Foiled again, Qld wet season was another beauty, with record floods out west and the rest of QLD receiving lots of rain with some of the dirt roads in FNQ and out west still closed. And to top it off Cyclone Ului has crossed the QLD coast as a category 3 cyclone at Airlie Beach. Causing damage and flooding in the area. Areas out North West are also expected to get some more rain making it difficult for us to travel in these areas at this time.

We have decided we really need to plan a trip up north well away from the wet and cyclone season, maybe next June/July. The benefit of the good wet season is the dams are at the highest they have been in more than 10 yrs.


Australia is such a beautiful place you can just point the caravan in any direction and see some awesome scenery along the way. We have decided to point it towards the Victoria High Country and the Great Ocean Road, first stop Bright and the surrounding areas before moving to Mansfield and checking out both areas by 4WD, supposed to be some great 4WD tracks in the High Country, will be looking out for huts along the way. We will then travel along the Great Ocean Road, Great Otway National Park and into Mt Gambier in SA. From there it just depends on what time we have left of our 5 weeks away.


We are in full swing for preparing for our trip Chris has serviced the van and Jackaroo; everything has been given a good clean ready for us to get it dirty again. With lots more other bits and pieces being done getting us ready to leave in just over a week.

Days 1 & 2 – 1st & 2nd April

Day 1 – 1st April

We left Brisbane just before 6pm, we heard on the traffic report the main Highways were bumper to bumper and there had been a multi car accident on the Ipswich Hwy heading west causing big delays. So we decided to take the longer way in km’s but most likely shorter in time through Esk, Gatton, Clifton to Allora for our first night pulling in rather late. There were several other vans already there it was a fairly quiet night.


Day 2 – 2nd April

We had a big day travel today, leaving Allora and heading down the New England Hwy, planning to stop near Narrabri for the night. But none of the rest stops looked that inviting so we pushed on, they got worst the closer we got to Coonabarabran. So we pushed on a bit further to a rest area at Hickory Falls. 3 other vans were already settled in for the night. Was a pretty good spot for the night, there was some Hwy noise.

Camping at Hickey-Falls

Day 3 – 3rd April

In the morning we went for a walk to Hickey Falls taking a few photos. We only had a short drive today so no need to rush off. The first few days of any trip is mostly driving with nothing to exciting happening on the way. But today we meant a force of nature we had not encountered before.


Just outside Dubbo we passed several cars coming in the opposite direction that looked like a flock of birds had flown over them and dropped their cargo, with hardly any clear windscreen. We passed more cars in much the same state; we then noticed the car grills were full of bugs. Then we hit them, swarms of grasshoppers, you could see them in the distance but could do nothing to avoid them as they crossed the road. Not only did you hear the thud as they hit the windscreen we could see the visual impact as they splattered over the windscreen, sliding up with the force of the wind, leaving slim marks as they went over the roof. They got worse the closer we got to Forbes seeing hundreds of dead bugs on the road as we drove along. It was bad enough hitting a couple of grasshoppers but when there was a great big swamp crossing the road it was thud, thud, thud, slim. Slim, slim. We have found out grasshoppers don’t have red blood but lime green, with evidence of it on the front of the car and van. By the time we got to Forbes there was very little clean windscreen left and we looked like the same flock had dumped their cargo on us. My job when we fill up with petrol is to clean the windscreen. The locals at Forbes have said they are nearly in plague proportions this year.

We have stopped for the night at a lovely rest stop at Forbes right on the creek, an older local couple came to give us the phone number of the local police as they are having trouble with some of the local gangs, asking us to call them if they turn up, this is a popular rest area with several other campers. One of the other campers has taken it upon himself to warn all the other campers. Very nice of him but gee he could talk under wet cement.


We went for a nice walk around the creek which has a loop walking track around it. We saw fish jumping and quite a few locals fishing.


Day 4 – 4th April

It was a quiet night with no trouble. It has only been in the last few weeks they have started having some trouble with the youth and they are getting right onto it nipping it in the bud. Forbes is an RV friendly town and it’s obvious they are proud of their town.


