Monday 20th August
I am falling into bad habits again. That is, I am waking at 6am. Damn! Just when I thought I was able to sleep in until 7am or later, the ole body clock reverts to a workday mode.
The sun was shining by the time we were ready to leave so drove less than 30 Klms to Mossy Point where we set up camp at the end of the boat ramp car park.
The injured Pelican was still there and a volunteer was arranging a cage to carry the animal to a vet. The cage will not be available until tomorrow. Later after the volunteer left fishermen cleaned their fish and fed the carcasses to the injured Pelican and his mates.
Later still the tide dropped, there were no more fishermen and all the Pelicans left.
We explored, as usual. By chance we found Burrewarra Point at Guerilla Bay a few Klms from our camp.
This steep, rugged and wild part of the coastline is covered in casuarinas and the appropriately named, gnarled, Old Man Banksia. www.waratahsoftware.com.au/wp_flora_banksia_oldman.html
We found Burrewarra Point Lightstation built in 1974. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burrewarra_Point_Light
Nearby was a trig point, the top of which has been destroyed by vandalism.
The cliffs along the point are mostly hidden by shrubbery but on edging closer we found sheer drops to the ocean rocks below. It was pretty breathtaking stuff.
There is a loop walk of 1.5 Klm through the reserve of mostly moderate grade but in places the walk is almost overgrown so can be a bit of a challenge to find the correct path. We met a couple of locals armed with binoculars in the hope of seeing whales on their migration south. We wished them luck as it is a little early in the season and sitting on top of the cliffs with a cold stiff breeze blowing would only take a few minutes before they would be chilled to the bone.
Later we found the remains of a Royal Australian Air Force No 17 Radar Station Bunker used during WW11.
On our return to WWWGO we stopped at Barling Beach before settling in for the night.
Tuesday 21st August
We bit the bullet and left the coast today.
After driving through Batemans Bay,we headed north and over the bridge on the Clyde River then turned west onto the Kings Highway. A few Klms later we were crossing the Clyde River again at historic Nerrigen where we stopped for 15 minutes. The CO-PILOThad found a tick in her hair (I found a tick burrowed into my shoulder on the weekend also) and although it had started to pump poison into her system it had not yet anchored itself. It came out head and all. The town looked interesting but we wanted to get beyond the coastal fringe so climbed the mountain range to historic Braidwood where we stopped and had a pie for lunch.
Lots of old houses and business and worth a longer look around.
There are many old houses and churches all with an interesting history attached.
One church has gargoyles over the main entrance.
Gargoyles in buildings although looking grotesque have different uses and meanings. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gargoyle
But…There are no camp grounds in town and the showgrounds were closed for winter so we pressed on to historic Bungendore which does not have a caravan park either. Therefore we drove to EPIC (Exhibition Park In Canberra) where we stayed at the end of April this year. Aahhh! Canberra Capital of Australia, surrounded by the State of New South Wales. The temperature is expected to get down to 1° or less overnight so we need power to run the heater or AC. We might stay here another night so will look at what is happening in Canberra and decide tomorrow.
Both Houses of Parliament are sitting this week and lots of sparks are flying so a visit could be interesting.
A visit to complete our War Memorial tour started earlier this year but interrupted by running out of day.
The National Gallery has new exhibits this month.
A visit to the Royal Mint
and the list goes on.
Tuesday 22nd August
We started off by going to the Royal Australian Mint.
For those not familiar with the mint they make coins not only for Australia but New Zealand, New Guinea and all the Pacific Island nations and places such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka and a host of other nations. They also mint Australian military medals and other commemorative medals. The parking lot has signs stating a maximum of 2 hours. We stayed 90 minutes. Without going on and on about the mint and the robots
processing coins from blanks to finished product, I suggest if you ever get the opportunity to visit, do so. There is a number of knowledgeable staff walking around and answer questions and give mini tours. Or you can arrange a full scale tour. We came away feeling that we had learned something and had an enjoyable visit.
