A Travellerspoint blog

2014 Winter Trip to Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast

Trip Summary

We were away for a total of 87 nights, spending 2 nights on the ferry, 2 nights free camping between Bourke and Melbourne, and the remaining 85 nights in caravan parks. The total cost for caravan parks was $3,371.90, and ranged from $25.00 at Croki near Taree to $48.60 per night at Ashley Gardens in Melbourne during the school holidays. The average cost in caravan parks was $40.60 per night. Total cost on the Spirit of Tasmania for the return trip was $1,496.00 for a twin porthole cabin and the Navara with caravan at 12 metres overall length. We received a refund of $12.00 in carbon tax surcharges for the passengers and the vehicle for the return journey.

We travelled a total of 7,480 km including 4,874 towing the caravan. We used 1,396 litres of diesel at a cost of $2,195. Average fuel consumption towing the caravan ranged from 18.02 litres per 100 km to 27.55 lp100k (a particularly bad day) and an average of 21.1 lp100k. Without the caravan we averaged 14.2 lp100k. Fuel prices ranged from $1.479 per litre in Melbourne to $1.699 per litre at Bourke which wasn't so bad given we paid $1.669 per litre at Deloraine in Tasmania. The average price paid for fuel for the whole trip was a quite reasonable $1.572 per litre.

On the way home we put the rig over the local weighbridge and found that we were a little over-weight at 5.920 tonnes against a GCM of 5,805 tonnes. The fully loaded and coupled up weight of the Navara was 3.360 tonnes against a revised GVM of 3.250 tonnes. The fully loaded weight of the 5th wheeler was 3.200 tonnes against an ATM of 3.100 tonnes. The pin weight of the caravan on the hitch has increased over time from 550 kg to 760 kg. The caravan is about 100 kg overweight with most of the extra transferred to the Navara via the 5th wheel hitch. Our new annexe (weighing more than 50 kg) and a few cartons of wine accumulated on the trip were the main culprits. Before our next trip we will need to shed a couple of hundred kilos to be safe (and legal for that matter). Di thinks that the driver could make a start.

Posted by TwoAces 17:29 Comments (1)

Devonport to Hobart

Day 88 - Tuesday 23 September 2014

Fine again today and about 24 degrees in Hobart.

We were woken at 5:45 am and advised that we would dock in Devonport at 6:00 am, and would start disembarking at about 6:30 am. As usual the truck decks are cleared of caravans before the other vehicles, and we were the 4th caravan off the ferry and lined up for the usual quarantine inspections. After about 10 minutes we were on our way. Rather than chuck out left over onions, potatoes, carrots Di had cooked them up and put them in the freezer. We had made sure that we had eaten all the fruit.

We had a few occasional patches of fog between Devonport and Perth, however the traffic was very light. We stopped for breakfast at Zeps in Campbell Town and eventually arrived home about 11:00 am. We spent the rest of the day unloading our food and belongings before giving the van a much needed wash. About 4:00 pm we returned the caravan to the storage yard at the Barilla Holiday Park at Cambridge - about 10 km from home.

We are back home at last

We are back home at last

Parked outside for unloading and a wash

Parked outside for unloading and a wash

Good to see Mount Wellington again

Good to see Mount Wellington again

Posted by TwoAces 17:27 Comments (0)

Melbourne - Day 5 - Catching the Ferry Tonight

Day 87 - Monday 22 September 2014

Fine and clear in Melbourne today with a temperature of 23 degrees.

We were up early this morning to pack up the caravan and move to the storage area - cost $10.00 for the day. We obtained our Myki cards from reception - visitors can buy a card with enough credit for one day's travel on the trains, trams, and busses. We can keep the cards until next year and top up the card before we use them again.

We decided to spend the day in the City - more to waste time than anything else. We caught the 220 bus at the stop across the road from the Ashley Gardens Caravan Park. The trip to the city took us through the Footscray commercial centre, and past the Melbourne docklands area and took about 40 minutes. The 220 bus route passes the Victoria markets and makes its way down Queen Street - we got off at Bourke Street,

We walked into the Bourke Street Mall, checked out Myers for Di's benefit and had a morning coffee, looked at the new Emporium Shopping Centre, then walked down to Collins Street to find the Haigh's Chocolate Shop. After buying some chocolates for the grandchildren we made our way to Hardware Lane and had lunch at Max's Restaurant. After lunch it was back to the caravan park on the 220 bus to complete our final checks before heading for the ferry terminal.

Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne

Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne

Watch out for trams

Watch out for trams

Hardware Lane - Di's looking for lunch

Hardware Lane - Di's looking for lunch

We left the caravan park and made our way to Beaconsfield Parade/Beach Rd area of Port Melbourne to wait for boarding of the Spirit of Tasmania to commence. We spent an hour at the Pier Hotel sitting outside in the sun enjoying a couple of drinks. At about 5:00 pm we decided to roll up to Station Pier to begin the boarding process. Nothing much seems to have changed since last year with the security guards only interested in gas bottles and fuel containers. Once again it was a case of hurry up and wait for boarding to commence. We had brought some salad rolls with us and ate while we waited to board.

