It’s the first day of 2016, we can’t believe it. The beginning of a whole new year of adventuring in the Aussie Bushman.
You haven’t heard from us in a few months, that’s because we have been busy fine tuning and tweaking a few things on the truck, ready for our next trip, which we begin exactly a week ago.
For the next 5 weeks or so we are planning on following the mighty Murray River, all 2375 klm of it, from the head waters in NSW down through Victoria and to the river mouth in South Australia.
After a lovely few days in Sydney, spending the silly Christmas season with Alan’s family, we headed south through Canberra, staying our first night at Honeysuckle Camp ground which happens to be where the Dish was located in 1969 that handled all the moon to earth communications when Neil Armstrong took his first steps from Apollo.
Our first meeting up with the Murray is when we cross to the Victorian side at Towong. This is Man from Snowy River territory and makes for an interesting coffee stop in Walwa, a very cute little historically preserved town.
For a long, long stretch, the Murray creates the border between the two states of NSW and Vic and we anticipate doing a week or so of regular state swapping, dependent on which side of the river looks to offer the most beautiful, remote, undiscovered and free bush camp spots. I am chief navigator and with the aid of my flash laptop screen mounted within easy finger-touching distance in a cradle to the right of my seat and some good topo maps on Oziexplorer, I try to hone my ‘best campsite’ hunting skills. Knowing I will never, ever reach the levels of Guru campsite hunter extraordinaire, Stewart Bozwerger from SLR, but I’ll give it a bloody good go!
OK my first day was a little amateur considering we ended up in the caravan park at Yackandandah, a tiny town featured recently on ABC Back Roads and that I specifically wanted to visit for the old time dances held every Tuesday night. Alas, though it was Tuesday, the dance was not next on until February, bugger! A good burger and a couple beers at the local pub was an adequate substitute though.
Today we are heading to Howlong, looking for the camp Alan has previously visited. Well it didn’t exactly go to plan. You see, Alan has another woman, she’s called Hilda. Most everybody has a ‘Hilda Navigation Bitch’ in their car, sometimes under different names and genders, but they all tell you where to go in a rude tone.
Hilda and I don’t often agree, there is always tension between us. Who do you listen to? Your clever, direction-savvy wife or the stupid, robotic chick who I am sure is on drugs. And she is sooo on drugs today! The result is an hour and a half ‘scenic detour’ in totally the wrong direction, through some VERY rough tracks, ending in having to exit through private property and four gates. The last of them, just metres from the highway was padlocked. Dilema!. But we are prepared of course, promptly disassembling the gate hinges, pulling the gate apart, driving on through and putting the gate back together so Mr farmer would not know. Actually the whole adventure was pretty fun, but you didn’t hear that from me!
The day turns out a bit longer than expected, with not being able to decide on how far to drive to find a camp. It was now my turn to send us on a few experimental wild campsite chases, finally settling on a lovely spot right on the Murray just out of Cobram on the Victorian side.
Today is New Years Eve and we are undecided on what to do to celebrate. By ourselves or with unknown humanity? We drive into Tocumwal (silent ‘W’ when you pronounce this word, just Toak, if you’re a local) to check out the NYE offerings. Absolutely NOTHING. So a private, just-us party it is and I have the perfect Victorian state Forest, Murray River location in mind. I am so getting this campsite hunting thing (Stew, you would be proud), after passing on a few average spots we find THE place. No neighbours, good swimming access, plenty of firewood. Sparklers, champagne, lamb roast, berries and ice cream later, we even made it to midnight! The perfect NYE celebration, despite the apparent 47 degree temps.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our Aussie Bushman followers, Today is the beginning of the rest of our lives! Drop what you are doing and do something unplanned, spontaneous and enjoy the moment.
Love, health and happiness to you all and stay tuned, there is more crazy adventure to come!
Julie and Alan xx
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