Stopping by Albury for a few days

We rocked up to Albury to stay at a fellow MSO. Alan and Mary have a 50m acre farm they deem as small (after previously having a farm of some 1000 acres). They have generously opened up their place to fellow club members to stay over for a few days if they wish to sight see around the Albury/Wodonga area.

Our home for a few days near Albury

We were encouraged to join them for happy hours on the back verandah amidst the abundant bird life.

On our first day there we went into town and checked out one of the shopping centres as well as the Information Centre near the beautifully maintained train station. It is a grand old Victorian building, and possibly one of the most beautiful railway stations outside of Melbourne and Sydney.

Albury Railway Station is beautiful

On our second day there we went for a drive around a suggested tourist loop taking in the Hume Dam and The Bonegilla Migrant Museum.

The Hume Dam

Hume Dam is a major dam across the Murray River and is a part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. We were told that one could walk across the dam but we found that the top of the dam was closed to the public though there were viewing platforms that were open. To give you an idea of the capacity of the Lake Hume that is formed, it holds around six times the amount of water as Sydney Harbour. I am not sure about the general recreational use of the dam as to swimming and fish, but there is a sailing club on the southern borders of the lake and we could see at least one sailing boat on the lake.

The Hume Dam wall

The Bonegilla Migrant Museum


Rob at the entry

Australia’s largest and longest operating migrant centre opening for displaced men in particular in 1947 and soon to include families. It housed migrants up until 1971. Some 300,000 people passed through this centre, mostly from Europe. It is now listed as a significant heritage site and one can visit the many restored buildings and learn of the lives and deprivations people went through before arriving in Australia.

Somehow this appreciation seems to be lacking in many of today's migrants

It was interesting to note that those who came with nothing appreciated what Australia tried to do for them. The migrants that arrived under an assistant scheme were generally speaking a lot more critical. They might comment on the boredom of the food even as they acknowledged that there was plenty of it.

There were many informative, visual displays and memorabilia

Though I think it would have been hard to adjust to a new culture, different food and separation from family support, amongst other difficulties, for many it was a chance to start over. I haven't a clue what goes on in such migrant placement centres today, but I expect that the same frustrations exists with some appreciating the possibility of being able to start over in a new country and others expecting more than is being done for them/

Sumsion Gardens, Wodonga

Sumsion Gardens
We would have visited the Huon Lookout, but it is poorly marked as in NO signs on the main road and it is a dirt track which we ignored expecting it to be bitumen. By the time we realized it we used Google Maps and found a track further ahead that appeared to go up to the look out only to find that after a little bit, the track was barred closed by a gate allowing no vehicular access. So we gave up and went on ahead to Wodonga and had a lovely picnic lunch on the water's edge at the delightful Sumsion Gardens with all manner of ducks, geese and other birds for company.

On our way at last. First stop: Yass

We finally left home after a 2 week delay due to a seized ball bearing in the gear box. We recognized a motorhome trying to turn onto the highway and to our delight we find our friends Gary & Joy were just leaving Wollongong at the same time. We both stopped at the Mt Ousley rest stop for one last chin wag. Hopefully we’ll meet up again in South Australia.

Mt Ousley Rest Stop (Photo from  Roads and Maritime Services)

We were being cautious and stopped at Sutton Forest to check our gear box temperature as well as it was time to have a break anyway. The temperature is still a little concern being 100 degrees but that's heaps better than the 180 degrees it was the last time we were here. We will talk to our mechanic tomorrow but being Sunday we will continue on carefully. By the way we have a Raytek laser temperature gauge which is a left over from our business days. It has been an invaluable tool many times over checking various elements from tyres, brakes etc.

For our first night away, we chose to stay at the free camp at Joe O’Connor Park, Yass. It is a free camp area on the western side of the town. A lovely spot on the bank of the Yass River less than a kilometre west of the shops. An exercise bar area has been added to the park recently, sadly right where we frequently stay as it’s flat, grassy and in mostly full sun but close to trees for sitting in the shade. Oh well, we still managed to get close to it without any real hassles. We chose not to go down to the river bank as rain is predicted and the track looks a little slippery if wet. Anyway we intended to only stay the one night, leaving after Michelle’s morning tea visit to her aunt in Canberra. We had a neighbour with a lovely colourful pet bird but after the initial contact, she chose not to interact anymore. It didn’t matter, there will be others another time.

