Our camping trailer set up on the banks of the Murray River.

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The river belongs to New South Wales and forms most of the border with Victoria before continuing its flow seaward, into South Australia. We have only the one lock in Victoria, at Torrumbarry. We were camped downstream from there, behind Cohuna, in the Gunbower State Park. The area is heavily wooded, despite massive milling beginning in the riverboat years. Camping is allowed along rivers frontage designated as Murray River Reserves.

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There was a cleared area behind us, on the other side of the River Track. We saw kangaroos and emus  back there – I’ll share those photos, later.

Before we go bush again, we must watch a video on folding up our collapsible shower / toilet tent! It was miracle we got it flat. I tied it up like a parcel, should it decide to pop open. One has to fold, and bend and twist and pull in the right sequence, and it should end up a flat circle with its flexible poles still inside.  Magic, when you know what you are doing. Oh, I so loved having a portaloo on this, our first bush-camping for 13 years.

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The sun greeted us each morning. Bit hard on the eyes after a few wines and I was unprepared the first morning! Mist rose on the water, giving an extra magical feel.

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The first job was to get the fire going to make a cuppa.  The air was a little brisk, so we rugged up. The first few days we had a chill breeze but most of the time it was really pleasant in the sunshine. Vika wasn’t all that impressed.

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She watched me like a hawk. One afternoon, while Mr R was off getting wood and Vika was sound asleep, I circled the camp taking photos. It was some time before I noticed her missing. Turned out that she had followed the minor track up to the next camp, just visible to us between the trees on the next river bend. Losing her was really scary. Since she is deaf now, we couldn’t call or whistle.  Thank goodness she stuck to the track.

 

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Thanks for reading and /or looking. Now that I have set the lay of the land, I have some wonderful bird photos to share, as well as those promised kangaroos and emus.

Stayed tuned.  🙂

Travels

Murray River Magic

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Travels

Glamping

I could not possibly call it camping – what we just did for four glorious days over the Queen’s Birthday weekend! Apparently, the word is glamping when one brings along the little luxuries we take for granted at home. Things like the electric jug, the toaster, electric blankets and – horror of all horrors – the microwave oven! Yes, I took them all on this, the maiden voyage of our Mars Extremo rear-folding solid floor camper trailer.

We booked a powered site at the Murraybank Caravan Park, Picnic Point. Surrounded by the Barmah  National Park, Picnic Point is some ten or so kilometres from Mathoura, NSW.

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The marker on the tree (below) means we are 1788 kilometres upstream from the mouth of the Murray River. The Murray marks the boundary between Victoria and New South Wales. The river belongs to the latter. Some trees still bear carved mile markers from the 1870s. I’ve never seen one.

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We arrived at our destination hours later than planned because I’m an idiot. I misplaced the keys that were used to padlock our gas bottle and some security chains we had draped about the draw-bar to deter any opportunistic thief. I swore I had packed them with the other necessary stuff used to attach the trailer to the car.

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After searching fruitlessly for an hour, I gave in to Mr R’s urging and we borrowed a bolt cutter to cut the chain, but the padlock proved impervious to our efforts. Luckily, this did not stop us from being able to attach the actual safety chains to the towbar – once we had smashed away the garden chair in which they were entwined.

It was nearly a two-hour drive. We arrived, paid for the riverside site for four nights and purchased a load of wood for the campfire. We were shown to the most beautiful caravan park campsite ever. The Murray River swept around us on three sides.

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Setting up camp was stalled by the damned winch getting stuck –  over-tightened when the trailer was closed following the tent seasoning. Couldn’t get it to freewheel any strap for hooking to the trailer top (which becomes the floor when opened).

Well, I guess it was obvious the camper was new to us and, no doubt, we provided some amusement for onlookers.  With the winch strap finally free, we opened the trailer and the tent unfolded. It was a wonder to behold.

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In the kerfuffle following said key debacle, I forgot to make sure that I had packed matches – another thing I swore I had done. Mr R borrowed a lighter from nearby campers. I wonder what he told them. My ears probably should have been burning as bright as our fire.

We didn’t attempt to put up the awning until the next day, exhausted after all the drama of getting there.  We didn’t extend the tent correctly, so that meant the awning was lower than it should have been – and then the side walls (attached with velcro) were about 6 inches too long! The centre pole decided to discard its tip as soon as the first crossbar was put on. Fortunately, Mr R did not get injured when it gave way. I tied it up, and we struggled onward, finding it increasingly hard to believe that one person could erect it in a mere half-hour, once experienced.

