This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels June 28

FRIDAY 28 JUNE     GOL GOL TO BROKEN HILL     323kms

We seemed to be settling into a sleep till 8.30 routine! I remained surprised that Couey was so good and didn’t stir from her seat nest until I was up and dressed.

After breakfast, John took out the stopcock part and drove off to get a new one. It seemed he had, tacitly, agreed that there was a problem, after all!

I packed up as much as I could and took Couey for a couple of short walks around the grounds, while we waited……and waited…..

It was nearly midday when John got back. The park manager had stopped by to see if we were leaving. I offered to pay for an extra day because we were still here, but he said no to that.

John fitted the new part, but still nothing drained out of the tank. So I then wondered if the outlet was blocked by grease or the like? Would just have to worry about it later. It was high time we got going.

Refuelled just up the road at Buronga. $1.509 cpl. This time my calculation had us achieving 5.8kms per litre. Better fuel economy on flatter ground, than going over the Dividing Range.

Stopped at Orange World, a citrus farm sales outlet on the road to Wentworth. Bought oranges and mandarins. As had become normal, to get out to buy the fruit, I had to deal with dog jumping at me and the door, frantic to get out too. It was so weird, how desperate she was to get out then, but once we were camped up, was happy to wander in and out with no drama.

There were fairly frequent “comfort” stops for John.

Stopped beside the Silver City Highway

The skies ahead of us were vast and quite dramatic, with big cloud banks. I wasn’t sure whether rain was forecast, or not. Somehow, the large windscreen area of Bus accentuated the sense of space outside. Perhaps the small Defender windscreen had limited our outlook more than we realized at the time.

I experimented with taking photos from the moving Bus. Stopping to take photos was not going to happen, with dog prone to making such a fuss. John had never been encouraging of photo stops for me, anyway. I was fairly pleased with my photo results through the large front window.

Through the Bus window…..

We had a proper stop at Popiltah Lake, for a late lunch, and to give dog a ball chasing session.

Rest area at Lake Popiltah
Lake Popiltah

Reached the Broken Hill Tourist Park just after 4pm. local (S.A.) time. So 4.30 to us. Again, I’d phoned yesterday to make a booking.

I was so pleased with the en-suite site we’d been allocated. It was huge. There was a wood chip base – acceptable in this arid region. We were on the end of a row, against a fence, so the site was quiet and private, and the bathroom roomy and clean. The dog had plenty of roaming room on a long rope.

Broken Hill site

Putting the awning up was easier, but I thought we were still not doing things in the right sequence.

The site cost $41.40 a night, after discount.

After we were set up, texted John’s daughter to say we had arrived and invited her to come share a fish and chip dinner with us. After a while, she phoned – just as John was about to set off to buy our tea. That was lucky!

Having visitors in Bus was so much easier than in the van, because the beds could be used as lounge seating, even though the dinette table only works for two.

The fish and chips , that John went out and bought, were not great. It was a long way from the sea!

Daughter didn’t stay long, but said she had arranged to take some days off from work while we were in town. That was positive, if easy, as she was now running her own business.

My arm  was not as sore today, but looked really dire – black to the elbow and bruise streak 4-5cms wide.


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2013 Travels June 27

THURSDAY 27 JUNE     GOL GOL

We slept until 8.30 again. I was first up, took Couey for a walk, then fed her. After that, she just wanted to stay inside, close to John, while I had my breakfast sitting outside.

John and I spent much of the morning using our laptops. The new Telstra modem gadget worked well and allowed us both to be online at once – a big improvement over the previous dongle. I looked up directions for setting up the awning!

A few days ago, John’s daughter had talked about us bringing her an exercise bike she was probably going to buy, from Mildura. John phoned her to see about that, but then thought she may have changed her mind. She told him she would investigate it, but then we didn’t hear any more from her through the day.

I walked down to the river bank and took some photos. The Murray River level was down a little from when we were here last year, but still at a healthy height.

