Author: neila

Sandy Point, Inverloch & Cowes (Phillip Island)

This is a short 12 day trip staying 4 days in each of these 3 locations – Sandy Point, Inverloch & Cowes (Phillip Island).

Sandy Point

About Sandy Point

Sandy Point is a township in near Wilson’s Promontory. At the 2016 census, Sandy Point had a population of 270, growing to several thousand during the holiday period. It is surrounded by areas of significant natural heritage. Sandy Point is one of the few coastal towns in the region to remain relatively unaffected by the housing boom along the coast. That is partly due to its distance from Melbourne (around 2 hours), and the fact that a lack of town sewerage has meant a ban on further sub-division (sourced from the Wikipedia website – click for more).

Why Sandy Point?

Located on the western edge of Wilson’s Promontory, about 186 kms from home. We selected Sandy Point as Chris, one of our “Bailey mates, has his Bailey Caravan on site here for the summer season. It is a rather nice place to visit and the beach is absolutely huge, with no rocks and beautiful white sand as far as you can see.

Sandy Point Holiday Park

Located at 89-103 Beach Parade Sandy Point, this is an old park that is rather run down (owners are trying to sell off blocks for housing). Our site was on a bit of a hill, very uneven and as much as we tried we could not level the caravan with our leveling blocks. The toilets would probably not pass a health check but are cleaned daily.

Nice Sandy Point sunset

On our 1st night we strolled down to the beautiful beach to check out the sunset and it didn’t disappoint. We even got a sneaky sunset reflection in the surf club windows.

A day trip to Wilson’s Prom

It’s been many years since we last visited “The Prom” and it was great to return. Straight to Tidal River and we just could not believe the number of people in the massive campgrounds. After paying a visit to the information centre we headed off to “Squeaky Beach” for the rest of the day.

Squeaky Beach is just one of those unforgettably glorious locations. We took along our beach chairs and a picnic, settled in for lunch, before heading off for a stroll along the squeaky sand. The “squeakiness” of the sand is because it’s dry and composed of smooth, round grains of quartz with no shell material intermixed.

The rocks on the northern end of the beach are amazing with such an amazing redness to them.

Walkerville – Limestone Kilns

We came across a pretty impressive piece of history in the town of Walkerville (maplink) known as the Limestone Kilns, which are historically significant in that they provide evidence of the largest and longest lived commercial lime burning sites in Victoria, operating from 1875 to 1926 providing lime supplies to Melbourne’s building industry.


About Inverloch

Historically Inverloch, with its access to Venus Bay and the dramatic coastline of the Bunurong National Park, was a destination for coal miners from Wonthaggi. Today it has become a popular holiday resort town with cafes and gift shops where people from Melbourne come to enjoy the coastline, bushwalking, exploring the beaches and rock platforms. It is a charming, bustling holiday town (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

It was a very short 57 kms drive from Sandy Point to Inverloch, travelling through beautiful farmland along the way.

BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Caravan Park

Wow – what an amazing caravan park BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Inverloch truly is and it’s totally a family friendly park and the price is fairly expensive at $65 per night (Big4 members) for a powered site. They have an indoor pool, indoor water park, trampolines, basketball & tennis courts plus many more things (which we wouldn’t use 😕)

There is another section next door called Ingenia Holidays Inverloch Foreshore which is a basic caravan park without the pomp and glimmer that the Big4 one provides for $56.00 (still expensive, but next time we’ll book into there).

Cowes – Phillip Island

About Cowes

Cowes is a popular seaside resort and day tripper destination. It is Phillip Island’s main town and administrative centre and has a holiday atmosphere with pleasant sheltered beaches, a good range of cafes and a substantial number of accommodation options. It is commonly used as a base for visitors wanting to explore the island and consequently, apart from its beaches and a small number of attractions in the town, the primary appeal lies in the Little Penguin Parade which occurs at Summerland Beach every night (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).


The NRMA Phillip Island Beachfront Holiday Park was chosen due to it’s closeness to the town of Cowes (walking distance to the Cowes Jetty) and the positive reviews we had read on WikiCamps.

The Pinnacles

yet to be completed

The Nobbies

yet to be completed


We ventured out to the penguin parade which, for us was a return 22 years since our last visit. These little guys still make you gasp and giggle as they make their way home from work (fishing in Bass Strait). Some were so fat with fish in their bellies they kept tripping over – it was fantastic!

