Victoria ~ March 2013 

Whatever women do they have to do it twice as well as men
to be thought of as half as good. Luckily this isn’t difficult.

Friday 1st March 2013

We enjoyed an exciting trip out today, looking for the garbage tip. We had so much fun. We needed to dispose of the old car parts. Before leaving the caravan park, Pete Mate asked an employee where the tip was. We ventured forth and found a sand mining company instead. We then asked Alice to help. She took us to a tip that had been closed for three years. Ho-hum. However, on the closed gate we did find a couple more addresses for other tips so went in search. Eventually we found one and disposed of the parts. We also parted with $27 for the privilege.

We then went in search of coffee and as it was way past lunchtime we decided to eat. That out of the way we did some shopping. This all took place in a brand new shopping centre which was really nice and clean plus friendly people. Once home we packed away everything and sat down with a very nice glass of red.

Saturday 2nd March 2013

A small conundrum for you. On a normal day Pete Mate takes forever to get ready to go out. Today it was the Air Show and he was sitting in the car with the engine running at 7.45am. A puzzle? Not really, just b………… amazing.

The journey there was pretty good, not too much of a traffic build up and we were parked and inside the viewing area before the flying began. We had tickets for the posh seats and eventually found our way there, everything at Avalon is well organised and we were soon issued with our gold pass and complimentary hat plus a programme.

The food outlets were well run and I didn’t have to queue for long for drinks and a sandwich when needed. The flying was at first boring for me, same old thing I thought, then this amazing pilot took off very close to the ground and flew along the runway on his side. He was a fantastic aerobatic pilot and his display was the best I had ever seen. It was thrilling and you just didn’t know what he would do next as he seemed not to have any boundaries.

We saw more aerobatics with the small planes and a glider and helicopter, all good but none could top the first one for me. We had the noisy jets doing their display and, of course, the war birds made an appearance. Sadly the Spitfire couldn’t fly but no doubt we will be at Temora before long and see it there - always a joy to watch.

Once the flying was over we sat a while and enjoyed a cool drink hoping the masses would have thinned out by the time we were ready to leave. No such luck. The queues to leave were long but not too bad. All in all it took us about two hours to get home. By the time we were home I was in agony with my skin, so sunburnt. I thought I was being really careful applying sunscreen but obviously missed two areas on my arms; this kept me awake a lot in the night. A lesson learnt - when you think you have applied enough, apply some more.

Sunday 3rd March 2013

After yesterday we had a lay day. We were tired and I needed to stay out of the sun.

Monday 4th March 2013

We enjoyed a lovely day out on the Mornington Peninsula, a place I have wanted to visit for a while. It was a beautiful warm sunny day so everything we saw was bathed in glorious sunshine, a good ingredient to make one happy. We had no real idea of what to visit we just got in the car and drove; I did have a look at a tourist book along the way and chose Mornington as our first stop. I expected a small village similar to Eden but it was a bustling little town. It seemed to have every business and shop you could imagine. If you lived on the Peninsula it would be ideal as you wouldn’t have to travel far to do your shopping. We made our way down to the harbour for a look and take some photos ...

Boats at Mornington
Boats moored on Port Phillip Bay at Mornington.
Leaving Mornington we followed the coast road to Mount Martha where we stopped for a bite of lunch. The whole area was very green and pretty.

We asked Alice to take us to Arthur’s Seat which, according to the book, was worth a visit. Alice decided gravel roads were the go and took us on a round about route but eventually we arrived.

Arthur's Seat
Arthur's Seat - a place for the weary traveller.
Note to weary travellers: Bring a cushion.
The lookouts were superb and we took plenty of photos. We spent some time watching two ships manoeuvre their way through the deep water channel on Port Phillip Bay.

Port Phillip Bay
The dot in the distance is an approaching China Shipping tanker crossing the calm, shallow water of the Bay.
Or a spot of dirt on your screen.
We really wanted to drive to the tip of the Peninsula but were stopped by a closed gate. We weren’t sure if we could have continued on foot as the sign said no admittance. So we made our way across to the other side of the Peninsula and along the road in the direction of home. We called in at Hastings where we enjoyed a drink at the marina which was very pleasant. The whole place is very picturesque and it was well worth the journey.

Tuesday 5th March 2013

Another trip to the doctor’s for Pete Mate. All his test results are now back and he is fine so we can now make plans to move on. One of his skin tags is giving him a lot of bother so the doctor is going to snip it. Not today, of course, but on Friday. We then went home to relax in the air conditioning as the day was really heating up.

