After my idyllic stay at the Jamberoo Pub, we went on to Ulladulla where we spent two days with Max's brother and checked out some nice places to live including Tabourie Lake and Burrill Lake. Now we are wondering if Port Macquarie will be too hot and wet although the Ulladulla area is a little cool for January. The only thing we agree on is that we want to leave Melbourne and move to a much smaller town, away from the traffic madness of a capital city.
We then continued on down the coast and originally planned to stop in Eden but we have been there many times, so pushed on to Mallacoota in Victoria. We have only been there on day trips while passing through so it was good to stay overnight although there was no mobile phone coverage and incredibly windy. We usually cook outside or use the camp kitchen/bbqs but the wind was whipping up a bit of dust so we went to the Mallacoota Hotel for dinner (very nice seafood platter for two and three times cheaper than Melbourne and other places we've been). The stars tonight were absolutely brilliant as there is very little light as Mallacoota is so remote.
Next day we stopped in remote Cann River for an early lunch and unbelievably I had more mobile phone coverage there than I usually get at home (outskirts of Melbourne) so I'm not sure how they roll their networks out! One can't go past a Cann River pie and we didn't - not sure how many Cann River pies I've had over the last few years that we have been doing this trek through Victoria/New South Wales but it's quite a few! We weren't disappointed and after satisfying our pie lust, we moved on towards the Gippsland Lakes which are the largest network of waterways in Australia.
Our friends have a remote property just outside of Paynesville (apparently the boating capital of Australia) and they invited us to stay for a few days. Their place is a haven for just about every bird you can think off. You could spend all day watching the galahs, crimson rosella and lorrikeets and at night you have the owls and possums and other wildlife moving around as well. The fish weren't quite as plentiful but we did manage a feed of garfish which were incredibly tasty once you managed to remove the backbone.
They do a lot of their travel down there by boat so we did the trip into Paynesville by boat and also down to Loch Sport as well as visits to various of the islands which are also breeding colonies for the many species of birds that make the Gippsland Lakes their home. We even had a picnic breakfast on one island, you take all your rubbish back with you and the eco-toilets were interesting. I could have done without the very big hairy spider running across the picnic table as were eating, but then I wouldn't have known that I can still move that fast!
Eventually all good things come to an end and we said goodbye for the trip back across Melbourne and home to Hoppers Crossing (five weeks away and just over 5,000km). The pile of snail mail was unbelievable, but our good neighbour had mowed the lawn for us so that didn't look too bad. Unpacking the caravan was a chore along with washing it down, doing the laundry and going out to the shops, paying the bills and so on. How quickly life returns to normal!
My 'to do' list is several pages long - I have an article to write for Inside History, a Twigs of Yore challenge blog to write for Australia Day, four talks to prepare for the Unlock the Past War Comes to Australia tour to Darwin and the genealogy seminar on 25 February, two presentations to finalise for the AFFHO genealogy congress in Adelaide at the end of March, not to mention getting the house ready for sale! At least the time will go quickly and who said retirement is boring with nothing to do - they obviously weren't a genealogist. Stay tuned.