A Travellerspoint blog

September 2015

2015 Trip Summary

19 September 2015

This year we were away from home for a total of 134 night (4 1/2 months). Two nights were spent on the ferry, 8 nights were spent free camping, and 4 nights were spent in low cost Council Showgrounds. The return fare for a twin cabin each way with the Navara and the caravan was $1,800. Total cost in caravan parks was $5,750 which averaged out at about $43.50 per night, inflated somewhat by two months on waterfront sites at Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast.

We used 2,493 litres of diesel costing $3,416 at an average of $1.37 per litre which is less than the cost of fuel in Tasmania. The highest price paid was $1.499 at Greenvale in Nth Qld, while the lowest was $1.217 at Glen Innes in NSW. The Woollies and Caltex servos are on opposite sides of the road and Woollies were giving Caltex a bit of competition. We towed the caravan for a total of 9,444 km at an average fuel consumption of 21.3 litres per 100 km, and did another 3,496 km touring around at an average fuel consumption of 13.8 litres per 100 km. The highest fuel consumption towing the caravan was 26.7 litres per 100 km on the hills, while the best was 18.09 litres per 100 km on the Hume Highway.

On the subject of Internet coverage - when free camping there is generally no mobile signal at all. In the outback coverage is quite patchy and generally a very slow 3G. Even when 4G is available the signal is variable and also quite slow. I guess that it is due to a lack of available bandwidth, especially when overloaded with the increase in tourist numbers in Queensland in the winter. Of course updating the blog is not helped by uploading high quality photos. But I think that the result is worth it - even if I do say so myself.

That's all for this trip - talk to you again next time.

Posted by TwoAces 18:04 Comments (2)

Back Home

Friday 19 September 2015

Sunny and 20 degrees in Hobart today.

We spent the day unpacking the Navara and removing the storage bins and the hitch. With everything now back in storage in the garage and the loft it was time to mow the lawns, trim the edges and weed the garden beds. At the end of the day you would not know that we had been away for over 4 months. Our next door neighbour reported that a couple of wallabies had been seen disappearing into our garden on occasions so we will have to watch out for them.

That evening we joined the family with an early celebration of David's birthday at Paesano's Restaurant. It was good to see them all agaim after more than 4 months.


A view of the back garden.


The occasional gardener surveying her patch.


Another view of the back garden.


Weeping cherry showing signs of life.


Top bank at the front.


Bottom bank at the front.

Posted by TwoAces 18:02 Comments (0)

Devonport to Hobart

Thursday 17 September 2015

As usual we got a wake-up call at 5:45 am, with the call to go to vehicle decks 3 and 5 at 6:25 am. We were about 3rd off the ferry and were waved through a secondary quarantine check without having to stop. Traffic at that time of the morning was very light and without incident until we got to the Illawarra Road turnoff from the Bass Highway. A semi-trailer had rolled onto its side just before we arrived no doubt as a result of not slowing to the recommended exit speed of 45 kph. The Police were already in attendance so there was no reason for us to stop.

At Perth we made our first stop for fuel - Welcome back to Tasmania! - diesel at $1.419, up there with outback NSW and QLD. By way of comparison diesel in Melbourne is $1.239 - a difference of 18 cents per litre. Our next stop was Campbelltown for papers and breakfast at Zeps Café. While we were stopped a wide load came through the town with a Police escort. When they use a Police escort Wide Load means just that.

We turned off the Midlands highway at the Mud Walls Road and headed for Cambridge via Colebrook and Richmond, arriving home at about 11:00 am. It took about three hours to unload our food and clothing from the Van before returning the caravan o storage yard the Barilla Caravan Park at Cambridge. The storage yard has now been upgraded and formalised in our absence with allocated storage sites marked out for the regulars.


Wide load at Campbelltown.

Posted by TwoAces 18:01 Comments (0)

Melbourne - Day 4 - Catching the Ferry Tonight

Wednesday 16 September 2015

We were all packed up and ready to go at 9:45 am when we discovered that we had a flat battery. We had left the caravan connected to the Navara and it seems that something was not switched off when we left on Saturday, probably the rear view camera system. We will not leave the van connected to the van overnight again. Luckily we had some jump leads and a nearby caravanner offered assistance.

First port of call today was the Trailblazers factory in Braeside to discuss a few jobs that we would like done next year when head north again in April or May. The traffic across Melbourne was a bit slow because of a couple of accidents but we eventually arrived at about 11:15 am. We spent an hour or so with Matt discussing our requirements, and also had a look at a couple of new vans that they are building, including their new off-road model, that we had first seen at the Brisbane Caravan Show in June.

We had lunch next door to the factory at the Red Pillar Café, and passed an hour or so reading the papers. From Braeside it was back into the City where we parked on the Esplanade at Albert Park to wait for boarding to commence at 5:00 pm. While we waited we wandered across to the Beach hotel for a drink and continue reading the papers. At about 4:45 pm we headed for the ferry terminal to start the check-in process. This year they are undertaking the quarantine checks in Melbourne rather than waiting until arrival in Devonport.

Once again we ended up going over the Hump as it is called onto vehicle deck 5 with a few of the trucks. In the last six months the ferries have received a much needed face lift and effect is quite noticeable. The up-market restaurant is no more and the area has been transformed into a quiet library come reading room. The Cafeteria has been upgraded and enlarged with more tables and chairs. Overall the ferries now have seating for a thousand passengers, which gave the impression that the ferry was not full. No doubt the extra seating will come in handy now that they are doing more daylight crossings.

No photos today.

Posted by TwoAces 18:01 Comments (0)

Melbourne - Day 3

Tuesday 15 September 2015

After breakfast we walked to the Block Arcade so Di could buy a few chocolate treats for the grandchildren at the Haig's Chocolate Shop. Out in the arcade laneway we found a nice spot for lunch under a gas heater as it was much cooler today. Mushroom soup made a warming lunch.

After lunch Kirrily drove us back to the caravan park so that we could get organised for tomorrow's ferry trip back to Tassie. Kirrily keeps her car in the parking space at the rear of the apartments. The cars are all stacked on plates that are allocated to each apartment. When you drive up the laneway at the back of the apartment you have to wait while your plate is located and moved to the car park entrance. When you have parked the car the plate is turned 90 degrees and the plate is added to the stack of parked cars. When it is time to get your car the plate is located and brought back to street level and again rotated by 90 degrees again so that you are facing the right way to drive out.


Other cars stacked in the car park.


Kirrily's Merc on its plate and ready to go.

Posted by TwoAces 17:57 Comments (0)

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