Wednesday 6th March 2013

We were invited to lunch today by friends Wendy and John who live in Mount Evelyn. It was a pleasant drive out there and we were soon being greeted and invited into their home. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and a really good natter about all sorts of things. John impressed us with his wonderful talent in furniture making; the table and chairs we were using were his handiwork and I can tell you they were beautiful as were many other pieces of furniture in their house. We left there late afternoon and wanted to do some shopping on the way home. This we achieved but it meant we hit the rush hour traffic so it too us a while to get home. A truly lovely day.

Thursday 7th March 2013

Lay day, I caught up with some cleaning, my journal and some emails.

Friday 8th March 2013

Back again we go to the doctor’s. This time it is for Pete Mate to have a skin tag removed from the base of his spine. He was called in pretty much as soon as his bottom touched the chair. One hour and fifteen minutes later he emerged from his ordeal with four stitches and no skin tag. He said most of that time was waiting in another waiting room. We went straight home as we didn’t know how Pete Mate would fare once the anaesthetic wore off. He was sore. The next few days will be lay days until PM is more comfortable moving around.

Saturday 9th March 2013

Reading and knitting were the order of the day.

Sunday 10th March 2013

Pretty much the same as yesterday.

Monday 11th March 2013

Another lay day.

Tuesday 12th March 2013

Another trip to the doctor’s then home again to the cool air. It is incredibly hot.

Wednesday 13th March 2013

What a terrible night, it was so hot. Someone told me in the early hours it was 29ºC. Thankfully by about 10 a.m. the temperature had dropped considerably and we were able to sit outside for a while. I finished the outfit I had been knitting for a great nephew in Perth. The evening and night were much cooler, what bliss.

Thursday 14th March 2013

Apart from doing some shopping, we did very little different to the last few days.

Friday 15th March 2013

Back we go again to the doctor’s, hopefully the last for a long time. As there weren’t any parking places at the surgery we parked outside a milk bar. When we got back to the car there was a note on the windscreen. ‘Dear Friend, can you please not park in places reserved for my customers. Thank you’. We thought the note so sweet we felt guilty so went inside to apologise and buy something. The lady was so lovely she apologised to us for leaving the note. Aren’t some people just so nice?

After the doctors we did a short detour to the health food store before returning home.

Saturday 16th March 2013

It absolutely poured with rain all day.

Sunday 17th March 2013

Wet and freezing weather is upon us. Victoria’s weather is back to normal and we have the heater on.

Monday 18th March 2013

Monday dawned a beautiful day so I washed and washed. I was sitting outside knitting when a neighbour called by to tell me rain was expected. She also told me the dryers in the laundry are only $1 for 45 minutes. She was still chatting away when the heavens opened and it poured down.

Guess where I spent some time this afternoon? Yes, in the laundry with my $1. By evening the rain seemed to have departed but it is still very cold.

Tuesday 19th March 2013

The weather was not really the nicest again, much too cold to sit outside.

Wednesday 20th March 2013

Today was a beautiful day, lovely and sunny with a gentle breeze. It was a perfect day for washing all the bed linen. Soon everything was on the line, the cleaning was all done and I sat outside with a book. Later we paid a visit to the doctor’s once more, this time it was for me. We weren’t kept long and once we collected the script we made for home as it was now well and truly happy hour time.

Thursday 21st March 2013

I was so glad I did the washing yesterday, the weather today changed dramatically. We had howling winds and the rain lashed down. Luckily we took the awning in before the worse of the weather hit. A tornado hit one part of Victoria and destroyed a caravan park.

We did some shopping and then retreated inside to sit out the storm.

Friday 22nd March 2013

Another trip back to the doctor’s, this time for me again. It was a cold day but at least the wind had died down.

Saturday 23rd March 2013

We packed everything away ready for our departure tomorrow. Apart from that we did very little, just tried to keep warm.

Sunday 24th March 2013

At last we are ready to leave Dandenong. Not that we have anything against the place but it is a busy city and we do prefer the peace of country towns. The caravan park, BIG 4 Dandenong, is an ideal place to base yourself if you ever have to come to Melbourne. You are central to all kinds of businesses and shops and there is a bus stop outside the park that will take you to the station to catch the train into Melbourne. Vehicle and caravan repairs are no problem and you have all manner of medical expertise at hand.

