A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Day 35: Mildura – Swan Hill. Wednesday 2nd June 2010

This morning we left Mildura, travelling via Hattah and Boundary Bend, yet again in cool, drizzly weather which slowly cleared. We had lunch sitting on the banks of the Murray River somewhere near Tooleybuc.

Once we’d arrived and unpacked at Swan Hill we went for a walk around the town, had coffee and checked out the giant fig tree – 150 years old and the biggest in the southern hemisphere – and The Big Cod, a giant model of a Murray Cod located near the river.

Tonight we rode to Lake Boga, about 15km south east of Swan Hill, to the Observatory and Planetarium. We were the only two people there. It was a very interesting and informative presentation. I learned a lot about stars, how they are formed, their life cycle, the galaxies and particular clusters and formations. Then we went outside and looked through the telescopes. We saw Saturn – very small to view but the rings were very clear, and a cluster called the Jewel Box which had several different coloured stars. Mars was visible, as was Sirius which sparkled and twinkled because it was low in the night sky.

Today’s distance: 244km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:35 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 36: Swan Hill. Thursday 3rd June 2010

Today I jumped on the back of Glenn’s bike and we rode out to an olive, almond and pistachio farm. We were greeted by a big barking dog called Buddy, who continued to bark suspiciously at the bike even after we had left it parked. Again we were the only visitors and so we had a very personal tour of the farm, learning about how the nuts and olives are grown, harvested and processed. As we walked through the farm Buddy tore around, jumped in the water and came out wet and muddy. We had to take care to avoid him shaking all over us! As we checked out the kangaroos that were kept on the farm, Buddy proceeded to squeeze under the fence and chase them around the enclosure.

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Buddy – very friendly, and very wet

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Buddy chasing the kangaroos

We rode further out to a pheasant farm and again had a personal tour (there are benefits to visiting in tourist off-season.) Apart from farming pheasants they had aviaries with exotic breeds of pheasants and parrots, doves, chickens and geese.

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Dove with baby

We returned around mid-afternoon and went to the Pioneer Settlement on the waterfront in Swan Hill, set up like an old village.
We enjoyed exploring the old shops and buildings. The volunteers who staff the village were wonderful, talking to us and involving us and demonstrating how things worked. I left the music shop having learned several new facts about some old instruments, two of which I’d never seen before.

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 37: Swan Hill – Echuca. Friday 4th June 2010

We departed Swan Hill and stopped in Lake Boga at the Flying Boat museum.

I had never heard of flying boats before and I found it fascinating. Lake Boga, which is incredibly round, was used as a repair depot for these aircraft during World War II.

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At the Flying Boat museum, Lake Boga

We had coffee in Kerang and then detoured to Gonn Crossing on the Murray River where a boat ramp leads down to a beautiful picnic spot beside the river. We had lunch there, then rode to Echuca.

After checking into a motel we went for a walk, visiting the information centre and checking out the pub menus before having a glass of wine at a wine bar on the main street and choosing where to dine. Sadly the pub we chose was booked out, but there were many others...

Today’s distance: 227km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:39 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 38: Echuca. Saturday 5th June 2010

We had breakfast at the local bakery and then walked to the Holden Museum. There were some great examples of old Holdens that had been done up, and the 1,000,000th, 2,000,000th and 4,000,000th Holdens produced! There were all kinds of memorabilia from toys to clothing, and displays of engines showing how they had been developed over the years. I am quite pleased that I can look at an engine and be able to tell what most of the parts are, and have a vague idea how some of it works.

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Holden Museum, Echuca

Afterwards we stopped at a coffee shop proclaiming coffee for “serious coffee drinkers” and I wasn’t disappointed. I had the best coffee of the whole trip. Tomorrow’s breakfast destination is chosen!!

We walked to the Farmer’s Market, which was rather small and only a bit interesting...

Then we rode to Moama, which is on the NSW side of the Murray River, and went to Chanter Estate – a small boutique winery that also hosts a military museum. This had a big display of military vehicles and war history. I’m almost museumed out, but I really enjoyed learning about them and reading some of the war stories. I’ve learned so much about our history on this trip.

Back into town for lunch, I tried a Ned Kelly pie (steak, egg, bacon & cheese) for which the Beechworth Bakery is famous. We walked along the river and through the Historic Port Area. There was a wood turner, a blacksmith and a furniture maker amongst others where you could watch them working while checking out their wares.

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 39: Echuca – Melbourne. Sunday 6th June 2010

We had breakfast at the Murray Provender (where I had the excellent coffee yesterday). Today we left Echuca for Melbourne. On route we visited a cactus garden at Tennyson. The owner, Robert, spent nearly 2 hours taking us around his garden telling us all about the amazing array of cacti. Not many were in flower – November is the best time – but he showed us photos of the display they provide. Many flower just for a day, some overnight. One only flowers once every 15-70 years, and then dies... Some of the cacti produce fruit which we sampled. It tasted like a cross between apple and kiwi fruit. He also grows aloe vera and other succulents.

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Cactus farm

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Ouch!

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Weird cactus

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More cactus

We are in Melbourne tonight, staying in Essendon. The trip in was made easy by my navigator. I don’t know how I would travel without it.

Today’s distance: 257km

Posted by Jo vanEmmerik 23:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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