The weather forecast in Canberra for today was for a low of 1 degree – and we reckon they got that right! It was freezing cold when we woke but turned into a typical cool, clear Canberra spring day. When we left Alivio Tourist Park the GPS took us through some suburban streets on the way to the highway, but it seems that some of the trees have no idea what season it is. Within metres of each other some trees appear to be losing their leaves, yet others are in blossom. Confusing!
The Barton Highway is in very good condition in most places, and there is plenty of greenery around, although perhaps curiously parts of Canberra are under Level 1 water restrictions. We saw plenty of contented cattle and sheep along the highway.
As we approached Yass we were surprised to see that many of the hills were shrouded in cloud, yet when we turned onto the Hume Highway the skies reverted to clear blue with few clouds.
Our morning coffee stop was at the small village of Bookham. We’ve been here before and I was looking forward to a hot sausage roll from Barney’s Café but he wasn’t open when we arrived. Instead we enjoyed thermos coffee in the sunshine beside Bertha.
Back on the Hume Highway heading south there were clear signs that rain storms had been very widespread. The scenery also included bright and cheery canola fields.
We bypassed Gundagai and further down the highway closer to Holbrook we stopped at the Little Billabong Rest Area for lunch. This is a newish rest area that isn’t in the Camps 8 book. It is a good size and would hold quite a few cars, trucks, motorhomes and caravans. There is a toilet block and a couple of covered seating areas for picnickers.
After lunch we continued down the Hume and through Albury and Wodonga, and there was plenty of water in the Murray River (sorry – missed a photo here).
Soon we turned off the Hume to Wangaratta and the Painters Island Caravan Park. We’ve been here many times before on our trips between Melbourne and Canberra, but we did have some concerns as to how the park would cope in such wet conditions. This park is surrounded on three sides by water, although there are levy banks in place and we have never had any problems in the past.
The new owners showed us to a good dry site where we set up and went for a walk around the park. Sandbags outside the amenities block were a bit of a clue as to what might have been keeping the owners busy for the last few days. There were also quite a few sites totally under water. The Painters Island logo includes a family of ducks and there are plenty of ducks in the park.
We then went for a quick walk into town. On the way it was interesting to see playgrounds and car-parks under water, and the height of water under the walking bridge. Never-the-less the town of Wangaratta appears to be safe from destruction by floods and we found a nice place to stop for a cup of coffee.
Walking back to the caravan park we were struck by the beautiful art deco Court House building which stands out amongst its more modern neighbouring buildings.
We returned to Bertha and hunkered down for what promises to be another cold, but hopefully not wet, night.
Still living the dream!