Saturday, June 16, 2012

Murray River, Sunraysia District Part 2

On leaving the Merbein Common we travelled all of 13 km to our next camp site at Buronga CP. Located on the NSW side of the Murray River and overlooking the Mildura Port Area. We were able to secure a riverside camp site at Buronga and had the magnificent view of The Murray and Mildura Port for four days. The weather turned out fairly good for us considering we are now into the Winter Season, cool nights with mostly clear sunny days. One of our fellow campers at Buronga had a Bocce set, one evening an impromptu tournament occurred on the grassy banks of The Murray behind our line of caravans.

Our Jayco caravan was required to undergo a 1000km service and we were very lucky to be able to have this done at Halls Jayco, Mildura. The service date was 8th June, the friday before the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Halls kindly stored our van in their maintenance yard for the duration of the long weekend and we made a quick dash down to Geelong to visit with family.

On our return and picking up the caravan we travelled on about 84km Robinvale CP. Yet again we were fortunate enough to secure a grassy riverside camp site with some friendly neighbours. The evenings were spent around a camp fire talking of our respective travels and experiences.

Due to the cooler weather and as we are Queenslanders with an intolerance to that type of temperature range, we have decided to abandon our Murray River excursion at this point and travel eastwards and northwards towards better temperatures. We fully intend to continue our Murray River odyssey at another time.

This was the view from our caravan site at Buronga CP. Moored at the Mildura wharf area is the PS Melbourne, the only steam powered paddle boat at Mildura.

We chose a perfect day to go on a cruise aboard the PS Melbourne. This is the wood fired boiler aboard the Melbourne, seems in pristine condition with fresh paint and polished brass gauges.

Situated above the boiler is the two cylinder steam engine that drives the paddle wheel shaft through this reduction gear set. The PS Melbourne along with this original boiler and steam engine will be celebrating it's 100 year anniversary come September this year, 2012.

Also moored at Mildura is the PS Coonawarra.

As is the PS Avoca.

Approaching Loch 11 at Mildura. Loch 11 is unique in that it is the only loch along the Murray River system that is accessed by a diversion channel. All the other lochs are situated alongside the weir and within the river banks.

The PS Melbourne is in Loch 11, the water level has dropped 2.5 metres and the exit gates are opening to allow us to travel down stream.

This is truly riverside camping. Our camp site at Robinvale CP with the Euston bridge in the background.

Our camp in the centre, a Tasmanian couple on the left and Michael and Sirpa from Mount Gambier on the right side. Michael and Sirpa had an Aussie Pig fireplace and along with John and Ellie from Queenscliffe, we spent two fantastic nights around the fire swapping yarns and helping the wine industry.

We had a regular visit from this fellow looking for a meal but unfortunately he doesn't like toast crusts too much.

Jude and I went for a 3km stroll into Euston and along the way we walked beside water that left is behind in the wetlands from the high water levels that came down the river earlier this year.

One of the very old River Red Gums still standing alongside the wetlands.

On our return walk from Euston, coming across the bridge we were presented this view of the Robinvale Caravan Park. Just beautiful!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Murray River, Sunraysia District Part 1

The distance from Renmark, the last town in South Australia's Riverland Area to Merbein, the first town in Victoria's Sunraysia District is 134 km. It only took about one and a half hours to switch camp sites, but we had to go into a different time zone and lost half an hour there too. We had been told of the Merbein Common early in our travels so this was to be our camp site of first choice.

A houseboat navigating the Murray River, here passing one of the 25 Merbein Common camp areas.

We had to wait a few days but we eventually got into a front row camp site at the Merbein Common. This was "our" view from the caravan and we were able to take this in for 9 days at zero cost. It is only 3km into Merbein Township to replenish fresh water and food supplies.

While camping at the Merbein Common we made a day excursion to Wentworth. This is the Darling River from the front of The Wentworth Club

The Darling River and the Wentworth Port area from the top of the bridge in the previous photograph. 

A model Paddle Steamer located at a Museum in Wentworth. A visit to this museum is a must-do for a visitor to Wentworth. All the models are built onsite in a work shop at the rear of the museum. The apprentice to the model builder is aged 80.

These three models are all of the same PS, Marion. Different owners made individual modifications to the vessel. The PS Marion actually began as a barge in it's early life until an early owner added a boiler and steam engine.

Wentworth is where the Darling River meets the Murray River. The Darling is in the foreground and the Murray beyond. It is not evident in this photograph but the waters of the two rivers are very different in colour, the Darling carries a yellow pigment while the Murray is more of a brown colour.

Fergie Park is a tribute to the little tractor that made the installation of the irrigation system in the Sunraysia Area possible.

Located at Loch 10, Wentworth, is this diagram of the vast Murray-Darling River Basin and it's associated water storages. This diagram does not show that a large part of the Darling flow originates in Queensland.

There once was a 'Hermit' nick-named Possum who lived along the Murray and Darling Rivers. This bronze statue is in recognition of Possum's life in the area and is located at Fotherby Park, Wentworth. Possum rarely visited towns but lived his life in isolation. Apparently he was never idle but was continually helping out the farmers of the area with free unrequested labour. Repairing fences and the like. In return for this assistance the farmers left out parcels of flour, tea, sugar and clothes etc. to help Possum survive in his self imposed exile.