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PopPop & Grandma's Travels

RIP Beau the Wonder Dog

Our Murray River Trip from Wellington Sth Aust to Mildura - August 2013

This trip is from our home here in Newcastle to where the "Mighty Murray River" enters Lake Alexandrina at Wellington in Sth Aust and then we will follow the "Mighty Murray" from here back to Mildura.

As we have already done a lot of the river from Mildura east we plan to head for home via Broken Hill on our return journey.

We hope to complete the "rest of the Murray River that we haven't done as yet " - East from Tocumwal to the coast, but this will be on one of our other sojourns that we have yet to plan and do.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog.

Proposed itinerary - home to Wellington Sth Aust

Proposed itinerary - Wellington Sth Aust to Home


Left home bright sunny morning around 10.50am after dropping Oma into respite and made our way towards Mendooran. The W-SW winds were blowing pretty hard and we were punching into it all the way. Stopped for lunch at Denman Rest Area and then made out way to Mendooran arriving around 3.30pm where we met up with our dear friends Ed & Ros from Toowoomba. They had already arrived the night before and were eagerly awaiting our arrival.

Had a nice night chatting and we sat in our van keeping warm by the diesel heater as it was a very cold night.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog


Awoke to a nice frost and -1° outside – had troubles with the diesel heater as the fuel had frozen in the filter this time – will have to get some more winterised diesel later on – warmed the car up, had breakfast and finally headed off 8.20am towards Dubbo.

Stopped at Tomingley for morning tea and then made our way to Peak Hill where we re-fueled and then went to Parkes where we stopped as the girls wanted to get some things at the local shops etc.

Left Parkes and headed further south and stopped for lunch in a Rest Area and then made our way thru West Wyalong and the to Yalgogrin and arrived at CAW 7 #476 and it is a tiny rest area right on the side of the road near a house. Nowhere near as good as made out in the pic in the CAW book. We decided to head on further down the road to either the next Rest Area or a gravel pit if we could find one. Lo and behold about a further 10K's down the road we found a really terrific gravel pit right off the road tucked in behind a lot of trees and bush so we headed in there found a great spot to set up and no sooner had we set up then the rain started pelting down and continued on throughout the night. Thank heavens we were in a gravel pit as it wasn’t muddy at all and we could get back out onto the road without a problem. Rained all night and we just stayed inside with the warmth of the diesel heater.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog


Awoke to a very foggy morning but no rain. Had breakfast and got ready and headed off at 8.20am again out onto a very foggy and wet highway and headed south. The farther south we went the darker the clouds got and the rain eventually came and we had rain on and off, and quite heavy at times, for the whole day.

Stopped in a rest area for morning tea and made our way to Hay where we went to the showgrounds and emptied our cassettes at the dump point and then went to the Information Centre where we were able to fill the water tanks with potable water, the girls again went shopping at the local IGA and bought some groceries etc as we were being mindful that we can't take fruit etc into Sth Aust when we cross the border so we are keeping our supplied fairly low at present.

Re-fueled in Hay and then stopped at a Rest area further down the road where we had lunch and then made our way in the rain to Balranald where we turned south and headed for Kyalite where we intended to stay the night.

No sooner had we headed down the road towards Kyalite and Tooleybuc and the rain really started pelting down with very strong gusting winds. It was that wet and windy we didn’t dare go off the tar road or for sure we would’ve got bogged so we slowed right down and pushed on in the rain and wind.

Got to Kyalite and it was still pelting down and we thought that discretion was the better part than valour and decided not to go down to the river at CAW7 #759 as the amount of water around and with the grey clayey type soil near the river banks we would definitely get stuck so we soldiered on thru Tooleybuc and then to our favourite freecamp at Nyah where we knew we would be safe.

Finally got to Nyah, the rain had stopped but the wind was still blowing quite fiercly, there were quite a few other motorhomes, vans and 5'ers there and we found a good spot near where we were last time and set up there.

Again as it was too cold to be outside last night so we snuggled up in the warmth of the diesel heater.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog


Woke to another cold and crispy morning got ready filled our water tanks with potable water and then and headed off 8.20am to the local servo where we again re-fueled and then made our way thru Nyah West to Chinkapook, Manangatang to Ouyen where we had morning tea in a small park and then onto Pinaroo in Sth Aust where we stopped for lunch on the side of the road.

Then made our way along the Mallee Highway which really is like a quiet back road, to Tailem Bend where we then headed south down to Wellington East, then crossed the Mighty Murray on a vehicular ferry, and as there are no freecamps close by we are now camped in the local caravan park which is quite pleasant for $25.00/night. They have excellent amenities and we are heading to the pub across the road right on the banks of the Murray River for steak dinner tonight as it is steak night at the pub - $14.00 for a large steak apparently.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

So now the blog is up to date and the blogging blogger has now blogged the blogging blog!!!!!.


