Trip to Tassie week five

Sunday 13th February.

Today we headed for Eildon, have to say wow this place is now on the list of absolutely must go back to.

Great kayaking and fishing. It reminded us of Khancoban in NSW but on a much but not too much larger scale but still friendly.

Marysville was next on the agenda, this place was completely destroyed by bushfires two years ago and has been completely rebuilt. People are still living in Government supplied accommodation.

It was here that we actually found a toilet dump in Victoria. This state is not too RV friendly for toilet or garbage disposal.

On to Healesville, Woori Yallock Burleigh Monbulk and on to Berwick and staying with friends that we met in Singapore while working there. Margie and Brian,what legends grin. We had a ball for two days seeing the local sites and again depleting the wine cellar in the van , bugger but can not be helped .

We stayed two days in this paradise.

Tuesday 15th February.

Struck out again today for Romsey to again deplete our wine cellar and beer supplies and visit good friends that Rod grew up with in his early apprenticeship days with Qantas.

Van and Jerry had appointments in the City so we set up camp on their front lawn. 4:30pm was “D” day, they arrived and the BBQ was fired up the corks were removed and much reminiscences recounted. What a great night!!

Wednesday 16th February.

Off again to Woodend to stay with some friends that we met for the first time in Singapore. Greg and Judy fellow Motor bike riders greeted us on to their property, that was great for parking the van on their front lawn. Unfortunately or fortunately for the liver, we had an appointment in the city to have a new flat floor in the back of the tug at ARB, so we said hi and disconnected the van and raced into the City for the fit out.

Upon our return we were forced to partake of a BBQ and copious quantities of alcoholic beverage. These ex Singaporeans are absolutely hopeless when it comes to the finer points of living. Honest we were forced into this most embarrassing situation.

Next morning

Thursday 17th February

Rod took control of this despicable situation and cooked breakfast although he was a little fuzzy at the time.

8 am was the appointed time for brekkie but it was postponed until about 10am due to lack of interest grin. The rest of the day was pretty quiet with us heading off to sight see and Greg and Judy staying home for a little gardening therapy.

Friday 18th February.

Our apologies to those that may find our ramblings a tad boring but with the onset of our senior years we need to have something to refer to as a reminder of what we have done grin.

Our departure was early to give us heaps of time to get to the ferry to Tassie. We actually stopped before we got to the port to wash the van, it was putrid with diesel grime from the smoke blowing Toyota tug. It did look much better after the scrub but not perfect.

We got an SMS from the ferry mob saying that the departure was delayed for an hour due to late departure from Devonport.

Arriving at Port Melbourne many hours early we took a walk along the water front and enjoyed an ice cream as we waited to hit the pond.

Finally the call was made to line up for the security checks before boarding.

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Lining up we joined about 400 plus other vehicles and excited individuals including bicyclists motor bikers and sports car drivers waiting for the order to board.

Finally we drove on to the ship and fortunately were the second van on and hoping to be the second off.

Rod had booked a Deluxe cabin for the run to Devonport and it was superb. Mavis was absolutely beside herself with glee when we got into the room. Talk about excited kids grin. A bottle of bubbly and two bottles of tassie pure water were in the bar fridge when we shut the door.


Our outlook was at the absolute front of the vessel with two windows overlooking the bow of the Spirit of Tasmania. The forecast was for gale force winds and 15 meter seas,how good grin.

Rod was worried about Mavis but had no need. We had dinner an a bottle of wine and retired to the cabin and enjoyed the whole night even though not much sleep was had. Cast the thoughts from your minds oh ye with fowl minds grin. The passage was very rough with the ship at times almost stopping when it hit the in coming seas. Sleep came to us about 30 times through the night hahaha every time the ship crashed into a wave we were awake and looking out the front windows for the splash.

From our room we could watch the seas hitting the port side of the ship and completely washing over her. It was superb. Had brekkie on the ship before docking,then lined up when the doors were opened to meet our most glorious island Tasmania.

Saturday 19th February.