As is our common practice for first nights, dinner was a simple but delicious meal consisting of leftovers of a previous roast beef & vegetables with Potato au gratin.

Michelle left Rob sleeping in and went off on a 50km visit to see her Aunty in Canberra. Rob later decided to walk into town and pick up a few hardware bits ‘n pieces. He wanted to grab a cuppa in town but found the coffee shop staff was very slow to serve him preferring to natter away with another client, so he ended up walking home and brewing up his own coffee. Michelle arrives back just after 1pm hoping Rob had made lunch, but he was enjoying his morning off reading too much. A quick ham & salad fixed us both up for lunch.

We decided there’s no rush to move on, so we decided to stay put & relax for another day here. Several more RVs came in and some owners wandered by and stop to chat. We tried to encourage a couple to come by for happy hour but it was not to be. Still we enjoyed a glass on own own.

Rob made us this folding wine table.

We tend not to leave a site until mid mornings usually about 10ish. We like to relax, sleep in and take our time getting going in the mornings. Michelle is usually up much earlier and is happy to be sewing or making her way around on the internet.

Our lunch stop was at a road side rest area about 10km south of Gundagai. Salad again. We are finding it easier to be stricter with healthier eating & dieting when on the road. After a while we don’t even miss the bakery delights. We are not overly strict but we are both carrying excess weight and we find the low carb/high fat (protein) diet suits us best. We are relaxed enough to join others for dinners whether it be communal or at the local club. We want to enjoy life too! We both lost more than 8kg on the last winter trip though unsurprisingly we put on 2kg over Christmas.

Ham and Cheese Salad

We continue on to our next stop, Albury.

Gin Gin Free Camp

Gin Gin would have to be the most RV friendly town in Australia even though it officially isn't recognized as such. Gin Gin is a small town in the Bundaberg Region, Queensland, roughly 50 kilometres inland from Bundaberg on the Bruce Highway.

They have a 48 hour free camping on north end of town right on the main highway about 350km from Brisbane. There are also two toilet blocks. There's lots of grass and trees, and a covered picnic area with tables and seating. You are within walking distance of the shopping facilities in Gin Gin, which Rob took advantage of as he needed to suss out some information regarding satellite TV antennas, so he walked into town, it was that close!

The town is fantastic for  RVers of all sorts. There are two caravan parks and you can also camp at the showgrounds. Gin Gin is an extremely traveller friendly town with a good variety of shops, pubs, amenities, an information centre and more. The have lots and lots of caravan and big rig parking right in the middle of town (close to the IGA) with the huge park like divided road.

Around Gin Gin the country is very pretty. You will see lots of sugar cane fields, although there were also orchards as well as farms growing various fruits including pineapples, citrus, mangoes and macadamias.

25 things to do before you leave

We are about to embark on another trip. I find it is always helpful to have a checklist of things to do before leaving on a trip or holiday. Our motorhome is kept in basic readiness nearly all the time, however there are certain things that I need to do at home and put in the motorhome before we can actually leave and others that I'd like to achieve if time allows. My desires and your would differ because of personalities let alone factors such as pets, house or pet sitters coming in and the priorities you give to such things such as a garden. There is a list at the bottom of the post if you want to skip the chatter!

For the first time we will be having a house sitter come and stay. She can look after the bins and the mail for us. Though we have arranged as much as possible for all mail to be electronic, some still comes through. Also I have most of my bills paid electronically too. This is  handy for when we are home too!

During the week before we leave, I prefer to run down the stock of food in the fridge and freezer before we go for a couple of reasons, more room for house sitter's own foods and less wastage esp if there is a power cut (if place is vacant for any length of time). If I didn’t have a house sitter, I would like to turn off the fridge and freezer while we were away. I transfer a lot of the food into the motorhome for your trip.