The staff at the park have been exemplary in their kindness and consideration, nothing is too much trouble for them and they are never seen without a smile. The park and amenities are well maintained and spotlessly clean. We would definitely stay there again. We eventually got on the road around 11.00am and made our way out of the city and into the leafy, green countryside.

To get to Acheron we had to climb a road called the Black Spur. We had been warned about this road and, as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Everything we were told was true. Travelling on a Sunday we encountered a lot of motor bikes and cars, all out for their Sunday R & R.

Pete Mate is such a considerate driver, he pulls over where he can to let the traffic pass so it takes us a long time to get anywhere. The scenery was so beautiful, trees so tall and erect it made one feel as though we had a guard of honour. The tree ferns were lush green and plentiful, everything looked magnificent with the dappled sun shining through.

Once we were off the winding road we passed through some small villages and the all-important vineyards until we came to Acheron. The caravan park was on the river; we set up camp and decided we were going to enjoy being here very much. The staff were friendly and helpful, the chap even offered to paint a white line down the middle of my body if I got in the way of him marking out lines. I told him I want purple nothing less. After we set up camp we went for a walk around and this is when we discovered the amenities were quite a way from us. We did say we needed more exercise!

Monday 25th March 2013

We awoke to glorious sunshine; once the mist cleared it was a crystal clear day. We had a drive out to Alexandra, not far and there is an information centre there. It is a lovely little country town but the information place was closed.

I had read about a lake that was worth a look so we decided to use Alice and drive out there. It was a pleasant drive to Eildon (pronounced Eeldon) and Alice took us to the lake okay but we were at the marina and not alongside the lake as we expected. It was a 'members only' marina so we couldn’t wander about. Well I suppose we could have ignored the signs - it has been known to happen. We took some photos and decided to find another place along the lake.

We found the dam and a lovely picnic place to eat our lunch. The views were breathtaking and we enjoyed just sitting there, soaking it all up. On the way down from the dam Pete Mate spotted a small cemetery so we stopped for a look. We saw a child’s grave and wondered what story it had to tell.

Child's Grave

There wasn’t a headstone so we didn’t know any details but the toys on the grave were antique. Another grave had a headstone telling the story of how Eliza Jane Nichol drowned trying to save a neighbour; she was only twenty two and died in 1888. How that and other old graves came to be there is a mystery because the cemetery only opened in 1920. We left there with more than we arrived, Pete Mate having collected some chewing gum on his shoe. If people cannot dispose of it properly they should not chew it in the first place!

We drove around the area and then decided to go to a lookout and then the town of Eildon. Alice told us we were facing the wrong way so we turned around, we then discovered we would be retracing our steps so we turned around again. We looked for somewhere else to visit couldn’t find anywhere so turned Billy around once more and headed back the way we had come. We found the lookout at the marina we'd already visited, would you believe? It was surround by trees so unless you were extremely tall it was not a lookout at all. We then went into Eildon and saw an information centre. Pete Mate wanted information about the dam and the lake so we parked and walked up the path. Guess what? They were closed. We were now saying mean things about the Information Centre staff in this area until we pulled ourselves up; these people are volunteers and generally do a remarkable job. We had a look around the town and then decided it was time to return home.

Once home I sat outside with a cup of tea and my book, the view of the river was superb and the birds were in abundance, especially the squawking white cockatoos. Another perfick day in the lives of the Nomads.

Tuesday 26th March 2013

Today’s agenda is to visit Marysville and Bruno’s Sculpture Garden. The sculptures have been on my wish list for such a long time, ever since someone sent me a slide show of Bruno’s work. Pete Mate was not overly enthusiastic but conceded I was due some 'pink' time. Eventually we left home and headed out to Marysville.

Once we hit the outskirts of the town we saw a lot of building in progress. The town had been almost totally destroyed in the Black Saturday fire of 2009. Many people lost their lives and it was a terrible disaster.

The town itself is practically brand new as the fire left only the bakery standing. Lots of building work was still taking place and you would expect an air of sadness but there isn’t! The folk of Marysville have got up, dusted themselves down and got on with the future.

The information centre was open and we collected a couple of tourist leaflets about the area. We found a lovely spot to have our lunch under some huge leafy trees. Some colourful parrots joined us but we weren’t sharing. After lunch we had a look at a photographic exhibition, the photographer had taken some lovely shots but they were a bit pricey for prints.