After lunch we visited the Australian War Memorial and Museum. We learned that the memorial is one of only two in the world which are a memorial, a museum and a teaching facility all in one. Although the diorama displays are lifelike we found the interactive displays compelling and emotional. In particular the light, sounds, interviews and movie clips of the mini submarine attack on Sydney in 1942 on a curved Imax screen made it all so real and as if you were there and personally involved. Another exhibit was part of a deck of a destroyer with gun turret. The deck vibrates and a low thrumming sound exactly as it would feel and sound if you were really on the deck of a ship in motion. Late in the day when it was closing we stayed to watch the closing ceremony and listen to the lone piper play a haunting tune.
Again we ran out of time so will have to find another day to return to our National Capital and visit the memorial once more. The staff and volunteers at the memorial are friendly and always helpful, polite and after speaking with some of them, we know they love their work. We both enjoyed our day and the visit to the memorial with the lone piper closing the centre making for a satisfying and emotional day.
Thursday 23rd August
A bout of lightning, thunder and rain woke us at 3am but we managed to get back to sleep. We woke at 7am, the sun is shining, the birds were chirping and there was fog around us. Almost the same as when we last left here on 28th April!
It was not long before the clouds rolled in and rain began, hesitantly at first but becoming steadily more persistent as we packed up. We rolled on to Yass, stopping for lunch but with rain still falling we kept on looking for somewhere drier to camp. The best we could find is a waterlogged third rate park in Gundagai on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. I cannot see how such a place with such poor facilities can charge top dollar of $28 per night. No different I suppose to all the other caravan parks we encountered from Batemans Bay to Canberra to Yass and beyond. Normally we would try to freedom camp but with strong winds, heavy rain and darkness falling those we did find were not suitable.
Friday 24th August
We had a quick look around Gundagai and found an old photo collection on display at the local Mitre 10 hardware store. For a private collection it is well worth a look. Most of the photos were taken by a local doctor and chronicles life in the town in the late 1800’s. With the rain and wind and cold we did not feel inclined to do any more sightseeing so drove to Junee in the hope the rain might lift and we could explore and or stay in a new location. Along the way our wiper blades started to pull out of their holders. In fact the metal retaining clips had disappeared. The metal arms were scraping on the windscreen. Even stopping and pulling the blade back through did not help. Within minutes the blades were sliding out so I spent long periods driving in the rain and not using the wipers. Junee is another old historical town and worth a look. We ate lunch at Laurie Daley Park (Laurie was a Rugby League legend about 10 years ago playing for his Canberra team, New South Wales State of Origin team and the Australian team). The rain which had eased while we ate, returned along with a cold wind and each drop of rain on the exposed face or hands felt like needles of ice. It was simply too cold and wet to explore further and of the two campgrounds in town, the cheapest was $29 for the night. We bought a steak for dinner and started out to Albury and our destination for the night, Culcairn where we stayed for three months at the beginning of the year. I vowed to stop at Albury and get replacement wiper blades and the sun started to make an appearance as we approached the city. By the time I had the new blades installed the sun was brilliant in a clear blue sky and it was hot with no breeze. On the road to Culcairn it rained again in a couple of places so we could test out the new wiper blades.
We have decided to stay three nights in Culcairn as the rate is $15 per night, the cheapest we have found anywhere. We have some other minor repair and maintenance items to take care of so having a level stable base with power and concrete pad will be helpful.
Saturday 25th August
It was a cold day without the wind. Overcast but no rain. I repaired a couple of little items but for the most part we lazed around all day. We walked uptown…twice. There is nothing else to report.
Sunday 26th August
We drove to Albury to do a little warm clothes shopping along with a few grocery items. We called into the Beechworth Bakery to collect a loaf of sourdough bread. The CO-PILOT had collected enough stamps on a loyalty card to earn a free loaf. We had not been in the bakery since April. The lady remembered us and asked where we had been!
It was nice to be remembered.
It was nice also to be back in familiar territory but it sure is cold.