This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2008 Travels June 25

WEDNESDAY 25 JUNE   BERMAGUI TO LAKES ENTRANCE   350kms

Given that John wanted to make a substantial inroad into the trip home, today, there was no dawdling about in the morning. Up early, and away just after 9am.

We had to go back northwards for a little way, across  the inlet again, before turning onto the Cobargo road. This took us initially through forested hilly country, then hilly farming country. Double white lines for much of the way.

In Cobargo, John bought his still, and all sorts of associated paraphernalia to go with it. I remained uninvolved. I hoped that, once we got back home, and other distractions arose, the whole thing would be shelved and never used. I wondered if I could somehow mislay the instruction leaflets?

Driving as far as Lakes Entrance took up much of the rest of the day. The Princes Highway through southern NSW and far eastern Victoria, is not a route for fast travel.

We stopped, again, at Cann River, to walk around and eat our packed lunches.

Went back into the Waters Edge Caravan Park, for a night. $25.20.

Walked to the floating seafood sales place, again, and bought fish for tonight’s dinner, and some to put in the little van freezer, to take home.


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2007 Travels May 29

THURSDAY 29 MAY   LAKES ENTRANCE TO MERIMBULA   320kms

We slept really well last night. The van bed remained so comfortable, even though it was now ten years old.

We made a leisurely departure in the morning. Drove back to the shopping centre, where we refuelled and I bought a few foodstuffs at Safeway, and a newspaper to read later.

Morning at Lakes Entrance

We had a very pleasant, untroubled drive through the forest and hill country of eastern Victoria and southern NSW, to Merimbula. John seemed to enjoy the driving. There was not a great deal of traffic and we didn’t even encounter any of the timber logging trucks that can make the driver a bit tense when they come up behind on the lengthy stretches where passing is not possible. There is a kind of Murphy’s Law about these vehicles. When they are in front of you, they are going too slowly. When they are behind you, they are going too fast!

The skies were mostly blue, with some weak sunshine – it was not all that warm.

We stopped at the village of Cann River to eat our lunch – again, I had packed sandwiches and filled our travel thermos with hot water for tea and coffee,  before our departure this morning, so we did not contribute to the local coffers, this time.

Victoria/NSW border

I’d chosen the Big 4 Merimbula Beach Holiday Park for our one night stay here. It was a bit tricky to navigate there, though, through the main part of the town. An uphill start at a set of traffic lights was a challenge – the Defender was a great towing vehicle but not powerful off a standing uphill start with the van on the back! As usual, John had to use low range gears to get going. Then it was up and down sharp little hills to find the caravan park. Merimbula is too hilly! I guess that does give some great views, though.

The park cost $28 a night. It was situated on the end of Short Point, and we had superb views over the sea and the beach to the north. There was a rock ledge below our site, that the sea was crashing on to, so we had the wonderful sound of the sea as a backdrop.

The park was an extensive one, with clean and modern amenities and a wonderful lagoon style swimming pool complex. It would be a great holiday park for little kids. Given the year we had been having, my mind turned easily to ways to occupy young children!

Caravan Park pool

After setting up for a one night stay – unhitched – we drove back to the main part of town, hunting for a shop that might sell gear to adjust the van brakes. John had left his at home, and was not totally happy with the van brakes. What was new? He had no luck finding what he wanted, though.

Overall, it had been a pleasant day.

I couldn’t believe how tired I became, how early in the evening. The fresh, sea air was already impacting, and I was ready for bed by 8.30pm.


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2008 Travels May 28

WEDNESDAY 28 MAY     HOME TO LAKES ENTRANCE     325kms

We spent much of the previous two days packing the van and Truck. With the crowded house, and all the earlier building and renovation works, the travel gear had been well moved around, and took some sorting out again. At least, this would only be a short trip, compared to our usual treks, so we did not need to take as much. But I packed more winter clothing than was our norm!

We were so looking forward to the break from home and a quiet change!

After breakfast, hitched up the van and parked the rig out on the road. John then lopped some overhanging branches from the neighbour’s trees – so the van parking area would be clear when we got home again.

We pulled away about 10.15am – pretty good, considering. It seemed a very long time since we’d last been out with the van!

Took the “back” route to Gippsland, through Wandin, Yellingbo, Cockatoo, to Pakenham – winding, but little traffic and easy enough. Also much prettier than the alternative of using the roads closer to Melbourne, through the outer suburbs.

We had a good run through the industrial Latrobe Valley, with its long time focus on coal mining and electricity generation. As always, the smokestacks of the power plants were in evidence from the highway.