As we could not take any photos or videos (park rules), the images and YouTube video below are courtesy of Phillip Island Nature Parks website…

Ventnor & Grossard Point

yet to be completed

San Remo

yet to be completed

Dargo to Tocomwal

On this trip we begin in Dargo, the Victorian high country, and join our friend Guy’s Range Rover Club of Victoria (RRCV) for some four wheel driving around the mountains near Dargo. From here we intend to travel to Cann River then Dalgety (near Cooma), Jindabyne, Khancoban, Corryong, Tallangatta and then ending up in Tocumwal for a special 70th birthday party on the 1st of April. Click here for the planned route.


About Dargo

Dargo is a quiet country township situated on the Dargo River in the Great Dividing Range, 100 km north of Sale in Gippsland. Dargo is thought to be either an Aboriginal word possibly meaning have patience, high hills or spear fight or else the name of the division of the Brabiralung tribe which occupied the area. (sourced from the Victorian Places website – click for more).

We were booked into the Dargo River Inn for 5 nights (maplink).

Dargo – Day 1 – Crooked River 4WD Track

As I was not a “qualified four wheel driver” (hadn’t done the RRCV 4WD course) it meant that our car was left behind and we were passengers in our mates Range Rover Sport. We set out in a convoy of 5 vehicles to tackle the famed Crooked River track. This was fantastic fun with plenty of steep climbs and descents, lots of “whoop-de-doos” and 20 water crossings (mostly not very deep) which also showed me why I needed some 4WD training. Our trip leader Graham was great with safety of the group the main concern.

We stopped off at the remnants of the mining town of Grant, checking out the Grant Cemetery before continuing on to the former gold mining town of Talbotville, which is now a fantastic campground. We finished the trip back in Dargo with ice-creams from the general store.

TIP – check out YouTube for lots of videos highlighting the Crooked River Track.

Renmark SA, Cullulleraine & Murtoa VIC

It was time to catch up with a couple of friends we met on our 2018 Half Lap trip so it was off to Renmark South Australia on the mighty Murray River for 5 nights then onto Cullulleraine for 5 more nights. Our friends Bob & Michelle come from Adelaide so it was so good to get together again. On the way home we plan to call into the country town of Murtoa to check out the famous “stick shed”.

Road trip from Melbourne

Harcourt for Lunch

Sun 16 Jan 2022

We found a beautiful little park in Harcourt (150 kms from home – maplink) for a lunch stop. It was nice to be able to chill-out a bit, have lunch while the cockatoos munched on the oak trees above our heads, showering us with bits and pieces of tree which was quite funny, like they’d waited for us to arrive.

Green Lake Regional Park – overnight stop

Sun 16 Jan 2022

Good old “WikiCamps” delivered again guiding us to a lovely campground located in the Green Lake Regional Park, near Sea Lake (maplink). $20 per night for a powered site – we needed it as the temp was 40 degrees. We soon found out though that you could only run the air-con in our van without the hot water service, microwave or kettle being used (low amperage supply), which was quite funny – e.g. the air-con goes off while you boil the kettle. The campground was great situated on a decent sized lake with many people water-skiing or canoeing. The sunset that night was absolutely stunning with pink and purple colours reflected on the lake.

Renmark SA

Mon 17 Jan 2022

About Renmark

Renmark, located on the Murray River, is a prosperous town in the heart of rich Riverland area where limes, olives, apricots, grapes, plums, garlic and oranges are all grown. Like so many towns in the area Renmark is characterised by wide streets and handsome riverbank parklands. This is a town where it is possible to enjoy the majesty of the Murray by hiring a bicycle and cycling along the riverbank; hiring a canoe or kayak and paddling along the river; or visiting the historic boats – the PS Industry and Argo Barge – moored at the river’s edge. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).


Mon 17 Jan 2022

Arriving at our 1st destination at the Riverbend Caravan Park in Renmark (maplink) we set-up on a fairly tight campsite, actually re-orientating the van 3 times until we could safely fit. Life among the river-gums was a bit noisy with branches, bark and leaves raining down on us non-stop – are the serenity!

