Walkabout 2018 part one - Melbourne to Ben Boyd National Park via Croajingalong National Park

Walkabout 2018 part one

Link to a few pictures here:

Our plan for 2018 started with a short 9-day holiday to the east of Melbourne for a camping holiday, booked a year ago before life changed for us late last year.

So, on Monday 8th January 2018, while some others were returning to work after the Xmas and New Year holidays we packed the trailer for a holiday and trial run to see what we had forgotten since our last camping adventure.

We had a fairly easy 6-hour drive [that took 8 hours] out through the eastern suburbs and into Gippsland for a very short 2-night stop at Peachtree Reserve camping site on the banks of the Cann River in Croajingalong National Park. Our camp site was facing the river, and although not flat or level in any way, and complete with a small granite outcrop, provided us with our first camping of our 2018 adventure. As befits any first night it rained as we were setting up and the grey clouds rolled in to keep us company for the next day or two.

Zoe and Sophie sought out the other children at the campsite, found a hammock and chatted like old friends after just a few minutes. I went for a walk with a fishing rod and surprised myself and everyone else by catching a reasonable fish [Tailor] – happy days and a promising start to the trip.

Tuesday arrived grey and overcast, after a slow breakfast we decided to take off down to a nearby 4WD track and beach, the weather was unfriendly but our spirits high – Zoe and Sophie dancing and digging like dervishes in the sand, and I fished my way up and down the beach until I happened upon a hapless group of Sand Whiting and for an hour or so we had a real giggle pulling in fish after fish and enjoying ourselves on a grey day at the beach.

Wednesday morning saw us pack a dry tent thankfully and then drive another 2 hours or so to Bittangabee Bay in Ben Boyd National Park. The weather was good, the site excellent and after setting up we all were down at the beach swimming and exploring – so much so we forgot to take any pictures when the sun was out and about. It was a real chill out day and with three families together we had enough kids to go around and be entertained and enough adults for conversation and an occasional glass of wine.

Thursday saw a picture perfect day with us exploring a nearby beach and river system at Wonboyn, the kids had a ball playing in the warm shallow waters and I practiced the long forgotten art of walking aimlessly around with a fishing rod pretending to be a fisherman. I had a great time but sadly couldn’t catch a thing – not even the sniff of a bite although I could see plenty of fish around [mullet mostly]

And then the weather changed, it became grey, cold, wet and windy for the next few days so any pictures we have are mostly framed by low hanging clouds, although it hard to capture the force of the wind the day we went to look at a nearby lighthouse.

And did I mention it rained, just a bit, then a lot more and just for fun we had passing showers that spent most time hanging around rather than passing on through ☹ The wind howled around a few branches came down, some large ones fortunately just away from any of the camp sites, and we had a few branches come down one evening as we were sitting around the camp fire telling tales and eating and drinking.

There were a few day trips to nearby towns such as Eden for a few extra supplies and to visit the quaint but informative Killer Whale Museum, interesting story of co-operation between man and killer whales hunting Baleen whales for oil and the lips & tongue for the killer whales. We went to an old whaling station nearby, all whales were hunted by longboat sent from shore – it would have been a pretty tough job and harsh existence, but in the midst of all of the bush there are reminders of incredible feats of engineering [Boyd Tower, Green Cape Lighthouse, the tramway between Bitangabee Bay and Green Cape to name a few] tucked away as reminders of the endeavor of the early European settlers in this part of Australia.

We saw Lace monitor lizards, snakes, possums, bandicoots, more possums and a few million mosquitoes to remind us of the diversity of the bush, certainly east Gippsland and Southern NSW are amazing diverse and rugged and relatively untouched.

And before we really knew it a week had passed and it was time to head back to Melbourne for a few days, prepare for Tasmania and try and learn from the short holiday. We forgot all sorts of things this time round, including coffee, wine, pillows and more – I have a new list of things to do and things to not forget as we head to Tasmania.

I sometimes have to remind myself this is our new reality, travelling, not working – but next trip we will start the remote schooling and so all things could change. Stay tuned.

Regards Roy, Helen, Zoe & Sophie

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