternoon exodus from the city – all those public servants taking flex time to get a head start on their weekend…

Our en-suite site at Eaglehawk Holiday park was very suitable. Both having an en-suite and dry weather (although a bit cool and windy) made this a much more enjoyable stay than last time.

Lots of wonderful space…

The oval in front of our site was great for Couey to do ball chasing. We just had to make sure there was no local wild life around – kangaroos and rabbits.

Noticed that the park was under a flight path for Canberra Airport; rather frequent planes going over. More of the weekend Canberra exodus, I guessed.

John made contact with daughter to say we had arrived in town. Then we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

Tea was fish and fries.

While we watched some TV after tea, Couey sat up in the front of the bus, grumbling away at the kangaroos grazing outside. We could see a disturbed night coming up, but once we’d gone to bed and the lights were out, she settled right down to a normal night’s sleep. Can’t figure that dog out, some of the time.

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2013 Travels November 14


I was up at 8am. John slept later.

Weather was still cool and grey.

Later in the morning, visited the chocolate factory in Corowa – recommended by the Information Centre man, yesterday. This was housed in an old flour mill. Good to see an old building being re-purposed, and in a way that didn’t try to hide its industrial past.

Former Corowa flour mill

There were some displays mounted, showing the history of the building and its use. There was also a cafe set up, so we had an early lunch – a ham and cheese croissant at a very reasonable $4.50. Also had coffee, served with chocolate coated liquorice on the side. John was hooked, at that point! We couldn’t leave the old mill without visiting the shop section.

Cafe inside the old flour mill – industrial ambience…

We bought heaps – about $100 worth! John did a lot of tasting! My choices were raspberry chocolate coated liquorice and choc coated coffee beans. John bought choc coated liquorice, ditto macadamia nuts, ditto cranberries, and some rocky road. We bought a box of choc coated macadamias to take to the Canberra family, the same for friend M, and big Freckles lollies for the Canberra boys. We gained two free calico bags for all the goodies too. That was an excellent bit of sightseeing!

Drove back to the Victorian side again. So much easier to do, these days, compared to older times – or even back in the 1960’s that I could remember. Before Federation of the colonies in 1901, there were customs posts set up at crossings between NSW and Victoria, with duties payable on goods crossing between the two. Then later, there was another kind of check – travellers were stopped and queried/inspected for fruit fly – in an attempt to prevent it reaching Victoria. Those I could remember. Few people know that the border was also closed in 1919, to try to slow the spread of the Spanish Flu epidemic.

Now, we just trundled across any bridge we chose, with no impediment.

Today, the Pickled Sisters establishment was open for business. More tasting for John. We bought bottles of each of their three types of olives, a jar of tapenade, a bottle of lovely nutty olive oil, and my choice of a jar of pickled eggplant.

Visited Chambers Rosewood Winery again, and I bought some bottles of wine, in case we needed same for socializing on the rest of the trip – half a dozen bottles of Riesling, and one of their late harvest Riesling.

Back to camp for a lazy rest of the day – but via Woolworths, as John wanted hamburgers for tea. I bought foccacia rolls from a bakery and they were an excellent substitute for the usual hamburger buns.

We did both manage to coax Couey into a pleasant walk along the Murray bank, for some way. If both of us were there, presumably, that dragonfly wouldn’t dare to attack her again…

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2013 Travels November 13


I woke up to rain, but it cleared through the morning.

I did the usual morning routine with Couey – walk then breakfast, followed by my breakfast. John had a sleep in.

I’d suggested staying in Corowa because it is a well known bowls destination, but John said he really wasn’t interested in trying out the local bowls scene. Surprising…

Mid-morning, we set out to do some exploring and wine tasting. Drove through the Corowa town centre, to get an idea of the layout and shops, then across the Murray on a different bridge from  the one we came in on, near the caravan park.

Murray River at Corowa

First stop was at Chambers Rosewood winery. This establishment had been an old favourite of mine for something like forty years, though it was a very long time since I’d been here and a degree of modernization was evident. Now, there was a formal tasting and wine sales area, replacing what had previously been a fairly casual experience in a corner of a shed. Unfortunately, gone also was the Old Rum Port that Bill Chambers would produce from under the counter, if asked by those in the know. This port, aged in casks that had held rum, was a delightful drop.

They had quite a range of white, red, and the fortified wines that the Rutherglen area is famed for.  We tasted some and ordered a dozen bottles of white wine – six each of two different varieties. They would be delivered after we were home again. We took away with us a bottle each of port and muscat. These styles of fortified wines are the true strength of this vineyard – and  also this wine region as a whole.

In Rutherglen went to the Visitor Information Centre, which also doubled as a sales outlet for local produce. I bought a sage and macadamia pesto, a raspberry balsamic, and a bottle of chilli mustard. it was hard to limit purchases to just those items!

There were a couple of local produce outlets that looked to be interesting to visit. The man at the information desk told me, however, that Gooramadda Olives  would be open, but the Pickled Sisters would not be open until tomorrow.