This was a fantastic place to stay and totally recommend it. You’re right on the river just downstream from the Sturt Highway bridge, which lifts up at 9.30am every morning to allow the houseboats to pass through. The “Little Miss Daisy” coffee van (Facebook) opens every morning and you are also welcomed by some local kangaroos – sweet.

Dinner and a stroll along the Murray

Mon 17 Jan 2022

Happy Hour at Bob & Michelle’s site on the banks of the Murray River was a great way to begin our holiday. Catching up on what’s happened over the last couple of years since we last met each other. It was then off to the historic Renmark Hotel for dinner followed by a stroll along the riverside parklands. A top way to begin our holiday.

Rustons Rose Gardens

Tue 18 Jan 2022

After a pretty lazy 1st day in Renmark we travelled down to the Renmark Tourist Info Centre to get some tips on places to visit in the region. It was late in the day so we decided the 1st place to visit was the Rustons Rose Garden just outside of town. Even though the gardens were in a bit of disrepair there were still plenty of beautiful blooms to check out.

The Black Stump

Wed 19 Jan 2022

This Black Stump is reported as the largest of 11 known black stumps in Australia! This river red gum root system is about 600 years old and weighs approximately 8 tonne and is 8 metres in diameter. It is housed in the front yard of a residential property in Paringa (maplink).

Woolshed Brewery

Wed 19 Jan 2022

It was off to one of the region’s favourite watering holes – the Woolshed Brewery in Wilkadene (about 20kms from Renmark – maplink) for lunch and to sample some of their craft beers. It’s a top spot on the Murray (of course!) and is a fantastic spot to sit back and chill. Totally loved it.

On the way back to Renmark we stopped off at the Heading Cliffs Lookout to check out the beautifully rich colors in the golden limestone cliffs cliffs. Absolutely stunning and pretty high as well (maplink).

Sunset over the Murray at Headings Cliff Lookout

Wed 19 Jan 2022

We returned to the Headings Cliff Lookout to check-out what is reportedly a brilliant sunset location. Well, we missed our timing by about 15 minutes, arriving just in time to see the sun disappear below the horizon. Looks like an earlier return trip is needed! There wasn’t much cloud cover around so hopefully our next effort proves more fruitful – here’s the effort anyway…

23rd Street Distillery

Fri 21 Jan 2022

What better way to spend lunch time in a Gin Distillery! We visited the 23rd Street Distillery in Renmark for what turned out to be a wonderful lunch. The food was superb! It was a shame that the distillery tours have been cancelled due to Covid.

Merrisa and I both had a “flight” of varies types of Gin, Vodka & Whisky distilled onsite.

  • Merrisa had the Heart & Soul Flight – 3 samples of Signature Gin, Navy Strength Gin, Limited Release Violet Gin
  • I had the Palate Liberator Flight – 5 samples of Australian Vodka, Riverland Rose Vodka, Signature Gin, Not Your Nanna’s Brandy & Hybrid Whisk(e)y washed down with a can of Soda.

Some of the photos below are courtesy of the 23rd Street Distillery website.

On the way back to our caravan park we called into the AlmondCo shop for some local nuts – Noice 😁

Lake Cullulleraine VIC

Sat 22 Jan 2022

Leaving Renmark we travelled back to Victoria, a short distance of just 83kms, to Lake Cullulleraine (maplink).

Along with our travelling buddies, Bob & Michelle, we pulled into Bushman’s Rest Caravan Park for 5 nights. The park is located on the shores of Lake Cullulleraine and is a 40 minute drive from Mildura on the Sturt Highway.

Werrimul Pub and Historic Homestead

Sun 23 Jan 2022

We met a guy in the caravan park who gave us some tips for checking out some of the local “tourist hot-spots”.

There weren’t many but he said we should check out the Werrimul Pub and the also have a peak at this historic homestead on the way. So off we travel on our hot-spots tour of the Cullulleraine district. Well, we found “historic homestead” on Google and followed the map to it to find a run-down old house at the end of a dusty 1km track, rook some photos and high-tailed it out of there ASAP.

We got to the Werrimul Pub (Facebook) and no-one had heard of this “historic homestead” and it turn out there is a “pioneers village” further up the road at Meringur; but more on this later.

The pub was real nice and the beers were cold. we decided to come back for dinner in a couple of nights (maplink).

Millewa Pioneer Village

Sun 23 Jan 2022

It was a 25km drive west from the Werrimull pub to the Millewa Pioneer Park in the small town of Meringur (maplink).

