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  • Writer's pictureClaire

22/01/24 Port Fairy to Warandyte

Hurrah, the newly located bed boards are a roaring success! A night's sleep without a collapsing bed, Si is now a slightly happier camper. A boiling hot shower set me up for the day, and once we were squared away we went the short distance into town to locate some coffee. Still full from our lunch yesterday we decided against the idea of a full hit breakfast, no point eating for the sake of it is there?

In 1828 the crew of a sealing cutter The Fairy gave the bay its current name. A whaling Station was established in 1835 and a store opened in 1839. A sydney Solicitor, James Atkinson purchased land in the town and drained the swamps, then subdivided and leased the land, and built a harbour on the Moyne River, then decided to rename the town as Belfast after his homeland. Personally I prefer Port Fairy! A bit of bother occured in the 1840's with the incomers and the Aboriginal people. The 27 incomers sent letters of outrage reporting to the Superintendent of POrt Phillip District. in the letters they reported many "outrages" commited by the "natives" and actually requested that the Governement provide security. The clashes between the traditional owners and the incomers became known as the Eumeralla Wars and formed part of the battle over land use and resources between the traditional owners and Europeans aross Victorias Wester district. The wars were named after the region around the river of the same name between Port Fairy and Portland where some of the worst conflict occured. The conflict raged for almost 30 years with casualties believed to be in the thousands.

The town has significant history and 50 of its buildings are protected by the National Trust of Australia, and Victorias oldest licensed hotel, The Caledonian Inn which dates back to 1844. Its main industries are Tourism and Fishing, and the Port is home for one of Victoria's biggest fishing fleets. I love that the old buildings have been preserved and the character of them adds so much to the little town. it's just gorgeous.

We were sad to be leaving but the itinerary is calling ( yeah believe that and you'll believe anything!) we had to get on the road again. I'd managed to track down a friend from 30 years ago using my astoundingly accurate sleuthing skills and sent an email to her work place on the off chance they would forward it to her. Good luck was shining down on me and to my great delight I got a response from her. As we were travelling up in their direction it would be rude not to go see them now I'd located them. The last time I saw her, she was very very pregnant, it was boiling hot, humid as heck and haymaking time... oh and Christmas to boot! I iced her Christmas cake, I'd like to think I also did a little more than that to help her out, but the Christmas cake stiks in my memory for some reason!! I tried to ring the number she gave me but for whatever reason, the mobile provider she was with wouldn't take my call. As we were travelling and there was no WIFI I could't respond to any emails so was having to wait untill we could find signal.

Our journey took us inland from Waranambool through Terang and Colac and a lot of tiny little blink and you miss it towns on the way. We passed through massive agricultural areas, and more brand new tractor dealerships than you can shakeastick at!! We stopped off for a brew and a leg stretch in Colac before carrying on. The road is much better, obviously than the coastal road, so we made really good time getting back to the city area. Amazingly I had manged to locate a caravan site just off Warandyte, Crystal Brook. A lovely little place, that is in a quiet spot North of Melbourne. It has a pool, lots of little cabins and an Ice cream freezer. I know, priorities right! Our spot is nestled in amongst the trees, that are teeming with bird life of all discriptions and being down in a small dip you cant hear any road noise at all. On the opposite side of the road is a nursery, i really need to get my eyes sorted, I honestly read it as Beastly nurseries and automatically assumed that it was a childrens nursery. Nope not that sort of nursery, a plant nursery... with a tea shop. We took a walk over and had a drink and a look around the little gift shop for no other reason other than that we can! I was mightily impressed with Simon's plant knowledge, and said so, it was then he pointed out that all the names of the plants were in massive letters over the top of them (eye roll) he's un arse!!

While we were in the tea shop, I got a phone call from the company we rented the camper off. Ringing to see how the trip was going. Given that it was 1600hours, I was less than impressed with the fact it had taken them all day to respond to my message regarding the bed slats. I bought it up about them, and he had the cheek to turn around and say they couldn't locate the correct ones before sending the van out so popped some replacements in. My response to that was maybe they should have checked they actually fit the van. Shit for brains. They did apologise, but sorry doesn't negate the fact the bloody bed collapsed.

The temperature has hit a more acceptable level today, it's still not quite as warm as I like, but my knees are no longer freezeing, as Ella used to say! I'm hoping it stays warm overnight but I have a sneaky suspicion that its going to drop dramatically.

Early tea, which consisted of my left over lunch from yesterday, topped up with more salad stuff to make a decent sized meal for Simon. This van life is fine and dandy when its tropical conditions... not so much when it dips below 20!

Finally manged to speak with Gaylene, via messanger, and we are sorted for a catch up tomorrow lunch time I'm so looking forward to what they have been up to, what the kids are doing and seeing their new place.

Darkness falls around 2100 so we have to stay up a bit longer like grown ups so spent the time researching the route for our next 2 weeks. Australia day weekend is this coming weekend, which means that campsite will likely be booked out so we need to try and plan where we will be to ensure we will get some where to stay. Otherwise we'll be in a truck stop, which is not a bad thing, but they are just on the side of a road. The other option is to find a free camp with a toilet, and utilise it. Fortunately the direction we are going, there are more free camps than there are paid ones. There are a lot of paid ones so I'm pretty sure well be ok. If we do the free camps we'll just have to embrace the smell for a few days. Plenty of water on board and food so we will survive a few days without the small luxury of a shower we've become accustomed to. The sites are consderably cheaper, I guess because there are so many more of them and they have the competition.

I've been planning the trip based on a map in my lonely planet book. unfortunately, its not to scale, and where I thought was close by is actually a good 5 hours drive away. I've had to resort to google to give me a rough guide of travelling times to each location we fancy so i can plan the days. its much easier than trying to do it on the map. especially when one is very small and the other enormous!!

I've a book full of travelling times now which should potentially make the planning a bit easier and we should also get to see more of New South Wales if I plan it out properly. Unfortunately however, this me, and my track record for organising and planning isn't great so its a good job winging it works just fine thank goodness, or we would be royally screwed!

A pretty quiet day today but our days are going to be shorter on this leg of the trip due to the fact we dont have quite so many miles to cover. Also i need less time on the road to make it through the entire trip. Self preservation is key!!

much love


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