Free camping at Genoa

The Genoa Rest Area is on the banks of the Genoa River in Eastern Gippsland, Victoria. As a donation is requested for upkeep, it officially is not quite free camping but it is certainly a low cost alternative that is well worth stopping for upto the 72 hours that is allowed. I love to support the services that are offered at camps like these and happily give my donation.


It is a disused caravan park on the old highway with a large flat and grassy campsite with a few trees to watch or the passing traffic on the new highway which you can still see across the way.


There is a great playground for the kiddies at one end of the park surrounded by lots of well kept grassy areas. You can hear lots of bell birds but we didn't actually catch a glimpse of them whilst we were there.


It is pleasant to go for little walks to the old wooden truss bridge (that also leads to the pub) or down to the sandy river which is quite shallow at the moment but apparently can rise very quickly in the rains.

Mallacoota.

On our second day there we went for a drive to Mallacoota. There's a huge caravan camping park right on the sea front, which apparently is the largest caravan park in the Southern Hemsipshere.It would be a rather a grand place to camp and apparently it can be absolutely crowded with campers come high season. The prices are quite reasonable and grade according to off season, shoulder and peak with prices reflecting that.


When very full, it mean everyone would be packed in like sardines where the power points are and the majority of sites are not level so make sure to bring some blocks. It is in a grand location between river flats and the ocean and extremely popular for those with boats, so I guess that means for fishing too!

Historic Bodalla Anglican Church


Rob and I love looking at the architectural structure of old buildings particularly of old churches. This beautiful church at Bodalla doesn't disappoint. It was built in 1881. You can read the details of the history at the Narooma Anglican.com.


So feast your eyes at some of the images. You are welcome to visit and take photos. It is a working church and thus has a communion service on Sundays. You can also enter the building to see the effect of the stained glass windows with the glorious light streaming in.

Remember you can click on each of the photos to bring up a larger view!








Free camping at Bodalla State Forest

Bodalla  Rest Area
Bodalla Rest Area is part of the Bodalla State Park. It is just 9km north of Narooma and 30 km south of Moruya. It is a free camp with mostly large and reasonably sites delineated by bollards and serviced by 2 long drop toilets, a water tap and rubbish collection 3 times a week. There is some phone & limited TV reception without aids. It was about 70% capacity but I have heard that there was no room there just a few days earlier probably over the weekend. There doesn't appear to be a time restriction on length of stay there. 

Glimpses of the lake
From within the park there starts a walk around Mummaga Lake. It is posted as a 2km easy walk with a few steeper parts. The reality is that it seems like a 3km walk. We went anti-clockwise, starting at the south of the park. The grade is slow and gradual with 3 or so groups of steps, which are a little high. (I didn't notice that but talking to one camper who has bad knees, she turned back when she encountered the second set).
 
At the water's edge
Rob with his breathing difficulties managed the whole walk but obviously at a slow leisurely pace taking advantage of the seats along the walk, sometimes to recover some breath, but sometimes we stayed longer just to enjoy the view nestled in amongst the gum trees.


There are a few swans on the lake and a few birds flying around but the rest must have been busy elsewhere during the middle of the day when we took our walk.  We did enjoy the bright colours of at least one Azure Kingfisher.

The bright colours of an Azure Kingfisher are easy to spot
Towards the end of the walk, just when we were thinking it might have been easier to start the walk from the opposite direction, we encountered many long up & downhill sections which were quite draining if your health isn't the best but not actual steps. Still we are glad we did the walk which took us much longer than the average couple.

The concave curve within a tree almost hides half of Rob
Here you can see the concave part of the tree as you look up the trunk

Sadly on our second night there, a nearby camper took ill and an ambulance was called. He was rushed off to hospital. The gossip is that apparently he was airlifted to Canberra Hospital. The police had to come by twice, once to remove his 2 dogs to ongoing care and then arrange for packing and lock up of his caravan and car prior to being taken away for storage. I didn't meet the gentleman concerned, but Rob did and expressed surprised as the gent had every appearance of good robust health. We should know better that you definitely can't judge a book by the cover. Anyway, you just never know when you are going to get ill. so make the most of life while you can!

