Sunday, March 4, 2012


It looks like we chose well when we decided just when we were going to go away.  The rain that hit on our second to last day has continued and most of the places we visited in brilliant sunshine are now facing flood waters.  Even at home it has rained pretty steadily since we got home.  It has cleared today, but we are once again looking at flooded paddocks across the highway.

Monday 27th February - Yackandandah to Bruthen

Still raining when we woke this morning.  Because Bill had hooked up the van last night it was one less thing we had to worrry about this morning.  We left the park, in the rain, at about 9:00.  We came home via Myrtleford, Porepunkah, Bright, Harrietville, Mount Hotham, Omeo, Swifts Creek and Ensay.
We stopped at Harrietville for an early lunch.  As we walked into the cafe a bikie sitting outside said "I wouldn't like to be towing that up the mountain today.  It's horrendous.  Fog so thick you can't see."  Of course that filled me with confidence no end!  Bill assured him we'd be OK as he knew the road fairly well.
Well, the bikie was right.  The fog was horrible.  We didn't get above 35km/hr the whole way.  Eventually we reached Omeo and the fog cleared.  But by the time we got to Ensay the rain came back, and it rained the rest of the way home!
It was good to be home, although it had been an enjoyable holiday all round.  Lots of new places and things to see, and a few repeat performances.

Sunday 26th February - Yackandandah, Tallangatta, Hume Weir

Our last day before heading for home.  And it was bucketing rain!  We still decided to go for a drive.  First we went down the street to the supermarket.  On our way out of the park we told the lady we hadn't paid yet - she seemed rather surprised, then realised.  We had to call into the office on our way back and she would come up and take our money.  We duly did so, and reminded her we had never actualy got a key for the ensuite so we didn't have one to return. We headed for Tallangatta.  We went through Baranduda, Kiewa and Tangambalanga.  Eventually got to Bonegilla and Bandiana.  Didn't stop at any of these places as it was pouring rain. However, we did stop at the Hume Weir on Lake Hume.
Despite the rain we walked along the approaches to the dam wall (sign implied you could walk over to Victoria, but a big gate put paid to that idea).
Hume Weir on Murray River
Hume Power Station
It was somewhat damp, so we didn't stay out in the rain for too long.  Although Bill did walk down the stairs to take photos of the power station.
Lake Hume Holiday resort
We made our way to the Lake Hume Tourist Park to grab a bite to eat for lunch.
Drove back to Yackandandah.
We had our first meal in  Yack at Java@Yack, and we decided we'd have our last meal there too.  Bill had roast lamb, and I had a fisherman's basket.  Both very nice and very reasonably priced.
It was still raining quite heavily, the ground was quite soggy at the caravan park so Bill decided to hook the van up when we went back in case we had move the van during the night.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday 25th February - Yackandandah, Rutherglen, Wahgunyah, Corowa

Our holiday is drawing to a close.  Only today and tomorrow left before we head home.  Another day trip today.  We headed to Wodonga first because we had to go to a chemist.  We intended to have a look around the shops, but there didn't really seem to be many shops to look at.  A lady told us about a couple of shopping centres, but we decided against trying to find them.  So we went to the Visitor Information to see what we could find.  We gathered yet more brochures (I wonder how many trees were cut down to provide our reading material for this trip?) and then went a little further along to Gateway Village where we had some yummy lunch at La Maison Cafe.  Actually we both had yummy cakes.
We decided to drive out to Rutherglen - a very pretty drive with a lot of grape vines.
Grape vines near Rutherglen
We kept going without stopping on our way up, and continued on to Wahgunyah.   I should have checked my family history files before we came here, because I knew someone was buried here, but didn't know who. Found out later that it was a LORING - not a direct line, but a LORING all the same.
Foord Bridge over Murray River
Wahgunyah is on the Victorian side of the Muray River, with Corowa on the NSW side.  You cross the river on the Foord Bridge, named after the man who first settled in Wahgunyah.

Vampire at Corowa RSL
We had a quick look at Corowa since we were there.  Found the RSL and saw this Vampire plane on display outside.

