Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

Lakes Entrance from the lookout

A view over the town from Lakes Entrance from the lookout

A view of Hollands Landing of The Narrows

The field by our camp site

The Crested Terns at Lake Wellington

Ninety Mile Beach at Golden Beach

A car train

The end of Ninety Mile Beach at Woodside

The boardwalk over the salt marsh at McLoughlins Beach

The jetty by the boat ramp

Port Albert


We are now aware that our motorhome should leave Australia on 15 September and we will take it to the docks on 13 September to ensure there should be no chance it will be 'bumped off'. As the camp site internet is working and we have credit to use up, we checked on the air flights for us and tried to book on line but failed. Because we have no home address in Australia the booking site would not accept our credit card. Our choice of departure is Sunday 16 September. There is only one flight on this day and it is a direct flight which arrives in NZ at lunch time; it is more convenient than a weekday flight and it is cheaper. We hope the flight will not be full.

This morning we phoned the air flights company to ask why our credit card was not acceptable and learned we must book on the British web site. Unfortunately a lot of the British travel sites will only let you book one way, only return journeys, and this was one of them. It seems we might need to book our flight through a travel agent.

Yesterday we walked a mile and a half of 90 mile beach. The sand was soft and it was hard on our leg muscles. As there is not enough time on our visa to walk the other 88 and a half miles, we decided to visit bits of the beach during the ongoing journey. But first there was a challenge on the near by crazy golf course which at the moment only opens on a weekend. Today is Saturday. This endeavour proved to be a mistake. The course was well set out and nicely painted; one of the holes was over 50 years old, and Sylvia had a return to form. I hadn't really wanted to play anyway.

At the tourist office we learned of a travel agent in the town and we walked back to the centre but the travel agent's office is shut on a weekend. Yesterdays walk was alongside the nearest lake to the ocean. Behind the shops was another lake and we returned to our van walking along side this lake. It really is a lovely area but it is time to move on.

After travelling the long distance of about 500 yards, over the bridge and part way up the hill leading out of town, we came across a viewing spot, and there was another one at the next corner, and a third at the top of the hill. This is a hard town to leave, but after a lot more photographs we were moving south on the Princess Highway. About 5 miles south of Bairnsdale we turned left on a minor road which curved near to Lake Wellington. Before reaching the lake we cut down to Holland Landing which is at the head of the narrows which connects the previous lakes to Lake Wellington.

The drive through this countryside passed by many flooded areas from the violent storms of two months ago; these occurred at the time we were enduring the unseasonable cold weather in Queensland. (The colder weather here is similar to a Scottish autumn but these poor lambs are not used to it).

The caravan site at Holland Landing, which was not covered by insurance, had been flooded and all of the washing machines and dryers were waiting to be thrown away. The grass had been scraped up with the mud and it will be some time before it returns to its best. In sight of our van was a large expanse of surface water which was being enjoyed by local wildlife. We are here to see Australia, warts and all. There was not much to see at the landing but in the late spring and summer this will be a busy spot. We received some strange looks from people wearing pullovers and coats who were fishing. Sylvia had returned to wearing shorts and I had on a short sleeved tee shirt. Once we tell people we are from Scotland it seems to quell their fears and it is all right.

Today we carried on with our journey, driving on the back roads along side many more pools of water left over from the heavy rains, and took a detour to Marlay Point on Lake Wellington. Whilst drinking our morning coffee we watched the socialising of a lot of Crested Terns who were resting on a line of posts in the water. It seemed to us that if you did not have a post, or were foolish enough to leave a post, you ran the gauntlet to gain a position amongst the standing birds. Returning fishermen told us there had been dolphins playing in the lake during the early part of the morning.

We drove through the town of Sale and down to the coast where we took more pictures of a part of 90 mile beach at Golden Beach. A minor road took us along a ridge between an inner waterway and the sea to Seaspray. Along this stretch of road are 16 well organised areas for free camping in the bush between the beach and the road and we had lunch in one of them. At Seaspray we were again reunited with 90 Mile Beach. It does seem to stretch a long way. During our journey I have told of the Road Trains. Today we were able to witness a 'Car Train', though I don't think the errant driver was too pleased at me taking photographs.

The back roads took us through the small village of Gifford and hamlets who don't qualify to be named on our map, before we reached Woodside Beach which is at the start of 90 Mile Beach. Our next destination on the meandering course was at McLoughlins Beach. There was no sand here. We walked the long board walk over salt marshes to where the boats are launched and on return to the end of the long jetty. The weather was still clear and a bit breezy, locals were wearing pullovers and coats, but we are from Scotland.

Our destination tonight is at Port Albert. One hundred and forty seven years ago this sleepy town had the same shipping volume as Melbourne, and it was not unusual for 10 to 15 teams of bullocks or horses, (often 16 or 18 to a team), to be waiting near the quay to load supplies. Night was near as we arrived and we drove onto the caravan site to view scenes of devastation and a few old caravans and screens dotted about. The caretaker had seen us pass by his house and he drove up to tell us the site was shut. I asked if this site had been flooded but the answer was no. This damage is more permanent. The 'Council' is selling the land for development so there is likely to be posh houses with their own moorings on what must have been a very nice spot for campers; the remaining residents will be moving to other sites.

Before seeking the caravan park on the main road a couple of miles out of town, we drove to the end of the wharf and took in the views before calling at the pubs fish and chips out sales shop. These Port Albert Fish and Chips had been recommended to us some time back as a local delicacy, and once again the recommendation proved to be well founded. Our order was prepared in the normal manner of cooking them fresh whilst we waited, so we sat in the old pub which was steeped in character and waited whilst savouring some of the other merchandise. It was a pity they did not have to catch the fish before they cooked it, and unfortunately our order was soon ready.

We were soon connected to the electricity supply and eating our lovely meal in situ on the caravan site, which although out of town, was still alongside the inlet of water. This was of benefit to those who wished to fish or were staying for a quiet holiday but not for us. After visiting a lot of different places today, we just want somewhere to stay for the night. Prior going to bed I named the photographs before I forgot which had been taken where.

Tomorrow our destination will be in total contrast to today's experiences.

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