Lake Wendouree

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    • Day 166


      March 25, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Wednesday 25. No flights, poor communication, what to do? Trying to get the news and research alternate flights was proving impossible on 3G. Even sitting outside the information centre to use their public WiFi was not helping. Time for a move.

      We decided to ask Kerry &John if we could go back to Macedon to get things together.

      On the way we dropped off at Carole’s, Bun’s sister, to have some lunch and to say goodbye. We walked the 4 miles around the lake in Ballarat that was used for the rowing competitions when the olympics were held in Melbourne (1956).

      We then drove on to Macedon to try to get through to the travel agent and find out what’s going on.

      On Wednesday evening were advised by our travel agent to register with the British Consulate for “rescue flights“ as there are now none available.

      Kerry has worked with Quantas all her working life. The network of cabin crew know what’s going on, what’s flying, what’s stopped etc. Kerry found out that Quantas flights were all full up until they stop flying at the end of the month. Qatar airlines are still flying and British Airways are flying from Sydney via Singapore. Malaysian Airlines are still flying but we have had three flights cancelled so far.

      On Thursday we contacted the British High Commission to be told that they wouldn’t be doing anything yet, we could try gong to the airport to get a standby flight, to stay safe and to carry out the advice of the Australian Government. Bun pointed out that the advice was not to go to airports etc. We researched available flights, BA looks the best for us. Some airlines appear to be profiteering with tickets costing many thousand GBP for a one way, economy ticket. We thought that we’d give the travel agent one last chance and phoned them on Friday evening (UK 8am) and told them we felt abandoned, that they weren’t supporting us etc. We were told that they couldn’t do anything if airlines didn’t release seats to them la la la. We booked flights directly with BA for Sat 11 April.

      On Thursday we arranged to move to an AirBnB at Riddles Creek, about 10 miles away, from Friday, despite having received a number of offers to use houses or stay with Kerry and John. However attractive the offers are, we don’t feel we can have anyone move out of their house just so that we can move in. We also feel that Kerry and John have been incredibly kind and accommodating; dropping by “for a cuppa” has actually been 4 stays for a couple of nights or so. We see them as a “fall back” option and it’s no longer fall back if we are staying there. What would we then have for plan B?

      Having done all of this, there are a lot of discussions starting in Australia about another phase of travel restrictions. Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania unilaterally shut their inter-state borders. We were in Victoria and need to get to Sydney in NSW. Travelling to NSW is further complicated by the fact that our rental car has to be returned to Melbourne and we are not allowed to have a drop-off out of state. not allowed to go inter-state.

      What to do?
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    • Day 12

      Lunch at the Yacht Club

      October 1, 2023 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      No one told us that the clocks went forward last night, fortunately, my phone knew so our alarm went off correctly, but mentally I was still asleep. That situation has remained now for several days. We had, what might possibly be our last shower in a bathroom for many weeks, then walked to Macca’s (McDs) to catch up with Carole. We walked back home with her, loaded Bill up and went off to visit Barbecues Galore to try and find something that would enable us to cook everything we needed while on the road. While Webber BBQs are probably the most well-known, there has been a recent change to BBQ legislation meaning that, if it is to be attached to a boat, camper, motorhome, caravan etc. the device must have an auto-shutoff. Weber has yet to manufacture their BBQs with this device and told us that they will cost $150 to retrofit. Ziggy, a competitor of theirs, produce a similar range with the shutoff installed. The question was, does it fit in Bill’s storage compartment? We spent time looking around the BBQ and I then had to go and fetch Bill from where it was parked. By the time I arrived back at the shop, we had run out of time before going to lunch - oh dear, never mind. We left BBQ-G and went to the yacht club via Carole’s to collect something we’d left. We arrived at the club just as John & Kerry were getting out of their car. However, we then had to get changed before going in for lunch, lucky we’d bought a house with us in which we could get ready.

      We hadn’t seen John & Kerry since we left Oz in April 2020. We had used them as a base when COVID started impacting our ability to travel, then selling Bertha etc.

      The yacht club was not the austere venue I was expecting, but a relaxed fast-food restaurant on the shores of Lake Wendouree. We had a lovely lunch and caught up on all that had happened over the intervening period. After lunch they came and had a look around Bill, Kerri said all of the right things!

      Once they left us, we needed to work out where we were staying that night. We found a McDonald's to jump onto their wifi, but that wasn’t working. The campsites we phoned didn’t pick up or were booked “until the end of the month”. One message just said not to leave a message as “I don’t know how to work them”. In the end, we decided to drive a few miles back towards the farm where there was a rural park with a campsite we were certain we could get in. The cost would be a $10 donation towards its upkeep. It had few facilities, toilets and showers. Unfortunately, a key was needed for the showers and neither of the caretakers answered their phones. Despite that, we had an enjoyable night albeit disturbed by wind and rain, and an introduction to the coming week’s weather.
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    • Day 4

      David’s Party

      September 23, 2023 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      We spent a lovely day celebrating David’s birthday. David is Carole’s 3rd child. The Barr family with children came over, David & Sarah and also William.

    • Day 112


      March 29, 2017 in Australia ⋅ 🌬 20 °C

      3 nights free camping at Haddon Lions Park, about 15 minutes outside Ballarat. Great spot with toilets, potable water and only about 3 vans.

      Because we did the Gold Mine tour in Bendigo, we decided to skip Sovereign Hill. Reviews seemed to indicate it was overpriced and dated so we were happy to save our money. We walked the heritage streetscape of Lydiard Street, visited the Eureka Stockade Museum, Lake Wendouree, Botanical Gardens, War Memorial, Arch of Victory and Mill Markets. I enjoyed the Eureka Stockade Museum and got a good photo of what's left of the actual Eureka Flag that is on display. The flag is huge...about 4x3m. Lots of missing bits as they were cut up and given as souvenirs.

      Getting colder still...5 - 27°
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