Victorian Travels – Part 1
A few weeks ago we headed out on a trip with our camper trailer in tow and no real route to follow. All we knew was that we wanted to head to Victoria and see the Great Ocean Road.
It was our first trip with the camper trailer and we didn’t realise how much extra fuel we would use. It wasn’t until the car started beeping and a light lit up on the dashboard that we realised how much more fuel we actually used. Luckily we were less than 5 kms from Holbrook and we could limp in there to fill up the car and a few jerry cars.
Leaving Holbrook we made our way down to the Murray River at Albury and after crossing over into Victoria we started looking for a campsite along the Murray River. We found one that we liked not far from Rutherglen and it was called the Police Paddocks.
Even though it rained a fair bit which was to be expected because we were in Victoria, it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for camping. We enjoyed being in the outdoors and being away from the stresses of work.
The next morning we packed up to drive to Swan Hill where we stayed in a cabin so that we could get an early start for the drive to Murray Sunset National Park. We were lucky that we left early for the drive to Murray Sunset National Park as we had trouble finding somewhere to camp there and actually did not know where we were. After driving for hours through sand, dirt and gravel tracks and not seeing anyone else we decided that we should set up camp before it got dark so we found a suitable location and had one of the best nights of the trip.
I woke early, about 4am and looked outside to see the amazing night sky and all the stars that were visible.
There is always a bit of excitement on a trip and this one was no exception as we got bogged about three quarters of the way up a sand dune. After lowering the air pressure in the tyres and engaging low range we were able to get out of trouble. The photo below looks back on the dune that we were stuck on as was taken as we approached another one. Don’t forget that we were towing a heavy camper trailer at this time which made it a lot more difficult.
We had actually planned to camp near a lake in the Murray Sunset National Park but they were all dry so after navigating our way out we decided to head to Wyperfeld National Park as on the map it looked like they had a huge lake. We were disappointed again as the lake there had also dried up but we didn’t have time to find somewhere else to camp and set up there for the night. We realised that you don’t need a TV when you have a campfire and a starry night.
Still in search of a lake with water we headed south in the morning towards Lake Albacutya. The route to the lake took us through some barren burnt out forest and were began to wonder if we were lost again.
When we finally arrived at Lake Albacutya we found a paddock with some tracks across it. Apparently it hasn’t been full since 1984! We ended up driving about 13 kms across the lake bed and were only interrupted by a mob of about 50 kangaroos.
After driving across Lake Albacutya we headed down to The Grampians and found a nice little camp ground “The Plantation Campground” near Halls Gap to stay for a few days. It was a free campground with pit toilets, water and when it wasn’t raining, a view of the Grampians. It wet and windy for most of the time that we were there but we still enjoyed our stay. The campground that we had planned to stay in was closed as the area is still recovering from the January, 2014 bush fires.
We weren’t alone at our campsite as there were plenty of kangaroos around to keep us company.
With all the wet and windy weather we didn’t get much of a chance to see the Grampians but we did find Lake Londsdale. We were told that it was only about 10% full but I’m not sure how true that was as there looked to be a fair bit of water in it.
We left the Grampians and then headed to Port Fairy near the start of the Great Ocean Road. Port Fairy is a lovely little seaside town with lots of attractions for tourists.
One of the highlights for me at Port Fairy was the seal that visited when I was down at the wharf shooting the night view of the port. I could hear something blowing and was wondering what it was until I spotted the seal peering at me. I raced back to the car to change lenses and grab a flash so that I could take a photo of him.
Leaving Port Fairy to head to Princetown we typed in the address to our navigator which sent us down a street that was a dead end. At the end of the street was a cul-de-sac with another car parked in it. The street wasn’t wide enough to turn around with the camper trailer so I had to go wide and onto the grass to turn around. Big Mistake! We become bogged and could not get out even disconnecting the trailer and lowering the tyre pressure. Luckily Danni found a helpful resident who just happened to have some 4wd recovery tracks to get us out.
On the way to Princetown we passed the Bay of Islands but unfortunately it was in the middle of the day and not the best conditions to photograph it. I did take a panorama of it with my phone though and it looked pretty good. We realised that the best way to photograph the rock features along the Great Ocean Road was from a helicopter. I made enquiries with one of the pilots about removing the door for me so that I could get some shots but he said no as it would be too cold for him!
Arriving at the Princetown Camping Ground we were surprised that no one else was there, not even a caretaker! There was a note on the office door saying that if it was unattended that you could set up camp and come back later to pay. We spent two nights at the camp ground and did a fair bit of exploring around the area. It always pays to take the route less traveled (unless you get bogged) and doing so we discovered a stunning valley along the Old Ocean Road.
We have never seen so many rainbows as we did whilst in Victoria however given that it rained on and off most of the trip it is understandable.
Superb Fairy Wrens are usually difficult to photograph as they are quite shy and rarely stand still for any length of time. We were camped next to a family of them at Princetown and I managed to take quite a few photos of them.
To be continued