Millewa Pioneer Park was established to recognise the efforts of early settlers creating a livelihood from humble beginnings, which is run by a voluntary committee.

Originally, the Millewa area was an experiment in close settlement dryland farming in the Mallee region, previously sparsely occupied by Latje Latje Aboriginal peoples. It nearly failed due to the limited earthen channels for domestic and stock water supply. At its peak, the settlement comprised 700 farms in 1928, declining to 200 in 1945. After reallocation in 1948 farms became larger and decreased in numbers again and this trend has continued until present through natural economic pressures.

Lunch at the Gol Gol Pub in Mildura

Mon 24 Jan 2022

We travelled the 60kms into Mildura to visit the Trentham Winery (which we did in November 2019) to discover it was closed 😠.

So, heading back into Mildura we came across the Gol Gol Pub and headed in. The guy at the door tells us that most of his staff are off on Covid related leave (a bit scary) but we could have a pizza, which we did. After pizza we took a stroll down to the Murray for a look.

Murtoa VIC

About Murtoa

Murtoa is a small wheat-belt town in the Wimmera. It is notable for its wide streets, its interesting 19th century buildings, the charming Lake Marma and its importance as a major historic grain receival centre (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Why Murtoa?

We generally like to travel about 300 to 350kms a day towing the caravan and the distance from Cullulleraine to home in Melbourne is 615km (a bit too far) and being retired – why not take an extra day.

So we try to select a location where we had not visited before. This time it was the town of Murtoa (maplink) in NW Victoria. They have a special attraction called the “Stick Shed” (see below) which we missed on our Silo Art Tour in 2019 (blog link).

We pulled into the Murtoa Caravan Park situated on the banks of Lake Marma for a 1 nighter ($25 power & water). This is a lovely location and the Bailey’s windows did the view justice especially when we got smashed by a very heavy storm at dinner time.

As we have discovered, a late afternoon storm is generally followed by a brilliant sunset, and this was again true in Murtoa. Here’s our photos from the spectacular sunset…

The Stick Shed

The Stick Shed is a type of grain storage facility built in Victoria during the early 1940s. The Marmalake / Murtoa Grain Store No.1 was built in 1941-42 during a wheat glut, to store wheat that could not be exported during World War II. It is the earliest & last remaining example of this particular grand Australian rural vernacular tradition. It is no longer used to store grain and is now an absolutely fantastic tourist attraction (open 10am-2pm daily) and function centre and has now been registered on the Australian National Heritage List #101 (Wikipedia).

Some Facts…

  • The shed is 265m long, 60m wide and 19m high at the ridge, covers 16,000 sq meters, with a capacity of 3.5 million bushels, or about 92,500 tonnes of wheat.
  • The hipped corrugated iron roof of the shed is supported on 560 unmilled mountain ash hardwood poles set in a concrete slab floor and braced with iron tie rods.
    • A steel shortage meant the shed was built largely from readily available timber, some 560 (56 rows of 10) unmilled mountain ash poles erected into the auger-dug footings in the ground.
    • The slender mountain ash poles were salvaged from native forests in East Gippsland (VIC) burnt during the 1939 bushfires.
    • There is over 150 tonnes of corrugated iron on the roof, which covers 16,000m2 of land. The roof angle was sloped to reflect the same angle a pile of wheat forms naturally. This has a rainfall run-off of about 35 megalitres of water per annum. 
  • Incredibly, the massive Stick Shed was constructed in only four months between September 1941 and January 1942 and filled with grain within six months of its construction. The wheat stayed in storage until 1944.
  • A second and much larger Stick Shed, with double the capacity, was erected in 1942/43 at Murtoa using poles largely supplied from forests at East Gippsland and Beaufort. This second shed was demolished in 1975.
  • The No.1 Grain Store, the last Stick Shed used in Australia, also became surplus to the wheat industry’s needs in 1989 and was emptied for the last time by the Grain Elevators Board in 1990, when its last contents of 30,000 tonnes were railed away.
  • The building was listed on the Australian National Heritage List in 2014, as entry number 101, recognising its place “as a significant part of Australia’s history associated with Australia’s wheat industry and the impact of World War Two on the home front”. This meant that, with the Historic Buildings Council it was now protected, with funding provided for the entire restoration via Heritage Council funds in the 2009-2011 period.