Back in the main street, John bought a pastie and a pie from Pipers Bakery. I bought a vegie foccaccia from a different bakery. John thought his goodies were only average, but I liked mine.

The Rutherglen Caravan park and adjacent Lake King were only a block from the town centre. We parked and walked around the lake. It was only about a km. Was a pretty walk. Couey had a little spell of free ranging – John’s idea – and an illicit splosh in the lake – her idea.

The walking path went through the caravan park. This looked alright, but more crowded than where we currently were.

Drove out to the north east, along Gooramadda Road, seeking the olive place of the same name. When we got there, found it only opens at weekends, despite what we’d been told.

Took the unusually named Up River Road, as the Information Centre man had suggested, and back to the caravan park.

Corowa Rutherglen area and our day trip.

The rest of the afternoon was lazy: occasional ball throws for dog. Attempted another walk to the river, but the memory of that dragonfly was obviously still too strong.

Grassed area by our site. The far tree line marks the Murray River

Got talking with people camped in the same area of the park, also with a dog. They had, from the state of their camp, been here for a while. Found they had been travelling around Australia for nine months, but had fallen in love with Corowa when they came through here, and so just bought a house.  Now, they were camped up waiting to move in. They said the park was absolutely full over the recent Melbourne Cup weekend – with the public holiday for the horse race on the Tuesday, many Melburnians have for years taken an unofficial holiday on the Monday to create a four-day weekend.

Tea was lamb and rosemary sausages, mash and broad beans.

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2013 Travels November 12


We had a calm and methodical final pack and departure – not always the case with us! Left home at 11.20am.

The BOM radar this morning had showed much rain happening over Gippsland, so that cemented the decision to turn northwards, rather than to the east.

Took our usual route through Yarra Glen, to Yea – lunch stop at one of our favourite bakeries. John had a pie and pasty, I had a very nice salad roll.

Couey settled back into the routine of Bus travel quickly.

We’d fuelled up at the servo at Murrindindi, on the way to Yea. This was a really easy servo for John to pull the rig into. $1.499cpl.

By the time we reached Yea, it was showering rain.

As we travelled, discussed options for the next few days, as we would not be getting to Canberra until Friday, in time for the weekend sporting activities. We decided to go to the Rutherglen/Corowa area. John liked the idea of visiting some wineries at Rutherglen. I suggested we stay at Corowa, because I thought John would be interested in doing some bowling there.

Given our late morning start, the focus was more on getting to a destination to prop for a few days, rather than doodling around byways, sightseeing. So, from Seymour, it was up the Hume to beyond Wangaratta, then via Rutherglen and across the Murray to NSW and Corowa.

It teemed rain as we neared Benalla, but we drove out of the rain band just before Rutherglen, about 4pm.

The first caravan park we saw, once across the river, was the Rivergum Holiday Retreat – a Top Tourist one, so we pulled in there. They did not have en-suite sites, but did offer “riverfront” powered sites. After discount, we paid $33.30 for a powered site.

The man checking us in seemed a bit strange and not quite with it. We explained the length and height requirements of Bus. One would not have thought he was ignorant of the requirements of motor-homers, anyway. The site he allocated us was a shocker. It was small, with low hanging trees and was very definitely not level. The park itself was a huge one, with the front section full of cabins and permanent accommodation structures, and slightly seedy in appearance. The van sites were at the lower level, a long way from the office.

We had a look around the van sites area and saw a number of sites that would be better than the one allocated. There was hardly any other vans there. John walked back up to the office and obtained a site of our choice. Bit of a lesson there – next time, walk around and have a look first! You would think we’d know by now…

Our new site was very pleasant, with a view down to the bush area by the river, which couldn’t be seen. There was a nice grassed area between us and the bush – great for dog exercise!

Corowa site

An amenity block was not too far away from us and was clean and adequate.

Given the large quantity of permanent accommodation structures up the hill, I would not like to be here in summer and school holiday times, when it would be full.

There were numbers of ibises and ducks wandering about. Our cement slab was poo covered. I swept it clean before we set up. The grass was likewise liberally decorated.

Set up the camp, then sat in our very comfy new chairs and had a beer each, to celebrate being mobile again. John then went inside to have a nap, while I took Couey for an explore to the river. There was a good track going from the park towards the Murray. The river was running at a good high level – pleasing to see.

I’d intended to follow the track alongside the river for a while, but Couey got buzzed by a dragonfly, of all things, and it really frightened her, so she was reluctant to go further. Big, brave, black dog – not.

Before we left this morning, I’d picked a big bagful of broad beans from the prolifically bearing plants in the vegie garden. We had some of those for tea, with roast turkey thigh roll, left over from last night’s meal. That was followed by some strawberries – a gift from our flat tenant yesterday.

Watched the Keating Interviews on TV – reception was alright. Former Prime Minister Keating had been known for being blunt and forthright, as well as for his ego: the program was excellent!

It was a cool night but the doona was still too warm.