Our Caravan Trip 2016
After collecting the caravan from the repairer taking two days to clean and load it with all the paraphernalia and food we think we need, finally ready we got underway by 10.30am, with no destination decided. The drive along the freeway put us at Eureka by midday stopping at the Caltex service centre to fuel up and enjoy a cup of coffee and toastie. The day was dry no wind and with the road carrying only light traffic we were making good distance so decided to get to the Rutherglen area. Pam rang Sarah & Neil Henderson who we met through Paul at the MYC Optimist yacht regatta and they invited us to stay at their farm in the Indigo Valley our intention to stay for one night. On our arrival Neil and Oscar were busy organising feed for the cattle Neil pointed us to level area near the farm shed where we parked the van and settled in. Pam went to see Sarah and I joined Oscar helping to muster cattle and assist Neil place hay into the feed bin an interesting experience. The sun going down Pam and Sarah now preparing dinner Pam on soup and Sarah on main a lovely dinner had by all of course washed down with some nice reds a Yalumba shiraz/ Sangevase and a Campbell’s Durif a lovely night. I learned that George their eldest son played the bagpipes and I asked if he could play Highland Cathedral hoping for a rendition tomorrow night.
Thursday 2nd June
We slept well there is nothing like country air to help with a good night’s sleep, woken only by the cat scampering over the roof of the van. We had breakfast then joined Sarah on the front verandah, which overlooks the Indigo Valley what a beautiful relaxing place. The Indigo Valley is situated in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range south of Wodonga and East of Rutherglen their farm is just a short drive from Beechworth a superb old town with stone buildings in excellent preserved condition including the notorious Beechworth Jail with the razor wire still intact now a tourist attraction. Neil and Sarah run about fifty head of cattle on 145 acres a wonderful life style choice. Neil was soon heading off to Melbourne and the boys already gone to school a 70 km journey a 140 km daily routine. We had a relaxing day Sarah took us to the top of the valley this gave us views over the valley towards Wodonga and across to Rutherglen with the recent rains the valley was a lush green and the day was sunny. which added to the beauty of this vista. Back at the farm we had a light lunch much chatting then Sarah was off again to collect the boys from school Pam on dinner a stir fry. During dinner I reminded George of my request for him to play Highland Cathedral unfortunately he was suffering blisters on his fingers a skin infection, which caused him pain when playing the pipes. George is the lead piper in his school band and he informed us that his school had been chosen to perform at the 2017 Edinborough Tattoo, George was excited about this opportunity particularly as he will also be playing solo. What a wonderful experience. Dinner was great poor Oscar had a cold and today was his first day back at school after two days laid up he was still suffering. We discussed sailing both George and Oscar being in the Yachting Victoria squad they were off next day to St Kilda for training straight after school. The end of another relaxing day tomorrow to Rutherglen.
Friday 3rd June
Another sleep in, the sky was overcast and rain on the way, Sarah, Pam and I went to Beechworth some sightseeing then enjoyed lunch at the Beechworth bakery where Pam bought an apple slice to take to the Pfeiffer’s, we are looking forward to seeing Chris and Robyn again. Our goodbyes to Sarah and on our way to Rutherglen in constant rain we checked into a very wet Rutherglen caravan park and later headed off to Pfeiffer’s. Robyn met us at the driveway and we scurried inside to get out of the rain. It has been some 12 years since we last saw Chris & Robyn so much catching up to do. Chris produced a 20-year-old Riesling, which was magnificent and three different vintages of Shiraz all great with small but interesting differences I think Chris wanted me to see how three different vintages performed under screw cap, the finishing touch was an old tokay, which went well with the apple slice. This was a wonderful night but also sad hearing about the death of George Smith the Buller’s losing their business and David Morris no longer at Morris wines another end of a family era.
Saturday 4th June
Up early and soon on our way to Canberra, we drove through heavy rain all day our only stop being Gundagai for lunch. On arrival at Canberra we settled into the exhibition centre a huge area close to the centre of Canberra a great camping spot with all facilities, it was windy and raining even heavier now with no sign of easing. Dinner and an early night.