Murray River at Gol Gol

After lunch, drove into Mildura. Compared to last year, it was so good to be able to get in the car and go somewhere. On the way in, drove into and had a look around the river side caravan park at Buronga. It looked much better than where we are. Whilst not en-suite, the sites were spacious and the outlook over the river much nicer – not blocked by cabins like at Gol Gol. Thought we’d go there next time.

Did a supermarket shop, mostly for fruit and vegies, having not previously stocked up because of the quarantine zone.

At Auto Barn, bought window shades for my side windows in Bus, to keep the direct sun off as we are going along. Yesterday, it had become quite hot through the big window.

At a pet supply shop, bought a couple of dog chew bones, but not the sort I’d hoped to get. I’d managed to leave Couey’s good one at home. It occupies her for ages, without getting noticeably smaller.

Back at camp, took dog for a walk along the nearby street. John came too, but he couldn’t go very far, so we turned back.

John had suggested spag bol for tea, but I’d bought some fresh fettucine instead. He loved that.

Couey came inside at teatime and just crashed. Somehow, she’d had a tiring day.

I didn’t think the sullage hose was draining the grey water tank. If that was the case, it must be getting pretty full! Only a dribble seemed to be coming out of the hose John had attached to the outlet. I went out in the dark after doing the tea dishes, to have a look at it. Thought that the stop cock tap wasn’t turning anything. It seemed to be both bent and loose. I wondered if it had been like that since we bought Bus, last year? John didn’t seem convinced there was a problem, but said he’d investigate tomorrow, as he was watching football on TV.

The bruise on my arm looked worse today – darker and almost up to the elbow.


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2013 Travels June 26

WEDNESDAY 26 JUNE     BENDIGO TO GOL GOL     438kms

We slept surprisingly late in the morning – it was 8.30 when I woke up. The beds, though narrow, were now quite comfortable, with their memory foam base.

Couey seemed to have decided that her night time bed would be the front passenger seat. I was pleased – and surprised – that she’d made no attempt to disturb us until we woke ourselves up.

It had been a cold night. There was frost on Bus and Terios when I got up, but inside Bus had been quite snug. It must be well insulated  although the large areas of glass windows would always be a source of cold or heat. That’s one drawback of this style of motorhome.

It was a frosty night.

Packing up went smoothly. The hitching up of Terios to Bus was easy. On the level ground there were no problems at all. We got away at 10.30. I was pleased with this caravan park and the fact they were very welcoming of dogs. We said we’d use it on future Bendigo visits. (Unfortunately, by the time we returned to town, their policy had changed to a “no dog” one.)

I had consulted my trusty paper maps and was able to direct us on a route that circled around the busy centre of town, to the Calder Highway. It was an easy way to go.

The first 100 – 150kms or so, today, seemed to take us ages. The collation of pills that John now had to take caused him to require several “comfort stops” in the mornings. We no sooner got going than he needed to stop again, it seemed. And each time we did so, the dog set up her barking act, until we were mobile again.

Had a morning tea break at a very pleasant park in the centre of Wedderburn where there was parking, toilets, tables and seats. Worth remembering that one.

We ate fruit for lunch, as we went along.

Refuelled at Wycheproof. $1.489cpl. I calculated we got 5.3kms per litre, so towing the Terios has obviously had some impact on  Bus fuel consumption.

At Sea Lake we swapped drivers and I drove to Ouyen, where we had a break in the excellent rest area there.

Reached Gol Gol at 4.30pm, having had to negotiate quite a bit of traffic through the centre of Mildura.

I’d phoned ahead this morning to book a site at the Rivergardens caravan park, asking if it was possible to be put on the same one as we’d had on our shakedown trip last year. It was not available, but the man said he’d put us on a similarly good site. He didn’t – basically because there wasn’t another like it. We were on the far side of the park, on the end of a row, so there were vehicles coming past regularly, and  Couey had to go on a really short rope. It was a small site and we had to park Terios on the road in front of the bus. The en-suite was small, with a funny little corner shower. It cost $34.20 a night, after discount.