After breakfast we gathered our gear and dropped down to the vehicle deck to join our transport and accommodation.  The rig was totally covered in salt from the crossing so it was a welcome site as we left the ship into a drenching of rain that we encountered as we drove off her and confronted Tassie Quarantine.

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Confrontation was not the right word. A lovely lady met us under the cover of a huge covered shed in the pi.sing rain and asked if we had any fruit veg or fish. No was the friendly reply. She asked to look in the van (no problem) door unlocked “have you any potatoes or onions????” welllllllll they were the only things that we forgot. Quarantine lady grinned and said that these were the most forgotten items of fruit and veg from the mainland and dropped them in the bin.

Off we went on our Tassie adventure.

Trip to Tassie week four

Monday 7th February.

Took off heading South on the coast road into uncharted territory (for us at least) and stopped in for a look at Mallacoota over the Victorian border. What a great little resort town. One of the caravan parks is right on the water and you camp close to same. There are also boat moorings in front of your camp that you can leave your boat tied safely to, how good is that? We did not stay in Mallacoota instead opting for a free camp off the highway at site #3 camps 5 Genoa rest area tight buggers aren’t we. This is a nice spot with good toilets and heaps of room. The Webber was flashed up and a chicken rolled roast expertly cooked accompanied by some charcoal potatoes sweet potato squash fresh beans and corn yummy.

Rod’s back is more than a little unwell so things are going a little slow for a few days.

Tuesday 8th February.

Up at the crack of noon again had to have a cooked brekkie cause the Barbie was still set up (tough aint it grin).

Our next look at the coast was at Bemm River. This is a nice quiet fishing village with good access for the Kayak and its got a pub. All of this area is so beautiful,as a matter of fact we have not seen anything that we haven’t liked yet. Headed to Lakes Entrance on to Barnsdale, Sale and out to Sea Spray on Ninety Mile Beach. We headed North and camped at a site near Golden Beach,nice quiet spot again.

Wednesday 9th February.

Late start again headed for Longford and then on through Yarram to Port Albert. This is one beautiful little port town with heaps of history. This place has a free camp in a bitumen car park for self contained vehicles only and is the first of many that we found requiring no water discharge at all. This justified our decision to have a grey water tank fitted in the new van. The next town/city was Port Welshpool then we headed towards Wilsons Promontory and camped in the Yanakie caravan park. With heaps of daylight left we left the van and went out to the National park. Spectacular scenery and a great National park camping area here.

Thursday 10th February.

Woke to a bit of an overcast and very strong winds coming from all directions, packed up and headed for Wonthaggi where we re supplied the larder and wine cellar. Another great city has got everything. The next destination was Phillip Island, for our overseas friends this is the site famous for motor cycle racing in Aus.

Sadly we found a chocolate factory on the Island so we just had to indulge the local product (not that the waist lines needed it grin). This night we camped at Kurth Kiln camps 5 # 58. This spot was totally misrepresented by camps. Lovely forestry camp but not much chop if you can’t back your rig out of the camp spots.

Friday 11th February.

The day was spent travelling through country that seems to get more beautiful as you travel on. We camped up at Bass Valley Camp Ground # 99 in camps 5. Nice quiet spot with badly maintained toilets and lotsa huge gums to camp under. This camp is closed down for the winter months for some reason.

Saturday 12th February.

Today saw us travelling through Launching Place,Healsville,King Lake and Whittlsea where we had lunch. This whole area has to be the best Motor bike riding country that we have seen. Extremely hilly and winding through beautiful forest areas. Having said that, lots of these areas suffered badly in the infamous Victorian bush fires a few year ago and lots of forest areas have not recovered at all. Seymour was the next area that we passed through and on to our next camp at King Parrot Creek rest area. The creek was in full flow after the heavy rains and the black berries were everywhere. We managed to pick a bucket full of the sweet little berries and Mavis stewed some and made 3 bottles of jam from the rest, yummo. A haul of new reading material was also acquired after a swap with one of our fellow campers Nobby from no fixed address but a nice little motor home.

Trip to Tassie week three

  January 28th to the 1st were just relaxing with the family at Bermigui eating lots of fresh seafood.

