The day had arrived…… after months of planning, which included buying an off road camper trailer, only to find out our poor old Patrol needed a heart and lung transplant (well – new engine). We had the dilemma of whether or not to invest money in our 10yo beast, or to cut our losses – sell it and get something new. In the end, we figured a new engine would hopefully be a lot more reliable than another 2nd hand 4WD.
We left home around 7am and set our sights on Forbes, NSW, around 700kms away.
The trip north was relatively uneventful. We made a few stops along the way for breakfast & fuel, loo stops, lunch etc. We’re on holidays and don’t have a set in stone schedule.
Here is a photo of Ben (the Patrol) and Alphred (the Black Series Alpha camper) at Wunghnu, a little north of Shepparton.
Wunghnu is just a little town, typical of country Victoria. Once upon a time, in it’s heyday, it may have been a thriving and vibrant community. Now – not much more than a ghost town with a convenient toilet stop for tourists passing through. They do have a nice water tower though which was good to test out my new (second hand) 11-16mm Tokina lens.
I must admit there’s not much more to say about the trip. It’s actually a really flat and uninteresting drive. I needed to stay awake to help Jamie stay alert for the drive. The kids all travelled really well. Now they are nearly 11, 13 & 14, life is so much different to the toddler days.
Narrandera deserves a special mention as we stopped there for lunch. A fairly big town, but given the geographic location was all but closed for the Sunday. We did manage to find one family cafe with an assortment of menu choices to suit. Lack of eftpos facilities meant that we had to visit a nearby ATM for cash. Something us Victorian metros take for granted. It is a shame to see these country towns struggling.
Here’s a photo of the most intersting bit of our trip. Jet streams of planes which converged on the horizon in an apocalyptic fashion. Jamie said it looked like it could have been a missile strike on a nearby secret airforce base. We listened to ABC radio though and there were no reports, so we’re assuming it’s either all clear or a massive cover up/conspiracy theory.
We finally arrived at Forbes and set up camp. This whole camp has been planned courtesy of Wikicamps app (fabulous app for any fellow campers) and this was a free camping roadside stop. Not bad for one night but wouldn’t really want any more time here.
Alphred has certainly changed our camping style – from hard core to glamping (though potentially off road). It’s a nice evolution for us and the kids.
Personally, I love the addition of the kitchen. Still outdoors, still camping, but with a few creature comforts. Chicken Tikka Masala was on the menu tonight by request from Adam. Nice choice – easy and VERY tasty.
Here is my awesome kitchen set up…… it’s in the tailgate of the camper and with Jamie’s car parked nearby, his awning makes for a quick roof cover.
Tomorrow – we will be visiting the big Dish (famous for relaying man’s first steps on the moon to the world) at Parkes, before heading to Dubbo for a couple of nights. The big drawcard at Dubbo is the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. We’ve heard great reports about it, but never visited before.
Footnote – Jamie and I spent the evening around the fire and were visited by an interesting local man, Steve. Steve was on a bike and had many interesting ideas on how we could become rich with some savvy investments he has in mind. I can’t help but get the feeling he may have the same spiel for many of the transient tourists. He’s promised to visit us in the morning to help Brodie catch some fish, but I think we might be sleeping in.
The kids were happily tucked up in bed, watching a movie on our new projector. Certainly different to any of our previous trips.