We did encounter a few more hoppers along the way today. The locals keep saying they are bad this year. Everyone is cleaning windscreens at servos. We might have to take the car and van through a car wash as its pretty bad with bugs but Chris said wait until we get some mud on it from the high country that will cover the green slim up.

Another act of nature we saw today were these grass seeds things like little tumble weeds all over the edge of the road. In one place they were all over the road and we had to plough through them.

We have found the camps 5 book to be not that accurate in this area. We have stopped a few kms out of Bright. We had planned to stop 40 odd kms back but we couldn’t find the site listed even using the GPS co-ordinates. The stop we are now staying at is listed in the book as a night spot but at one end there is a sign saying no camping, but we have come in the other end, as have another lot of travellers. What sign???

So far it hasn’t been that cold, tonight is cooling down a bit, there are a few trees that have changed colour.

Day 5 – 5th April

It was a dark night so we were well hidden from passing car lights, 2 other campers came in as well. We did get up early in case we had to move on quickly. It was a cold night and morning, the winter PJ’s are coming out tonight.

We arrived in Bright just after 8am, filled in time taking a drive around the area and then later going for a walk until the Tourist Info place opened up. We then had to fill in another hour or so until we could check in the Riverside Van Park.


Bright is a nice country town, people seem friendly and it’s very nice and popular along the Ovens River. It would be really lovely to see snow on the surrounding mountains. The trees are only just starting to change colour. The place was soon packed. Bikes are a really big deal up here, you feel out of place not having one. It soon warmed up and was a nice temperature for shorts and T/shirts.

Just before 11am we went to check in the van park, only to be told the people who were on our site had not checked out yet (checkout is at 10am). We checked out the park while we waited, which is situated right on the Ovens River across from the centre of town. There is a walk that loops around the park, crosses over a bridge and along the town side of the river and back over another bridge. It seems it’s very popular with everyone in town as all day people have been doing the loop. We sat on the water’s edge and watched the ducks while we waited for the people to pack up and move on, they were certainly not in a hurry even after being told by the management to hurry up. 11.45am they finally pulled out. We were set up in only a few mins enjoying a cuppa on the banks of the river.


The park is in a good position, the downside is the constant people walking through; there are notices up about securing your belonging. The park is full, every cabin and site taken, there are many different groups here and some keep coming back every year, one lady has been coming here for 40 years. Most people are booked in for at least 7 nights. Powered sites for 2 people are, ouch $49 the dearest we have every paid, all the parks in the area cost around the same, one was $59 a night they are all full.


The town side of the river was packed with people everywhere having picnics on the banks under the beautiful big trees, some brrr even went for a swim, after how cold it got last night and this morning that water was not going to be warm enough for these Queenslanders. We did the loop and spent time photographing the ducks.

Duck Duck1 Splashing About Stretching

We often say parks don’t provide us with much, full of people, noisy screaming kid next door and for our $49 they tell us we can only have a 3 min shower. One plus of a park is we get to have longer showers and leave the water running while we get washed, instead of the quick wet down we get in the van, so for $49 we thought we might have a shower that was a tad longer.

Day 6 – 6th April

The kids quieten down before the park time of 10pm, so it was a quiet night but it did get a little cool.

The showers are quite good and give a good flow of nice hot water but, they have this industrial exhausted fan that kicks in within a few mins of you having your shower which is providing nice lovely warm steam, which the monster exhausted fan likes to suck away. Now this might be ok when you are on the side of the curtain with the running hot water but when you reach for your towel it is like a dry ice freezer on the other side of that curtain, brrr. Chris was trying to work out a way of disabling their humidity censor, which we think is a bit if a joke for us who live in the sub-tropics and live with humidity. They also have music playing 24/7 in the toilet block which is nice unless you are in the toilet with the speaker.


It is an overcast day today; we got away pretty smartly this morning, heading down the Great Alpine Road doing a big loop, going to Mt Hotham, Dinner Plain, and Omeo, then up the Bogong High Plains Road to Mount Beauty, Falls Creek and back to Bright. Checking out things of interest like huts along the way.