 Tuesday 1st February.

Packed up camp said our farewells to the family and headed off back up the bl..dy big hill (where the car got very hot in the 40 degree heat) towards Berrima. Over nighted at the Warri free camp on the Shoalhaven river. This is another good camp near Goulburn and very popular with the grey nomads. Composting toilet facilities and the great flowing fresh water river are a good reason to drop anchor for a while.

Wednesday 2nd February.

Left Warrie and got back to Moss Vale and checked in to the Moss Vale caravan park and wait wait wait hopefully for the ultimate fix of the tug. Went to the Berrima Diesel today to check that we were all go for Friday and they confirmed it.

Thursday 3rd February.

Thursday was re provision day and we headed for Bowral. We think Mavis picked up a bug there as she was not feeling too good after lunch when we got home.

Friday 4th February.

Friday Rod took the car to Berrima only about 10kms and was going to stay with it for the hopeful fix but Ken turned up at the workshop and offered to take him back to the van then again back to the workshop when the job was completed. Rod told them to fit a DP chip, on the condition that the wheezing smoking problem was fixed, if not to point us to the local tip for disposal of the big red problem.

Ken came back to pick up rod for the return to pick up the tug (great people Ken and Maria).  Picked up the machine in the afternoon parted with $5100 and drove out without the smoke screen thank goodness.

We have come to agreement that we will try not to eat for the next couple of months and recoup this unexpected expenditure $9600 all up ouch.

We stayed in Moss Vale for the Friday night to drown our sorrows or to celebrate the fix not quite sure grin.

Saturday 5th February.

We headed back to Bermigui for a couple of days R&R to get over the trauma of the repairs or rather the uncertainty and to see David and Renee Mavis’s son and Grand daughter as they were not there on the last coupe of visits. We both enjoyed a couple of days relax with the family after the dramas of the last couple of weeks.

Trip to Tassie 2011 week two

Saturday 22nd January.

Had a relaxing drive to Maitland and were persuaded by our friends to stay the night in their drive way.

A Barbie dinner and a few cleansing ales/wines or both and the night was again a great one. It is lovely to know great people and you do meet many of them on the road.

Sunday 23rd January.

With water tanks full and the drinks fridge depleted drastically we headed off to make our way to Bermigui on the South Coast of New South Wales via a stop over in Lithgow for a planned week with family.

The plan was to head off through Merriwa via the Golden highway.

  Merriwa is the town where we spent a lovely week in 2006 after blowing up the engine in our Nissan Patrol returning from seven month on the road. The Nissan gave up the ghost about 30 kms out of Merriwa coming in from Dubbo.

  About 30kms from Merriwa the Toyota started smoking badly and idling very roughly (Deja vu). For the second time in 5 years we pulled in to the caravan park in Merriwa with a sick tug ( tug being the affectionate or not so name for the beasty that drags our caravan).

I suspected a blocked injector as we had problems with cr.ppy fuel before leaving Brisbane. We spent two days in the park and after asking a lot of advice from so called experts decided to head for Bermigui via Lithgo. 

Tuesday 25th January.

Departed Merriwa in a cloud of smoke heading for Lithgo to meet Joe McInnes the inventor and supplier of the Mchitch that we have fitted to our van. We had rung ahead to Joe and requested a new six ton hitch that would be fitted to our new but as yet unbuilt van. What a lovely bloke!

He was keen to show us the modifications made to the hitch since we fitted ours. A small mod to make coupling easier and new bushings and attach holes all go to make a much improved component.

Our new hitch is in the mail straight to Spinifex Caravans where our new baby will be built in May after our return from Tasmania. Excitement plus!

We lunched in Lithgo before heading off to another great free camp at Black Springs about 11 kms south of Oberon. This is or rather will be a great free camp. The local council was hard at work installing new toilet block and landscaping the area. Plenty of shade and level parking to be had.

Wednesday 26th January.

Off again to Bermagui via Goulburn and some of the steepest ranges that we have travelled on to Batemans Bay then Bermie as it is affectionately called.

