Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Adelaide to Melbourne via Echuca

We drove through a part of Victoria we hadn’t seen before which we enjoyed. We stopped at a place called Manangatang, where there was free overnight camping opposite the pub. They even had clean toilets and showers! We set up and tried out our diesel heater again, but it still sent out clouds of smoke! We went over to the pub and had an enjoyable meal. One lady came to sell us tickets for a meat tray and asked us if we were in the caravan that was sending out clouds of smoke. We didn’t realise we had left it on when we went over for tea, fortunately it got dark and no one really noticed it!
We arrived at Echuca and checked into the local caravan park there. They were offering a ‘stay 4 pay 3 deal’ so we took that up, and then asked if there was room to extend our stay. The girl at the desk implied that it may not be possible, but we checked in anyway and decided to argue the point in the next few days when that girl was not on the desk.
Katie and Matt and baby Otto were heading up this way and we were so looking forward to seeing them after 41/2 months of travel. Our caravan park was right by the river and we could hear the ‘toot toot’ of the riverboats as they went past. It was all quite enchanting.

We were so pleased to see little Otto again, but it took a while for him to get used to us!

We spent a week at Echuca, and did lots of walking from our caravan park to where Katie and Matt were staying. We couldn’t win on the caravan park deal. In the end, we had to move literally 10 metres across the road to another site for the last 2 days. If we hadn’t done that we would have had to pay for the ‘free’ night. We really didn’t get it!!
Katie and Otto came with us on one of the Riverboats – the EmmyLou. We thought that it was only a pretend steam engine, but no, it was a real one and very interesting at that! It was lovely sitting on the deck and looking at the riverbank passing by.


We offered to look after Otto one night so Katie and Matt could go out to tea. It was a bit of a disaster as Otto wasn’t too sure about us and worked himself up into a real tizz, so we couldn’t get him to go to sleep. Katie and Matt could hear him crying as they got out of the lift! He only needed his mummy to settle him instead of Grandma and Pa strangers!

After Echuca we drove back to Melbourne for the last part of our trip. We set up outside Nikki and Shannon’s house in Greensborough and drove the Western Ring Road many times to visit Katie and Otto during the day.
It was lovely to see Nikki and Shannon waiting expectantly for their new baby – only 2 more months to go! And lovely to see the grand dogs too!!

 On the Grand Final weekend we went to Daylesford for two nights at a cottage that we shared with Katie and Matt and Otto. It was the first time we slept away from our caravan in a very long time!

We had the most lovely snuggles with Otto in the morning. I can't describe how lovely it is to be a grandma!
We celebrated Katie's 32nd birthday just before we left to go home - probably the first actual birthday we've had with her since she left home all those years ago!

 On our last day we said goodbye to Katie and Otto before getting on the boat.

And so, after 21 weeks of holiday, we drove onto the newly refurbished Spirit of Tasmania for the last bit of the journey.
 We got off the boat and had breakfast with an old friend from Jane Franklin Hall days – Heather and her husband Phil. It was a lovely way to finish the holiday before heading south. What a beautiful day it was as we drove down the highway. It was cool but sunny and we loved reconnecting with our little island state. When we got to the Derwent River it was flat calm, and the mountain looked a treat!
We had driven over 20,000 kilometres and seen some amazing sites but there really is no place like home.

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