Burra Weekender (Nov 2006)

Posted Posted in Trips

We decided that our next trip would be to the South Australian Heritage town of Burra, situated 154 kilometres north of Adelaide, and 186 kilometres west of our home town. We departed on Thursday, 16 November 2006 and returned Sunday, 19 November 2006. This is our travel diary of the trip.

Day 1: 16 Nov 2006

When we were planning this weekend our main concerns were that the weather may be too hot. How wrong we were, this week saw one of the coldest November snaps in 20 years. Wednesday’s maximum temperature was only 15 degrees. There has also been some wild weather all around the east coast of Australia, fortunately we were spared anything serious.

After finishing work yesterday we went through our checklists to ensure that we were prepared for the trip. Diane bought a new microwave from BIG W which was on special for $68. I can’t believe that when we bought our first microwave 20 years ago we paid $300 – using the calculator on the Measuring Worth website I’ve calculated our first microwave would cost $500 on today’s value, or $40 in 1988!

Waking up this morning the weather was perfect – clear skies with little or no wind. Ideal conditions for travelling. The Jackaroo had been filled with fuel, the caravan was hitched to the Jackaroo and we departed Berri around 10.50am, on to Monash and then we turned off the Sturt Highway a few kilometres down the road to go to Morgan, and then on to Burra.

We travelled at a leisurely 80kph and arrived in Burra shortly after 1.30pm. Between Berri and Morgan whilst we were travelling beside the river, the vines appeared well looked after and there were little signs that we were in the middle of a severe drought. However, once we turned off onto the road to Burra, it was very evident that there was a drought.

Not one dam had any water in it, there were no crops in the paddocks and the whole landscape appeared very bare and barren, as if we were in a dessert area. The earth had a very dusty, dry, red appearance.

We booked into the Burra Caravan Park and set up the caravan. Prior to leaving Berri we purchased 4 metres of sullage hose having been advised that this would be sufficient for our needs. Upon being allocated our site in the caravan park, the sullage connection point was on the opposite side of the side of the caravan and our hose was a metre or so short. Off we went to the local hardware store to purchase an additional 10 metre length of sullage hose.

The remainder of the day was spent walking around the main street and purchasing the Burra Heritage Pass. Our friends, Jim and Raelene will be joining us tomorrow evening for the remainder of the weekend.

Day 2: 17 Nov 2006

We awoke around 6.30am. Whilst the morning air had a little chill in it, by around 10.00am it had warmed up and we had another perfect day for sight seeing. Today was spent exploring the Clare Valley.

We travelled the short distance (42kms) from Burra to Clare in just under 30 minutes and arrived in Clare at approximately 9.30am. This was the first time I had been to Clare since my parents took me when I was 11 or 12 to camp at Clare over Easter in 1970 or 1971. My only recollections of that camping trip is going up and down a few steep hills to a lookout (which I now know to be Neagles Rock Look Out) and camping by the creek in the Clare Caravan Park.

Visit the web site for more information on the region.

As we arrived in Clare via the northern entrance to the town, we had difficulty in finding the Tourist Information office. We asked at the Council Chambers to be informed that the office is located about 3 kilometres out of town on the southern side, adjacent to the Caravan Park. The Visitor Centre is magnificently presented and information was readily available. Once there we stocked up on tourist information and proceeded to Spring Gully look out in the Spring Gully Conservation Park.

From Spring Gully we drove to Martindale Hall, via Mintaro. Martindale Hall was the location for filming the school scenes for the film Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) which was directed by Peter Weir. We then drove back to Burra and visited Thorogoods, makers of Apple Wines and Ciders. We samples a few of the products and purchased a bottle of Scrumpy Sweet Cider. We then returned to our caravan for lunch.

Following lunch we decided to visit Burra Gorge. This is a beautiful spot to camp at provided you are self sufficient. We then returned to Burra around 4.00pm and walked around the main street of Burra. Tea was prepared around 6.00pm and was served when our friends, Jim & Raelene arrived around 7.30pm. After tea we had a few drinks and turned in around 10.00pm.

Day 3: 18 Nov 2006

The weather today was a lot warmer than yesterday. With our friends (Jim & Raelene) we commenced the Burra Heritage Trail around 9.00am and visited a number of the sites.

These sites included Redruth Goal. This goal was used for the location for filming some of the scenes for the film Breaker Morant (1980) which starred Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson and Bryan Brown.

Another site was along the Burra Creek where miners lived in dugouts along the creek bed. We also visited the mine site where a number of the buildings (in ruins) still exist and are a stark reminder of bygone days. By 11.30am the weather was too hot to continue walking around the sites.