Nowra

We just love taking time out to visit friends and family on the way and so we just had to pop by Rob's cousin, Peter and see if he was free for a visit. We had misplaced his phone number and so we couldn't warn him of our intended invasion. As usual, he was very welcoming and we were soon invited to park our motorhome up on his driveway to stay a few nights and extend our time together.

Making ourselves at home in Nowra
On Sunday we enjoyed fellowship at Nowra Anglican Church after listening to Geoff preach there. He is a friend and minister whom we knew back at Figtree Anglican when he served there.

Nowra Anglican Church

Pete went off on a pre-arranged bike ride with his friend, whereas Rob & I enjoyed a quiet afternoon, before cooking Bamie as a return thanks for Saturday night's scrumptious baked lamb dinner. You can find the recipe here!

Bamie is a noodle & mince dish  similar to Nasi Goreng

Monday sees us all heading on our individual ways. We are off further south to Bodalla next!

A sojourn in Berry

As a starting point, a little stay in beautiful Berry is just the ticket. Berry has always been one of my favourite towns on the South Coast of NSW. Cafes, arty crafty shops, bakeries, home wares, boutiques, antiques, wineries, lovely old houses, park lands. It just about has it all!

I used to make the drive just to attend the Berry Country Fair, which are held on the first Sunday of every month at the Berry Showground.  (Sadly it wasn't this weekend!)

I can't enthuse about the showground itself, I think I just prefer the wide open spaces that free camping gives us. However having said that, the grounds were clean, the grass thick and soft underfoot with no bindi nor prickles. The showers were clean, hot and hard pressured (no water saving going on here!). Price was $13 per head (February 2017), which the others tell me is a good price.  


 Happy hour with our small group of early retirees before the conference

Some of us rocked up early afternoon and chatted with this couple or that. Certainly we all gathered together for Happy Hour.

The purpose of our short 2 night stay was to fellowship with other early retirees and attend an informal mini conference organized by one of the ministers in our church. So on Friday morning we convened at the lovely old St Lukes' Anglican Church, just down the road from the Showground. I would have also loved to have seen inside the old church (circa 1884).

St Luke's Anglican Church, Berry
A lovely light lunch followed at the Berry Bowling Club, where the food was a great price for a variety of decent home style cooked meals. As the temperature was up int the mid 30's, the air conditioning at both venues was very welcome too!

I love old well maintained buildings ep churches and in addition to St Lukes', the old manse next to the church is just beautiful as are many of the older buildings in Berry. It is a pity the church elders back at the time weren't heritage minded and sold off the property a long time back.

Another lovely church I saw was the Presbyterian Church, the existing brick church was built back in 1934 replacing an earlier buiding. One doesn't see a copper spire very often any more. I feel sad that we don't build churches in the same manner anymore. I hope the people of tomorrow will be able to see the beauty of the buildings of today, which I can certainly find hard to appreciate.

Presbyterian Church Berry.
We went back to the showground after to lunch to spend some time with friends, Robyn & John, who  came up for the day's conference.

However if you were to have some free time to wander the streets, by all means go and see all that Berry has to offer. If you have already done that, then there are lots of beautiful places within a short drive including  Kiama to the north, as well as Seven Mile Beach and Gerringong. To the west a tad is Kangaroo Valley and to the east is Shoalhaven Heads and south is Nowra. All are worth visiting if you want some local drives.

Packing for a 6 week road trip

I am excited and frustrated at the same time. We are hoping to kick off a weekend camp with friends as the start to a 6 week trip to the Great Ocean Road starting Thursday. But I have been feeling quite run down and lethargic after a Shingles diagnosis just 2 weeks ago. Thus I am having a hard time packing the motorhome and getting the house tidy before we go.

A check list makes packing so much easier

I am a list person.  Lists keep me organized and on top of things. My Robbiebago Packing List works in much the same way.  I have included anything I could imagine we would take on our road trips.

The sterile kitchen BEFORE I made it real!
Thankfully most things are already in the motorhome and just need checking off. As we have travelled for many years now, we have deleted many items that we just don't need. Different people have different priorities. For me a couple of books and lots of craft supplies are a must. For Rob, he must have a variety of tools and lots of spare parts and bit 'n pieces (as you just never know when you might need it). This time round I have tweaked my checklist (which doesn't include Rob's tools & stuff) to make it even easier next time. Whereas before I had a list of everything needed in like groups eg Bathroom, bedding, kitchen food, appliances, clothing etc.

