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Getting There

March 15th to March 29th 2008

Graeme, Mary and Steve in Berrima.jpg (238890 bytes)Saturday 15th – Graeme and I departed Singleton at 8.00am and travelled the Putty Road to meet the Newcastle members who were leaving the Caltex at 10.00am. We had morning tea at Upper Colo and then proceeded down to Pheasants Nest where we met up with Steven and Robynne Lilly, Rob and Pauline Wilson,  Graeme and Victoria Gardiner, Peter Dwyer and Andrew and Nicole Haigh.

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We had our lunch and were about to drive off  when Andrew discovered his battery was flat which required a jump start from Peter. From here we called in to Berrima for a walk around this gave Andrew a chance to check the battery and test the regulator. The car started ok and we departed at 3.30pm.Graemme, Mary and Steve in Berrima.jpg (258703 bytes) We then set off for Goulburn for a  petrol stop. Back on the highway there was no catching Andrew until we arrived at Gunning where we stayed the first night.

After settling in to our motel, Graeme Gardiner informed us he had no speedo. The boys tried to fix the problem but to no avail. In the evening we had dinner at the motel. at 6.30pm  

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Here we go again another National Rally, another long trip and yes another breakdown for me on the first day. In fact within only minutes of meeting up with the main group. It wouldn't be my last but this year my title of most unreliable car was to be challenged.




Steve_and_Greame.jpg (229647 bytes)Sunday 16th – It was a sunny morning with slight breeze, we departed at 8.40am for Gundagai. As we were driving along Peter tried to tell us something on the two way but we couldn’t understand him and Andrew said, “You are a bit distorted Peter”. Peter replied, “It wasn’t important”, which we heard very clearly. We had a chuckle. We arrived at Gundagai for morning tea. Next stop was the town of Tumut. We got petrol and supplies then headed for Blowering Dam arriving at 12.30. We drove over the dam wall, took in the view then went to the park for lunch. We found a nice big shady tree as the weather was warm.


Blowering Dam picnic area.JPG (258418 bytes)When going over the Snowy Mountains Andrew developed overheating problems with his car and had to pull over. He was following a slow ute towing a boat which probably didn’t help. Rob and Pauline pulled up to wait, while we kept going until the turnoff where we waited. Because it was so hot theBlowering Dam.jpg (169223 bytes) rest of the group kept going. We all reunited at Lake Tumut Pond where there was shade and we had a walk around. When Victoria got out of Peter’s car she had red bullseye marks on her clothes as Peter had treated his seats and didn’t wipe the passenger seat. Graeme G said, “Peter must be a wild driver as she was red raw”. Next stop was Corryong where we were staying the night.  


Down the Hill.jpg (145242 bytes)Along the way Andrew’s brakes got hot so we stopped for a few minutes for them to cool. Then he got another boost of power and we had to catch him again. We arrived at the motel at 5.15pm. Graeme and Victoria met up with some bikie friends. After settling in we went for dinner at the motel restaurant.

It was a bit of a test for the 'Old Girl' today. High temperatures and long steep hills. They don't have either in England. Anyway, it was that ute towing the boat that was the problem if he wasn't going so slow The MK9 wouldn't have overheated. That's my excuse anyway. At least the battery stayed charged.



Road to Mt Hotham.JPG (156016 bytes)Monday 17th – A sunny and cool morning to start the day. After filling up we headed off  towards Omeo. We dropped in at Tallangatta for another petrol stop and a quick stretch of legs. We stopped at Mt Beauty for morning tea. We  walked up the streets to a lovely little town. We stopped at Sullivan Lookout and the view over Mt Beauty was spectacular. We then drove over Mt Tawong and arrived at Bright in time for lunch. We then had another stroll around the streets and Peter, Graeme and I had our lunch in a pub then walked back to park to meet up with the others.  

girls.jpg (240757 bytes)We left at 1.40pm and drove up to Mt Hotham. The road was very steep and I had hold of the door handle and did not move in my seat until we got on top of the mountain at the Chalets. The girls had a photo shoot on the chair lift which wasn’t moving but keep Right.jpg (25926 bytes) I still was a bit unnervy. Robyn and Steven had made a little jag with a frog in it to give to Garry Morris when we visit him, so they put it on the edge of the mountain and took photos. The road down other side of the mountain was completely different with no cliff hangers. We arrived at Omeo at 3.55pm. We settled in our motel, and some walked down to the village while others drove to look around. Graeme and I opted to drive as we visited the Cuckoo Clock Shop and purchased a clock. We then walked to the pub nearby for dinner and then retired for the night.


