This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2016 Travels March 19


The morning was cool and grey, with a few early showers.

While John was sleeping in, I went to the shops and bought the Saturday papers.

John was uncertain whether bowls would go ahead on the wet grass greens. We could not really make plans for the afternoon until he knew. So M and C went off driving, to explore up in the Strzelecki Ranges and visit the Tarra Bulga National Park. That’s what I’d wanted to do!

After an early lunch, John drove off to bowls, with the agreement that, if I wanted to go exploring, I would walk there and get the car. He didn’t want to have to carry his bowl bag if he didn’t need to.

I thought about taking myself and dog off for a drive, but by myself and in the chill, it wasn’t all that appealing. So I read the papers, checked my emails and the like, without venturing out into the cold, apart from to walk Couey a couple of times.

Yarram site

We had invited J and D to come to happy hour this afternoon, but had decided this morning that it was too cold and damp to sit outside. So I’d phoned J and arranged to meet them at the Sports/Country Club for dinner instead. The caravan park man had told us this place put on a good meal.

John arrived back at Bus from bowls – on foot. He had assumed that I would have been to collect the car, so hadn’t even looked for it. He and Couey walked back to the Sports Club to collect it. John had enjoyed the bowls game.

M and C arrived back from their outing, which had turned out to be more adventurous than intended. Up in the hills, signposts were not plentiful, logging tracks were, and there was lots of vegetation down on the roads. They had managed to get to the National Park Visitor Centre and do the walk to the Suspension Bridge, but plans to return to Yarram via Tarra Valley went astray. They found themselves having to take different tracks to avoid fallen trees, clear some off tracks, and ending up not knowing where the hell they were. At one stage, they came upon a sign showing they were well on the way to Mirboo North! Eventually they found a way back – without ever getting to Tarra Valley.

Wonder what adventures I might have had, if I’d gone out driving?

The3 bistro menu at the Country Club was surprisingly extensive and the dining room was deservedly well patronized. Some of us ordered entrees as well as mains. I thought a starter of Turkish bread and dips was tempting. There was a beetroot dip and a slightly spicy capsicum one, a little bowl of olive oil and balsamic. The bread had been very thinly sliced and lightly fried in olive oil. Different but very good. Then my main course arrived: salt and pepper calamari. It was a large bowl with a great number of calamari rings arranged around a central salad, with a thick tartare sauce drizzled over the calamari. I shouldn’t have had that starter! The calamari was absolutely delicious and so tender.

John had a seafood platter for one – a real assortment of seafoods and so large that he could not finish it. Rare for a plate of food to defeat him! The others all had calamari too, except for C, whose plate of scallops featured twelve huge ones. Very yummy, apparently. The bar served draught apple cider on tap, which John tried and loved.

In all, a wonderful meal and a great night with friends.

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2016 Travels March 18


In the early hours of the morning, it began to rain and the temperature dropped. The rain sounded quite heavy, at times. We had put the awning out with a slant to one side, so did not have to get up and go out in the rain to adjust it so water wouldn’t pool in it.

By the time we got up, the ground outside was quite sloshy, with big pools of water around where it was running off the awning. It certainly had come down steadily. The site had no slab and we had not put down the annexe matting, so began to spread wet grass and dirt into Bus, as we moved around.

I managed to find a break in the rain, to take Couey for a short walk.

We had been invited to J and D’s place for morning tea, so drove there, mid morning. At this stage, the rain had eased right off and before we left, John was able to put down the annexe matting. M had visited Adels when we were there, so she knew J and D too, and she and C came with us.

Had an enjoyable couple of hours. J had made scones and a delectable date loaf. There was much talk of Adels – the developments that had occurred since we were last there in 2006, and reminiscing about our joint times there. That had been the first few years of the development of the place under new owners, from a tiny camping area to a tourist operation offering a variety of accommodation and tour options. There had clearly been much change, but some things stay the same – like the difficulty in getting good seasonal staff, especially cooks!

Our main goal for today was to explore nearby historic Port Albert. It was not the most encouraging of days for it, with the sky dark grey as we drove the 15kms or so there.

Parked at the jetty area and gave Couey a ball chase session on the grassed area there, that was far enough away from the water to let her stay focussed on the ball.