At least there was no one on the site behind!

So neither of us was particularly impressed with the park, this time, and we said we’d suss out alternatives for the next visit.

Setting up was quick and easy, except we couldn’t remember how to put out the awning. There was some trial and error and it may not have been totally right.

I hoped we wouldn’t have too many long driving days like this one. I was really over those times.

John took Couey across the park for a ball chase along the road verge on the other side of the road.

Neither of us was very hungry after the day spent just sitting, so tea was light: soup, followed by a toastie for John and biscuits and cheese for me.

Watched TV coverage of the unexpected ALP leadership challenge and Rudd’s win. A significant event, clearly showing desperation at the prospect of an electoral wipe out. I thought the question now was to what extent Rudd would be able to lessen the scale of the loss. I didn’t think there was any way the ALP would win, Rudd or not. Unfortunately, some talented people had been lost in the turmoil of the internal factional upheavals. I wondered if the proposed election date would now be changed, and thus my plans to work in it be affected?

Yesterday, I’d developed a really sore arm, possibly from some heavy lifting when loading some of John’s stuff into Bus the day before. Maybe from gardening? Now a dark bruise had developed up along the central vein area, as if a blood vessel had burst. Strange, and it was still painful, though not quite as bad as yesterday.


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2012 Travels August 20

MONDAY 20 AUGUST     GOL GOL

I did the usual morning routine with Couey.

Was a reply on Facebook from John’s daughter – not a phone call. She would be away all the coming week, for work, and then spending the weekend in Wilcannia to be at the rugby – a recent interest, it seemed.

I told John we would not go to Broken Hill, after all. It would be over a 700km round trip, just to spend a couple of days at the Menindee Lakes. I thought we could slowly progress back along the river and eventually head home again. John suggested a stay at Beechworth – his ancestral home area. I agreed, thinking he meant having a day or two there, after our slow jaunt back along the river.

In the afternoon, walked Couey along the bush track beside the main road and back around the big block formed by Carramar Drive. She picked up a three corner jack in a back paw, yelped, stood still, then stuck out the leg for me to “fix”. Quite comical.

Interesting phenomenon: in our van travels, we had quite often propped in a place for days in a row, without going anywhere, or doing anything except walking, reading, John’s computer game playing, my sewing and writing. But here, I really wanted to go somewhere – anywhere – just because I couldn’t. That really got me thinking some more about this bus based travel and what was starting to seem a real limitation.

Murray River


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2012 Travels August 19

SUNDAY 19 AUGUST     GOL GOL

Before breakfast, while John was having his sleep in, I walked Couey along the street again. It was obvious that too many people – locals or those from the caravan park – did not pick up after their dogs.

The bike riders had gone before I got up this morning. We hadn’t heard them go. Bus really was quite sound-proofed.

After breakfast, we walked towards Buronga, to the small IGA supermarket at a service station, probably a bit over a km away. We were able to do most of the walk on tracks a bit distant from the main road. Couey could range a bit in some sections – she was very reliable at not going far from us and immediately coming back when called. She wasn’t happy about crossing the main road with us, though – there were trucks! I almost had to pick her up and carry her.

I was able to buy some salad makings and vegies.

Lunch back at Bus. John took dog across the road where he could throw the ball for her on the wide verge.

I’d have liked to go for a drive into or around Mildura, but John felt it would be too much effort to put in the awning, unhook services and generally get Bus into travel mode. I’m sure Couey was happy!

After tea, John tried to contact daughter. The phone numbers he had no longer worked. In the end, he sent her a message via my Facebook link, saying we would like to travel up to Broken Hill and see her. He asked for a reply by tomorrow, so we could plan our travel. I thought we could combine time in Broken Hill with a stay at the Menindee Lakes, where we hadn’t been before.