We decided to return to Clare for some further sight seeing. A few kilometres out of town on the road to Blyth is Brooks Lookout which we turned into to view and appreciate the vast landscape before us. We then returned to Burra and visited the photo display presented by the Burra History Group in the Town Hall. The Burra History Group have an excellent collection of photos and memorabilia from the early days through to more recent times of the history of Burra.

After completing our visit of the Town Hall we booked in for dinner at the Commercial Hotel. The dinner was excellent and the serves were more than ample. Meals ranged in price from $14 to $20.

We returned to the caravan park around 7.30pm and set up table and chairs outside for a drink or two. We were joined by our neighbours, Bain and Joan who were from Devenport (Tasmania) who were travelling in a Ford Econovan Campervan. Shortly after, Ron & Flo and Roy & Barbara who were both from Adelaide joined us and we had our own informal “happy hour” talking about our travels.

Ron & Flo have a permanent booking at Lake Bonney Caravan Park in Barmera every Easter and we hope to catch up with them again next Easter. We all decided to turn in around 10.30pm.

Day 4: 19 Nov 2006

Knowing how quickly the weather warmed up yesterday, we decided on an early start this morning to complete the Burra Heritage Trail. The sites we visited this morning were the Police Station Stables, the Court House, the Burra Railway Station and the Unicorn Brewery site.

We continued to be amazed at just how hard life must have been all those years ago. By 11.30am we had visited all the remaining sites of interest and we returned the key at the Visitor Information Centre. We ate a quick lunch and hitched the caravan in readiness for our trip home. We left Burra at 12.30pm and arrived home just before 3.00pm.

We thoroughly enjoyed our weekender to Burra and would recommend to anyone a short stay in Burra to undertake the Burra Heritage Trail is well worth doing.

Accommodation

We stayed at the Burra Caravan Park. The caravan park is situated along the creek bed with all sites requiring you to reverse into. The sites are clean and level with a gravel surface. There are no lawned sites. The southern end of the park has no fencing and therefore anyone can access the caravan park. On Saturday night there was an incident with our neighbour whereby someone threw a shoe at their caravan around 1.00am. Each time we left the caravan park we had to secure all items inside the van – this was a nuisance. A key was also needed to enter the amenities block. There are 28 powered sites and the site fee for a powered site was $17/night.

Fuel Consumption

The total distance we travelled over the weekend was 764 kilometres and we consumed 134.49 litres of unleaded fuel. Of the total distance travelled, 373 kilometres (48.82%) was with the caravan on tow and 391 kilometres (51.18%) without the caravan.

Overall consumption was therefore 17.60 litres/100kms. Total fuel costs were $150.90 with the average price per litre 112.3 cents. Our average speed whilst towing was 80 – 85 km/hr.

Information

Burra Visitor Centre Website – The website for the Burra Visitor Centre. The visitor centre is located at 2 Market Square, BURRA.

The History of Burra – The History of Burra compiled by the Burra History Group.

Clare Valley – State Government Tourist Bureau web site for the Clare Valley.

Thorogoods – Makers of Apple Wines and Ciders.

Photo Album

Mildura Weekender (Sep 2006)

Posted Posted in Trips

This weekend (16 & 17 September, 2006) we went for a quick trip over to Mildura. We stayed at the Calder Caravan Park. On Saturday afternoon we took the 70 kilometre 4WD self-drive tour around the Mungo National Park. The Mungo NP is approximately 110 kilometres from Mildura.

Day 1: 16 Sep 2006

We were up and prepared by 8.00am. Our friends, Jim & Raelene came with us on this trip. The weather was absolutely perfect. We fuelled up at Renmark and drove on to Mildura arriving around 11.00am. We settled into the Calder Caravan Park and had some lunch. Around 12.30pm we left Mildura for the drive to Mungo National Park.

The first 20 kilometres was on bitumen road, the remainder was unsealed and varied from very good condition to poor condition. We negotiated the unsealed road at around 80 km/hr and arrived at the Mungo NP Visitor Centre around 2.00pm. We paid our entry fee and then undertook the 70 kilometres self drive tour of the park. By the time we had completed the tour it was about 4.45pm and by the time we returned to Mildura it was approximately 6.30pm.

We had a quick change and then went out for dinner at the Mildura Gateway Tavern which was just down the road from the Calder Caravan Park where we were staying.

