May 22 – Lakes Entrance
After a leisurely pack up this morning we drove back up the road into town a short ways and up the big hill to the look out. We took a few pictures before heading back down. We parked at the pier and had been told by our hosts last night that we should be able to buy seafood fresh off the boat. We walked down one dock to a boat but their seafood sign was covered up so we just asked the best spot to buy some prawns. He pointed us to a boat a couple of docks down. We bought ½kg of prawns and ½kg of bugs. Bugs are like a lobster/cray fish with a very flat head. We took our goods back to the van were able to squeeze our kilo of seafood into the fridge, barely. We headed down the strip a short ways to the main beach. You have to cross a footbridge over a lake to get to the ocean. We took a leisurely stroll down the beach. Beau and I get a little used to power walking sometimes and we have to consciously slow ourselves down. At our caravan park we had received $2.50 off vouchers for drinks at a near by bar so after our walk we went for a beer. We enjoyed a lager from the Blue Tongue Brewery for only $2.40! It was nice to have a beer at a lake side bar. Our beer sparked our hunger so we headed back to the van for some shrimp, crackers and cheese for lunch. Our journey took us to Croajingolong National Park with a stop at Cann River for gas. While Beau was filling the tank I was sitting in the front minding my own business when a tendril of smoke/steam drifted past my face. I was coming from the engine. I hopped out of the van lickity split and got Beau. We opened the compartment and it looks like it was just coolant from the overflow. We had been going hard up and down some hills to get here and I guess the cooling system was working over time. We figure since back in the 80's they weren't so worried about leaking anti-freeze all over which is why there was no overflow reservoir. So to our relief it was steam I saw from the anti-freeze dripping onto the hot engine. Pheww... I think I lost some minutes off my life though. We headed down to Thurra River Camp ground in the national park but it was starting to get dark and the road turned to dirt for about 25km till we got to the camp. That was a very bumpy ride and we were feeling very rattled. The park was unmanned when we arrived in the dark and didn't see the honesty box when we pulled in either. We figure we'll deal with it in the morning. We got park and set-up and had a little check of our new battery to see how it's doing. It was only sitting at about 8V! Crap we checked out some other things and it looks like our battery isolator wasn't clicking on. Beau and I were feeling very down trodden at the point. To top things off all the seafood we had bought which we assumed would do dinner for tomorrow as well had to be consumed tonight. So we ate our shrimp and bugs for dinner. The bugs were yummy though very much like lobster. Our lights were on the dim side since the battery was low but we managed to play some crib before bed.
|Looking over Lake Entrance|
|The main beach|
May 23 – Croajingolong National Park
Beau and I had a slow start to the day. But we eventually dragged ourselves out of bed and set up the table and chairs in the sunshine. While enjoying our breakfast we had some kookaburra observers and I got a bunch of photos and a couple of great shots. When we started up the van it was tremendously noisy! We drove a short ways down the road to the parking lot for Point Hicks Lightstation. Beau had a look under the van and it looks like the exhaust pipe had broken where it meets the muffler. Probably had been cracked before and rattled off on our bumpy dirt road drive. If it's not one thing it's another. We've decided that maybe it's Victoria that's been giving us bad luck and it'll be rainbows and pots of gold once we cross the boarder. We had a nice walk to the light house this is apparently where Cook first sighted Australia and named the point after the Lt who actually sighted land in 1770. There was a cool distance dial at the point; from here Antarctica is closer than Darwin as is New Zealand! We walked back to the van and then down to beach for a nice little walk. We've been taking loads of great beach walks in Australia. After our walks Beau had another look at the exhaust pipe and rigged it so it wouldn't bounce around too much on our drive out of here. We left the national park via it's twisty, turny, bumpy road but they are doing road works to smooth out some areas so it's good to know the camp fees are going to good use. We did take one very hard turn and the battery went sliding out of its spot. Beau had screwed a piece of wood in front of the old battery to keep it in place but the new battery is a little longer so is currently not wedged in place properly. We are going to fix this but the screws Beau used have a Robertson head on them and the screw driver set we bought doesn't. It's about as easy to find a Robby here as it would be in the States! Anyways, we pulled over and I put the battery back and while there I decided to have a quick peek at the voltage. Low and behold our bouncing around had shaken some sense into the isolator so it had started charging the battery again! We drove on wards to Mallacoota which was our stop for the night. Mallacoota has a series of lakes around it leading into the ocean. Along the foreshore there was a council run holiday park and we got a site for just $12! We also asked about a mechanic and were pointed to the shop just up the road. We took a quick stop in and made an appointment for the morning. There was a kitchen shack at the campground with a nice fire burning away. We did some laundry too while there, we were running low on socks. After some dinner we chilled in the lodge and played some crib by the fire. There was free wifi but sadly it wasn't working for us.