Star Hotel Rutherglen
We headed back to have a look at Rutherglen.
Outside the Star Hotel there were at least 100 motorbikes and their riders.  There were also many police cars.  We think maybe it was a wake for a bikie and that the poice were there to make sure there was no trouble.
We stopped at Tapsell's Books.  There were three rooms absolutely choc full of books.  We spent some time browsing.  I bought a couple of books and Bill ended up buying a book detailing the menus on the Titanic, complete with supposedly genuine recipes.
Then we headed back to the Caravan Park.
Yackandandah Hotel
For tea we went to the Yackandandah Hotel, otherwise known as the Bottom Pub.  I had Nachos, but unfortunately although they tasted nice I think the corn chips were stale so I didn't really enjoy them.  Bill had fish and chips yet again.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday 24th February - Yackandandah, Beechworth, Chiltern

Beechworth Post Office
Another day for a day trip to see the sites.  First we went to the beautiful town of Beechworth.  I just love the beautifully preserved heritage buildings to be found here.  We didn't take many photos because I thought we had some from our last visit, but seems I didn't take lots of photos then either.
Beechworth Court and Cells
We did some shopping at Mike's Beechworth Bazaar (which was the place that charged our card $300 instead of $30 last time we were there! Got it back though.) and had a look at the One Tree Hill Pottery shop.  They had some beautiful pieces, not exhorbitant prices - but we really have nowhere to put anything so we didn't purchase anything.
Beechworth Bakery
We then had some lunch at the famous Beechworth Bakery. Bill bought a Bakery truck (the second one he has we discovered when we got home, although they are different - does that mean he's started a collectiom?) and I bought a Baker bear.
Tom the Bakery Bear

We continued wandering down the street and I went into the Beechworth Sweet Company shop. It really is like an old-fashioned shop, but for some reason the lollies don't seem to me to be like we used to have.  They are also fairly expensive.  I did buy some fruit salad rock candy.  I would have loved a golliwog, especially a girl one, but even the smallest were $50 or so.  Then I saw a really tiny one, but it was nearly $90!!
On our way back to the car we stopped for a look at Beechworth Gold.  Bill wanted me to buy something - we both would have loved the gemstone globes of the world - ranging from small to really large - but apart from the fact we would struggle to find a place to put one they were terribly expensive!  Anyway, we were looking at a necklace Bill had chosen, but I wasn't sure of the colour so I picked out a torquoise one that looked the same. Decided on that, and a matching pair of earings.  Got a bit of a shock when the lady said how  much - the browny one was about $30 which I thought was reasonable, but the turquoise one was $89!!  Earings only $19 thankfully.
Beechworth Anglican Church
We then drove up the hill and parked under the shade of a tree while we decided what to do next.  This was outside the Anglican Church.  On the opposite side of the road there was another Church building which is now a second-hand bookshop.  It has to be the best organised second-hand bookshop I have ever seen, especially considering it is actually like an op-shop - run by volunteers (?) with all proceeds going back into the community. It is called Quercus Community Bookshop. I bought three books and two Andre Rieu DVDs.  I have been doing a lot of reading on this holiday.  More than I've done for a long time, and I'm really enjoying it.
Quercus Community Bookshop Beechworth
Woolshed Falls Beechworth
We then headed out to the Woolshed Falls.  They were quite pretty, although not very steep.  You could walk down to the falls themselves, but we contented ourselves with looking down from the lookout.  There were three people enjoying the presumably cooling waters while we were there.
Next we headed for Chiltern. We looked at a junk shop on one side of the street, then one opposite.  Bill bought a 'thingy' - not sure what it is exactly.  It has two pots joined together, with one lid covering both.  They seem to be too small to be biscuit barrels, but not airtight enough to be tea caddies.  He liked it because it is a similar pattern to a tea set of his mothers that we have.  Saw a lovely and unusual old letterbox on the street corner.
Chiltern Letterbox

I went into a milkbar to buy an icecream and then we headed back to Yackandandah.
Main street of Chiltern
Yackandandah Milk Bar and Cafe
Tonight we went to the Yackandandah Milk Bar and Cafe for tea.  I had a tropical pizza which was very nice and Bill had fish and chips, also nice.  We sat at the table and chairs outside on the footpath and enjoyed the summer evening.