Day 2: 17 Sep 2006

After an exhausting day yesterday, we were up and ready to go by 8.30am having had showers and breakfast. We left our rig on the side of the road and went with our friends, Jim & Raelene to Woodsies Gem Shop were the girls did a lot of window shopping.

We then drove a little further on to Red Cliffs and had a look at “Tin Lizzie”.

We returned to the main shopping centre at 10.30am where the girls went off for some further retail therapy while Jim and I bought a Sunday paper to read. At 12.00pm we went to the Mildura Gateway Tavern for their $10 Carvery for lunch. Having finished lunch we left for home at 1.30pm, arriving home at 3.30pm.

Accommodation

We stayed at the Calder Caravan Park. The park was quite small in comparison to other nearby parks. It was however very well maintained. Our overnight site fee for a powered site was $28.50. We would recommend this park to others.

Fuel Consumption

The total distance travelled was 594 kilometres and we consumed 99.9 litres on unleaded petrol. On Saturday our fuel consumption was 14.87 litres/100kms. This included a significant number of kilometres not towing and driving to and from Mungo NP (approx 270kms). On Sunday returning home (into a headwind) our fuel consumption was 21.67 litres/100kms. Our average speed whilst towing was 80-85 km/hr.

Photo Album – Mungo National Park

Below are photos of our visit to the Mungo National Park.

 

Photo Album – Calder Caravan Park

Below are photos of Calder Caravan Park (where we stayed).

 

Photo Album – Tin Lizzie

Below are photos of Tin Lizzie.

Great Ocean Road (July 2006)

Posted Posted in Trips

Unfortunately our caravan won’t be ready to collect from Dave Benson Caravans until next weekend (22 July 2006).

We were hoping to “break” it in by taking an extended long weekend trip to Warrnambool and then along the Great Ocean Road on to Melbourne. We had already arranged for a few days Annual Leave and had options to stay in motels or in the caravan.

So instead of being in our caravan, we will be staying in motels.

Day 1: 14 Jul 2006

It’s been a bleak Friday in the Riverland. The mercury has hovered around 10 degrees for most of the day and it’s been raining constantly. In some ways I’m glad we don’t have our caravan yet. We have packed our bags in anticipation of an early start. The forecast for the weekend is rain, rain and more rain! Murphy’s Law – whenever you plan to go away, the weather conspires against you.

Day 2: 15 Jul 2006

We departed Berri at 7.30am Saturday morning and it was raining. We arrived at Warrnambool at 5.00pm and you guessed it – it was still raining. We travelled about 700 kilometres for the day and it rained the whole day! The drive was quite exhausting having to factor in additional breaking distances between vehicles and being extra careful as to when to overtake.

Day 3: 16 Jul 2006

We had an early breakfast, filled the car with gas, and were on our way around 9.00am.

We can recommend the Raglan Motor Inn at Warrnambool as a good place to stay if you don’t have a caravan. Did we say it was raining? Well, it did – all day long!

We travelled along the Great Ocean Road and stopped at all the regular tourist viewing spots and took a few photos. Unfortunately the wet weather affected the quality of the photos that we took (rain drops, overcast background, etc.) but it was the middle of winter after all.

Having travelled through Port Campbell we reached the Ottway Ranges and were delayed for over an hour due to a tree falling across the highway. Once this was cleared, we continued on through Apollo Bay, Lorne and Angelsea onto Geelong.

We followed the highway to Melbourne and after getting lost crossing town, finally made it to our accommodation in Coburg around 6.30pm.

The accommodation at the Coburg Motor Inn leaves a lot to be desired. Our room did not have towels, the bathroom was very grotty, the shower head wouldn’t stay up and the water switched between being very hot and very cold.

We would not recommend this motel to anyone!

Day 4: 17 Jul 2006

Monday morning was very foggy and overcast – your typical Melbourne winters day. We took the train from Batman Station to Flinders Street Station and walked over the footbridge to Southbank on the Yarra River. Strolling on down to Crown Casino. After loosing some of our money at the casino, we caught the tram back to Coburg.

We went out for tea at the Drum Hotel and won back what we’d lost at the casino with interest. Our winnings paid for tea with quite a bit left over to splurge on shopping tomorrow.

Day 5: 18 Jul 2006

We drove down to the Victoria Markets Tuesday and spent a few hours looking through all the stalls. Diane picked up some bargains paid for from our winnings from yesterday. We returned to the motel by 3.00pm and decided not to stay for the third night and commenced packing deciding to leave after we finished tea.

We left Melbourne around 7.30pm and arrived back in Berri around 2.30am.

Exhausted but very happy to sleep in our own bed!

Photo Album