Day 5 - Wellington & Surrounds

Had a wonderful steak dinner at the pub last night. Thursday nights are steak night there and the meals are terrific. 300 g of rump steak, cooked to perfection as to how you want it and either veges & salad or chips and salad for $14.00. It is a great meal at a great price. The only downside was the icy wind blowing in and we had to sit out on the covered deck area as we had Beau the Wonder Dog with us and naturally he is not allowed inside.

After dinner we came back to the vans and sat inside in the warmth and again had a rather early night after a big day's travelling.

Today we had a nice restful sleep in, took our time getting ready and the headed off around 10am to Strathalbyn and we bought some nice fresh potatoes from a local stall for $1.00/kg on the way and then when we got to Strathalbyn the girls did some shopping at the local Op Shop and Ed bought some 12V gear for the van from the local Jaycar dealer. We then headed to Goolwa and had a drive around this lovely quaint township and then went out to the beach and watched a pod of large whales frolicking in the surf not far from shore.

We then made our way to Victor Harbour where we saw the Clydesdale drawn tram going out to Granite Island, but being very cold, windy and rainy we decided not to go on it this time. Maybe next time we come down.

We decided to get some fish & chips for lunch from the local kiosk and as Grandma was returning with them the seagulls flocked in their hundreds and one actually pinched a piece of fish from the top of her cone filled meal. They serve the fish and chips in paper cones here.

As soon as anyone had any fish or chips the seagulls would flock then in their hundreds and were quite obnoxious really.

After lunch we then made our way to Murray Bridge where the girls wanted to do some shopping at the local shopping centre and Ed also needed to get some things for his van etc and then we finally made our way back to Wellington arriving back here around 4.30pm.

We had a terrific day and can't wait to come back and spend some more time down here.

Tomorrow we head north up the river to check out a couple of freecamps and will more than likely stay in one of these.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 6 - Wellington to Nth Caurnamont on the Murray

Awoke to a nice and sunny morning. Took our time and packed up and then headed off just after 9am to Murray Bridge where we stopped at a local bakery and bought some nice fresh bread and a few treats etc before wending our way through the township and on towards Mannum.

We finally made it to Mannum and what a lovely little town this is, very quaint, however we kept going and made our way towards Purnong and then Caurnamont where we are now set up at Nth Caurnamont Reserve CAW7 #175. There is a small tent with about 4 young guys n girls camped here at the moment and no-one else around.

We will stay here the night and then take a leisurely drive to Walkers Flat and cross the river there on the ferry and then slowly make our way to Hogwash Bend CAW7 #147 tomorrow for another stopover.

Some of the scenery and landscapes so far has been absolutely fantastic and worth seeing.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

DAY 7 - CAURNAMONT TO BERRI - 11/08/2013

Awoke to a very foggy and 'cool' morning. We slowly packed up, and headed off at 9am to Walkers Flat where we crossed the river via a ferry. What a pretty little spot this is and great view of the river etc from the ferry. As soon as we disembarked the ferry we then had to climb up a very steep hill and then went to Forsters Lookout where we got a great vistas of the river, the valley all the cliffs etc. It was a truly wonderful spot.

We then continued on and then stopped at 'Big Bend Lookout' – another great viewing platform and vistas of the river, cliffs valley below etc.

We then drove on to Nildottie where we stopped for morning tea and Ros & Ed had a good look about this very small but pretty little town as Ros' paternal grandmother's family the Noack's, came from this area, we also went and had a look in the cemetery at all the old gravestones etc. There is a lot of German history in this town.

We then ventured on along admiring the fantastic views of the river and countryside along this stretch of road. We unintentionally bypassed Swan Reach and Blanchetown and then made our way via another ferry to Morgan where we again had a look around the town and then had got some lunch from the local bakery and enjoyed it in the local park.

After lunch we made our way to Cadell and then again crossed the river via a ferry and through the township of Cadell and then made our way to Hogwash Bend CAW7 #147. This is a lovely spot down on the river, however there were a few campers already here as well as quite a few day picnickers and the only spots available for us were in the sand on the beach or up in the grey river soil and as the forecast was for rain later this afternoon we decided against either spot and instead to head onto Berri and spend a couple of days at Martins Bend Campground CAW7 #115, as we have stayed there before last year when we came back through this way.

We then had a leisurely drive thru Waikerie and Barmera where we also bought some nice navel oranges and veges from a local roadside farmers stall. The oranges are super juicy and sweet as anything. Ed & Ros also bought some nice mandarins but we decided against this as we have a tree full of beautiful mandarins at home.

We finally made it to Berri and made our way to Martins Bend and the caretaker said that rain is due in a few hours and advised us where the best spot was to park.

