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Archive for the ‘Bairnsdale’ Category

I have been feeling quite tired over the last few days, which I reckon is due to not sleeping well and the bad weather (and therefore lack of exercise). So in order to sleep well I took two herbal sleeping tablets last night. And did they help? Not at all… I kept dozing off and sleeping deeply for a couple of hours, only to wake up and feeling annoyed of being awake. These tablets seem to work really well for Tim, but not for me. I would be grateful for any useful tips here…

Anyway, after a good night for everybody else, we had a small breakfast of toast and cereal, coffee, tea and juice. It made a lovely change to have our breakfast table in the sun, and we couldn’t wait to get on the road again.

The girls had me worried yesterday when they kept talking about television programs they had watched back in the States. I was feeling a little disappointed that they weren’t talking about our trip instead. But all that changed at breakfast this morning when our conversations covered the jungle, other wildlife we had seen and places we had visited. Phew…!

It didn’t take us long to pack our few belongings and shortly after 9.00am we were off to our next destination at Frankston near Melbourne. (For some strange reason I keep calling it Marlborough – could that be wishful thinking?)

Once back on Princes Highway, there was hardly any traffic and the journey was pretty uneventful. We made good progress, only stopping after a good hour’s drive to stretch our legs and fill our tummies with yummy biscuits.
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Another hour later we stopped at a picnic site where we had Tim-made sandwiches, crisps and apples. We didn’t stay very long as we got pestered by annoying flies; that’s the drawback of sunnier and warmer weather, I suppose.

By 1.30pm we had arrived at our apartment, which is located very close a shopping centre. As soon as we walked in, we all loved it. This is so much better than our Sydney accommodation. For about £70/night we get a sitting/dining room, spacious kitchen, roomy bathroom, kids’ bedroom with bunkbed (very important), good sized double bedroom, balcony and the use of the communal open air swimming pool. Not bad!

It didn’t take the girls very long to decide who would sleep in the top bunk and where the games and toys were. Tim checked the laptop for any wireless connection and I caught up with the washing.

I was desperate to try out the pool, but first we needed to visit the supermarket (good old Safeway!) to stock up on some meals. We also popped into KMart to find reading material for the girls and a bikini for me. The bikini bottoms were reduced from $35 to $4! I so love a good bargain!!

Back home for pancakes for tea and then finally a good splash in the pool. The water was a little chillier than we would have liked, but once we were in it wasn’t too bad. Hannah had a good first attempt at proper swimming again. Hopefully we will be able to have a couple more swims before moving on so that she will gain in confidence again.

The aforementioned spiky hair…
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After nearly an hour in the pool, Hannah was shivering, so we all dashed back inside to warm up and get supper on the way. Whilst Tim dashed out in search of a bottle of wine, the girls got on with their daily homework of writing their diaries. They managed really well, with hardly any help from the grown-ups.

Tomorrow is meant to be cooler (only 24-25°C) than the following day so we are planning on catching the train into Melbourne. Better help Tim now finding out what’s worth visiting…

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200 Days of Summer

We reach our double century today; that’s a long time travelling. We’re using ‘summer’ in the loosest sense, but we have certainly succeeded in avoiding the British/Belgian winter or anything remotely like it. (Technically, our first few weeks in Peru counted as winter, but that gorgeous Arequipa sunshine made it hard to take the idea seriously.)

Today was a travelling day, but we were not going to leave Mallacoota without seeing a little of what we’ve missed over the past three days of deluge. We drove out to the coast, first Bastion Point and then a sheltered family beach a little further along. (We also called in at a World War II bunker – didn’t even realise that they needed them down here – but it was closed for repair work.)
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By 10am we were on our way through scenic swathes of National Park and through sporadic showers, the last throes of this wet spell. We paused first in Cann River (full of motels and cafes to cater for the passing coachloads – Italian pensioners while we were there) and then in Orbost for lunch. Here we found a pleasant picnic area along the banks of the Snowy River and took our time just strolling around, enjoying the novelty of sunshine and exploring. [By the way, ‘The Man from Snowy River’ is a poem by Banjo Paterson, the Australian bush poet better known for penning ‘Waltzing Matilda’.]
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We made it to Bairnsdale before 3pm and checked in to our cabin. Much like the one in the Blue Mountains only a bit more upmarket: sliding doors instead of dividing curtains, wider bunk mattresses for the girls. Out to Coles supermarket to get some biscuits, juice and breakfast things, then tea chez nous.

After this we headed 10 miles south to Paynesville to catch the ferry to Raymond Island. The Rough Guide recommended the island for its wildlife and I was desperate to get out and see the countryside after days of being cooped up inside.

The chain ferry (once we located it) took us across in a couple of minutes and we then explored random roads on the island, looking out for wild koalas and kangaroos. There are around 100 koalas on Raymond Island and we think we saw three of them, which is pretty good considering how much of the eucalyptus forest is away from the gravel roads. Fortunately, koalas don’t scoot off the moment you approach them so we all got a good view (they don’t have the energy to do much at all, such is the paucity of their diet).
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The kangaroos needed more of a softly-softly approach, and to start with we saw only two or three alternating between nibbling grass and regarding us with suspicion from a safe distance. Then some local dog-walkers told us that there was a larger mob just around the next bend of the road, so we gently drove on and saw a group of 11 (according to the girls). As we watched, another mob came bounding across our field of view from right to left; they then set the original group off, who appeared to chase each other all around the field, accompanied by some grunting. Eventually they all exited stage left, executing a giant leap over a high fence. They were a joy to see – such effortless elastic efficiency! They don’t do this in zoos – they never have the space.
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Kirsten’s arty beach shot.
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We caught the 7pm ferry back to Paynesville, drove to Bairnsdale, found a fish and chip shop and still caught most of My Kitchen Rules…

View from the ferry.
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