Rich Witch

We then drove out to Bruno’s Garden to look at the sculptures. They were amazing, so lifelike and so much detail. We walked along the meandering pathways in awe. Just when you think you have seen them all you look around and there is another one peeping at you. I took some photos but then decided to put the camera away and just enjoy. It was sad to see how many of the sculptures were either damaged or destroyed in the fire. Bruno’s studio was totally destroyed but he has built again and it looks very smart.

Bruno's Rich Witch

When we left there it was very clear by Pete Mate’s face, this was not a pink day at all, he loved the garden and in fact loved the town as well. Pink credits intact for another day. We then drove out of town to a crystal and fairy place. I hear you say pink credits being used. Well, you are wrong because whilst I was looking at the crystals and fairies, Pete Mate was out the back of the property taking photos of burnt out trucks and such like. Very blue indeed.

I made a couple of purchases and whilst doing so the lady told me a few tales about the fires, how people lost their lives. She reduced me to tears so I told her I had to leave but would remember the folk of Marysville in my prayers. One interesting fact she told me was that 22 women in the area have been diagnosed with breast cancer and a number of men with prostrate cancer, all since the fires. That's a lot of cases when you consider the town’s population before the fire was only 500 people.

On the way home we called in at a pub in Buxton, the only pub in Buxton. In fact there wasn’t much more in the town. It was a funny place with quite the feral barmaid with the language to match.

Nude by pool
Another of Bruno's many wonderful sculptures.

Wednesday 27th March 2013

When I walk to the amenities first thing in the morning I always walk the long way back as the river and the countryside look so beautiful in the early morning light. Today I remembered to take the camera.

Acheron in the morning

Hoses in the morning

A family of swans lived on the river. The picture shows five almost fully-grown cygnets. The parents were jet black.
Today’s trip out was to the town of Yea which was a pretty little place with really nice, friendly people. We found the old railway station and a delightful picnic area where we ate our lunch. We then had a drive around but found no reference to the historic tunnel we wanted to see. We did however find three churches one of which Pete Mate took a photo and he may kindly let me have it for my journal.

Uniting Church
The Uniting Church in Yea.
I had to go into the pharmacy and I asked the assistants in there if they knew of the tunnel. Not only did they know but they gave me precise directions which I wrote down. From the directions we found the tunnel quite easily even though sign posts were in very short supply. We walked through the tunnel from one end to the other, encountering a group of women and a cyclist along the way. It was really amazing to look at and imagine each brick being hand made. The only downside of it was a lot of horse poo; the path through the tunnel is part of the rail trail used by walkers, cyclists and horses. You really had to watch where you were walking as it was so dark in there.

The weather was beginning to change so we decided to go home and pack everything away before it rained. It was quite windy but we managed to pack everything away.

Thursday 28th March 2013

Overnight it poured with rain which made it a very soggy trek to the amenities block. It was a very wet departure but in a way it made it easier to say goodbye as we both really loved it here.

We had a good run though to Wangaratta and by the time we arrived the weather had improved greatly. We set up camp and then I walked into town for a couple of things. I used the new bridge as the old one is being repaired. That is what we were told but reading the billboards it looks like it is being incorporated into a new riverside plaza. It will look really nice when it is finished.

Friday 29th March 2013

The sun was shining but I wasn’t, I had a bad reaction to the antibiotics so did very little today. Pete Mate kept himself busy on the computer.

Saturday 30th March 2013

Thank goodness I ditched those antibiotics as I feel 110% today. A lot of the symptoms have subsided and I once more have my energy back. Natural therapies for me in future I think.

We walked over the bridge and along the path which runs alongside the river. We reached a crossroads and decided to turn left; we ended up on the rail trail in town. We walked for a while before we recognised anything familiar then once we knew where we were we made our way back to the bridge. As we were walking across it Pete Mate stated it was not a well made bridge, not something I wanted hear whilst crossing it!

We ate a quick lunch and then sallied forth to the shops. We needed new bed linen as our looks a mess with all the spills we have had. As we are such grots I bought cheap this time.

Sunday 31st March 2013

Another nice day for a walk, so we ventured forth once more. This time we thought we would follow the path to the weir. Unbeknown to us it was only a minute's walk down the track. We back-tracked and walked up through the town which was pretty dead, one or two shops open but not a lot happening. We spied Gloria Jean’s and as it was open went in for a coffee before continuing our walk. The caravan park is pretty full and people are playing various games and the Jayco Club were having a very large and very early Happy Hour. As we are not in their gang we weren’t invited. We had our own HH and very nice it was too.

And so it's goodbye from March. Please click Next Page (below) to go to April.