Some Historic Photos & YouTube Video..

This YouTube video is run in the visitors centre and covers some of the history about the Stick Shed…

Our photos…

Mansfield VIC

About Mansfield

Mansfield is a gracious town of wide streets and historic buildings. Situated on Fords Creek in a valley at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, it has become a resort town and popular winter base for skiers headed to Mount Buller and Mount Stirling. The beautiful and dramatic local scenery attracted filmmakers who used the surrounding countryside as the setting for the two Man From Snowy River films (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Why Mansfield?

Some Bailey caravanning buddies, Ian & Jane and Liam & Jackie, were heading up to Mansfield for a few days, so we thought “lets join them”. We booked into the High Country Holiday Park for four nights which is situated right in town (maplink) – walk to the pub for dinner.

Day 1 – Mt Stirling

December 7th, 2021

We headed off to check out some of the areas around Mt Stirling, taking the Circuit Road, stopping off at Craig’s Hut and Bindaree Falls along the way (maplink).

Craig’s Hut

The high country in Victoria has lots of “huts” which were originally built by the mountain cattlemen in the last century. They now are primarily used by bush walkers and cross country skiers for overnight shelter.

Craig’s Hut is a bit different as it was built for a film set used in the 1982 movie Man from Snowy River (check out Wikipedia). The hut was destroyed by bushfires rebuilt in 1993. It was then subsequently destroyed again by bushfires in 2006 and rebuilt in 2008. The hut is only accessible by 4wd, along the Clear Hill Track (you can see why in the video below) or you can take the 1.7km walking track from the Circuit Rd.

Getting there

Drive to the entrance gate to Mt Buller (at the Mirimbah Store) and turn left on the Mt Stirling access road. Then continue along the Circuit Rd until you meet the Clear Hills Track (maplink). NOTE – Clear Hills Track is 4WD only!

Here’s the 4WD Clear Hills Track …

Bindaree Falls

Leaving Craig’s Hut we then travelled back along the Circuit Rd and headed to Bindaree Falls for lunch. This is a beautiful location with an easy walk from the picnic area to the falls. Truly wonderful water fall and totally worth a visit.

Getting there

The falls can be accessed in a standard vehicle (route from Craig’s Hut)

On the way back out along the Circuit Road toward Telegraph Junction we encountered really heavy rain as well as B-Double gravel trucks along the way as you can see in the video below…

Day 2 – heading northward toward the King Valley

December 8th, 2021

Heading out again, on our 2nd day in Mansfield, to check out the King Valley area taking in Power’s Lookout, Paradise Falls and Lake William Hovell (maplink).

Power’s Lookout

The lookout is situated on the road from Mansfield to Whitfield, taking a right turn and travelling about 10kms of good quality dirt road (maplink).

The rocky escarpment high above the King Valley was the hideout of Harry Power, a notorious but ‘gentlemanly’ bushranger of the 1860s. There are two lookout points providing sweeping views of the surrounding mountain and valley landscape (we only visited the 1st lookout). There were plenty of lovely wild flowers around the car park area.

Paradise Falls

Taking the turn-off at Cheshunt it’s another 12kms along a good quality dirt road to Paradise Falls (maplink).

These falls require a fairly strenuous walk of about 1km (return) but the end result was worth it. There are 2 falls cascading down into a magnificent chasm. The centre piece from the viewing platform may actually be a really cool rock, defying gravity, in the middle of the stream below the falls.

Here’s a short video of one of the twin water falls…

Lake William Hovell

We ventured out to Lake William Hovell to check it out, on the return trip to Mansfield. It was an OK but not fabulous detour. The highlight was the dam spillway was in full fight and I spotted a beautiful Peregrine Falcon in the branches of a tree by the Lake.

Day 3 – Jamieson

December 9th, 2021

The original plan was to travel up to Mt Buller, to check it out in summertime, BUT we found out at the Mansfield Tourist Info Centre that it was 3 degrees up there and shrouded in fog. So; change of plans and we headed off to Jamieson (40kms from Mansfield) to have a look around. Lunch at the Jamieson Brewery was great.

It was a dull and dreary day, so no photos were taken. It was a nice final day though, spent in the company of our 4 Bailey mates.