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2012 Travels August 18

SATURDAY 18 AUGUST     SWAN HILL TO GOL GOL     227kms

The day was still cold, but there was less wind and rain.

Before breakfast, I took Couey on a run in the park lands.

Packing up was a bit faster. It really was much easier than it had been with the van.

Couey was not happy again, with the moving Bus, but the anxiety remedy did seem to dull her reactions. It was interesting that she was quite happy to be in the bus when it was in living mode, but upset as soon as she realized it would be moving again. She would totally happily go in and out of Bus, when camped, but once it was all packed up, had to be cajoled with treats to get on board.

We stopped at a servo in town for fuel – with me watching out the side window to make sure the correct nozzle was selected! Diesel was $1.399cpl, 76.4 litres went into the tank for $106.89.

John parked Bus near the servo and I went off to buy papers, and a chilli pull apart loaf that would be for lunch. As I walked away, could hear dog barking…..

We took the Murray Valley Highway. It was pleasant driving, much of it through irrigated farmed land. The road paralleled the Murray River, though only in a few places was it actually close enough to be visible. That made sense – a road too close to the river could flood.

I was forming plans for a future, more extended trip through these parts, that would see us camping in bush sites along the river – away from caravan parks. Given the Driver’s increasing dependence on TV and the recent, hospital-acquired addiction to the computer game World of Warcraft, separating him from plug-in 240volt power might be a dream on my part, though.

We stopped at a rest area in Robinvale for lunch. I was able to easily access butter from the fridge, for our pull apart loaf, and prepare it in Bus. Very convenient. After that, we went for a walk along the main street and bought take away coffees.

As we were driving out again, just before the river bridge, noticed a pleasant looking caravan park on the river bank. We agreed this looked like a town we should come back to for a few days of exploring.

Crossed the river at Robinvale into NSW and continued towards the Mildura area that way. This meant that we came into Gol Gol without having to go right through Mildura first. Much easier.

Booked into Rivergardens Caravan Park, where we had stayed before. This time, our en-suite site was a much better spacious one, across the other side of the park, tucked away by the side road to the river. We paid $33.30 a night, after chain discount. The park had new owners who had only been there for nine months.

Gol Gol camp

After setting up, took Couey for a walk along Carramar Drive, the road with all the lovely homes that front onto the river. There had been a couple of new places built since we were last here in 2010. The road had a really wide, sort-of grassed verge on one side, so dog did some free ranging along there.

Later in the afternoon, a group of motorbike riders moved into the nearby cabins. Then some local bike riders arrived – could tell they were local because they weren’t carrying gear like the first ones. They all congregated for a social event in the camp kitchen. We were a bit concerned that this could become a rowdy Saturday night, but they were not too noisy. About 8.30pm, the local riders departed, and all was quiet. We should not have been so quick to stereotype.


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2010 Travels May 20

THURSDAY MAY 20     GOL GOL

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

WEDNESDAY MAY 19     PETERBOROUGH TO GOL GOL     435kms

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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2005 Travels October 1

SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER   BROKEN HILL TO GOL GOL   305kms

By 10am we were all packed up again and once more heading south.

It had been a pleasant, albeit costly, interlude in Broken Hill. I felt as if we’d had the chance to have a thorough look around the place.

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Broken Hill country

I think we were just about used to people and civilization again….

Our destination was Gol Gol, on the NSW side of the Murray River, a few kms from Mildura.

Booked into the River Gardens Caravan Park – $26 a night for an en suite site. I could get used to these! We booked in for two nights because John wanted to visit a place that had an extensive rock collection. We also had a night to fill in before our appointment at Birchip.

The caravan park was a pleasant one, with a frontage to the Murray River – which was occupied by cabins, unfortunately. No views to be had. Our site was nicely shaded.

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River Gardens site

We went for a late afternoon walk around the nearby streets, looking at the definitely up-market homes that fronted the river. Rather lovely – except during the occasional flood.

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