Category: Bailey Trips

Gundagai NSW

About Gundagai

Gundagai is a charming, historic medium-sized country town set at the foot of Mount Parnassus above the Murrumbidgee floodplains. It is hard to explain why it has become such an iconic Australian country town but, over the years, its association with the famous folklore image of the Dog on the Tuckerbox and its location in the heart of south-western New South Wales has resulted in a string of vernacular poems – ‘On the Road to Gundagai’, ‘Flash Jack from Gundagai’ and, most famously the sentimental song ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ which, in 1922, became an international success and the signature tune for the popular radio show ‘Dad and Dave’. One explanation is that Five Mile Creek, to the north of town, was a popular meeting place for teamsters, drovers, shearers and bush travellers. It was a natural place for storytelling.

Today it is a model for any town aspiring to attract visitors interested in its history. Most of the historic buildings in Sheridan Street – and that includes the Court House, the pubs and the beautiful 1929 Gundagai Theatre – have been tastefully painted in heritage colours. The iconic Niagara Café, a classic country town Greek café, is still open and largely untouched from its golden era when it hosted Prime Minister John Curtin. And, as a neat counterpoint, next door is a very chic café serving classy coffee. Sheridan Street has been paved in modest, grey paving stones; the wide street has had small gardens added to give it a pleasing shape and to break up the main thoroughfare; and, in spring and summer, the bushes that line the main street are in flower. Add to this an interesting and impressive collection of historic signs (they are large, well designed and accompanied by historic photographs) so that exploring Sheridan Street is a celebration of the history of this remarkable town. The town’s main industries, unchanged since the nineteenth century, are sheep and cattle with a healthy dose of passing trade from people moving between Sydney and Melbourne (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Road trip to Gundagai – Adelong Falls Gold Mill

Leaving Tumut we took the last leg of our Bailey trip to Gundagai (maplink); stopping along the way at the historical Adelong Falls Gold Mill site.

The Adelong Gold Rush began in 1852 with the discovery of alluvial gold at upper Adelong. The Adelong gold field was declared in 1855 and reef gold was discovered in 1857 in the hills above Adelong .The  Reef ore was processed in the ore crushing mills along the creek. The biggest and most important of these mills was the Reefer ore crushing machine built by Scotsmen William Wilson and William Ritchie, which remains for all visitors to view from the platform or wander through to interpret how reef ore was processed.

Bailey Farewells

After the short drive from Tumut, we arrived at Gundagai Cabins & Tourist Park for our final leg of our 19 caravan Bailey journey.

After 14 fantastic days of travel, exploration and making of new friends it was time to have our final dinner at the Gundagai Services Club with a private function roomed booked. It was really like a “last dinner” with us all arranged around a large “u-shaped” table.

Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory

This morning we said our farewells to our extended Bailey family and now the tour group is down to 2 caravans with Neil & Sharon and Neil & Merrisa.

We headed off to Junee (maplink) to check out the Junee Licorice Factory. What a hidden gem this place is, located in the old flour mill of Junee. We enjoyed a beautiful lunch in their cafe. They also have a fantastic array of goodies to be purchased.

After lunch we took a stroll thru the motor museum, which is a bit tired but still worth a look.

Here is a video about the Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory…

Tumut NSW

About Tumut

Regardless of the season, Tumut is an exceptionally pretty country town. Nestled in a valley on the edge of the Snowy Mountains it is surrounded by rolling foothills. As early as the 1850s the European settlers, dreaming of their home, were planting poplars and willow trees along the banks of the Tumut River. It is a town with four distinct seasons – summers can be blisteringly hot (it reached 43°C in 2014); autumns are a riot of reds, oranges, yellows, burgundies and browns; winters commonly see snow on the surrounding hills and fogs and heavy frosts in the valley; and spring, like a European spring, bursts upon the valley which becomes intensely green before burning off with the summer suns.