Summing up…

  • Accommodation High Country Holiday Park (website). A small but very nice CP
    • Cost per night$38.00 (@ 9-Dec-2020)
    • FacilitiesLook basic from the outside but have been updated inside – very clean & tidy
    • CP Location1 Ultimo St, Mansfield VIC (maplink) – 5 minute walk into town
    • Our rating/score8/10
  • Was it a nice town to visit? yes
    • Activities & places of interest plenty to do – good if you have a 4WD
    • Tourist info centre?175 High St, Mansfield (website)
    • Would we return?definitely
    • Overall Score8/10
  • Summing upThis was a great place to visit and many thanks to Ian & Jane for inviting us along. Ian is a wonderful tour guide and it was thanks to him that we found some of these beautiful locations. This short trip also shows that it’s great to get away with a group as there’s always someone to add value to your experience, either with knowledge of the place you’re visiting or just spending happy hour together at the end of the day. 😁

Ocean Grove – VIC

About Ocean Grove

Ocean Grove lies on the eastern bank at the mouth of the Barwon River. Across the river is its twin town, Barwon Heads. The river connects Lake Connewarre to Bass Strait. The twin towns, connected by a new bridge, are hugely popular holiday destinations because they have the closest ocean beaches to Geelong. Ocean Grove is the largest settlement on the Bellarine Peninsula. Inevitably the main appeal of the area lies in the holiday activities which have been created including the Adventure Park (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

We have ventured down to my favourite haunt of Ocean Grove, which I have been coming to since 1965 when my parents bought a small onsite van in Wynndean. This small place was sold shortly after dad passed away in 1975.

This time we have booked into Riverview Caravan Park and have a great site next to the Barwon River for 2 weeks (maplink). It’s a great opportunity to chill out and catch up with many lifelong friends who live on the Bellarine Peninsula.


Our great friends Ray & Betty organise an annual pre-christmas BBQ in Melbourne called SURO (Seniors Unemployed Retirees & Others) and this year they began the West Coast SURO group. We met out the front of “Laura’s Cottage” in Barwon Heads for the inaugural gathering and those who attended had a lovely afternoon (maplink). Here’s some pics but the quality isn’t the best as most came from Facebook Messenger…

2020 Vic Golf Open at 13th Beach

We went along to the final day of the 2020 Victorian Open Golf held at 13th Beach Golf Club on Sunday 9th Feb. It was great, being our 1st ever golf professional tournament. I even got to meet a baby wombat from the Jirrahlinga Wildlife Sanctuary.

A hit at Curlewis Golf Driving Range

Our friend Ray, Merrisa and I went along to the golf driving range at Curlewis Golf Club on Portarlington Road (maplink) to have a bit of a hit-out. It was great fun hitting 200 balls down the range. We had a great time with heaps of laughs regarding our golfing prowess and styles.

Here’s a couple of videos show casing Neil & Ray’s styles (or lack of)…


Chocolaterie Anglesea

The weather was really crappy one day so we went for a drive, ending up at Chocolaterie Anglesea (maplink). Did the usual and bought some choccies then headed back to the caravan.

Barwon River Sunset at Riverview CP

We had a very stormy day on Friday 14th February with high winds and torrential rain. A rainbow appeared on dusk followed by a sunset which was one of the most spectacular ones we have seen in our travels.

Blues gig – The Studio @54

We went along to a blues gig on Sunday 16th February featuring two musos by the name of Wayne Jury & Justin Brady who performed in the courtyard of The Studio @54 in Grub Road Ocean Grove (maplink). It was a great afternoon with these guys playing to a small group of people. This was also a fundraiser for Justin Brady, who lost his home in the recent horrific Mallacoota fires.


Bendigo VIC

About Bendigo

For every gold mining ghost town there are prosperous cities like Bendigo which wear their gold wealth with both pride and ostentation. Bendigo can proudly boast that it has one of the finest collections of Victorian buildings of any inland city in Australia. The streets are literally awash with huge granite edifices and, in the centre of the city, a fountain dedicated to Queen Victoria’s daughter-in-law, Princess Alexandra, sits in the main street. The Roman Catholic cathedral is the largest cathedral in the state outside Melbourne and the best way to experience the city is to join the “talking tram” – the trams date back to the gold rich era of the 1890s. This is a hugely impressive city which, if you want to do it justice, requires two or three days of dedicated exploration (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Why Bendigo?

