A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: TwoAces

Winter Trip 2017 - Summary

19 May to 17 September 2017

This year we were away from home for a total of 120 night (4 months). Six nights were spent free camping, five nights at Lloyd Jones Weir and one night at Granite Creek Rest area, both in Queensland. The return fare for a twin cabin each way on daylight crossings with the Navara and the caravan was $1,720. Total cost in caravan parks was $6,626 which averaged out at about $55.21 per night, inflated somewhat by two and a half months on a waterfront site at Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast. We justify the extra site cost by the fact that we do not use much diesel.

We used 1,705 litres of diesel costing $2,188 at an average of $1.28 per litre which is less than the cost of fuel in Tasmania. The highest price paid was $1.369 at Forster in NSW and Gundagai Service Centre on the Hume Highway, while the lowest was $1.219 at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. We towed the caravan for a total of 4,137 km at an average fuel consumption of 22.0 litres per 100 km, and did another 2,457 km touring around at an average fuel consumption of 14.0 litres per 100 km. The highest fuel consumption towing the caravan was 26.65 litres per 100 km from Coombah to Broken Hill with a head wind.

Internet coverage when free camping is generally no mobile signal at all. In the outback coverage is quite patchy and generally 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 the winter. This year we shared 10.4 GB of data per month on our mobiles which was quite adequate even when using the mobile as a WiFi hotspot, until one time that Windows 10 decided to do a big update download - then I had to buy extra data on the 4G dongle that I was hoping not to have to use. Of course updating the blog is not helped by uploading high quality photos. But I think that the result is worth it.

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

Posted by TwoAces 21:38 Comments (0)

Devonport to Hobart

Sunday 17 September 2017

Fine and mainly sunny for our trip home today.

We were on our way by 9:30 am, stopping for coffee and raisin toast at Zeps, before arriving home just before 1:00 pm. After a couple of hours unpacking we took the van back to the storage area at Cambridge via the Dump Point where we used our pump to flush and clean out both holding tanks.

The garden looks as though we have not been away for 4 months, although it is fair to say that spring is a few weeks later this year than last year.


Mt Wellington from our front verandah - No snow!


Magnolia in flower.


A magnificent Hellebore.


A few daffodils.

Posted by TwoAces 21:37 Comments (0)

Melbourne to Devonport

Saturday 16 September 2017

Another cool day in Melbourne for our trip back to Tassie on the Spirit of Tasmania.

We set the alarm for 5:45 am and were on the road by 6:30 am. Several other vans left at the same time so we ended up in a convoy headed for Station Pier. We all followed the route recommended by the Caravan Park, which is left out of the caravan park onto Ballarat Road, left onto the M80 Ring Road, exit left for the M1 West Gate Freeway, exit left for the Todd Road Service Centre, left onto Cook Street, left onto Todd Road, left into Williamstown Road, then right into Graham Street, right into Bay Road, and right again onto Beach Road, then left into Station Pier. Quite easy when you know where you are going and ignore the GPS.

Once again we were loaded onto Deck 5 with the rest of the caravans fairly quickly, and were having breakfast and reading the papers when the ferry departed early at 8:50 am. The Captain advised us to expect 2 to 3 metre seas on a 2 to 3 metre swell, with winds of 25 to 30 knots from the South West. As it turned out it was smoother than that with the ferry only experiencing a gentle roll, once we had cleared Port Philip Heads. After breakfast we checked out our cabin - we usually take a cabin for a daylight crossing as they are half price (compared to night sailings) and give you somewhere to lie down and have a snooze.

We returned to the cafeteria at about 2:00 pm for a late lunch of very tender roast lamb with vegies, followed by a cheese platter. The Goaty Hill Pinot Noir made it even better.

We were called to the vehicle deck at 6:25 pm but it was a case of hurry up and wait, as we did not get off the ferry for another 20 minutes. As quarantine checks are now done before embarkation in Melbourne we were waved through the final checks in Devonport and joined the queue at the Discovery Caravan Park at East Devonport. We had booked a drive through site some weeks ago as we did not want to drive home in the dark. The only drive through sites are en-suite sites so we had paid a premium for one of those so that we could stay hitched up for the night.

We ended up on a back-in en-suite site, so much for booking a drive through site! Backing in the dark is hard enough but gets much worse when the is no lighting in the caravan park to help see where you are going. Even the light on our Site 2 power stanchion was not operating - Not Happy Jan! The site was long enough however for us to remain hitched up.

No photos today.

Posted by TwoAces 21:36 Comments (0)

Melbourne Day 2

Friday 15 September 2017

Still cloudy and cool in Melbourne with periods of heavy rain forecast.

We spent the morning packing up so that we could return to the caravan park and get organised for a quick get away on Saturday morning as we were booked on a day sailing departing at 9:00 am with check-in starting at 6:30 am. When we left the apartment the lifts were still out of action so we had to negotiate the fire stairs with our bags. I think that walking down is worse than walking up stairs. (We were still stiff in the quads 3 days later).

While we were packing up and hitching up, a 45 foot 5th wheeler came onto the next site, It was a very big van as hitched up we only make 42 feet. They were the first of the arrivals for the Melbourne Show which is due to open on 23 September. While we were packing up there were a couple of heavy showers, so it was not looking good for the footy tonight.

Late afternoon we headed back into the city so that we could join Kirrily and Ian at the MCG for the Geelong vs Sydney AFL game. They had bought the tickets as a birthday present for David, and were feeling quite comfortable that their team the Swans would have the measure of the Cats after Geelong's poor performance against Richmond the week before. They were to be disappointed however as Geelong never looked like losing. Fortunately the rain held off for the game.

After the game we walked back into the city to pick up a cab to return to Braybrook for the night.


Cats vs Swans - just after the first bounce at the MCG.

Posted by TwoAces 21:34 Comments (0)

Melbourne - Day 1

Thursday 14 September 2017

Mainly cloudy and quite cool in Melbourne.

As Kirrily and Ian were both working today we had the run of the apartment. Late in the morning we walked into the CBD to visit the shops - you guessed it - Myers, David Jones and the Haighs chocolate shop. We found a very nice restaurant called Kaikey's Lane outside the Haigs shop in the Block Plaza for lunch. After lunch we returned to the David Jones Food Hall, so that we could get the doings for a stay at home meal. On the way back to the apartment it was into BWS for something to go with dinner.

There was much excitement at the Phoenix Apartments this afternoon with lots of sirens going backwards and forwards, but we could not work out where they were going. It turned out that they were parked right outside the apartment dealing with a burst water main on the second floor. One apartment and the foyer together with the lift wells were flooded and had to be pumped out by the Fire Brigade. A good job that it was not a fire as we were in the apartment at the time and had no idea what was going on.

The lifts were both out of action for the night so Kirrily and Ian both had to walk up 19 flights of stairs to their apartment when they got home from work. Just as well we were dining in tonight as we would not liked to have gone down, then back up 19 flights of stairs for dinner.

No photos today.

Posted by TwoAces 21:33 Comments (0)

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