Days 49- 53- Halls Gap Victoria, with the Grampians as our back drop… what more could you ask for?
Day 49- Friday 30th October 23015 –
Shall I rant or just calmly tell you about this place? I wanna rant so badly and yet, I can’t really because I loved it with my bestie and two of her three boys, we had a great weekend, we made the most of a stupid situation.
We arrived first and so we checked in and were told we had site 109 and Bestie and her family had 110.. Cool we would be neighbours.. so off we go and already I am thinking “sardines in a tin” it was already quite packed at 2.30pm. We found our site and almost could not believe our eyes at the size of it.. it was T-I-N-Y!!
It was about 5 meters wide ( 16 feet) by 8 meters long (about 25 feet long) we are camping in tents and so we are fairly flexible but Bestie and Mr Bestie were trialling their new camper van which was out for its first run.. tentatively named “Rhonda Runaway” now camper trailers have to be set up just so, you cannot just back it into a LONG thin site and hope it’ll work. We don’t have one but even we knew there would be trouble here.. so we didn’t do a full set up in case we needed to move things as they arrived. We have given this particular site the “Worst rating ever”
“Bestie and her squad” arrived at about 8.00pm and since it was going to be dark soon we had to quickly work out how to make these sites work for us.. so we moved Star Son’s tent to the back of the second site and “Besties squad” took up the front of both sites.. it was tricky, but for the first night we made it work.
Saturday Morning…Day 50 (we’ve been travelling 50 days OMG!!) Halloween!
We decided to complain. when I saw “we” I meant Mr Bestie and the Bloke because I don’t complain I whine on my blog. Apparently there were suddenly a few spare spaces and we could move if we wanted to but then again, what if they were worse? Plus I don’t know about “Bestie” but I didn’t want to have to pack everything up just to move to a new site, so we said “Stuff it, let’s stay here” instead we moved our tent and Star Son’s tents over a bit more, which meant we were sideways on the site and we could have our awning up, which thankfully didn’t flap and blow around everywhere. “Besties Squad” set up across the front of the site and we set up their annex for some more shade… and the weather people said “thunder storms and torrential rain”ha!!
We made it work! we had a nice little square in the middle where we put our tables and chairs and then much later when the next door neighbours left we could spread out onto their site, we moved te fire pit into the central square!
Saturday was a nice casual day, sitting around chatting catching up on all the gossip. We walked over the shops and did the sight seeing things, and when the sun dropped a bit and it cooled down a little we did the first hike up the hill to “Venus Baths”
On the way back to camp we checked out the Botanical Garden and wandered around the camp ground, appreciating the wild roos that wandered through the park as though they owned the place. At 2.30am, we had a close encounter with one when I hear rustle rustle in the kitchen area of our camp, immediately I’m awake listening, then I hear a thump of something hitting the ground, so I quickly got up and rushed out.. I didn’t see the Roo but I saw my loaf of bread on the ground and where it had been rummaging through the chiller bag, so I brought them all into our tent. Next morning as I went to make toast I see the teeth marks in the opposite end of the bread bag!
Sunday 1st November 2015 – Day 51!
So today there is a local market which we girls wanted to visit (it was a disappointment) we also decided to drive up the Hill and visit some of the hiking trails and do some touristy sight-seeing. After struggling to find a park, because 64,000 other people had the same idea.. copy cats! We parked illegally and off we went. First stop was supposed to be “The Grand Canyon” well the path was closed one way so we went another way and it was blocked off there too… and by then Bestie and I were huffing and puffing like old steam trains ( I’ve really challenged my idea of my fitness levels this trip) so we decided to sit out the rest of the hike to “The Pinnacles” which was another 2.1 kilometres up and then the same back… we sat uncomfortably on the rocks and directed other people what track to take and wished them all good luck!! Mr Bestie with his eldest son and his youngest son and Star Son made the trek to the top, apparently the views were amazing, I was happy to sit and gossip with my Bestie.
After the hike we went into Stawell to find a supermarket, thinking this is Victoria surely something will be open!
Only Woolworths was open and so we went there and got supplies for some dinners before heading back to camp. On the way to camp we stopped at the local pub to peruse the menu and decided if we wanted to eat there, luckily none of us were fussy eaters and so we booked a table, but we couldn’t get in until 7.30pm… so afternoon tea was called for.. and a few drinks as well.
Dinner was so worth the wait I had chicken parma and every vegetable or salad thing I could find, I am so craving vegetables!
We got back to camp by 9.00pm and decided it was cool enough for a fire, so we sat around the camp fire chatting and playing the name game.. have you played it? The first person names a famous person, the next person must use the first letter of the first persons surname… for example I’ll say Marilyn Monroe, the Bloke will then have to think of an “M” name so he’ll say Maurice Gibb, so the next person has to pick someone with the name “G” the only rules are some one else HAS to know of that person! if we were playing with adults we would play it that you have 10 seconds to answer and if you can’t answer or you repeat a name already said you have to skull your drink… yes people it’s a drinking game! We use any famous person, and that could include authors, or singers, or sports or characters. On the Big Lap the Star Son and the Bloke and I used to play it with different things like “Fruit” if Star Son said banana, then The Bloke would have to think of an “A” fruit.. it gets you thinking and it’s a bit of fun.
