It’s amazing how fast OR slow you seem travel when you don’t have a plan or an itinerary and best of all no set time to be anywhere in particular. We had already stayed longer in Eden than we first planned to and our next stop was only really an idea on paper and more of a direction rather than a destination. But none the less it was time to move on and southward bound we went crossing the NSW-VIC border.
Mallacoota was a place someone had recommended to us so we thought it might be worth checking out. (Thanks Wendie). Hardly a big distance from Eden but it was a slow trip. The hills really made our car work hard and the logging trucks must have hated us as there were some hills we crawled up at only a little over 60kph. We heard a rumour that a large caravan club was having their AGM and muster at the local park. This scared us a little as we have had it pretty cruisey with no busy crowds so far and we were not sure if we were ready for the mass crowds and a busy caravan park just yet, especially the crowds of a “caravan club’ and their tendency to sometimes “take over’ the park and its facilities. (This is only speaking generally from a past few experiences with similar clubs in other parks we have stayed).
The Mallacoota Foreshore Caravan Park is HUGE! Someone even mentioned to me that it was the LARGEST caravan park in Australia??? Not sure about that but would have to be close. They had hundreds of sites and some right near the water. Some even had their own private moorings for boats. The caravan club were all situated at the other end of the park to us (we had a waterfront site). In fact the club’s crowds didn’t bother us at all and they all looked like they were having a great time (I had a brief moment when I considered joining up too just to be a part of their festivities. Lol)
Mallacoota was very popular for fishing and every second campsite near us had brought their boat along. We enjoyed some nice drives around the area and Jane done her usual thing in the early mornings and took the camera out for some by-chance sunrise photos. Our biggest challenge during our stay was trying hard to resist a daily visit to the bakery (right across the road from our campsite). They really know how to do a great tea cake! We also got the OZpig out and cooked up a great roast lamb in the camp oven- this got our neighbours mouths drooling (and ours too)
Orbost and the Famous Snowy River
It was our rough plan that lakes Entrance would be our next stop. We detoured off the main road (as we do) and took the coastal road to Orbost via Cape Conran and Marlo (where the famous Snowy River meets the sea). Cape Conran had a great little bush camp we would have loved to stay at but we had no fresh water on board (despite our 2 water tanks on the Jayco). We weren’t planning on staying anywhere else but a caravan park so we didn’t fill them up. Shame- would like to stay there one day!
After a bit of a look around the tiny town of Marlo we continued to Orbost, like I said earlier we had planned to stay at Lakes Entrance but as we drove through Orbost we both thought that it looked a great little town, so we literally did a U-turn and drove back to the caravan park in town. There was not a lot to do in Orbost but it was a tidy town with old charm about it. Across from the park was the Snowy River and great little tourist information centre. We spent a few days here doing pretty much nothing but relaxing in a large grassy and shady site!
Finally, Lakes Entrance. I wasn’t sure what to expect here. I actually thought it may have been a bit bigger and had more beach frontage. One thing we were taken back by was the cost of caravan parks- and they were nothing special. We were told that there are around 25 caravan parks in the area. The park we chose had an ensuite at every site but there were only 11 sites and it was very tight to get the van in (even our camper was a struggle). The managers were friendly and the park was nice but we later found a bigger and newer park for less money slightly out-of-town and close to the beach- I’m not sure how we missed that one!
The weather whilst we were at Lakes Entrance really didn’t let us enjoy the town as much as it probably could have been enjoyed. Lakes Entrance seemed to be a very popular place for tourists and we were told it can get quite hectic during peak seasons. I’m not sure why, personally we weren’t impressed with the place and probably won’t go back. I guess the fishing is what brings people here and perhaps the very laid back atmosphere. And of course in fine weather a town always appears more pleasant. We were just unlucky perhaps!
It was approaching the Melbourne Cup Long Weekend which was only pointed out to us a few days before hand (more fool us for not keeping track of the calendar). Whilst everyone is converging into Melbourne to go the races, many Melbournites were escaping the crowds and taking advantage of the Long-weekend (although the Monday isn’t officially a public holiday, a lot of people take it off anyway). A popular spot to visit is Wilsons Promontory (which I will talk about in a later post). It just so happens that Foster is a popular place to base yourself for a visit to “The Prom” as it is often referred as. But we got a nice powered site just in time before the crowds came and we bunkered down for the long weekend. On our way to Foster we got told about the bakery at Stratford (on the Avon River funnily enough) – so we called in and got some morning tea and stopped at a great playground for Cooper. It was themed in the shape of a castle with a dragon and lots of little medieval activities. If you have kids, make sure you stop in, they will love it!
The scenic views from the surrounding hills of Foster were amazing. The pastures were so green you would be forgiven for thinking they were fake! So, so green! We drove for hours around the hills of the Gippsland area, even going as far as Traralgon township for lunch and to get a few supplies from the bigger range of shops there. Of course we don’t like to take the same road twice so we ventured along some more scenic back roads back to camp. We could have driven for ages just looking at the country side in this area. We also came across Loy Lang Power station and open cut coal mine. We believe this power station alone provides Victoria with 1/3rd of its power needs! We got some photos up close from the viewing area.
The long weekend was crazy, so busy! The beaches were packed with families making the most of some time off work. Walkerville Beach and Cape Liptrap Lighthouse were nice places to visit!
Another day trip took us to Venus Bay where we caught up with some friends we met back in Nelson Bay (we did Stockton Beach together). We were going to do Wilsons Promontory from Foster but they kindly offered a space on their block of land for us to stay on for a few days and we would all go to “The Prom” together. And the offer was accepted! They are great people and we really enjoyed their company.
Melbourne Cup day arrived and we entered the park’s “cup sweep’ but didn’t do any good. It was great to see a caravan park hold little things like that to include the parks guests.
Next Post- Wilsons Promontory and our stay with Anne-Marie and Tony at Venus Bay.