The Tumut River, which runs for 145 km before joining the Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai, flows through the valley. Fertile river flats spread out on either side of it. The rainfall, most of which falls in the winter between June and September, virtually ensures that the valley is green and fertile for most of the year (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Tumut Caravan Park

The drive from Cooma to Tumut (maplink) was a fairly short one passing through the plains where wild horses (brumbies) run free.

We stopped off at Yarrangobilly Village Campground for a break and it was very rewarding. This would be a perfect overnight stop for anyone travelling the Snowy Mountains Highway, with a lovely stream running nearby.

We stayed at Riverglade Caravan Park which is in a beautiful location right on the banks of the Tumut River (maplink).

Indigenous Talk

Today we had a fascinating talk from Shane Herrington who is a ranger from the Wiradjuri Aboriginal Community.

Items covered were bush tucker, the didgeridoo, creating fire with fire sticks, boomerang throwing and a walk through the local wetlands.

Blowering Dam

One of the power generation points of the Snowy Mountains Scheme is the Blowering Dam. We took a drive out to check it out, with a walk along the dam wall and a visit to the power station outlet.

There are numerous camping spots along the shore and it was well and truly utilised with hundreds of campers. Have noted it down for a future trip.

Cooma NSW

About Cooma

Cooma is the largest town in the Snowy Mountain region and consequently is seen as the gateway to the Snowy Mountains ski fields, the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricity Scheme and the Kosciuszko National Park. In recent times tourism and the snowfields have ensured that it is more than just a rural service centre. It is the base for exploring the entire area and a prosperous tourist town.

Central to the town’s attractions are the Snowy Hydro Information Centre; the Centennial Park which celebrates the town’s historic multiculturalism; the excellent historic walk and the fascinating Correctional Services Gaol Museum; and the area’s excellent horse riding and fishing facilities. The town has a reputation for being bitterly cold in winter when the winds off the Snowy Mountains and the Antarctic whip across the flat, treeless Monaro Plains (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Cooma Caravan Park

We left Mallacoota today for the scenic drive up through the great divide to Cooma (maplink), the largest town in the Snowy Mountains. The weather was brilliant and the views spectacular with a few challenging stretches of road, but we all arrived safely in Cooma.

It was a bit of a squeeze for our large convoy of 19 caravans at the Cooma Snowy Mountains Tourist Park, with some of us having to dig to level our vans. But all good, we enjoyed our stay at the lovely park.

Of course, we had the standard happy hour after we had all settled in with plans being made for the remainder of our stay.

Cooma Historical Jail

A visit to the historical Cooma Jail is a must when in town.

A very informative tour was provided by a current inmate. The inmates undertake training and provide the tours as part of their rehabilitation and road to release. Our guide, Tom, was a top bloke who knew a lot of the history of the jail, which dates back to 1788.

The jail has a very long history dating back to the first fleet and is still an operating correctional centre – find out more on Wikipedia.

Cooma Hydro Centre

A visit to the Cooma Hydro Discovery Centre was really informative.

To begin with we discovered that all of the Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme is managed through this facility. They also allocate pricing on the available power via a bidding system by the electricity retailers who use the snowy scheme. Learn more from the SnowyHydro website.

The Snowy Hydro story is absolutely amazing considering that it designed and built from 1949 to 1974.

Mallacoota VIC

About Mallacoota

Mallacoota is a quiet seaside holiday village which is surrounded by the 87,500 ha Croajingolong National Park with its 100 km of undeveloped coastline. The small town lies in the heart of a genuine wilderness coast. It is a village which seems to have been specifically created for campers and caravan holiday makers with the main foreshore between Captain Stevenson’s Point and Coull’s Inlet being a wonderfully extended caravan park. There is a great sense of laziness and peacefulness about the town with anglers in tinnies plying the quiet waters, campers relaxing and enjoying the views and the admirably named Bottom Lake and Top Lake being unspoiled places of great tranquility.

The poet and journalist, E.J. Brady moved to Mallacoota after World War I. He played host to Henry Lawson and other literary and artistic luminaries and has left us with a seductive description of the sunset over Mallacoota Inlet: “I have never seen anything in Australia to equal some sunsets that have held me spellbound in Mallacoota.