Park at Port Albert

There was a cluster of old buildings at the jetty area. One small one housed the rocket and shipwreck rescue equipment that too often had needed to be used, in this area of shifting channels and sandbars, and generally treacherous coast.

Corner Inlet at Port Albert

About thirty five years ago, I had visited Port Albert briefly, on a short tour of the area with a couple of friends. We stayed overnight at the hotel, which I remembered as having a rather rickety upstairs verandah, and a most uncomfortable bed. The old wooden pub was no more, having burned down a couple of years ago. Sounds like there may have been a bit of a story behind that event! It had been one of the oldest licensed premises in Victoria, dating from the 1840’s. Now there was just empty land where it used to be.

Port Albert

We were determined to have a meal of fish and chips from the establishment by the jetty – reputed to serve an excellent feed, featuring the local product. The choice of fish was between whiting and flake. My meal of flake, a potato cake and chips was so yummy. John enjoyed his whiting, fried dim sims and potato cakes. He forgot to order chips, so ate some of mine.

We sat at a picnic table by the jetty side, where there were various boats moored.

The ever-present seagulls watched us carefully, but kept their distance because of the dog. Unfortunately, I could not say the same of an annoying Jack Russell terrier, belonging to a man who was across the road, yarning to another man in a car, and letting his dog cross the road to try to provoke Couey into an argument. It got one – from us – and after raised voices trying to shoo it away, the owner eventually called it back. Moron!

Drizzle had set in by the time we finished eating and we adjourned to the Maritime Museum, housed in a stately old former bank building. I can be quite critical of what are touted as museums in a lot of country towns, but this one was truly impressive. It had managed to confine itself to material that really was “maritime” and focussed on the sea-related history of the area, as a means of also conveying general historic information.

So, for example, the display of the rocket rescue equipment and breeches buoy served to explain how these items were used to effect rescues from wrecked ships. The breeches buoy looked for all the world like an old-fashioned version of the current kids’ swimming pool toy, where they sit inside an inflatable ring, with legs hanging down from the seat into the pool!

The museum houses print collections that are used by family history researchers who had ancestors in these parts. A collation had been done, of every person who moved through the port and who was mentioned in the assorted historical records of the time.

I spent some time watching a video/film documentary featuring a regular supply ship out of Port Albert to the lighthouse staff on one of the nearby Bass Strait islands. With footage made at the time, it showed a way of life that is now gone, with the automation of such lights.

We spent a couple of hours browsing the many displays, without noticing the passing time. Then realized that it was now blowing a gale outside and bucketing down rain. I wondered how our awning was faring, if this wind was reaching up as far as Yarram.

The weather was far too awful for any more exploring of the township, so we drove back to camp.

The section straight out of Port Albert was through an avenue of trees and it was quite scary driving, with lots of light tree debris coming down, and us wondering if a big limb or whole tree was about to follow it. It was a relief to get into the more open country.

Our site was so well sheltered that the awning was fine, but John did tie it down, to make sure.

We retreated to Bus, and M and C to their cabin. I got out the little fan heater. What a contrast, in 24 hours!

After the big lunch, tea was a can of soup.


2016 Travels March 17


Not exactly a major relocation today – just up the road, really. Good thing, because it was hot and very humid.

Whilst we were getting ready to move on, John learned a major life lesson – do not put thumb where awning arms are going to close! I have no idea how he got said digit jammed, as he had not waited for me to help lower the awning. I do know that there is a huge amount of tension on those arms. I tried to lever it a bit open with a screwdriver, so he could pull thumb out, but had to go get a heavy tent peg and gradually work that down the little gap, whilst levering as well, until I’d enlarged the gap enough for him to get thumb out. He was in a lot of pain while I was doing this. The skin was broken, and he was bleeding. Bandaid applied. Lucky not to break it – or chop it off altogether. I wondered if anyone had ever managed to do that? Hope he learned the lesson to wait for me to help, in the future. Much easier with two people. And safer.

Was 10.15 when we left the park.

The driver felt fit enough to detour to Port Welshpool. From 1998 to 2002, a summer fast speed catamaran ferry operated from here to Tasmania. It was rather unfortunately named the Devil Cat and gained a reputation to match – for very rough trips and major sea sickness for passengers. That reputation probably, as much as its distance from Melbourne, accounted for its demise.

In Port Welshpool, there appeared to be a number of accommodation places that had been set up in the expectation of increased business from the ferry service, but were now languishing, with several for sale. Ditto houses.

