Forests & Farmland of Gippsland, Victoria

Trip Start May 01, 2010
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Trip End Oct 03, 2010


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Where I stayed
Big 4 Whiters Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Friday, September 3, 2010

LAKES ENTRANCE, VICTORIA -

After half an hour through magnificent forests, we arrived at the Victorian border with a sign welcoming us into the State.

Also another sign, ‘Do not bring fruit into Victoria’ but we weren’t stopped by anyone checking our caravan and car to see if we had any forbidden NSW fruit as they do going into WA or SA. We had, though, done the right thing making sure we ate all our fruit before we reached the border. The roads were fairly quiet with just a couple of timber trucks, a few motorbikes and cars through the day as we drove through wonderful forests. This area is the East Gippsland region of Victoria which contains eight national and two coast parks as well as the largest remaining stands of temperate rainforest in Victoria. In parts of the forest, we noticed dry undergrowth had been burnt by controlled fires to minimise a repeat of the dreadful fires they had last year in Victoria. We climbed high above the forest looking down at the acres of tree tops below. In one area on the side of the road were beautiful pink and bright yellow wildflowers.
The town of Genoa, the Gateway to the Victorian Wilderness, didn’t live up to expectations! No ancient city as in Europe, but a gap in the forest with a building and a few cows! Also a sign, ‘Keep an eye out for platypus in the Genoa River where Australian Bass are also Plentiful.’ Wouldn’t have either of these in the Italian Genoa!
   
The town of Cann River, which is at the junction of the Monaro and Princes Highway, was a timber town. Now it is an attractive fun town and we could see why also two tour busses and a few caravans had stopped here. The town seems to have only some lovely wood houses, a wood church, newsagency and a multitude of coffee houses. Decisions, decisions…but it came down to the one that advertised a cosy fire and restroom and displayed huge fluffy wombats in the window! We drove through forests today for 250 kms with four tiny towns, Genoa, Cann River, Cabbage Tree and Bell Bird Creek, nestled between the towering gums.
A few kilometres before the turn off to Marlo, the mouth of the Snowy River, the landscape changed to open pasture land with rolling green hills and cattle dotted across the landscape. In the heart of the Snowy River Region is the country town of Orbost which we reached by turning off the highway and driving down Salisbury Street towards the main street of the town. We easily found a park and one of the first shops we walked passed had cameras in the window at 30% off. Recently the flash on our Sony digital camera, which we bought before going to Canada in 2005, stopped working.

This was our opportunity, so we bought another Sony at around a quarter of the price of our first one all those years ago, with many more pixels and a flash which works. In the shop we heard about the ‘Slab Hut’ Information Centre at the end of the town in a forest park. We found it to be such a delightful building which is also a ‘living museum’ highlighting the region’s pioneer lifestyle. The Slab Hut was an original family dwelling built in 1872 by John Moore on a site approximately 3 kilometres upstream from the junction of the Buchan and Snowy Rivers. No nails were used in the structure and it was all wired together. The last owners donated the ‘Slab House’ to the local Historic Society who moved it to the present location. Throughout this pretty rural town, where two geese and a gander wander at will, are many old but well maintained wood houses with lovely gardens many of which are owned by retirees.

They are attracted to this town because of the facilities provided for them especially that it has a good and modern hospital. Orbost used to have three timber mills and mahogany trees growing along the river but they were cut down in 1916 when the railway came through. In

the Gippsland Lakes Catchment is the town of Lakes Entrance where we stayed for one night. It is a beach and lakelands holiday destination. A walkway over the bridge of the Catchment Lake continues down to the 90 miles beach but the inclement weather kept us from going down to investigate. We were surprised at the size of Lakes Entrance which we thought is an unusual name for a town. We found ‘The Big4 Whiters Holiday Village’ close to the highway. It has many cabins, but only two ensuite caravan sites right by the reception and no other caravan sites. We booked into no 1 and appreciated the large gravel site and the big, clean new ensuite toilet and shower. As it was late afternoon and getting cold, windy and rainy we didn’t venture into the town but stayed in the warmth of our caravan. It rained most of the night and the weather report after the news warned of more heavy rain in Victoria the next day. Thankfully in the morning and most of the next day the rain held off as we travelled towards Melbourne.
We left with dark clouds looming, threatening to deliver what the weather men had forecast - heavy rains. Through the night we had sporadic showers which left the roads fairly wet in the morning. Packing up was completed within minutes without having to dodge puddles or mud as our extremely big site was covered in clean gravel. In the morning, at 7am, it was nearly ten degrees warmer than the morning before when we left Eden, making it so much easier to get moving and we were also pleased to see that it was not raining. At the western entrance end of Lakes Entrance, the lookout at Jemmy’s Point Reserve provides expansive views over the Gippsland Lakes and on a clear day the oil drilling platforms in Bass Strait may be clearly seen.

We pulled over to take a few photos of this interesting place which deserves a longer visit next time when we have more time and hopefully better weather. The deciduous trees at Lakes Entrance are covered in blossoms heralding the beginning of spring.

We were soon driving away from the lakes and through the rolling green hills of the Victorian dairy country, home of Coon Cheese. At last we saw a few flock of sheep among the cattle - we were beginning to think we wouldn’t get to see any eastern states sheep country. Unlike yesterday, we were driving through one small country town after another. The first big Victorian town we reached was Bairnsdale which even has traffic lights and police cars. Bairnsdale was established in 1842 and developed rapidly after the discovery of gold nearby in the 1860s. Its place in gold rush history is evident in an historic streetscape in particular with the unique architecture of the court house. The next town we drove through was Stratford on the Avon which is a friendly town famous for its annual Shakespeare Festival and has many unique and interesting shops. The bridge over the Avon River was particularly long but below little water flowed. At the next town, Sale, Gippsland's first city and one of Victoria's oldet inland ports
 
we had to stop to take photos of some of the magnificent buildings. Sale not only has an unusual name, but also a fascinating history based on the riches of gold discovery and in later years, oil and natural gas in nearby Bass Strait. As we drove toward this country town we were surprised to see on the outskirts, the outstanding building of the Catholic School.

A short distance further on, the next town we drove through was Latrobe River outside Rosedale with the historic Swing Bridge. From there we turned onto the freeway heading straight for Melbourne bypassing the country towns. The enormous thick bright yellow wattle along the road side was impressive. The road was wet all the way but we had no rain till the last 50kms when we had a few sporadic showers as we drove through the built up areas of outer Melbourne. We were surprised at the amount of traffic even though it was Saturday and after making our way through the Melbourne city centre, and some of the inner suburbs we at last arrived at our Caravan Park at Braybrook which is situated close to Footscray.



 

 

 

 
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Comments

Terry Dunn on

Nice one ! I was particularly `taken` with the mention of Stratford on the Avon;
Avon is River in Old language Welsh I think , or maybe Celtic , so Bradford on Avon = Bradford on River , and River Avon = River river.. Lol !

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