We arrived at Mavis’s Sons property and set up the van.

During the set up it was noted that the back of the white van was black with greasy diesel soot so the decision was made to get it fixed before we went any further.

Consulting the local diesel bloke we were confronted with a possible 2 week wait for repair as he would have to remove and send our injectors to Melbourne for rebuild. (too long) Rod put in a call to Berrima Diesel at Berrima (funnily enough) back up the top of the blo.dy big hill that we had come down to get here. They booked us in for next Friday.

Thursday 27th January .

We left the van at Bermie and drove to Berrima where we checked into the motel for the night. Had a great dinner a restaurant in Berrima and retired to the motel for the night. 

Next morning the tug was delivered to Berrima Diesel at 8am for the repair. We were told that the injectors would be changed and the job would take all day so an extra day was paid for at the Motel.

Friday night we decided to dine at the pub bistro and as we were walking in to said bistro a big voice yelled out “hey you” from the bar. Surprise of surprises it was Ken Rose a fellow Kedroner that we had met for the first time at the Millmerran Camp oven festival in October. We had a few drinks with Ken and asked after his lovely lady Maria. We were under the misapprehension that they lived in Mittagong but they were at Berrima and we had stumbled into Kens watering hole. We were invited to join them for breakfast the next morning Saturday and were picked up by Ken at 8am for the feast. After a leisurely brekkie the phone rang at about 10am to say that the car was ready. Ken ran us back into town to pick it up.

We had had a few extra jobs done on the vehicle including a new timing belt and tensioner new fuel filter (after market) and on advice the K&N air filter was binned and an original Toyota paper filter fitted. $4500 later we drove out of the workshop and off to Mittagong to fill up with fuel. We had been advised that the fuel pump was damaged from the chip that we had fitted in Brisbane several years ago but it was ok to continue for now.

Driving to Mittagong we were emulating the James bonds Aston Martin in hiding, still blowing heaps of smoke and the beast was still rough on idle. (not happy Jan). We returned to Berrima and told them to order a fuel pump for fitment at their earliest convenience. They told us it would be about a week before they could get a pump and be able to fit it so we laid smoke all the way back to Bermie to await news of the new pump and enjoy our family for a couple of days.

So glad that we allowed plenty of time to get to the ferry for the trip to Tassie.

Trip to Tassie 2011


We allowed ourselves a little over a month to reach Melbourne and catch the ferry across the pond to Tassie. The trip started as below.


Friday 14th of January.

Mavis had an appointment in the City (Brisbane) and I had a check up appointment @ the cancer clinic at the PA Hospital ( six months after a melanoma removal), after which we planned to head off into the wild blue (or wet) yonder.

Rod’s appointment was cancelled due to the floods in Brisbane and Mavis kept getting calls from hers putting her back later and later. Finally we decided to just leave.

It was a late start at around 2:30pm so we lit out for Murwullumbah and stopped at Camps 5 stop # 1 in New South Wales. This stop was pretty noisy being on the old Pacific highway with the traffic non stop all night and our neighbour living in his falcon station wagon with his dog watching TV until 1:30 am about 1 meter from our van, but at least we were away finally.

Saturday 15th January

After a disturbed sleep to say the least we were up early and on the road for a too too long run to meet friends at Inverell.

We did take the picturesque run out through Nimbin where Rod wanted to stop for a coffee and a cookie, but Mavis maintained that it was too early. I ask you is it ever too early for coffee and cookies at Nimbin their coffee is wonderful and the cookies to die for grin.

We found our friends camped at the Inverell Caravan Park (Camps 5 # 265) and managed to get a site right beside them.

We both have to give this caravan park top marks for cleanliness and layout, a great spot and had a great night.

Sunday 16th January.

The morning of day three saw us packed and planning another big day to get to Pilliga bore bath free camp. Our run had us passing through Bingara ( a mighty hard place to pass through for anyone that has camped by the Gwydir river here which is just gorgeous). From Bingara to Narrabri, Wee Waa and on to Pilliga. Pilliga bore baths


Two great nights were spent here just lazing in the bore pool and Mavis catching a bucket load of cray fish over the two days that are/were absolutely yummy.