Parked on Beach Road waiting for boarding to commence

Parked on Beach Road waiting for boarding to commence

Spirit of Tasmania 1 with loading bridge attached

Spirit of Tasmania 1 with loading bridge attached

Pier Hotel at Port Melbourne

Pier Hotel at Port Melbourne

Tonight we are on the Spirit of Tasmania 1 and ended up on Truck Deck 5 which takes us over the hump as they call the bridge that takes you onto the boat. The forecast for tonight is 1 metre seas on a 1.5 metre swell - we wont even feel it! We had the feeling that the boat was not full tonight with less than the usual number of caravans. As often happens boarding was completed early and we were on our way at 7:20 pm - about 10 minutes early. Di went to bed early and had a good nights sleep while David sat up and watched the Brownlow count on TV.

Posted by TwoAces 17:25 Comments (0)

Melbourne Day 4

Day 86 - Sunday 21 September 2014

Fine and sunny with a temperature of 22 degrees.

Everyone was up early this morning - Craig, Michelle, Bronte and Josh were catching a mid-morning flight back to Hobart. Kirrily arrived at about 9:00 am to take them to the airport after which she had to go to work in the City. David and Di got the job of cleaning up and putting Kirrily's apartment back in order, after which we took ourselves back to the caravan park to prepare for our departure on the Spirit of Tasmania tomorrow evening.

A few more photos from yesterday.

Kirrily trying to get a photo of Josh

Kirrily trying to get a photo of Josh

Bluey and Kurly plotting something

Bluey and Kurly plotting something

Cutting the birthday cake

Cutting the birthday cake

Posted by TwoAces 17:22 Comments (0)

Melbourne - Day 3

Day 85 - Saturday 20 September 2014

Some cloud and 17 degrees today.

I thought that it was someone's birthday today - but maybe not! No cards and no presents, but finally a phone call from one of David's mates to wish him a happy birthday. Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to David, Happy Birthday to me!

Kirrily was up early this morning to take Ian to the airport - he was on his way to Weymouth in Tasmania for a boy's weekend. After breakfast and a shower David was hassled off to Chapel Street for the weekend papers. When he returned with the papers there was something of a surprise in store, as Michelle, Craig, Bronte and Josh were hiding in Kirrily's bathroom. Thank you to Michelle and Kirrily for conspiring for a surprise 70th birthday present.

At 11:00 am we were picked up by a people mover to take us to the restaurant at the Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula. The Montalto Restaurant is set in a striking building featuring rammed earth walls, timber frames and rough-hewn floor boards. Floor to ceiling windows take advantage of the breathtaking and rambling rural outlook of vines, olive groves, sculpture, lakes and wetlands, with pasture, and a hint of the ocean as the backdrop.

Di, Michelle and Bronte in the back seat

Di, Michelle and Bronte in the back seat

Our transport - Kirrily giving instructions to the driver

Our transport - Kirrily giving instructions to the driver

Montalto Restaurant - too much too drink?

Montalto Restaurant - too much too drink?

The Birthday Boy - 70 years young

The Birthday Boy - 70 years young

Michelle at lunch

Michelle at lunch

We started with some Montalto bubbles for the girls, specialty beers for the boys, and raspberry cordial for the small fry. Our starters were Montalto extra virgin olive oil and Montalto verjuice with warm olive bread rolls - a taste sensation. Entrees included Scallops, Smoked trout salad, Ricotta dumplings and Smoked eel. The mains included Barramundi, slow roasted lamb, and slow roasted veal. The wine was Montalto 2013 Pinot Noir which was outstanding. After our main course we went into the tasting room and ended up with some samples, then we went for a walk around the vineyard before returning for desserts and coffees.

Craig, Michelle, Bronte and Josh

Craig, Michelle, Bronte and Josh

Too many photographers

Too many photographers

Bronte with a sculpture

Bronte with a sculpture

Vineyard from the Restaurant

Vineyard from the Restaurant

Michelle with Di

Michelle with Di

Di with Bronte - who's the tallest?

Di with Bronte - who's the tallest?

General view of the vineyard

General view of the vineyard

Bronte with Josh

Bronte with Josh

If we are in the southern hemisphere the polar bear is lost

If we are in the southern hemisphere the polar bear is lost

Restaurant from the vineyard

Restaurant from the vineyard

A molten tractor perhaps?

A molten tractor perhaps?

View of the restaurant from the other side of the vineyard

View of the restaurant from the other side of the vineyard

More sculptures

More sculptures

Back at Kirrily's place we watched the preliminary final between Port Adelaide and Hawthorn. Port Adelaide lost the game in the first quarter when they kicked 3 goals 9 points. In the end Hawthorn were very lucky to win by 3 points, but they might not be good enough to beat the Swans next week. After finishing up all the food we bought yesterday (David now knows why we needed so much) a birthday cake appeared with one large candle. The cake was a wonderful chocolate ganache - very, very rich but went down nicely with a bottle of Campbell's Liquid Gold. Thank you Michelle and Kirrily - a lovely birthday surprise!

The Birthday Cake

The Birthday Cake

Posted by TwoAces 14:59 Comments (1)

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