Picture a perfectly still sheet of water, three or four miles in width, with a number of little islets clustered in one corner, covered by green coast-currant and honeysuckle, with billowing ranges at the opposite margin; the Pacific Ocean spreading its blue floors eastward, and purple hills and peaks over in the west, where the sun is radiating bands of colour towards the zenith, green, blue, vermilion, and a hundred intermediate shades of rose and yellow!” The surrounding countryside is still that beautiful (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Mallacoota Caravan Park

The next stage of our Bailey caravan “Mountains, Rivers & Seaside” journey took us to the lovely seaside town of Mallacoota (maplink). It was a windy road in with the Bailey’s bunching up a bit on the road.

Booking into the Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park saw our 18 Baileys + 1 settle in for 2 days.

The caravan park was quite full and we were pushed up the back which was a shame as we didn’t have water views but there were plenty of local kangaroos around to take our interest.

A cruise on the lake

We were booked into a cruise on the MV Loch-Ard which is a timber motor vessel over 110 years old. This was a very leisurely (10knots) cruise across the lake checking out Allen Head and the historical Fairhaven buildings; feeding some Sea Eagles along the way.

Lakes Entrance VIC

About Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance is an attractive and substantial holiday destination at the entrance to the Gippsland Lakes and at the north-eastern end of Ninety Mile Beach. The lakes are fed by five major rivers, linked by narrow channels and cover 400 square kilometres. The lakes were formed when the sand deposits from the Tasman Sea created long, narrow sand spits and low-lying sand islands and dunes which eventually became Ninety Mile Beach which separating Bass Strait from the lakes that formed.

The rivers flowing into the lakes deposited silt and clay and a series of lakes and swamps were formed. Two areas – the Lakes National Park (2,390 ha) and the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park (17,600 ha) – lie to the south. The region, known as Lakes Coast, is characterised by a minimal annual variation in temperature being relatively warm in winter and cool in summer. It is popular as a place for family holidays, fishing and beachcombing (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Lakes Entrance Caravan Park

Leaving our free camp at Cobungra the Bailey “caravan of caravans” headed off to the Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve and Camping Ground on the Victorian Gippsland coast (maplink) with heaps of winding roads and plenty of steep downhills along the way. Plenty of hot brakes and blackened front wheels on the Landcruiser from brake dust.

Lakes Entrance Fishing Charter

I’ve been busting to do a fishing charter for ages and the opportunity finally came along at Lakes Entrance. Four of our group booked into Far Outing Fishing Charters and out we went “thru the notorious Lakes Entrance bar” in the dark (5.30am) – a little bit scary but we survived OK. Eight people in total plus skipper and deck hand.

We had a great day out in Bass Strait, travelling approx 25km South West of the entrance. About 40 decent size Snapper we caught along with heaps of Port Jackson sharks (I caught 2). Back to port at about 1:00pm and the crew cleaned and filleted the catch which was then shared out among the team. A nice feed for all, that’s for sure.

Wyanga Park Winery and Lakes Cruise

Whilst the Fishing Charter was on the remainder of our group travelled off to Wyanga Park Winery (maplink) for a bit of a tipple, some tasting and beautiful lunch in Henry’s cafe.

Following lunch the group returned to Lakes Entrance for a leisurely afternoon cruise on to Paynesville the lakes with Peel Lake Cruises and the fishing charter people got back just in time to join them. A very relaxing end for the day; naturally followed by happy hour back at the caravan park – cheers!

Victoria Falls Campground (Cobungra freecamp) VIC

Roadtrip over Mt Hotham

One of the most challenging caravan trips we have ever undertaken was taking the Great Alpine Road from Bright (Vic) over the top of Mount Hotham to the Cobungra Campground at Victoria Falls (maplink).

The drive was rather taxing on some of the vehicles with some suffering over heating, so we just took our time for a rest for both the vehicles and drivers; south of Harrietville at a wayside stop called B500.

As we crested Mt Hotham we drove through the Tunnel of Love (see photos) built to give the rare and endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum safe access across the road.

