This morning we were woken early by the sound of kookaburras and cockatoos, and the sound of raindrops on the roof of the caravan. It was going to be a good day! After breakfast and then packing up in light rain, we left Echuca at 9.30 – we were not going to get caught up in the school drop off traffic!
It was raining more solidly by the time that we arrived at Cohuna so we decided to stop for a coffee and re-assess our plans. We were stunned at the lack of water in the lake. It was so inviting in 2006, but now, I think that the photos say it all. The landscape throughout the region is very dry. We experienced steady rain for the rest of the day today but several days of solid rain is needed in this region to have any beneficial impact.
Cohuna Lake in June 2006
Cohuna Lake in May 2013
Cohuna Lake in May 2013
Cohuna Lake in May 2013
After a quick coffee in the van we headed further north west up the Murray Valley highway. Just before Kerang we came across a quarantine stop. Ann quickly juiced some lemons and stored the juice in the freezer, and we ate the last of our mandarins. All refuse was carefully placed in the yellow quarantine bins.
About 8 -9 kms past Kerang, we could see lots of flashing lights in the now heavy rain. When we got closer we could see that a small white car appeared to have lost control on the bend and rolled and landed 5-6 metres off the road. The police and ambulance were in attendance.
We continued in the rain through Lake Boga and Swan Hill and stopped in Nyah to re-fuel and purchase a couple of hot country pies for lunch. We moved from the service centre to a nice new rest stop further up the road in Nyah. It was raining heavily so we set up in the van where we could relax, warm and dry and enjoy our lovely pies and coffee. The joys of being self-contained!
Lunch in the van out of the rain
We then continued further up the highway to Robinvale where we had planned to spend the night but it was only 3 pm and all available campsites were near water . We decided to keep going and had another quick stop Mallee Fowl Rest area between Euston and Gol Gol. At that point we decided to proceed to our favourite Caravan Park in Buronga about 5 kms north of Mildura (just over the river).
By the time we arrived, the rain was very heavy. We pulled into a drive through site, plugged into power and water and turned on the heating to dry our clothes and shoes. If the rain keeps up, this will be a very good place to stay until the rain passes.
We were woken up this morning by the sound of what seemed like thousands of birds flying over the park calling to all residents to wake up. It was a cold morning followed by a great sunny warm day.
At about 9.30am I walked into town and it was just as well I took my camera as what should I find but the National Holden Motor Museum. A highlight for me was the 1969 Holden Hurricane – a very futuristic prototype project that unfortunately didn’t get past the prototype stage. It has been temporarily on display in Echuca and soon heads off to the USA for a tour!
Holden Hurricane at the National Holden Motor Museum
If you’re interested, you can Click Here to see more about the Holden Motor Museum on my Classic Car Photography website.
Ann took her time, talked to the neighbours and caught up on her email. Later we caught up for a walk around the town and Port area as well as lunch at the Moama Bakery.
There is a huge redevelopment happening at the Port. The Port of Echuca Revitalisation Project and Interpretive Centre is due for completion in November 2013. We walked quite a distance along the River and were very surprised to see how low the water level is. There are very long ramps out to the boats and they seem to have to navigate their way down the centre of the river. Water levels appeared to be as low as they were when we were here in 2006. Melbourne has had a lot of rain but it would seem that the country areas have missed out. It will be interesting to see if it has impacted the water levels at Wentworth where the Murray and the Darling Rivers meet.
Very long walks out to the river boats
We were pretty tired when we returned to the van at about 2.30pm so we sat in the sun and enjoyed a cup of tea with the dozens of very fat and tame ducks who graze here in the park. They are not deterred even when we tell them that we have a very good recipe for braised duck with Asian greens!!
After we had recovered from our day wandering around Echuca, we drove in to the supermarket for some supplies. We timed it badly as we got caught in the after school traffic jams! What were we thinking!
Then it was back to the caravan for dinner, internet and TV.
This morning was again very cold. We weren’t in any real hurry to get going and I didn’t want to pack up while everything was wet and damp so I let the Navigator have a bit of a sleep in. We finally left the caravan park in Wangaratta at 10.30am and headed off towards Echuca.
Early Morning In Wangaratta
As we were driving through Bundelong we were stunned by the destruction along the Highway. A tornado tore through the area on March 22, 2013 and has left huge gum trees ripped to shreds and even 2 months later the devastation is quite confronting.
We stopped for a morning coffee in the sun beside Lake Mulwala in Yarrawonga. One of the locals (a seasoned vanner) came out to talk to us and check out the hitch on the van. There was an all-weather, luxury cruise boat, The Paradise Queen, moored near where we stopped and we watched as a bus from the local retirement village dropped off a large group of people for a lunch cruise on the Lake.
The Paradise Queen
We drove on a bit further and stopped at Bourke’s Bridge Rest area for lunch in the sun (Camps 7 #249). Having downloaded the stops in Camps 7 into the Garmin GPS saved a heap of time (check out GPSOZ for the software download). Just as we were enjoying the relative tranquility of our lunch stop, a bus came along and dropped off a bunch of school kids, followed shortly after by a couple of utes loaded with canoes. Obviously an outdoor ed adventure in the making.
Plaque at Bourkes Bridge Rest Area
Students on Outdoor Ed Excursion at Bourkes Bridge
After lunch we drove on to Nathalia and stopped and walked around the town and had a coffee at the bakery.
We arrived at Echuca Holiday Park at 3.30pm. This is a great park with big drive through sites and walking distance to the Historic Port precinct.
So far I’ve made reasonable progress on the photos from Historic Winton 2013, but there is more work yet to be done. If you are interested in seeing my Classic Car Photography, please Click Here.