Monday, December 16, 2013

The Van is Back - Long live the Van but stuff A'van

Well its been a while since we had a post - but then we haven't been anywhere (except the US with its technology issues) but it is a time to perhaps expect a little cheer. After 8 months we have our van back and it looks pretty good - no thanks to A'van. They (A'van) seem to have a good product but their after sales service would make an Indian call center look good. If we ever buy another van it won't be an A'van as long my arse is pointing at the ground.

What I can't understand is surely they realise the 'vanning or grey nomad fraternity talk, I mean isn't there a happy hour every night, and you should never underestimate the "word of mouth" impacts. Anyway here is a picture of the rig on its first day back. Bring on holidays is all I can say ............................. see you out there somewhere

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Disneyland or bust

Well we made Disneyland after all the planning etc. Unfortunately the blog will have to wait we are having trouble with the technology so it will have to wait till we get back but all is well having a great time.

D& D

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 2013 Marysville and Mansfield


Well the time has come for us to be off again, although this time is a bit short. Add to that we don’t have the van it’s still out of action and now my knee is cactus. So we made the call to head off in the corolla and packed the little car up and headed towards Marysville via Heathcote and Yea. Not a long journey and we made Marysville by mid-afternoon. 
Steavenson River at the van park

Fungi time
   The park was very nice with the Steavenson River flowing through the middle.  Marysville is still struggling after the 2009 fires but is fighting all the way and all credit to the people of the town. They need tourist and day-trippers to come and visit so go spend a few days in the area.
Rest of the afternoon spent settling in and having a bit of a look around the town with a visit to the big blue “I” centre and planning our couple of days here. We decided the next day we would head for Healesville across the black spur and may be the sanctuary, however, when we got to Healesville the weather closed in so a recalculation was in order (over coffee). A change of plans and we headed for Warburton and, well, we weren’t sure after that.  From Warby we thought we would go Lake Mountain. The road to the Mount actually went right back to Narbathong across the mountains. At the turn off to Lake Mountain, we decided, because it was raining, to continue on. A few kms on the road turned to dirt and remain so till we had nearly reached Narbathong. It rained a fair bit but was a good, picturesque trip. 
Road from Lake Mt to Narbethong
When we reached Narbathong  we decide we would detour back to the Black Spur pub for lunch.

Steavenson Falls

Keppel Lookout

Thursday we decide on a few local attractions and headed out to Steavenson Falls.  It’s an easy walk from the car park and is quite spectacular. The falls are also lit up at night so we ventured back after dark (bloody freezing) but also quite spectacular. From there we went up to Keppel  lookout  which looked back over Marysville. Three years on from black Saturday, the scars are still very visible but slowly being dulled.  On our way back we called into Bruno’s Gardens which is a garden full of quirky terracotta sculptures. Most of the gardens had been destroyed during the fires and about 80% of the statures have been restored to this point.  
Bruno's sculpture garden
Another "inhabitant "of  Bruno's

During the afternoon we went to the Crystal Garden which was a little disappointing  and didn’t live up to the hype. Back to the unit and we spent a bit of time chasing the sun out the front of our unit.


Road to Mansfield
Friday a slowish start (been a bit like that every day) which is not a bad thing, packed the Corolla and headed for Mansfield. Had a bit of a look around Alexandra on the way and arrived at Mansfield at about 12ish with the obligator visit to the big Blue “I” and out to the van park – obviously too early for our host as check in time is 2pm!! So a wander around Mansfield, a bit of lunch, some groceries and back to our digs right on 2pm.  The rest of the afternoon was a relax , watching the ducks, etc. on the dam and general doing not much. 

The "cubby"

We decided the next day to head for Jamieson and Kevington. The road become gravel after Kevington and so we decide not go any further and return to Jamieson. The weather was not all that good as we returned to Jamieson which is a nice little place and quite interesting. We did some of the historic walking tour and general poked around. We decided there were a few attractions we would like to see  - the first of which was the Jamieson Brewery (aka pub in the middle of nowhere) which brews its own brand of ale. Got a couple of samples and headed to attraction 2 – the lookout that looks back over the back of Eildon. Attraction 3 was the Protea Farm that turned out to be a wooden humpy with a few flowers inside – which we brought a couple to bring home. Attraction 3 was the Bimbi Motor Museum.  This is amazing and worth the trip.  Steve and Carol were a wealth of knowledge and willing to share their collection of cars and bric a brac. All proceeds are donated to local volunteer organisations and for a gold coin entry was amazing. Any one in the area should visit and they can be found on the web at  Attraction 4 was the berry farm just up from Bimbi we purchased some local produce but not much was going on as it was late in the season. We arrived back at the park mid-afternoon so I though a spot of fishing might be in order – enough said. Sunday we headed up to Mt Bulla, we had not been there before and we were amazed at the amount of buildings on the summit. Di couldn’t get over it and thought it would be very busy during snow season. We returned to the cabin for a relaxing afternoon. Monday it was packing and returning home.So another trip has drawn to a close we missed not having the van and has only strengthened our resolve to get it fixed and get back out on the road again.