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It was quite a drive over Mt Hotham, my theory about the ute causing us to overheat gained some credibility today, the faster we drove the lower the engine temperatures! The result looked more like an attempt to recreate the famous 1956 Monte Carlo Rally victory. Bending temperature gauges and screeching rubber ensured that our acrophobic friends were left far behind.



Rob feeds the Swans.jpg (216302 bytes)Tuesday 18th – We departed the motel at 8.35am to a sunny morning with a slight breeze. It was 19C in the car driving along. We drove through Swift Creek which was a lovely little old town and followed a creek some of the way arriving at Bruthen at 10.00am, where we stopped at a little park. Then we followed the Great Alpine Road to Bairnsdale for a petrol stop before continuing to Paynesville. We followed the river along and called into Eagle Point and stopped at the lookout overlooking the ocean to take in the view.  Joining us for lunch in Paynesville were the seagulls and swans which were trying to get Pauline's lunch but she was hanging on to it very tightly.  

Paynesville Swan.JPG (141080 bytes)After lunch we drove past the marinas before driving out of the town much to the disappointment of the lady navman who kept saying to do U turns until we caught up with the Princes Highway. After getting on the highway Andrew said we had to do a u turn to go back to the Antique Clock shop  which is on the highway out of Bairnsdale. It  wasn’t bad seeing all the old clocks and other stuff they had. Then we continued on the highway till a sign said Beng Wordem which was a back way to Sale. We passed River Perry and Clydebank Aerodrome and Lake Wellington before arriving at Sale at 3.30pm.


We settled in at the Motel, a great setting with our doors leading out on to a courtyard where the pool was and Andrew and Nicole opted for a swim in very cold conditions. Pauline, Graeme and myself managed to dangle our legs in the water and thought that was enough. Steve chickened out. It was good to be able to rest before dinner. At around 6.15 we then gathered for pre dinner drinks in the courtyard and the owner was only too happy to oblige to our needs.

For most of the day I thought it may be the first day without any car issues, I was gaining confidence in the battery charging system and had been using the air conditioning more and more. Sadly though on arrival at the Sale motel the battery was flat again. This was a little worrying as tomorrow I was to leave the rest of the group and so wouldn't have a jump start available when required.


Phillip Island 1.jpg (82623 bytes)Wednesday 19th – Departed Sale at 8.30am where we left Graeme, Victoria, Andrew and Nicole who were going their separate ways only to meet again at Geelong on Friday. Monty (Andrews car) had to be jumped started again but hopefully he will behave till we meet again. Peter was taking a video and he said ”Naughty Monty”.

Next stop Phillip Island. The weather was cloudy. We stopped at Traralgon for about 10 minutes and Graeme and Victoria tooted as they went passed . Later when going over the freeway we saw Andrew and Nicole as they were travelling down to Melbourne.

We stopped at Leongatta McDonalds for morning tea at 10.20am.The Phillip Island road was very dry which was hard to believe as it is coastal and you would think they would have had rain at some stage. We arrived at Cowes at 12.00. We checked into the Caravan Park, the cabins were good. Pauline and Rob took Peter while Graeme and I took Steve and Robynne down to the waterfront where we parked and walked back up the street for lunch.

After lunch we drove to the Motor Museum and track for a look around, then we drove to San Remo for coffee and then called into the Chocolate factory  before going back to the park. Pauline and Rob dinned at the RSL and the rest of us stayed at the cabin and planned the next day. We were going to have a ride on the Puffing Billy but decided it would be too long a trip.

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Today we headed for Melbourne, my parents had flown in from England two days earlier and we planned to pick them up and take them down to see Great Ocean Road before the rally. It was a fairly long drive from Sale all the way to Lavers Hill. But for once Monty was well behaved. The temperatures had dropped from high thirties to under twenty, so there was no need to use the air conditioning.




Phillip Island 2.jpg (120716 bytes)Thursday 20th – Departed Caravan Park at 9.10am and drove around to the Nobbies and Blow Hole. It was freezing cold but managed a photo with the ocean behind us. We then headed to Churchill Island for morning tea.

We arrived at Cranbourne at 12.15pm. This is a big town and we went to the shopping centre where we got some supplies for lunch and Peter got a new tyre. We then went back to the Motel and booked in and had lunch. Peter opted to stay at the motel while Steve, Robynne, Pauline, Rob, Graeme and I drove to the Railway Station and caught a train into Melbourne.

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We caught the city tram and went around the streets before going over to Southbank for a stroll and caught the train back to Cranbourne. On our return we caught up with Peter and went for dinner at the RSL club, which was within walking distance. 

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Meanwhile we spent a rather cool day exploring the ocean road. Today for the first time the windscreen wipers were called upon. Sadly the results were rather comical, so we had to sit and wait for the rain to stop.  

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