Finally set up and also set up our rainwater catching buckets and hoses into the tanks and sure enough within about 3 hours it rained. Also had some good rain throughout the night so hopefully will have a nice lot of fresh rainwater in our tank now.

Whilst we were sitting back and relaxing yesterday afternoon a 4WD ute pulled up with 2 ladies and a gent and offered us 'homeless persons" a free cup of nice home made pea and ham soup and a bread roll each. Apprently they do this as part of their outreach for their Lutheran Church.

We gladly accepted and it was a very tasty, thick and enjoyable soup. We also gave them a donation for their troubles, which they didn't want to accept, but we finally persuaded them to take it and they will put it on their next plate offering at church. It was very nice of them to do this service and the soup was really, really nice.

As rain is forecast for the next few days we have decided that our next stop will be the caravan park at Buronga, which we have been to before and is a really nice, friendly and cheap park on the banks of the Murray. The girls are suffering from “shoppingcentreitis' so this will give them a chance to recharge their batteries in the shops in Mildura as well. LOL

We then intend to start to make our way home via Broken Hill on Thursday, and hopefully getting home on Sunday.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 8 Berri

A nice sunny day today, our water tanks were filled from the overnight rain.

Later in the morning we went into town and re-fueled plus the girls found Cheap as Chips store so had to go and buy some things in there, and Ros bought a beanie/balaclava for Ed to keep him warm of a night as he has been using one of ours for the past few nights. We also did some grocery shopping and then came back to our spot and just sat back and relaxed and had a nice relaxing afternoon in the warm sunshine.

Had an elderly couple in a white Magna pull up and the driver asked "I wonder what the rich people are doing?" and I replied "driving around in white cars", the poor old bugger nearly pee'd himself laughing, reckoned it was one of the best comebacks he's ever heard. LOL Bloody funny - Ed & I were laughing our guts out it was that funny to see this old bugger's antics. You needed to be here to see it, was quite funny though.

Packed everything away and had a rather early night ready to head off in the morning.

The large motorhome near us decided to run his HUGE generator last night – must be about an 8KVa as it is super noisy - sounded like a dozen mack trucks coming near us – it was super noisy – thank heavens he turned it odd reasonably early.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 9 - Berri to Buronga

Up bright and early packed the last things up and then drove down to the dump point where we emptied our cassettes and then made our way to Renmark, and Mildura having an uneventful nice drive to Buronga where we are booked in at the Riverside Caravan Park again. Tried to get riverside sites but they were all booked out and got the next best thing which is just up from where we were last year.

After setting up had to find a medical centre for Ed as he had left all the medical scripts at home and need to get some more from a doctor so looked up some on the net and Ed was able to get into a medical centre in town at 3.15pm. After lunch we went into town and Grandma did some shopping in all the cheap shops and we eventually came back and joined in at happy hour at the back of our sites with all our neighbours. We had people from nearly every state in Aust, NSW, Qld, WA, Vict, & S.A.

We decided to have Kebabs for dinner so Marie & Ros drove into town and got the worst Kebabs we have ever had, not only were they not nice but bloody cold to boot. We will never go back there that's for sure.

After dinner sat around the fire with a few neighbours until the cold air became too unbearable and we ventured inside to the warmth of the van.

Ended up having an early night and had a great nights sleep, with the exception of me keeping one ear open all night for any noise considering it was here last year that we had one of our diesel jerry cans stolen from off the back of the van. Made sure they were chained and locked on this time.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 10 - Buronga

Woke to a nice sunny morning, the girls did all their washing as it is forecast for rain later today and the skies are already darkening.

Had some lunch and a nasty little storm blew up with strong gusts of wind and rain. Had to go out in the freezing rain and pull the awning in, as well as help Ed get his in also, we also had to put our chairs away and we are both now soaked to the skin and cold. Have the fan heater going trying to warm up as it is freezing at present.

We finally left after lunch and did some sightseeing with Ed & Ros around Buronga, Dareton, Wentworth, Merbein & Mildura. In Wentworth we went to "The Confluence of the Murray & Darling Rivers", (this is where the 2 rivers meet) and also saw a mural done with coloured wood chips on the levee bank and the buildings, tree trunks etc line up with respective 'real' buildings in the background - it was very cleverly done. We also went to Bunnings in Mildura where I bought some pipe insulation to put over the fuel filter for the diesel heater to see if it will fix the freezing problems and Ed also bought a small fan heater for $12.95. We then went to Rivers as the girls needed their last bit of shopping R&R and then we returned to the vans for final packing etc before we head off towards Broken Hill tomorrow.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 11 - Buronga to Bulla Park - 15/08/2013

Up bright an early to a nice crisp and cool morning, it was 6°C at 8am. We packed the last things away, went and emptied the cassette, field the water tank, hitched the van up to the car and headed off for Broken Hill with a beautiful clear sky at 8.30am.