A lot of steeps ascents and descents and super sharp bends caused issues for some vehicles with overheating etc; but our Toyota Landcruiser 200 performed the task extremely well.

Here is Merrisa’s video of the high country as we crossed the top of Mt Hotham…

Cobungra freecamp

Following the mountain drive over the top of Mt Hotham we arrived at a “free camp” location at Cobungra (maplink). The campsite is known as Victoria Falls; an historic site of Victoria’s first large hydro power supply, built in 1908 for Cassilis goldfield 20k to the south-east.

We just squeezed our 19 Bailey vans into the campground, probably destroying the quiet amenity for the only other caravan in the campsite.

A great campfire was established and we were all totally enjoying ourselves; Liam ran his drone (video below) around taking some great shots and videos, then the heavens opened and we all took shelter in our respective vans – end of the singing.

One of our group, Liam, took his drone up (1st time) for a great view of the campsite…

Bright VIC – the journey begins

About Bright

Bright is one of those towns where, because of the extensive planting of European trees, it is overwhelmingly and naturally spectacular in spring and autumn. Nestled in the beautiful Ovens Valley and surrounded by the Australian Alps, it is awash with colours in spring and ablaze with orange, red, gold and yellow in autumn. Spring and autumn are times that draw crowds who are happy to simply walk or cycle around the area soaking up the crisp air and enjoying the beauty of the oaks, chestnuts, poplars, elms and Japanese maples, and the tall pines and eucalypts in the mountains.

Delaney Avenue, with its alternating Himalayan cedars and scarlet oaks, is particularly impressive. In the spring the mountains are carpeted with wildflowers, the alpine peaks are still snow-covered and the mountain streams flow with melting ice. After winter the willows, wattles, plum and apple orchards are bursting with buds and new growth. Bright is a tourist destination where visitors can play golf, bowls, croquet, tennis, squash or go flying, gliding, hang-gliding, horse riding or pan for gold. Winter is the time for skiing; spring is perfect for bushwalking; summer is ideal for swimming, canoeing and boating; and autumn is for gazing in wonder at the colours. Bright is a good option those planning to ski at the nearby resorts of Mt Buffalo, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek who do not want to pay for the chalets and accommodation at the ski fields (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

What a wonderful start to start our travels with our group of Bailey caravan buddies.

Wineries, Breweries & Vintage Cars

Staying at the Bright NRMA Caravan Park we began with a briefing session on the Friday arvo followed by dinner in the park. Then our 1st day involved the following activities…

On the way back into the caravan park we checked out some of the 70 Vintage Cars (circa 1900) which were in Bright for the weekend participating in the RACV 2019 1 and 2 Cylinder Rally.

We all then gathered together for happy hour at 5:00pm for a few drinks (of course) and a sing along. What a great start to our trip.

Mt Beauty, Bogong Hydro & Falls Creek

Our second day on the Bailey Rivers, Mountains and Seaside trip took our group up to…

  • Mount Beauty – a small town in north-eastern Victoria, Australia. The town lies alongside the Kiewa River, at the junction of the Kiewa Valley Highway and Bogong High Plains Road.
  • Bogong Hydro – for a tour of the power station and a talk by one of the volunteers about the history of the place and the town itself.
  • Falls Creek for lunch at Easy Eats cafe
  • Drive out to Wallace’s Hut ( built 1889 ) for a look at a traditional high country cattleman’s’ hut

Back in time for tomorrow’s briefing and happy hour – what a great day had by all who went!

Mt Buffalo and Red Stag Deer & Emu Farm

Today we had a self drive to Mount Buffalo for a bit of a look, stopping off at the 110 year old Mt Buffalo Chalet (maplink) for a nice group photo, with morning tea in an old stone building perched on top of a cliff – spectacular views of the valley below.

The group then moved on to have a quick look at Lake Catani before travelling onto the Red Stag Deer and Emu Farm (maplink) for lunch. Here we were treated to a talk by the owner on the history of the farm and how it has progressed to where it is today.