The road up to Mt Hotham is windy and steep. Lots of dead looking trees as you get higher to the top. There was nothing much happening or of interest at Mt Hotham just to say we went there. We then stopped at JB Plain Hut not far from Mt Hotham, it’s very close to the road and surrounded by snow gums it was an interesting hut. We filled up with gas at Omeo before heading along the second part of the loop.


We stopped for lunch at a camp area along a river, would be a very nice place to camp but maybe a bit cold. Another strange behaviour of nature we have encountered that we first noticed at Bright and then many miles away at our lunch spot. Is the dead hoppers on the front of the car are attracting wasps, lots of them, they are even getting to the hoppers on the radiator, fried hoppers must taste and smell good.

The road across from Mount Beauty to Bright is very windy and the first part is not marked, it is marked from Falls Creek onward, the way up to Falls Creek from Bright seems to be the main way in. We stopped at several huts along this road. The first being Faithful Hut, a very steep 700m track, in our opinion not worth the effort as it was not that interesting a hut and a very steep climb back up with loose rocks. My asthma starting giving me some curry and I struggled going back up with a very tight chest. Ventolin was the first thing I grabbed when we got back to the car and will be going with us on every walk from now on end in this area, gives one a bit of a fright.


We then stopped at Cope Hut which was our favourite; it had some really lovely snow gums out the front. And is only a short walk from the car park. It was built in1929 by the Ski Club of Victoria after the state experienced a surge in skiing in the 1920’s. The hut was called “The Menzies of the High Plains” by early skiers and walkers because of its size and comfort. I doubt if they would say that now but it was a nice hut and well worth dropping in and having a look.


We then went to the hut we had most wanted to see “Wallace Hut”, thought to be the oldest hut in the high plains. Built in 1889 from snow Gum slabs and Wollybutt shingles. Again it is surrounded by lovely Snow Gums. Unfortunately for us there was a group of campers near the hut and we had to carefully crop them out of any photos. It did limit us quite a bit and disappointing for us and the weather wasn’t the best but we have to go with what we have.


By this time it was getting quite cold, we had a lovely nice hot cuppa before continuing on. For us Falls Creek snow area was nicer than Mt Hotham we thought it was more interesting and wasn’t quite as deserted as Mt Hotham. We got back to the van about 6pm feeling very warn out.

V – Pioneer Bridges

Pioneer Bridges – T, B, F, semi OR, M, D. Camp spot next to the Oven River 2 km SW of Everton. There are lots of trees that are lined up to form camping bays, as you can see from the photos. You need to get in early to get a good spot. A little bit close to the road. The toilet was pretty yucky when we were there. Rating – 3

Pioneer-Bridges Pioneer-Bridges-1 Pioneer-Bridges-3 Pioneer-Bridges-4

Day 7 – 7th April

It rained most of the night, so we woke to the ground being very wet and muddy. From what we could see most of the sites at the park are on very sloppy ground, we had our jokey wheel to the highest it could go to get level. We saw one van that had dug a hole and put their draw bar into to get themselves level. Chris said for the price we are paying you would expect level sites, a concrete slab instead of the mud we had this morning and a hole to put the sullage into instead of it just running under the van. One plus of the rain it has washed some of the hoppers off.


We left the park around 10am, we haven’t travelled far today, we have pulled into a rest area just outside Everton next to the river , rest area is called Pioneer Bridges. There were 2 vans, a motorhome and a tent when we pulled in just before lunch. An hour or so later there are another 2 big van’s and 2 car loads of people tenting it. Correct that another little motorhome has come in. This stop has a tick in the Camps Australia 5 book but it is a bit close to the road for us to give a tick too. Has lots of tall trees which you put yourself in between, we can’t get our awning out all the way, at one end it does have a sandy beach area to give good access to the water or put a canoe in.



We just went for a walk and chatted to some of our neighbours, 2 couples away for a few days. They only live an hour away and have given us a few tips on some free camping areas in the Mansfield area. A little local knowledge goes along way.We are just relaxing this arvo, catching up on some computer stuff and reading some books. It is still overcast with the occasionally drizzle; it is supposed to clear this arvo.

Creek Pioneer-Bridges-4