While the moon rose, we put away a stout, or two, and some wine, before eating leftover lamb-neck stew – microwaved.

By now, I had found the dratted missing keys. A few days beforehand, I had taken my indoor shoes from the setting-up box and popped them through the back flap of the trailer – under the bed – not noticing the keys tucked inside. Mr R was incredulous. I was relieved but still felt such an idiot and worried about senility.

The queen bed in the trailer proved very comfy, though I took the precaution of slipping thin self-inflating mattresses, from our old camp stretchers, under my side.  Mr R declared it the best camping bed he had experienced.

Vika, our dog, was not such a happy camper. But that is a story for another day.

Thanks for reading!

🙂

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Travels

St Arnaud

Hello people, we’ve been interstate to my mum’s place again. If you recall, last November we spent the visit unpacking mum’s moving boxes. This time I hung her picture collection. Mum is thrilled to have her ‘gallery’ around her again after 10 months of being packed away.

Coming home on Sunday, we had lunch at St Arnaud. I always associate the place with horses as my dad used to go to races there when I was a kid. It was built on the back of the gold mining boom in the 1850s and still produces plenty of gold nuggets for fossickers.

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A statue dedicated to the fellow who inspired the name of the town takes centre stage in a pretty park.

 

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Marshal of France Armand Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud (Public Domain)         Wikipedia says: He served as French Minister of War until the Crimean War when he became Commander-in-chief of the army of the East.

We were going to visit over Easter, but Mr R spotted a car he wanted to buy – which we did on Thursday. It exceeded our expectations on the home trip. I can’t see it being our last car, as there will come a day when I can’t climb into it!  Later this month, we ‘re getting a wind-down solid floor camper, so needed a proper tow vehicle.  The Triton will pull a caravan if we decide to upgrade from the trailer tent.

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I keep putting off the date of my retirement … but very soon, that’s for sure. The way I feel at the moment, I’d rather it was now. I think I’m hungover from the single bottle of Chardonnay I drank over the last two nights. Had to celebrate such a flash vehicle. (It is dark blue  but looks black in shadows. )

Thanks for reading.  I do hope you had a great weekend.  🙂

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As I’ve said earlier, I did not use the mobile phone camera very much on our trip at Easter.

These photos lend themselves to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black & White. 

Firstly, a normal person would clean their windscreen before embarking on a long trip home. It did not occur to me. These images have a lovely knocked about patina as a result. Sometimes you can be lucky. As you can see from the image in the header, the colours came out looking like they came out of a 1980s album!  The time was between 10 and 11 in the morning.

looking through the windscreen at cattle on the roadsides

approaching cattle on ‘the long paddock’

 

Wikipedia says…

In Australia, the Travelling Stock Route (TSR) is an authorised thoroughfare for the walking of domestic livestock such as sheep or cattle from one location to another. The TSRs are known collectively as “The Long Paddock”.

A Travelling Stock Route may be easily distinguished from an ordinary country road by the fact that the grassy verges on either side of the road are very much wider, and the property fences being set back much further from the roadside than is usual. The reason for this is so that the livestock may feed on the vegetation that grows on the verges as they travel.

 

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These three photos were taken on our homeward journey but we did pass through cattle when we arrived, too. I was in too big a hurry to stop for photos and even these were taken after I stopped and snatched up the Nokia Lumia 530 Windows Phone from my door pocket.

One has to drive with caution, though, with cattle on the road. We had to watch out for kangaroos when we left home, and cattle when nearly at our destination – now vise versa.

While the long paddocks are primarily for the movement of stock, these cattle are out because of the dry conditions. Local farmers get special grazing permission when feed is scarce. They are watched during the day and are probably taken off the roads at night.

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Outside Condobolin, NSW

 

I have had a little ‘droving’ experience.

Once as a kid, I went with my dad droving sheep for a day or two. Dad encouraged sheep from neighbouring farms to join us, probably so he could steal them at the end of the drive.

In a long drought, during my first marriage, I used to take our sheep out to graze on the roadsides in front of our property. I did this most days for weeks, with Mr X taking them out at weekends if he wasn’t working.

We returned home using different roads and discovered that there are tourist information boards along a main Long Paddock route. There were also some wonderful statues honouring the role of the paddocks. Next time, I will stop at every single one!

Have a good day.  🙂

 

 

 

Travels

Sally D's Mobile Challenge: The Long Paddock

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