|The Light House|
May 24 – Biking in Mallacoota
We were up early for Dotti's 8am appointment. Beau took the van over while I took breakfast supplies to the kitchen. We figured if it was going to take a bit he would just bike or walk back down. While I waited I had coffee and worked on the computer a bit. Beau took about 45min and $60 later the mechanic had welded the exhaust pipe back together. Nice to have that taken care of fairly easily. We had breakfast and got talking the a group in the kitchen about our trip. They gave us all kinds of tips and we highlighted a bunch of places on our map to go to. They set off to go fishing, Mallacoota is a major fishing hub, and we had showers. Then we tried to get the bike off the bike rack. We got the one bike off okay but the second knob wouldn't budge. It was being locked in place by the force of the metal pushing against it. I had to reef down on the rack while Beau tried to turn the knob. We finally got it after quite some effort. We went for a nice little bike ride along the boardwalk/path that ran along the lake edge. The day was warm, I had shorts on, but a bit overcast. We had many pelican sightings and enjoyed a granola bar on a dock before heading back. We made ourselves cheese, avocado and grilled tuna with garlic and onion toasties for lunch on park bbq. We left Mallacoota and shortly after entered New South Wales. It's a new state and hopefully better luck for Dotti. We only did a little driving today and stopped at a rest area a little ways off the highway called Scrubby Creek. We were set back from the highway a bit and there were a bunch of trees all around. We hung out for a bit, I read while Beau serenaded me with the guitar. We made a vegetarian concoction for dinner and then it started to rain a bit. After dinner proceeded much like before dinner only both of us were reading.
May 25 – Eden
We completed our usual morning routine and hit the road for Eden. Once in Eden we went to the information center to find out about grocery stores, things to do in town, and about where to stay for the night. We got some tips on a few nice walks and where a good fish and chips place was. The mention of fish and chips made my mouth water. We headed down to the sea side for a historic walk along the beach. Into the concrete were stamped images depicting significant vessels in the towns whaling and seafaring history. There were little information plaques to go along with the pictures. After that walk we drove through “down town” Eden and on to a look out point. The look out was over Twofold Bay and the other side was Ben Boyd National Park. We enjoyed the view and then followed the Rotary Walk along the cliffs edge to some more stunning view points. After taking a ton of photos our tummies were rumbling so we treated ourselves to fish and chips for lunch! After stuffing ourselves we went to the Eden library and got ourselves updated. I hate to be inside on such a gorgeous day but duty calls. After updating our fans back home, jk, we got some groceries and gas and set off for our campsite for the night. We had planned on staying at Hobarts Beach in Bournda National Park but when we arrived down there it would cost $10/person/night plus a $7 a day fee. So it would cost us $27 to stay at a national park. We said f-that, made few calls and found a caravan park in the next town with a powered site for $21, Bingo. We headed into Tathra and found Tathra Beach Motor Village where we stayed for the night.
|Ben Boyd National Park|
May 26 – Mimosa National Park
We had a deliciously different breakfast of bacon, avocado, tomato, and cheese toasties. Yummy! It was a delightful change from oatmeal. We had a check of the battery since we had our mini fridge running all night and it seems it chews through a lot more power than we thought since the battery was down to 1V. There goes our brilliant battery/fridge setup. We set off for the day to Mimosa National Park which was only a short drive up the road. This National Park was still going to cost us $20/night but at least there was no day fee. We took a stroll along the rocky beached and watched the surf come crashing in. We then took some stairs up to where there was a board walk and an Aboriginal Midden. The Midden contained artifacts and signs of Aboriginal use of the area like shells and fish bones. After our nice walk we decided to switch to the next camp area over since there was flatter ground and better facilities. We checked on the battery to see how much it had charged but since we only drove for about 20min it had only made it up to 8V. We'll have to run the van later to get it up higher. We had noticed the other night that our reverse lights didn't work and one of our brake lights was out. The brake light bulb needs to be replaced but it looks like there is an issue with the reverse light switch. We took apart the column to see if we could see a switch and had no luck. Since we had it apart anyways Beau had a look at our hazard lights switch since it wasn't working either. Turns out the contacts were filthy so he cleaned them up and now our hazards work like a charm. We headed over to the picnic tables and on our way we saw a lyre bird. They have these crazy peacock like tails and it was all fanned our over top of the birds body as camouflage. Beau ran back to grab the camera but of course in the mean time he had moved and ran away. They are master mimics and he sounded like R2D2 some times and other times like a kookaburra. We ate our lunch of leftover curry on crackers before heading back to the van. Back at the van we could hear the “song” of the lyre bird in the forest behind us. We armed ourselves with our cameras and set off on a photo hunt. We caught some good shots of the bird but none with his tail open. We did see him glide down off a big rock, I'm not sure if they really fly. We got a little fire going and hung out around it for the last bit of the afternoon, me reading, Beau playing guitar. We started to make some dinner and the lights in the van failed us. I started her up and got the engine going a bit. We tried to check the battery but it appears at some point while working on the van our multimeter stopped working too. Oi! There's always something. We finished making dinner by headlamp and candle light. After dinner Beau took apart the multimeter and was able to figure out what was wrong with it and sort of fix it. We hung out in the van with wine and candle light, not to mention headlamps for reading.
|The Lyre Bird|
|The Lyre Bird|