I like to ensure all the washing is done. I hate the idea of coming home to lots of washing nor would I like anything ruined because of mould or stains etc.

I would like to have the gardens weeded as much as possible especially before a long trip as I find the weeds seem to grow at a much faster rate than the rest of the garden. I like to whipper snip the edges and picking up the twigs and bark is another not so necessary chore that I would like done as it just never stops and there would just be even more to pick up.

We are fortunate to have a friend who loves to mow the lawns while we are away and who are we to deny him his pleasure.

Obviously one should remove all rubbish and compost before locking up.

Jump in your motorhome or RV and take off, knowing that you have done everything you should have.


I’m a list person so here is the list in point form. The order may change according to your priorities but I’m sure it will help you to set up a list that is perfect for you.
  1. Book house sitter/pet sitter.
  2. Book any accomodation or festival tickets if needed.
  3. Is there anyone you want to visit or meet up with on your trip, then make your arrangements as appropriate and ensure you have your contact lists with you preferable in 2 different locations eg your phone and a hard copy.
  4. I’ve taken to taking photos (or scans) of all sorts of things, my tickets, my drivers license, my other important cards eg my Visa cards, my meds even a copy of my medical report summary from my doctor. It’s ideal to leave a copy with a trusted family or friend too.
  5. Set it up that your regular bills are paid automatically by your bank or pay them in advance.
  6. Ensure all vehicle maintenance is done.
  7. Fuel up your vehicle esp if cheaper at home.
  8. Notify friend to mow lawns
  9. Fuel up lawn mower
  10. Weed your gardens
  11. Pick up bark and twigs
  12. Whipper snip the edges
  13. Run down food in fridge and freezer by using up what you can and not buying anything unless it’s for your trip.
  14. Check out your packing list to ensure you have everything you need in the motorhome, eg your favourite pillow, pantry and fridge stocked. (There's another post coming re a check list for stocking your RV)
  15. Ensure all washing is done. Wear only the clothes you are not taking with you in those last few days.
  16. Don’t forget phone camera chargers for each etc.
  17. Set timers if you don’t have a house sitter, for lights in rooms, preferably to stagger in various rooms through the first part of the evening, like it would if you’re home.
  18. Cancel or redirect mail if you don’t have a house sitter.
  19. Depending on time frame away and if you don’t have a house sitter, turn off power to fridge, freezer, air con and the water to washing machine and dishwasher.
  20. Remove plugs from all appliances including fans, electric blankets, toasters, coffee machine etc
  21. Remove all unnecessary cards including loyalty cards from your wallet or purse.
  22. Last minute: empty any rubbish and compost. (Dont forget to leave note as to when garbage collection occurs for your house sitter)
  23. Ensure all doors and windows are locked if house sitter is yet to arrive.
  24. Take one last walk through the house that everything is switched off, packed, closed or whatever it should be.
  25. Close the door, and set off for a wonderful time away. You’ve done everything you can think of, so take off and enjoy yourself. You deserve it! 

Text as Art

A brief montage

What is Text as Art?

The Text as Art is a curated short term outdoor exhibition that celebrates the written word. 10 writers have been commissioned to create short written works in response to 10 locations in Bourbong Street which is the main street of Bundaberg.

10 visual artists have been commissioned to produce short term artworks in response to these written works. The result adds a vibrant festival vibe to Bundaberg’s CBD and throughout the Crush Festival, which is a 10-day program of arts and cultural experiences.

Family and friends

It just so happens that we are here in Bundaberg visiting Michelle's sister once again and waiting for the CMCA's annual rally (Australia wide motorhome club). What a delight to find that it coincides with the Crush Festival.

I mentioned that these artworks are linked to writers. Well we were blessed to meet one of these writers on our travels, Kat Apel. She is a published poet with one of her books, Bully on the Bus,  being used in Qld schools to help stem the tide of bullying. This chance meeting has herald the start of a friendship and I sent her a message that I was in Bundy and we arranged to view the Text as Art together.

