After leaving Melbourne, our first stop was Marley Point on Lake Wellington (outside Sale). The weather was average - cloudy and rain. Good spot though. And free. On the next morning our diesel cooker stopped working, and our kettle burst. Drove back to Sale and spoke to Webasto who told us the nearest repair place was back in Melbourne!. So we spent the day pulling it apart, and found an electrical fault on the circuit board and fixed it. We decided to stay a second night at the lake, and then a third.
Our fourth night was spent in Bairnsdale. We only stayed because the shops were shut on Sunday when we drove through, and we wanted better internet. Bairnsdale is the last big town for a few hundred kms. So we paid for a site ($24) with showers!
On Monday 13th Feb, we hung around in Bairnsdale for a while fixing up the internet. We're now with Telstra which has the best coverage, with 4G speeds in main areas, and quick 3G elsewhere. We also got a personal hotspot set up so all our devices connect up wirelessly in the van.
After sorting that out, we headed off to Metung which was really pretty, and then had a good walk on 90 Mile beach at Lake Tyer. After a beer, we stopped for the night in a picnic area east of Orbost (free). Middle of nowhere surrounded by trees, but internet!
90 Mile Beach
More 90 Mile Beach
After waking up in the roadside stop, we headed towards Eden. Its a nice town with a good beach. The weather was better back on the coast too. Took the dogs for a long walk, and watched some dolphins surfing in the waves.
A dead Puffer fish
Sausage loving the water
Clive not so much
After a bacon butty we headed further up the coast to Pambula and had coffee and a climb over some rock pools. Then we drove straight through Merimbula which is a more touristy version of Pambula. Spent 14/2/12 in another overnight parking spot at Yellow Pinch dam with several grey nomads and their generators.
We decided to stay at the free spot for a few nights so we could check out Merimbula properly. We found a good coffee spot and a good dog beach. We also had a hot shower from the solar shower - it warmed up to hot in about and hour in the sun. So we have spent two days in Merimbula in the sunshine, generally lazing about. Tonight (16/2/12) the storm clouds are back and its thundering / lightning. So we're holed up in the van reading and surfing the web.
One of Merimbula's beaches
17/2/12: We got up today and had a last brew in Merimbula, before setting off up the coast. Went to Tathra for some supplies, and then headed inland to Bega. Not much to see there so kept going to Bermagui back on the coast. Had a quick look round, and stopped in Tilba which is a nice village. We spent the night at a free site at Mystery Bay which was quite nice
18/2/12: We met up with one of Janine's friends of many years in Narooma. We spent some time there and took the dogs for a walk on Kianga beach. In the afternoon we drove on to Tuross Head for a look-see. We stopped the night at another free road side spot just outside Moruya. We were going to the campsite but it was packed with people living in home made tents and looked like the circus was in town.
19/2/12: We drove on to Malua Bay and then Batemans Bay which is a big town. We stocked up at the supermarket and had a bit of a wander. We didn't fancy staying on so we headed for Kioloa Campsite. We have to pay for this one ($23) but its right on the beach and really nice. We've decided to stay here for a while because its so easy. Hot showers, fresh water, beaches, and lots of wildlife. Loads of Kangaroos and a couple of big lizards today. Internet is at the far end of the beach, but thats the only negative!
2/3/12: Have spent a good few days on the beach and generally being lazy. The weather has gone a bit off making charging everything up a bit difficult. Then four days ago it just started raining and hasn't stopped. Big winds bringing down trees, and pretty dark all day long. We have moved to a powered spot in the camp ground so we can plug in and take the load off the batteries while we wait it out. It's been a bit difficult staying dry but not too bad really. Just stuck inside reading and watching movies. There's no point in moving as the weather system is so big. Places we've been to along the way are flooded and some are cut off. And its the same where we're headed. So here we sit. It stopped raining today for the first time in a while which is good.