Sunday 5th June
We visited the war memorial and once again found it so interesting, it has been some 30 years since we last visited. The sections on Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan were new to us and so well done. The rain is persistent and as Sydney is suffering from the storm with trees down and flooding in some areas we will need to review our movements for tomorrow.
Monday 6th June
A very windy wet night however on rising the rain had abated and the sun was fighting to get through the clouds. We lived in Canberra in 1965/6 and decided to take a nostalgic drive, first stop our house in Stonehaven Crescent Deacon my how the memory fools us we remembered this house as being much larger the only change it had been rendered and the hedge had grown far too tall blocking the great view over Lake Burley Griffin. Our next stop was the Cotter dam picnic area where we took the girls swimming in the summer still a beautiful place but the Cotter river was in flood after all the rain no swimming here today it was a raging rapid. Next stop the YMCA Yacht Club I was a member there and sailed a VJ at that club in 1965/6. We met the club manager Beverly who was most welcoming she said that their biggest challenge was growing junior membership and they were trying various ways of encouraging young people into the club, with limited success. I also met two members working on miniature America Cup yacht sometimes used for disabled sailing one of the fellows was in a wheel chair and he knew Krista Bailey having sailed in Sydney regattas when Krista was representing our club, he is a competent sailor who sailed in the disabled Olympics and had good success. Back at the van and ready to move on to Goulburn. The drive to Goulburn was easy along a now double highway no longer the single winding road which was very dangerous. Lake George was empty an unusual sight with cattle grazing where there is normally water it is a massive lake but very shallow the recent drought has dried it up, with this current rain fall it will certainly start filling again. We arrived to the Goulburn South Caravan park at about 4pm and settled into a great sight with plenty of room. Tomorrow we will tour Goulburn.
Tuesday 7th June
After a cold rainy windy night, we prised ourselves out of bed so cold we could have easily stayed there all day. Goulburn is the first inland country town settled in Australia as such the visit here should be very interesting. Goulburn was a gold rush town but its real fame came from Merino Sheep farming and a significant rail depot. Our first stop was to get a photo of the Big Merino situated at the entrance to the town it is a massive statue. From there we went to the only operating steam waterworks, unfortunately not open but we did see the boilers and the old buildings and surrounds were interesting a bye gone era. Our next stop was the Riversdale Homestead being a lousy day we were the only visitors as such we were treated to a personal tour by one of the volunteers she was marvellous. The homestead is now under national trust and it is kept in wonderful condition. There have been many owners of the homestead most trying to make a living with it as a road house as it was then situated on the main road to Sydney. It was eventually purchased by the Twynam family, Twynam being the government surveyor for the area he later became the government surveyor for NSW and moved to Sydney for a time but retained ownership of the property, it remained in the Twynam family for 100 years. Twynam,s wife was a renowned artist, specialising in tapestry works some of her works were on display and they were magnificent with vivid colours no fading apparent. She was also a competent wood carver the centre piece was a superb timber chair beautifully carved photo taken. All together this was a well worth while visit, being winter the gardens were not at their best but still interesting to walk through great design created for family use and with private places to just relax or read a book. Moving on we bye past the rail yards to wet so into town to see the Cathedrals, again all closed so we did not get to see the wonderful stained glass windows which were protected with bars on the outside. St Pauls was interesting as it was built with green granite quite spectacular. Driving around the old town was interesting and we were surprised to see so many terrace houses many only single story some very interesting in style and of course some superb stately houses many in excellent condition a sign of past and present wealth. What a pity the weather restricted our visit here we would have like to stay longer.
Wednesday 8th June
Rain, rain and more rain accompanied by lots of wind, now on our way to Sydney arriving at the Lane Cove Caravan park at 1.30pm the rain now stopped and the temperature 21c very pleasant. The caravan park is part of the Lane Cove National Park and it is hard to believe we are in the heart of Sydney the odd siren reminds us. Pam & I went for a 5km walk along the Lane Cove river track to the weir a rather wet muddy slippery walk, with thank Goodness no rain. Now ready for dinner and an early night.