Leaving Lake Lascelles (see earlier post) we travelled south to Bendigo and booked into the Bendigo Park Lane Big4 Holiday Park for a few days (maplink). We’d never stayed in Bendigo before, so this was a chance to have a look around and we discovered that it was a great choice. Bailey mates – Anne & Tim Begg and Ron & Collen Mills joined us too. These are some of the sights we checked out…

Bendigo Botanical Gardens

Based in the centre of Bendigo the Botanical Gardens are truly beautiful. We took particular interest in their spectacular rose gardens. We then headed off to the Beechworth Bakery for lunch – pies and “beestings”

Bendigo Sacred Heart Cathedral

The Sacred Heart Cathedral began construction in 1895 and took 82 years to complete (in 1977). It is a truly beautiful cathedral, just as impressive as some of the ones we visited on our Mediterranean Cruise.

Bendigo Buddhist Stupa

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is a momentous Buddhist site being created just outside of Bendigo (maplink) and what an amazing place it was to visit. Our volunteer guide Adam took us through the main building (the Stupa) and spoke with tremendous compassion about the construction of the building and amount of work still to be undertaken for it’s completion (expected to be another 50 years or so)

The Great Stupa is home to many holy objects. Foremost amongst these is the magnificent Jade Buddha for Universal Peace which is the largest Buddha carved from gem quality jade in the world. The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace toured the world for 9 years and over 10 million people have seen it. The Jade Buddha has now come to its final home inside The Great Stupa.

Here’s a couple of videos about the Stupa…

Bendigo Chinese Gardens

These are small and rather old looking. We were a bit disappointed in the visit but still got some nice photos.

Bendigo Deborah Mine Tour

This is a definite “must do” when in Bendigo. We learnt so much from Annie our volunteer guide. It is pretty incredible to find the Deborah Mine is pretty well in the middle of town (maplink) – just down the road from Beechworth Bakery. Want to read more about the mine?

Wimmera/Mallee Silo Trail

The Silo Art Trail stretches over 200km and we visited each of the 8 current sites while we were up in the Wimmera/Mallee region. Each one is an amazing feat of workmanship and is extremely difficult to fathom how an artist can work on such an enormous area and still deliver something as beautiful and detailed as each art piece.

We undertook the trail in two stages; on the way up to Buronga (for Melbourne Cup week) and then from our base at Lake Lascelles on the return home.
This is our route map.

Nullawil Silos

Our first Wheat Silo Artwork was found on the Calder Highway in Nullawil. This work was created by artist Sam Bates, also known as Smug or Smug One, is an Australian contemporary street artist, known for his photo realism graffiti work. Click here for more about the work.

Sea Lake Silos

The latest silo art to be added to the trail is at Sea Lake titled The Space in Between. This work was created by artists Drapl and the Zookeeper completed July 2019. Click here for more about the work.

Patchewollock Silos

We stopped off at the small town of Patchewollock, on the way to Lake Lascelles, to check out this piece of work by Fintan Magee. It features a local sheep and grain farmer by the name of Nick “Noodle” Hulland. Click here for more about the work.

Lascelles Silo Art

The silos at Lascelles by the artist Rone feature a local farming couple Geoff and Merrilyn Horman, whose family have lived and farmed in the area for four generations. There was also a pretty weird bit of local street art where we had pulled up. Click here for more about the work.

Rosebery Silo Art

The Rosebery silo art was completed by the artist Kaff-eine who spent time assisting Rone on the Lascelles silos prior to undertaking this work. Click here for more about the work.

Brim Silo Art

Guido van Helten’s iconic Brim mural was the first silo artwork to appear in Victoria (2016). Click here for more about the work.

Sheep Hills Silo Art

The silo art in Sheep Hills by the artist Adnate would have to be one of the most striking pieces that we came across in our silo tour. It depicts Wergaia Elder, Uncle Ron Marks, and Wotjobaluk Elder, Aunty Regina Hood, alongside two young children, Savannah Marks and Curtly McDonald which celebrates the richness of the area’s Indigenous culture. Click here for more about the work.

Rupanyup Silo Art

Our last set of silos to visit was in the town of Rupanyup which were the first steel type silo (instead of concrete). Completed by the Russian mural artist, Julia Volchkova, who turned her attention to the town’s youth and their great love of team sport. Click here for more about the work.