Thursday 23rd February - Young to Yackandandah

This is the last leg of this trip.   Our route today took us back through Cootamundra and Gundagai, through Tarcutta and then Holbrook. Holbrook is famous for the submarine in its main street.  It is HMAS Otway.
HMAS Otway at Holbrook
We continued on through Albury and across the border to Wodonga.  About 27 kms past Wodonga we came to Yackandandah, or Yack.  Actually we took the wrong turn and went the less convenient way from Wodonga we later discovered.
We arrived at the Yackandandah Holiday Park.  Like all the other parks we have stayed at on this trip it was a very pretty park.
Creek at Yack Holiday Park
The lady showed us the site and said she would come down soon with the paperwork, and the key for the ensuite - which was currently unlocked.  After we had got ourselves settled we went up into the town for a look around.  No sign of the lady by this stage.  Yackandandah is a very pretty town with lots of trees.  Many of the buildings are old, but well reserved.
We decided to have lunch at a little cafe called Java@Yack.
When we went back to the park we stopped by the manager's house to fill in the relevant paperwork - the lady's husband said he'd come down later.
For dinner we decided to try the Star Hotel.  We had quite a nice meal.

Wednesday 22nd February - Young, Cowra

We had another drive today, this time to Cowra to see the Japanese Gardens.  First we had a look at the Visitor Information Centre, then we made our way to the garden.  It was beautiful.  The web site calls it tranquil - there really is no other word for it.  You immediately felt at peace with the world when you were walking through the garden.  We had bought a bag of fish food to feed the huge koi in the ponds.  They practically jumped out of the water at me.  Even a duck got in on the act at one point, floating directly on top of the koi and beating them to the food pellets!
Koi at Cowra Japanese Gardens

There was also a Cultural Centre which included a traditional rock garden.  This appeared to be a fairly simple example of rock gardens.  When I was in Japan many years ago I was privileged to spend some time at one of the most famous rock gardens, Ryoan-ji in Kyoto.  This a link to another interesting site regarding the Ryoan-ji garden. The intriguing thing about this garden was that no matter from where you viewed the garden it was impossible to see all 15 rocks at the same time.  The rock garden at Cowra possibly contained 15 rocks, but they were all placed individually, not in the classic groupings of one group of five, two groups of three and two groups of two rocks.
Rock garden at Cowra
Ryoan-ji Rock Garden in Kyoto
It was certainly a wonderful place to visit (actually both Cowra and the Ryoan-ji!) and a visit to Cowra wouldn't be complete without a visit to the garden.  In the Cultural Centre there were also some painting, wooden models, Japanese dolls and pottery.  All exquisite.  The whole experience made me remember my one and only overseas foray with fondness.  We bought a small and a tiny mykino dolls to add to my apparently growing collection, a lipstick container which I am going to use as my pill box, a spray 'cooler' to help combat the heat, and a 'grow your own crystal garden' set.  I also bought the short DVD of the garden, which was taken during springtime when the trees were in blossom, and also includes a section on the building of the gardens.  A very special place.
Train in Roundhouse at Cowra
We had a bite to eat in the cafe before we headed for the Roundhouse at Cowra.  This is technically only half a Roundhouse.  They ask for donations, but it is all on an honesty system because there is not necessarily anyone there to talk to.  And even when someone is there they just say have a look around.  the man we saw did give us a brochure which we hadn't noticd on our way in.  Bill still seemed pretty impressed, but I thought the whole place just looked like a junk heap.  You couldn't go into any of the carriages or engines like you could at Junee.  However, Bill enjoyed looking around.
We made our way back to Young, where we went looking for the Chinese Tribute Gardens.  These were quite some way out of town, but well worth the visit.  There was obviously some construction going on, because we couldn't access the gardens from one side.  From other photos I have seen of the gardens I suspect they have either pulled down the lovely pagoda that was there, or it isn't visible from where we accessed the gardens.
For tea we went back to the RSL.
Chinese Tribute Gardens at Young

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tuesday 21st February - Young, Cootamundra, Junee