Pulled off the road near Morwell and ate our pre-packed lunch. Then, continued on, through Sale with its several corners to be negotiated, Bairnsdale and on to Lakes Entrance.

It had been grey, misty and chilly when we left home, and the drive through the back of the Dandenongs to Pakenham showed mist lying in the bottoms of the valleys and shrouding the hilltops. But this had started to clear by the time we reached the Latrobe Valley, and it was quite pleasant for the rest of the day, with the sun appearing from behind light cloud, for much of the time.

The highway east paralleled the Great Dividing Range – a distant purple off to our left. It crossed some of the main rivers that flow down from those mountains – the Thompson as we approached Sale, the Avon at Stratford – no prizes for guessing that association! The bridge over the Mitchell River at Bairnsdale gave us a lovely view down the stream, with some small boats moored at points along the banks. Then there was the Tambo at the hamlet of Swan Reach.

The approach to Lakes Entrance is down quite a steep little hill. I have always loved the view that one gets of the town and the lake, as the road winds down to sea level.

The approach to Lakes Entrance (Google)

We booked into the Big 4 Waters Edge Caravan Park for the night. It cost $25.20, after discount. The park was quite adequate for our needs, with modern and clean amenities. It was not a very large park and had several annual sites with permanent structures on them. At this time of year, it was not very busy and we were able to use two sites to stay hitched up.

Best of all, the park was within walking distance to the shops, and just across the road from the waters of the lake inlet.

After the minimal set up for a one night stay, we walked to the main part of town, as far as the floating restaurant and fish sales boat, moored across from the shops. There, we bought a half dozen oysters – for John’s entree tonight – and some flathead tails. We have always found the seafood prices here quite reasonable, and of course the daily catch sold was totally fresh.

Our fish dinner was lovely. I fried some potato rounds, and just dredged the flathead with flour and pan fried it.

The night was chilly and we did not stay up late.


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1999 Travels March 15

MONDAY 15 MARCH   TATHRA TO LAKES ENTRANCE   307kms

We got away from Tathra about 9am. At the bottom of the steep bit of road up from the beach level to the top, John put Truck in low range and second gear and we crawled up the hill – slow but easy.

It was then a straight forward run to Lakes Entrance, though a bit slow through the winding and more hilly section between Eden and Orbost. Negotiating our way through the centre of Merimbula with the van on was not the best, either – we might have been better off to go to Bega and take the highway that misses the town.

We had to stop several times for “bathroom” for John – it must be the effect of the increasing cold!

We stopped near Cann River to eat the packed lunch brought with us. This is a stretch of road that we have driven a number of times before, over the years, so it seems very routine, and does not hold a great deal of interest, just because of familiarity.

Reached Lakes Entrance about 2.30pm. Booked into the Big 4 Koonwarra Caravan Park for $14.40 for the night. This is just to the east of the centre of the town – within walking distance. It is an adequate park for an overnight stop, or a few days.

We had intended to go for a good cycle around the town, after our minimal set up. But discovered, to my horror, that the fridge was not working – and had not been for a while, as all the contents of the freezebox were well and truly defrosted. I was well and truly annoyed! John phoned C  at Trakmaster, who put us onto J – the Vitrifrigo dealer who had supplied the fridge when the van was built. He is also the solar power man. J directed John in doing some tests and decided he knew what was wrong. John arranged to meet him tomorrow, at 3pm, at the Trakmaster factory.

I threw out some meats, but kept a pack of fish to cook extra for John’s tea tonight – he will be having a big feed! Also kept some bacon, which I thought was safe. There was not too much food wasted – it could have been worse. I had run down our usual stocks in anticipation of being able to buy cheaper in Melbourne. There was rather a nasty smell in the fridge, though! I wiped it out with a cloth dipped in vanilla essence. Stacked up the Chescold fridge with the jars, margarine, cheese and vegetable matter from the van fridge, and we ran that through the night to keep things cold. Hopefully, the contents will remain cold enough through the drive tomorrow. We do not run the Chescold on 12Volt in the Truck – had a nasty experience doing this in the previous Hilux, when the fridge shifted and pinched the wire and we went very close to having the vehicle on fire!

About 6pm, we managed to go out for a cycle around the streets, for nearly an hour.

Our intention of having a rather leisurely trip back home, through Gippsland, is now not going to happen, due to having to get the fridge to Melbourne.

Our late tea was John’s fish dinner – large size. I had steak. I am still very wary of eating fish that may have bones. Melon completed the meal.

Today, the van clocked up 10,000 kms of being towed. What a way to celebrate the milestone!

03-15-1999 tathra to lakes.JPG