The house of gnomes Mt Bulla

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day Trip'n

Well we have had a few day trips to keep things interesting. Weekend after Easter it was a trip to Robinvale (technically not a day trip) to see the Grand kids and friends.They were camped at Ned's corner and its not a bad spot. Brad finally caught his murray cod all 75 cm of it. The kids were obviously having fun on the water and we had a pretty good day.
River fun

And games
Last weekend we thought another trip to the Wombat might be nice, we had to pick up the old girl anyway so though it sounded like a plan. A few things ended up changing our plans slightly but it ended up a great day. No 4 wheel driving but we headed for a place called Mt Erth which is a garden in the middle of the wombat. They have a great place and just wandering around the gardens etc was peaceful. They also have a nice coffee shop /cafe but we didn't stop for any of their fare. We decided to head out along the Trentham - Daylesford rd and came across Lyonville and the radio Springs Hotel and that's were we stayed till about 5pm. This quirky little pub was fantastic - great meals and we just sat around talking. What a great afternoon and we didn't really want to leave. It is on our list of places to go back to.The owners are building a 16 seat cinema out the back which should be finished soon and they also have accommodation. Anyone travelling around the area could pick a lot worse spots to this for an afternoon. 
Mt Erth

Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter at Waranga Basin 2013

Well Easter was upon us and as we had planned Easter was to be spent at Waranga Basin with the usual cohorts. Wayne and Faye, Peter and Robyn, Wendy, Gaz and Chas and of course us. Well true to form things didn't quite go to plan. First up our van is cactus at moment and subject to some major repairs. None of which was our fault. Then Wayne and Fay had to pull out so that left the others. We decided to stay at the motel in Rushworth which wasn't to bad but would have been better if we had been on the lake. Here are a few happy snaps from the weekend. Rushy always has a street parade and market and as usual there were some interesting sites.
Interesting name for a laundry

Yesteryear came to life

anyone we know????
Camp Waranga
There is always coffee

Heading for the old Whroo mine entrance

going through the drive

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wandering through the Wombat

With summer here and the usual fire etc its been a bit hard to get away. Add to that the problem we now have with our van its all been a bit draining so we managed a Saturday wandering through the Wombat State Forest 4X4 tracks with Gaz and Shaz. We had a good day and here are a few snaps.

Off the Exl track

O'briens Crossing

O'brien's Crossing
O'brien/s Crossing

O'brien's crossing

Fire trail

 I was amazed at the number of campers at pretty much every flat spot in the park. We stopped at a place called O'briens crossing and talk about tent city.

Here's a bit of footage

Monday, February 4, 2013

Getting ready again

Well Xmas is over and we are looking forward for the first outing of the year for us We are trying to have a shake down run to Aysens Reserve for a bit of free camping. The reserve is actually the old Elmore field days site on the Campaspe River. A few of our friends are thinking of heading up as well so it should be good, weather permitting. We have made a few mods to the van which we hope will help make it a better version. Mind you there was nothing really wrong with it. We have pulled all the 12volt electrics out including the battery and moved it into the front boot. Previously all the electrics were installed under the bed, including the battery. The photo is of the new handy work. It was a with a bit of trepidation when I flicked the switch for the first time but all went well. We also replace all the globes with LED lights.. End result with all lights on we draw less than 1.5 amps with 105 amp hour battery well you do the maths. All up with rangehood, pump and hot water we are under 9 amps. I forgot to mention we also had a hot water system installed so we have pretty much finished with the big things I guess so we are looking forward to giving it a go.Will also get to try the new Kayak a run on the river. We also had a few upgrades on the BT 50 ready for our trips. Now have a canopy which makes ute tray much more usable.  This year we are planning on sometime at Waranga Basin then off to Menindee and Broken Hill.
The new 12 volt setup