Kitchen ready for everyday use
I have now altered it to be arranged by storage location. My list can get quite messy as not only do I cross things off as I go along, but I write notes to myself as I go too! The biggest change is in my kitchen. I have 3 cupboards for pantry items and several drawers. So I decided to rearrange my list according to cupboard or drawer as well. This makes it so much easier for me to check what I have to replenish or bring back from the house (I take out food items to use in the house, that might date if we are staying home for a few months!)

If I ever work out how to post my packing list on this blog, I will do so. However, in the meantime, I am happy to email my list to anyone who requests it. This will make it easy for you to personalize and kick start your own list. I can remember wishing I had someone else's list to help me along the way when we first started caravaning seriously.

My actual checklist in action

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make your own list or find one that is closest to your ideal
  2. Print off your list.
  3. Cross off things as you find them and/or install them in their storage location
  4. This makes it easy to see what needs replenishing
  5. Make your shopping list accordingly and get those supplies
  6. Relax as you start off on your trip, knowing you have everything you need!
I would generally plan my meals for the first few days if not week, but there is just not enough energy or brain power in me this time round. I covered what I would normally do in this post.
This time I am just going to wing it as I go along. I have the basic pantry items, fruit and vegetables. There's a small range of meat in the fridge or freezer and a frozen meal (I was lucky it was from an earlier time - I wasn't organized enough to think of it this time!)

If you wonder how do we plan our trips, then take a gander at this earlier post of when we planned our Tasmania trip a couple of years back. It covers why we free camp and what we look for in a camp spot and what we do when we can't free camp. The trip it self is covered over many posts which you can start to find under our Tasmania trip banner!

The motorhome on a previous trip
As for getting away on time, we will persevere and leave no matter what!!! I am am improving but at least I can conk out AFTER the weekend if necessary. We have planned to spend 2 days camping with friends from our church at beautiful Berry on the South Coast of NSW as our start to visit the Great Ocean Road! If I have forgotten anything, then we'll just stop and buy it at the next town or when it is needed. Nothing is going to stop us getting away. We need this time out for our sanity as much as anything else!

So hopefully we'll see you on the road. Give us a holler if we are close to you or heading your way! We'd love to meet up with friends and followers.

The delightful historic town of Sofala

Visiting the small town of Sofala is like stepping back in time. It is one of the most unusual gold mining towns and it has a authentic charm and atmosphere. The town itself sits on the banks of the Turon River.

Main street

When we arrived, the heavy wet weather continues. There are free camps available up and down the river however 2 out of the 3 we visited we couldn't fit the motorhome in due the the trees and the very rough tracks. It didn't help that there had been lots of heavy rain recently and with the the potential of getting bogged, let alone flooding, we decided to stop overnight on the bitumen just around from the bridge, in fact we were right in front of the old bridge which rescued after a past severe flood ripped the bridge from its moorings. It is now part of a picnic area just at the entry to the "main street".

Old restored foot bridge

Sofala is a delightful village in the historical Bathurst region with a rich and intriguing colonial gold mining heritage. It would seem that the town hasn't changed much in 50 years. It is surrounded by beautiful national parks and is about 40km north of Bathurst on the road to Hill End.

This beautifully restored old miners cottage is available for rent

Michelle discovered a second hand book shop that is absolutely crammed full of books of every sort. This is a really book lovers paradise. In fact Michelle had to visit yet again the next day before leaving. Apparently it is connected to Slado's Bookshop in Bathurst which is closing it doors permanently, leaving this Sofala shop open for book lovers.
Down the road further is a wonderful old pub The Royal, and a museum which was closed at the time of our visit due the late hour most likely as well as several other mini businesses.

Slado's Book Shop

We heard that trout fishing is also popular in the area and of course there is also gold fossicking, even tours you can book if you're feeling lucky. Though we only stayed the one night, I hope we can come back in warmer weather and explore this town and just sit back and unwind watching the river flown by.