We were travelling along nicely when a truck called Ed up on the radio and told him something was open on the left side of the van. Pulled over and a quick check revealed someone had forgotten to lock the side table when they last used it and it had opened up. Lucky he didn’t damage it at all.

Ed locked it up securely and we were on our way again stopping just north of Bungerungee Bridge for morning tea around 10am.

We then ventured onwards to Broken Hill arriving at 'The Hill' at 12MD, had a quick drive around town and then made our way out to the Centro shopping centre where we were able to get a good park and bought some lunch and ate it in the confines of our vans.

After lunch we bade our farewells to our good friends Ed & Ros and then followed then to the Adelaide road where they turned left and we turned right heading for Wilcannia.

We had planned to stop at Spring Hills Rest Area CAW7 #905 which is 122 K's out of Broken Hill but when we got there the place was crowded out already, so we decided to head on to Dolo Rest Area, CAW7 #904, however when we arrived there, although no-one was parked there a road train laden with cattle had not long left and the stench and all the crap & pee on the ground was unreal, and as this being only a small rest area we decided against staying here and headed further west making it to Netallie Rest Area CAW7 #903 but this spot was also taken up by 2 large road trains and there was very little room to park. We continued on and decided as we were feeling OK and still had plenty of time up our sleeve, to soldier on to our old favourite spot at Bulla Park Rest Area CAW7 #892 as we knew there was plenty of space there. All the other campsites enroute to Bulla Park, that we passed were pretty full as well. All the holiday makers must be heading back south again the amount of vans and motorhomes on the road at present.

We also saw thousands upon thousands of wild goats alongside the road. Have not ever seen so many goats out here before today.

We finally made it to Bulla Park at 5.45pm, just on dusk and lo and behold it also is quite full, but we headed over to our favourite little hidey hole and were able to park up for the night.

There must be about 20 vans and motorhomes here tonight.

As we have made it this far we have decided to go all the way to Mendooran tomorrow, as we have done this leg plenty of times and then will sit back and unwind at Mendooran for 2 nights before heading for home on Sunday, as we have to be back for Oma on Monday and apparently she is not faring too well at present at the home, so she tells us.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Day 12 - Bulla Park to Mendooran - 16/08/2013

We went to bed quite early and had a lovely quiet nights sleep (after all the other campers in the near vicinity, turned their generators off late at night).

Was a rather cold night but we were warm under the feather/down doona. Woke to a chilly morning with a lovely and clear blue sky, however there was quite a nasty Nor/Nor wester blowing around 35kph - we put the diesel heater on at 6.00am and we were as warm as toast when we finally ventured out of bed.

Had our breakfast, packed up and headed off 8.20am towards Cobar. The wind buffeted us about a fair bit but it still was easy going. I couldn't believe how green the countryside was out here and the amount of goats in the paddocks were amazing.

Re-fueled at Cobar at the BP servo and the girl working there was as slow as a wet week. Wouldn’t let me start filling our car until she had served the guy who had got diesel before me, and there was a line up infront of him as well. Only for the fact that the Caltex servo is shut and being renovated and the other Shell servo was full as well, we would have driven off without getting any fuel she was that slow. Was finally able to fill up, after keeping the poor ambo guy behind me held up forever and a day as well, and we headed further east towards Nyngan.

Arrived in Nyngan around 11.15am so decided to get some bread from the local bakery etc for lunch and the headed further east and stopped and had some lunch in a rest area then turned off at Nevertire making our way through Warren and Gilgandra. Was going to re-fuel at Gilgandra but the servo here was full as well, and didn't have any price signs out displaying the price of his fuel, so we decided to continue on as we had enough fuel to at least get us to Dunedoo where we can fill up on Sunday.

Finally made it to Mendooran at 2.05pm and were unable to set up at our usual spot but got another one just as good.

We will now put our feet up and rest for the next 2 nights before heading for home on Sunday. Admittedly we have done a LOT of miles these past 2 days but we can now just sit back and relax before having to do the final leg home.

We have had a great trip and seen some fantastic sights and cannot wait to be able to go back down there and do it again, albeit a bit slower next time as we were a bit rushed on this trip.

Everything has worked as it should, never had to use the genny nor our portable solar panels we carry with us and we have had ample power for the whole journey.

Can't wait to get away again on our next adventure, which will be in October but to exactly where we are unsure of as yet. Again it will only be another 2 week trip so won’t be far this time.

Catch you out there,

PopPop, Grandma & Beau the Wonder Dog

Total Trip

The Blue line is outbound trip and the fuschia line is the return trip.

Total Trip = 3883.8 Klms

Average Fuel consumption = 19.6l/100klms