A quite hilarious, sorry very serious event occurred on Monday as we/Mavis (she being the hunter gatherer) was trying to retrieve one of the cray pots/traps that had been moved out into the middle of the water hole by the cattle or horses crossing same.

You have to understand that Mavis is the hunter gatherer and I lend all the support that I can, like I manage to eat the gathered spoils after she catches cooks and c leans them grin.

She had carried down some new bait for the pots in the form of corn cobs and potato peels.

Several horses had come over to see what these intruders were doing and good hearted Mavis fed them some corn cobs.

As thanks for the cobs, while she was standing on the edge of the primordial slime on the bank of the water hole, one of the horses decided to nip at the one that was near Mavis. A terrible and most shocking thing happened. Mavis was knocked onto the muddy bank of the water hole and got covered in very yucky mud.

I did struggle to help and make sure that she was ok, honest I did, but it is extremely hard to hold your bladder while you nearly fall on the ground laughing at the site of your cheese and kisses trying to get enough footing in the extremely slippery mud to get vertical again.

Not all was lost as she was covered in mud anyway so she waded out and retrieved the cray pot (that was full of delicious morsels).

I did tell her that lotsa women pay big bucks for the treatment that she had self administered (mud packs, well the horse helped grin) but you blokes can bet ya left and the right one that the authoritative male advice did not have a great effect grin . (No camera handy bugger)

Tuesday 18th January.

Packing was completed pretty early and we both hit the warm bore bath for the last time before the run to Tamworth.

What a great trip everywhere you look is green. For our overseas friends this is most unusual for Summer in these parts, it is usually dead and brown, everywhere has had so much unusual rain fall.

A visit to Yarrie lake near Narrabri on the way to our next camp put another great spot on our list of places to return to.

Our camp was at Camps 5 # 168 Cockburn River. This is another great site with the river flowing beautiful warm water that was a pleasure to bathe in. Make sure to bring everything here, there is a very basic toilet and a shelter shed but lotsa good shade on a hot day and as I said water is great, perfect spot for a tub after the pack up in the morning.


Wednesday 19th January.

After a relaxing night at Cockburn River camp we headed off for Hat Head on the coast near Kempsey. Mavis’s Sister and Brother in law live here. Our day was to turn into a great adventure through some of the most picturesque countryside.

The decision was made to head out to the Oxley Highway via back roads, a trip of about thirty five kilometres twenty seven of which were on dirt road.

We passed through Kootingal a lovely little town and on to Limbri both between Tamworth and Walcha.

From Limbri the road was single lane dirt for most of the twenty seven kilometres to Woolbrook and winding its way through picture post card country so green and lush dotted with beautiful little farms. The railway line and river followed us for most of the way and the old brick and stone culverts and bridges built many years ago were wonderful.

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Rounding a corner after crossing a small creek we were confronted with a huge tree across the road.


Knowing that it would take many hours of cutting with the chain saw and dragging with the car and drag chain the decision was made to see if we could get off the road and go around it.

Rod went right and Mavis went left through knee high thistles to check and clear a path for car and van.

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Mavis’s side proved to be the better and away we went so happy that we have an off road capable rig. We/I did manage to badly bend the van step but did fix it at Hat Head with a huge vice and large hammer.



The rest of the trip was uneventful and we reported the tree to a gentleman at Woolbrook and also at Walcha, arriving at Hat Head in the afternoon.

Two great days were spent with the family at Hat Head,where we walked the beach and ate fresh prawns and imbibed on good wines and great beer, does it get any better than this ?.

Friday 21st January.

Set out heading South. Lunched at Taree by the river then on through Gloucester on the Scone road and camped at Camps 5 #357 Copeland Reserve. A nice spot with flowing creek and the beautiful song of the bell birds. We did some washing and blanched some super sweet corn and fresh beans for freezing yum. Rang some friends that live at Maitland. Will be seeing them tomorrow.

That is the first seven days away from home prepare for more.