We've seen some pretty big fish in the week before the rain, but haven't done any fishing. Also done a bit of boogie boarding. Currently looking forward to the sun coming out again!
5/3/12: Finally the weather is better. Woke up today and saw blue sky. Its the first time in 7 days we've actually seen a gap in the cloud. Apparently its been the biggest rain event in NSW in 125 years. The battery fully charged again in about 3 hours and all set to go again. May well stay a bit longer though. Not much point in moving at the moment- lots of places flooded out, and the sun's out here.
7/3/12: Yesterday it started pouring again and cabin fever took over. We decided to stay at Kioloa last night as they gave it to us for free and we moved off today. Filled up our water before we went, did our washing and got everything charged up. We did some shopping in Ulladulla, and then drove through the rain to Nowra to find a Vodafone shop to change Janine's phone plan. It was pretty much dark at midday. We then headed back to a free spot on the highway so we could have a look round Huskisson's Bay the next day.
8/3/12: Woke up to heavy rain showers again. After breakfast we ambled to Huskisson and had a look round. Had a coffee and retreated to the van to keep dry. It's good to be on the move and seeing different places again. Not really sure where to from here. Probably come back here and see it properly if the rain stops (the wettest week since records began apparently). We have to be back in Melbourne at the end of March for some longstanding Dr's appointments before we carry on where we left off. So we'll probably start heading back inland in the next week or so.
The rain stopped for a while in the afternoon so we went for a walk through a mangrove forest, and then watched some surfers. Spent the night back at the road stop because its close and easy.
9/3/12: Woke up to blue skies for a change. Had brekky and back for Huskisson for a coffee and walk on the beach. Much nicer in the sun. Will hang around here today, road stop tonight, and move on tomorrow
10/3/12: Spent last night at the road stop as planned. Set off today to buy yet another kettle. The handle broke off the current one. Apart from diesel and food, kettles are our next biggest expense. Got that sorted in Nowra (which has a bad feel about it as towns go - lots of hoodies and muffin tops everywhere) and headed north to Kiama which is a really nice spot. The town is a bit trendy with lots of cafes and eateries. Took the dogs for a walk on beach, and checked out a couple of free camping spots but they were right on the main road, just out of town. So we drove back to Berry which we'd missed on the way up, and it is very pretty. The camping area we were heading for there was closed due to flooding, so we took the scenic route to Kangaroo Valley. The camping area here is also flooded so we ended up paying for a spot in the caravan park (even they weren't keen due to the waterlogging). So luxury tonight with hot showers and unlimited electricity!
11/3/12: Drove on from Kangaroo Valley town up to Fitzroy Falls, which was a nice drive. The falls were pretty good considering all the rain we've had lately. We did a bit of a walkround, and then took the minor roads towards Goulburn. The countyside is very green which is unusual for the time of year. We ended up in another road side stop for the night. There's no one else here tonight so its a bit spooky. Golburn tomorrow and then Canberra.
12/3/12: Travelled through to Golburn as planned and stopped for a bit of shopping. Had a quick look round and then pressed on to Canberra for a few nights with friends.
13/3/12: Bad start to the day with the cooker not working again. Sorted it out - our fault not the cooker's. Too little fuel in the tank so the fuel pick up was just sucking up air. Refuelled and was fine. Went for a walk up Mount Ainslie and then had a lazy afternoon doing not much.
16/3/12: Spent a good week in Canberra. Had a few walks in the city around the lake and generally relaxed (again). Left today for Nagambie to stay with Janines sister on her horse farm. 6 hour drive but straight down the freeway. Got there late afternoon.
18/3/12: After a lazy morning, we set off back to Melbourne - only and hour and a half away. Seems odd being back around home, even though we've only been away for a few weeks. We'll be back in Melbourne for about 3 weeks and we'll do a few tweaks to the van. Details of that are here. Once done, we'll be off again back towards Sydney (straight there) and then continuing up the coast around the top.