These silos are still in use, as we noticed some grain being loaded around the back, next to the now defunct railway station. We also loved the local book exchange over the road (a former pub fridge).

Rupanyup Roses

The local Post Office in Rupanyup had a beautiful show of roses and I could not help but take some photos. Then we were off to St. Arnaud for lunch in the local bakery with two other Bailey vans, before heading off to Bendigo for our next stop.

Lake Lascelles Freecamp

Leaving Buronga/Mildura we traveled south to a wonderful freecamp called Lake Lascelles in the rural town of Hopetoun.

We set-up beside a couple of other Bailey friends; Tim & Anne Begg and Ron & Colleen Mills. We were then joined by other friends Ian & Janis Hirth whilst another Bailey with Neil & Sharon Morrison set-up on the other side of the lake on a powered site. It was fantastic to be joined by all of the friends for a few days in such a lovely place.

Had a paddle in Tim’s kayak and then ventured out on Anne’s Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) creating much entertainment for those on-shore as I shook and wobbled while trying (in vain) to stay upright. Finally got the hang of it but had a real hard time trying to turn around. It was great fun but one downside was that I lost my expensive sunnies purchased our our Mediterranean Cruise (10 euro in Rhodes). Neil said that he saw a duck wearing them the next day. mmmm??

Out to the local pub for dinner on the last night before we all went off in our various directions. Anne & Tim and Ron & Colleen joined us in Bendigo.

1st ever SUP attempt on Lake Lascelles – massive fail where I lose my sunnies
2nd SUP attempt on Lake Lascelles
Finally SUP’ing on Lake Lascelles

Buronga, NSW – Melbourne Cup Week

We ventured up to Buronga, on the Murray River (over the river from Mildura) to spend Melbourne Cup week staying at the Mildura, Buronga Riverside Caravan Park with friends Bob & Michelle Neville whom we met on our 1/2 lap of oz last year.

Roadtrip – Melbourne to Buronga

Our trip started after celebrating Merrisa’s dads 90th birthday in Dingley, so it was a bit of a late departure. On the way we were halted by a car accident on the Calder Highway, near Harcort. A car towing a trailer with 6 cows in it had flipped when one of the cows decided to jump out of the trailer causing total mayhem. 2 hours later the cows were rounded up, car & trailer removed and we were on our way. By now it was far too late to reach Buronga so we pulled up at a free camp in Bridgewater for the night.

Melbourne Cup Day in Buronga

The Mildura, Buronga Riverside Caravan Park runs a Melbourne Cup Day each year with a local band Old Dogs – New Tricks playing heaps of blues music along with a barby lunch (all for $5 each). It was a truly fantastic day with most of the park attending. Merrisa and I also backed the cup winner – woohoo!


The girls rockin on to the Old Dogs-New Tricks band

Murray River Paddle Boat

A lovely couple of hours spent on the mighty Murray River with Bob & Michelle aboard the Rothbury Paddle Steamer (one of two paddle boats operating out of Mildura). This was a very relaxing cruise down through Mildura’s Lock 11. The commentary from the captain was really great and very informative. We learnt a bit of history about the river and how the lock’s work along with the Mildura weir operations.

Mildura Rio Vista Historic House

A visit to the Mildura Rio Vista Historic House, incorporated into the Mildura Arts Centre is a must when you’re in town. Built in 1889, this 3 storey mansion was the home of William Benjamin Chaffey, who was instrumental in the introduction of irrigation in Australia.

Edward Fischer Expo @ Geelong Gallery

Our brother-in-law Andrew’s great great grandfather, Edward Fischer, was a silversmith in Geelong in the late 1800’s and we attended an exhibition of some of his fine work at the Geelong Gallery on Queens Birthday long-weekend (9 June 2019).

Edward Fischer (1828-1911) migrated to Australia from Vienna in the early 1850s, and settled into business as a jeweller in Geelong… read more

Edward settled in Torquay in 1888 after he purchased a property called Springtide in Rudd Avenue.

We travelled to Torquay, with our caravan, for the weekend staying in the Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park and then joining the Fischer clan for the expo on the Sunday. It was fantastic to be included in this special day. We completed this mini trip with a stay in the Barwon Heads Caravan Park for a few days.

Some links…

Our caravan park photos…