We stopped and looked at the Long Jetty, as we came into the village. This was, as name suggested, a jetty that extended a long way out, to a deeper channel. It was the old jetty, in the days when this place was a thriving port. It was now closed, due to fire damage. One hoped it could be restored – a walk right out to its end would be rather lovely.

Port Welshpool

Next stop was the current jetty area – one that extends widthwise, rather than outwards. We walked around this – with dog very firmly on lead. Saw what used to be the ferry cat terminal, now closed off. There were some fishing boats moored, as well as recreational boats.

It was a pleasant little village, with a general store. It probably gets much busier in the summer holiday period, but would still be a comparatively quiet place for a break by the sea.

None of these Corner Inlet villages have any decent beach areas, due to the nature of the inlet.

Couey was very interested in the edge of the jetty and peering down at the sea below. I had a strong suspicion that had she been loose, there would have been a high dive into the water. For once, John didn’t suggest she be let loose!

Backtracked to where we had turned off the highway at Welshpool township, and continued on to Yarram though green farmland – dairy cow country in these parts. It was a pleasant drive, uneventful, apart from being passed by a speeding ambulance, sirens and lights going. As he came up behind us, John slowed and pulled right over to the side, so the ambulance did not have to slow at all – this section of road did not offer clear views for passing otherwise. We then noted, though, that the caravan ahead did not slow or pull over at all, and the ambulance got held up behind him for a few kms. What is it with some drivers that they must be so incredibly ignorant and selfish?

Had booked an en-suite site at the Yarram Rosebank Tourist park. $36 a night. We were able to drive through the site behind us, which made it much easier, then unhitch the car. Had to wait for our bathroom cleaning to be finished – it was only midday when we arrived.

M and C were pleased with their cabin. It was larger than the one at Toora had been.

The caravan park was based around what appeared to be an old restored homestead – rather intriguing from the outside. Reception was in part of that.

There was an under cover area for sitting around a fire pit, a good playground area, and we were told when checking in that we could give Couey a run on the grassy area at the front of the park. This is always a plus for us. Our bathroom was clean, with a big shower area. We were quite happy with it. Bushes to the sides made our site quite private.

After set up, we all went for a walk along the main street, admiring the several substantial old buildings. At a novelty shop, M bought some small water pistols, to use to deter Couey from jumping up on them at happy hours.

Back in the late nineteenth century, nearby Port Albert was the main port for these parts, in the days before railways and good roads. Yarram developed from the 1850’s and became the main service centre for the area. Today, it was an attractive small town, although the number of houses for sale suggested a declining population. Some of the houses for sale that we walked past, were beautiful looking old places, well kept up, on large blocks.

Walked the length of the shopping area and then back on the other side of the road. There was a fair range of shops in the town. Visited an art gallery, housed in the former court house – a solid, brick building. There was an exhibition of works in oils by a local artist; his urban scenes were not subject matter I liked, but he’d managed to make them appear almost three dimensional, so I admired the technique. I quite liked one painting of a Greek island village – but our walls at home were already too full!

The men were very strong willed today, and resisted the pull of the bakery, in favour of own-made lunches back at camp.

I found the walk rather hard. Lower back and shoulders were all hurting as I walked. Wondered if Couey’s pulling on the lead had somehow injured the shoulder and upper back. Didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the first manifestation of spinal problems that were to continue and slowly reduce my walking range over the next few years. Rather cruel, that.

On the way back, John called in at the sports complex, almost opposite the park, to find out about bowls – and booked himself in for a game on Saturday. Had I been asked, my preference would have been for doing some sightseeing!

The humidity was really draining, and after our late lunch we both had naps, with the air-con going in Bus. It was rare for me to feel like an afternoon nap! C had a sleep too, and M did crosswords.

It was cooling down by the time we met up again for happy hour.

Our tea was the lamb fillet I’d bought in Foster. Very nice and very tender.

During the afternoon I had phoned a friend who lives locally, left a message, and she called me back after they returned from a day out fishing for whiting. Years ago, we had all worked a couple of tourist seasons together, up north at the magical Adels Grove. So I was looking forward to catching up with J and D again. They had worked and visited there for periods, most years, and so were more up to date with the people and developments.

It was an uncomfortable night for sleeping – even a sheet was too much cover in the heat.