A fun morning looking around.

We had a great morning together viewing all 10 exhibits and the corresponding stories/poetry. I must have taken 50 or so photos, (who's counting). So rather than bore you with all of them I will just present the best of the 10 writings along with their artistic representations.

It all starts at The National Bank on the corner of Maryborough St & Bourbong St

Text as Art

We'll start with #1 of course and it just happens to be the one inspired by my friend Kat and her poem about the piggy bank.

This tardis is part of #10 too! I had to put it in esp for my friend Joh!

Hurry up and get here!

Do get to Bundaberg as soon as possible to view them in person if you are close enough. For the rest of us there is these photos. Click on the images and you will get a larger image which you can read or see more details.

Copyright ownership

The subject - the writer then the artist

1. National Australia Bank – Kat Apel & Adrienne Williams
2. School of Arts – Lonnie Toy & Marlies Oakley
3. Brick wall adjacent to School of Arts/driveway – Sam Ephraims & Jay Feather
4. Bundaberg Regional Council – Jake Thompson & Taylor Klassen
5. Civic Centre fronting Buss Park – Jo Williams & Judith Bohm-Parr
6. Tree located in nature strip in front of Buss Park – Jassy Watson & Lynda Vertigan
7. Burnett Mary Regional Group – Annette Tyson & Paul Perry
8. Moncrieff Entertainment Centre – Wendy Davis & Michelle Pacey
9. Civic Arcade floor (157 Bourbong St) – Cheryl Ratcliffe & Jeremy Kiraly
10. Telstra Exchange – Jenny Gilbertson & Julie Hylands

Post Script

Kat took some photos of me during the morning. Sometimes this is what I have to do to give you a decent shot! LOL

What I have to do to get a good photo for my friends!!!

Bush Camping at Deepwater

A nice spot for a bit of R&R
After time in Bundaberg with my sister, we headed north towards 1770 and Agnes Waters right next to the Deepwater National Park.

Eric, Marion & Rob sit around the campfire every evening

When we free camped or rather bush camped at Victoria Lake, we met this lovely couple, Barry and Lyn and they invited us to camp on their private property near 1770 at Deepwater when we were in the area. We took them up on the offer. The property has a couple of sheds and caravans with lean-to type sheds on it for various family members as their extended family come and go frequently using the property too. It is an open forest with a big clearing, ideal for camping. They gave us limited access to tank water, a toilet and some electricity for the lights in the large undercover area with a table around which to sit, socialize and craft. There's a nearby camp fire area and there's lots of firewood to be scrounged from the surrounding bushland.

A visiting wallaby gets curious. And yes a tiny little bit of rain fell during our stay.

It was a very quiet spot with wallabies and lots of birds visiting. The property is also alongside a swampy river which you can see but really couldn't get into at all. I certainly wouldn't want to swim in it but it might be good for fishing. We didn't try.

Marion and I stroll along Wreck Bay

We really appreciated this offer and we stayed at Deepwater for a week with a blessed nothing to do except relax and craft. Thankfully for Rob, who doesn't like to sit and do absolutely nothing, his brother, Eric and his wife were on their way home after spending a month or so caravanning further north. They came and stayed 5 days with us. It was wonderful to catch up with them and hopefully now that Eric has retired we may have a few more trips together.

During their time with us, we did a day trip up to 1770. As the crow flies, it is not far but one can't drive directly from their place to 1770, instead you have to go about 70km in a round trip. We visited many of the lovely beaches in this area where Captain Cook was possibly the first white man to ever land in this area.

Michelle and Rob at Agnes Waters
We also did a few short drives to look at the local area - Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and a very short drive on the beach before deciding it was a bit too soft sand. We had a night out at only place in the area - bistro at Baffle Creek tavern. It was a freezing cold evening that night and with the poor service and the food taking so long to arrive, we decided to move inside the bar. We said goodbye to Eric and Marion and enjoyed a few more days before Rob was itching to move on again. I'd love to go back there again in another trip to this area!