Monday 2nd November 2015- Day 52
This morning we had a minor drama. The Bloke and Mr Bestie were talking about the coupling that holders the camper trailer to the car tow bar and the pin that slips into it to lock it into place and Mr Bestie went to get the pin to show the Bloke something.. and suddenly no one is quite sure where the pin is… so we all do a search which is hard because I didn’t take any notice of what it looked like on the set up night.. so I’m not really sure what I’m looking for… but it means that the camper trailer will NOT be locked onto the tow bar tomorrow if they don’t find it or get a replacement, so Mr Bestie starts making some calls and find a store in Stawell that sells them and so as a group we decide we’re off to Stawell. it’s about a 30 minutes drive, but at least we know today the shops will be open. So the men all head off one way and us Sheilas head off to see the shops. I brought myself a bamboo crochet hook and 5 balls of wool, just quietly I am going slightly mad not doing anything arty or crafty!!
After the shop saying “they had some” it turns out the guy on the phone didn’t even know what Mr Bestie was talking about so sells him two other options, and in the middle of the road we discuss “Will these fit?” right away one is too small and the other one while it might “just fit” what if it slipped off or worse? so Mr Bestie took them back to get his money back and we decided to go to the next town which was Horsham and have a look there.. more shops, more sightseeing and definitely camping stores and caravan stores. Anyways the guy comes out with a bigger locking pin and decides this one will fit for sure so that saved us another trip…. back at camp we lit the fire earlier to get some coals so we could make baked potatoes and the boys the young ones not the Blokes wanted to roast marshmallows. Then the weather turned cold.. and miserable and we even had a few spots of rain BUT not the thunderstorms and torrential rain that was first predicted. We packed it in early we were all in our beds by 10 pm and I read my book until much later.
Tuesday 3rd November 2015- Melbourne Cup Day.
Ok, so if you are from overseas you may not know what “Melbourne Cup Day” is and why it’s a public holiday. Melbourne cup is the greatest horse racing event of Australia and it is literally the “Race that stops the nation” people in all states of Australia have either a BBQ or a party or take the day off work, people fly into Melbourne to attend the Cup, it’s world-famous, this year it had horses from Ireland and America and Japan racing in it. It’s a really good excuse to spend a lot of money on clothing and you MUST wear a hat ladies, so people spend stupid amounts of money to go there and dress up and get rip-roaring drunk, some might make some money but most lose their money, and their shoes and various other items of clothing and most definitely their dignity. I went once! Each year we watch the race on TV if we are not camping and we have guesses who will win.
So this morning was pack up day for us happy campers both families agreeing “We Will NEVER come back here again!” we might go back to Halls Gap but a different caravan park! We were all packed up in the cars ready to go by 9.45am which is some kind of record but I think we all had the same thing, people will be heading home the roads will be chaos. Well, we are still trying to add black lines to the map of Victoria, so we were taking every kind of back road we could find and we were back at St. Leonards by 1.00pm. In time to unpack, settle in and watch the Big Race at 3.10pm.
I’m funny about picking horses.. If I like the name or the colour or the pattern on the jockey’s riding top I’ll pick it. Unless we are in a group situation as in a BBQ or something we never bet money on the race, the Bloke and I both agree, we work too hard to get money to throw it away… BUT this year I so wish I’d put money down.. I picked three horses, to come first, second and third, I picked “Gust of wind” because A- it was a girl horse, B- it was owned by a lady and C- she was the only girl horse! Then I chose “The United States” because I have a passion for anything American! funny the horse wasn’t from America or owned by Americans or anything. Next on the spur of the moment, I went for “Prince of Penzance” remember that movie from the 80’s with Christopher Atkins as the sexy Pirate.. I think it was a musical back then, but the thing about this horse that got me was it was ridden by the first female Jockey to ride in this particular race, “The Melbourne Cup” plus I’d heard of her before when she was younger she was thrown from a horse and cracked her vertebrae and they thought she might never walk again.. or something like that, anyways her name was familiar so I threw her in. And because we don’t bet for money, I didn’t look at the odds..
Michelle Payne became the first women in the world to ride the winning horse for the Melbourne cup and it was a 100/1 odds… OH MY GOSH, if I had put the rare $5.00 that I have previously I’d be rich!! I cried, because she made such a great speech about how it’s a male chauvinist sport and how other Blokes had tried to stop her from racing but the owners had stuck by her and now she said “they can get stuffed, coz we won!” Yay Michelle… Girl power!!
It was a great way to end a great weekend. Now we are planning more camping trips to take. But for now, a few days at Bel Far Niente before heading home to “the real world”
In my real bed that night, after having a shower and being all clean I thought back over the trip and the post I would write when it was all finished a final wrap up so to speak! The Best, the worst, the never to be repeated and the must go back and do again things.. coming soon to a page near you!!