Might not have done much yesterday, but a busy day today.  We drove back to Cootamundra to pay a visit to the Don Bradman Museum.  This was quite an impressive display.  The volunteer on duty was quite a character!  Very helpful, full of information and most hospitable.
Bradman's Birthplace
Bill even had his photo taken next to a bronze bust of Bradman.  We spent several minutes watching a short video of Bradman's life and career.  It really was something to know we were standing in the very room in which Don Bradman was born.
We bought a few more souvenirs of our visit.  Next door there was a memorabilia display which we went to look at for a few minutes.  Lots of "olden day" things - some of which we sadly remembered from our easrly years - in about three rooms.
Bill and the Don
We had a bit of a look around Cootamundra as we tried to find the Captains' Walk.  We eventually found it, and spent a few minutes strolling through the park and admiring the bronze busts of all the Australian Cricket Team Captains.
Captains Walk
We left Cootamundra and headed for Junee.  We looked around Junee a bit, then went out to the Roundhouse Railway Museum.  I think the man who spoke to us thought I might not find it very interesting, but I assured him that I had been taken along on train rides, especially steam trains, since I was a child.  I do actually like trains.  I drew the line at climbing up and down steps to look inside the engines and carriages.  Left that to Bill.  As well as the real trains and carriages there was a wonderful model railway set up.
Model Railway at Junee

Steam Engine at Junee
Roundhouse at Junee

As it was getting on we headed for the Junee Railway Station where the old refreshment room was doing service as a cafe.  Had lunch there.
Junee Railway Station Refreshment Room

Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory
We also visited the Junee Licorice factory.  We opted not to take a guided tour - rather we just had a bit of a sticky beak through the viewing windows as they were extrudung some licorice.  They were just starting a run, and had to chop off the first few centimetres of the licorice rope that appeared. One of the employees gathered up the off-cuts and offered us a piece each.  It was nice licorice.  They also make chocolate, so I bought Mum a box of chocolate covered ginger, and me a box of chocolate covered licorice.
We drove back to Young. On our way back we
saw part of the Bethungra rail spiral. This is a unique spiral path taken by the rail lines so the trains can cope with the steep hill.  We didn't actually manage to get to the best viewing spot, but we did see one of the tunnels and some of the track -you could tell it was a loop.

For dinner we went to the Australian Hotel.
Australian Hotel
When we came out into the street after dinner Bill took this photo of the building opposite.  Not sure what it is, but it sort of a facde above a series of shops.

Monday 20th February - Young

We had a fairly lazy day today.  Just had a look around Young and did some shopping.
Went to the Young Services Club for dinner.
Young is famous for cherries (and other stone fruit) but we are about a month to late to take advantage of the  fresh fruit.  There were lots of orchards, and most had roadside stalls, but all were closed.

Sunday 19th February - Tumut to Young

Again we were ready to leave the park around about 9:30.  The day was again hot and sunny, but OK in the car with the air-conditioning.  First we stopped at Gundagai - where the dog sat on the tuckerbox. We went into the shop to have a look, and bought ourselves a couple of souvenirs - a small replica of the dog on the tuckerbox, a small glass dog, and just as I was walking out I happened to spot a Winnie-The-Pooh plate.  I thought it said $15 so I decided to buy it - it wasn't until the lady had wrapped it that she said "That will be $35 thank you."  I debated whether to say I didn't want it, but decided that I really did, so I bought it anyway.

Next we stopped at Cootamundra.  We went to the Information Centre at the Railway Station.  We bought a Bradman hat and some cherry jam.  We also had some lunch there.  We were told that the XPT train from Sydney was due in a few minutes.  We waited for a while, but then there was an announcement that it was running 20 minutes late, so we set off again.  As we continued north it occurred to Bill that the train should be coming towards us at any time.  We stopped at a spot where we could see the train.  Another man had had the same idea.  Unfortunately when it did arrive it was travelling quite slowly, not like the fast train we expected.  Bill thought it might have been travelling slower due to the heat.
We then continued on our way to Young.  Again we had rung the caravan park previously to make a booking for an ensuite site.  We stayed at the Young Tourist Park.  It is a lovely park, shady sites, concrete paths and 'driveways' on the sites and really nice ensuites.  An added attraction was the bunnies that lived in the park!
There was a short-lived but quite fierce thunderstorm in the evening.  We decided to have sandwiches for tea instead of going anywhere.