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News from Downunder 2004
Introduction and Schedule


This travelogue covering our first visit to Australia is, as with our New Zealand travelogues, the outcome of a regular series of lighthearted writings sent out to friends and acquaintances as "News from Downunder". They were written as we went on our Toshiba Protege, superficially spell checked and uploaded to the web pages. They are not in any way polished and only the most gross errors will be removed as our previous readers have said they prefer the informal style and life of something written the time.

Australia is so big it is difficult to know where to start when you plan a first visit. In common with our trips to New Zealand, Wines and Winery restaurants featured heavily in our planning as did our interest in Gold, which in the case of Australia extended to Copper, Silver and Opal mining. Rivers and Riverboats formed another theme in our plans. Nothing however had prepared us for the native animals and birds or for the Outback and some of the walks and scenery.

We started on the West side in Perth where we were entertained in style by Di, a friend from college days, and as the Australian say, 'had a ball'. We went to the Swan River and Margaret River wine areas, good choices for our introduction to Australian wines. Being based in Perth and visiting nearby Fremantle was again a good introduction to Australia and the way of life. Di was waiting to go into hospital so was not working and we went out together, much of it with Pete driving her car.

We then flew across to Adelaide where we picked up our Wicked Campervan. The vans are liberally decorated on the outside, some being quite erotic although ours fortunately was fairly restrained. They claim they are 'Wicked' because they have a huge bed space in the back, which is big enough for three - they even supply three sets of cutlery etc. We slept in it most of the time and it was remarkably comfortable with two. One side was graffitied "No Worries" and the other "G'Day Mate". It was only after a week when we were buzzed by a second Police chopper that we realised there was more on the roof!

We covered a tremendous mileage, over 8000 kms in five weeks, in our van but could only sample a range of what Australia has to offer. We saw underground houses, shops, restaurants and even churches in the heat of the Outback at Coober Pedy, yet days later we had left the arid centre and were walking in rain forests. We camped in the Snowy Mountains with Kangaroos watching us from only a few yards away as we prepared and ate our supper. We spent a lot of time deep underground in Silver, Gold and Copper mines and climbed high up through the snow in the National Parks. We spent time in the cities such as Sydney, where we stayed with our friend Kristy for a few days, Canberra and Melbourne as well as Adelaide where we started and ended. We are not really city people so it was the many vineyard areas, the National Parks, the Murray River, and the scenery along the Great Ocean Road which stand out along, of course, with the wildlife - so different to anywhere else.

We had known before we arrived in Australia that we should investigate the Murray River but again we were not prepared for the scale of it - The Murray and Darling River Systems feature throughout the last few weeks because the area they cover as well as our interest in Rivers and Boats. It is one of the four largest river complexes in the world about 4500 kms being navigable. It is critical to the economy of much of the inhabited parts of Australia as it provides a vast power source from hydroelectric, and it provides most of the drinking water and water for irrigation critical for much of the agriculture. It also played a critical part of the transport system and had hundreds of steam paddlewheel driven riverboats serving inland ports, later linked to the railway system.

We first saw the Murray as a tiny stream when we camped at Tom Groggin in the Snowy Mountains (where we had our memorable encounter with the Kangaroos) and shortly afterwards walked up above the snow line onto the Kosciusko Range, the source of the Murray. We saw the huge Hydroelectric Lakes and power stations of the Snowy Mountain Hydroelectric Scheme. Later we saw strange lakes at Mulwala where whole forests had been submerged when the weir was built. We saw the inland port of Echuca and travelled on one of several vintage paddlewheelers there. We continued our investigations, heading downstream, of the River and the Riverboat story at Swan Hill, Robinvale and Mildura where irrigation and salt issues entered the picture with further pieces added to the story at Renmark, Banrock Station (nice wines), Morgan (the big bend), Mannum and Murray Bridge.

We have now got our photographs sorted out and have added them to the 60 or so pages of notes from the trip that we uploaded to our web site as we travelled - we ended up doing so much in the time that on occasion Pete resorted to typing up the notes as we were travelling and Pauline posted 4 full CDs of pictures back to Di for backup in case the computer fell over. We bought so many books and collected so much information that we had to send two shipments of papers totaling over 20 kgs back by sea to the UK.

We have gone one step further than previous years and add some pictures from Pauline's Digital Canon A75 Camera as we travel and also to re-use some of the best previous pictures from Film and stills from the Peter's digital video camera. All the pictures on the pages provide details of where they were taken if you hover the cursor over them and they can all be clicked to open a larger version in a popup window or Lightbox style overlay.

The schedule below is still a mix of our initial plans and what we actually did! It will be updated as we work our way through the pages. Enjoy what is available and any comments, information or corrections are always welcome if you would like to Send us a quick Message


Perth and Western Australia

Thu 14 October		Fly into Perth
... .. ....... 		Western Australia (based in Perth)
Tue 26 October		Fly to Adelaide 
Adelaide and South Australia
Tue 26 October		Adelaide - Marion Holiday Park
Wed 27 October		Adelaide - Marion Holiday Park
Thu 28 October	 50	Adelaide Collect Wicked Camper and to Barossa Valley.
Fri 29 October	 50	Barossa Valley
Sat 30 October	 50	Barossa Valley to Clare Valley and Burra.
Sun 31 October	170	Burra to Flinders Ranges
Mon 1 November	170	Flinders Ranges to Port Augusta
Tue 2 November	546	Port Augusta to Cooper Pedy 
Wed 3 November	470	Cooper Pedy town and to Roxby Downs
Thu 4 November	400	Andamooka, Woomera and on to Peterborough
Broken Hill, New South Wales and Sydney
Fri 5 November	300	Broken Hill
Sat 6 November	60	Visit to Silverton
Sun 7 November	396	Broken Hill to Cobar
Mon 8 November	300	Cobar to Dubbo
Tue 9 November	320	Dubbo to Bathurst
Wed 10 November	230	Bathurst to Blue Mountains
Thu 11 November	200	Blue Mountains to Hunter Valley
Fri 12 November	200	Hunter Valley to Parramatta
Sat 13 November		Parramatta area
Sun 14 November		Parramatta/Sydney area
Canberra, Snowy Mountains and Victoria
Mon 15 November	300	Canberra
Tue 16 November	   	Canberra
Wed 17 November	300	Canberra to Snowy Mountains
Thu 18 November	400	Snowy Mountains to Albury
Fri 19 November	200	Albury to Echuca
Sat 20 November	100	Echuca to Bendigo
Sun 21 November	140	Bendigo to Daylesford
Mon 22 November	100	Daylesford to Ballarat
Tue 23 November	240	Ballarat to Melbourne
Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and on to Adelaide
Wed 24 November		Melbourne 
Thu 25 November	200	Ocean Road - Apollo Bay
Fri 26 November	200	Ocean Road - Peterborough
Sat 27 November	300	The Grampians National Park
Sun 28 November	300	Ouyen (en route to Murray River)
Mon 29 November	400	Murray River
Tue 30 November	100	Murray Bridge
Wed 1 December	200	Fleurieu
Thu 2 December 	100	Fleurieu Peninsula to Hahndorf
Fri 3 December	 50	Hahndorf to Adelaide.  
Sat 4 December		Return campervan
Sun 5 December		Adelaide
Mon 6 December		Fly Adelaide to Heathrow
Tue 7 December		Arrive Heathrow	

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Content revised: 24th July, 2020