Sydney to Melbourne coastal

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Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:09 pm

Drive we did in Nov 2017:

Arrived in Sydney from UK via Singapore, Scoot Airlines, Thursday night, Rendezvous motel near Central Station.

Wife wanted two things: a VB and Twisties.
That tells her she's back in Australia, like a small Amstel and a yonge jenever tell me I'm back in Amsterdam.
With added bonus that it horrifies our craft beery sons. And me too, as it happens.

Luckily, or unluckily, both were to be found in one of the crappiest bars in Sydney, the Crystal Palace Hotel just across the street.
VB & Twisties, not sons.
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Not many photos on google, understandably.
I can see why the barmaid is despairing.
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We met a bloke from Dundee in there who harangued us about the No vote in the Indyref.

I found the Twisties in a vending machine around by the pokies.

Jolly good night!

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:24 pm

Friday morning, woke at 2am, as you do.

Went to the early opening Sumo Salad round the corner as soon as it opened, like 6:30am.
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Fuck, I needed that.

Then went for brunch by the Opera House before collecting car, still looking a bit seedy:
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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:36 pm

Then off down the coast to Gerringong (Kiama was full, being Friday):
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Got an icecream at Stanwell Tops,
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We went that way mainly because I wanted to drive along the Seacliff Bridge.
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We stopped to look at the Kiama Blowhole:
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And continued on to Gerringong.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:55 pm

This was all just a short drive, as per plan, because jetlag.

In sleepy Gerringong, we walked to the fish and chip shop, which was very good - and just about to close at 7pm.

But it was a long walk from the motel on the hill, past all the holiday houses, along the beach, in cool and very windy weather, to the Werri Beach Fish Shop, which I can recommend.
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On the long walk back, we stopped for a drink at the "Bowlo", the Gerringong Bowling club, which was down near sea level.
Any other establishment was on the main street, a long walk up a very steep hill.
It was quite lively, very welcoming to non-members. Clientele a mixture of retirees and weekenders and the odd working local. Club raffles were going on with substantial prizes, over $1000.

One beer and my head was drooping so we dragged ourselves up the hill, had a nightcap in a bar on the tope closing at 10pm and went to bed, checked my email - still morning in Aberdeen - and flaked out.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:57 pm

to be continued.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:04 pm

Day 2: Gerringong to Canberra. Deviation from coast, and breaking my "no family while jetlagged" preference, but it was my little brother and haven't seen him and his family for a while.
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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:23 pm

Saturday morning.

Woken at 3am by not unexpected call from client in Aberdeen.

4pm Friday there, just when everyone is panicking.

Rebecca from drilling logistics asking wtf was our Monday shipment and sorry but she has me as contact person..
In my calmest normal "I'm just here on Friday afternoon in Aberdeen" voice I told her I'd cc'd all details to Alan ___, head of drilling logistics.
"Oh him!" she snorted. "He's a waste of space".

Thanking her for that information, I asked her email address and promised to cc her.
(On Monday she spoke to my secretary who told her where I was. "OMG. I. Am. So. Sorry" she said, but not her fault. All part of the seamless service)

No getting back to sleep after that, but about par for first couple of days in Australia from UK.

Started day properly with very good coffee at Blue Espresso https://www.facebook.com/blueespressobar/ , a truly excellent local cafe of the best Australian kind, friendly and kindly service, and - joy of joy! - gorgeous light and fluffy fresh croissants delivered each morning from the excellent Milkwood bakery down the road in Berry, with a tub of Vegemite. Simple but heaven to me.

Then we got on the road.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:30 pm

The country was looking lush and lovely after prolonged spring rains.

The Kangaroo Valley road ascended from the green coastal river plain through dense magical rainforest.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:32 pm

I have posted both internet photos and some of my own.
Rule of thumb - the crap ones are mine.

Kangaroo Valley road:
https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/s ... roo-valley

Just gorgeous.
A part of Australia that I was really unaware of, although it's not all remote from places I know well.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:44 pm

Another link, pretty much for the drive we were on:

https://berry.org.au/explore/berry-kang ... nic-drive/

We turned off for Mount Cambewarra lookout.
The day was cold and wet. You can see what I mean by my crap photos, but still I think you can see the great view.
We had a coffee up there at the cafe.

Down there is the Shoalhaven River.
Somewhere off to the right is Mollymook where Rick Stein has his Australian base.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:24 pm

We drove through dense mountain forest, green farmland - a wet spring that year - past horse and cattle studs, and, in contrast to some of the rundown desperate rural towns seen elsewhere, prosperous-looking villages and towns.

I guess they - the southern NSW Highlands - get the urban diaspora from Sydney and Canberra.

One such was railway junction town, Moss Vale, which I'd not heard of before.

Had enough antique & craft shops and wine bars to think you might be in a comfy suburb of Sydney (or Melbourne, given the cooler climate in these highlands).

Anyway, it's still only Day 2 of our drive and time to stop for lunch, which we did and had excellent salads at Highlands Merchant:

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Here is a pic of Argyle St, Moss Vale which I obviously didn't take, because autumn:

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by yehyeh » Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:12 pm

I love the southern highlands. It has a european feel about it. I holiday there each year. It's lovely and cool there when it's stinking hot in Brisbane.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by Lost Soul » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:40 pm

Thanks.

Try driving the McKillop's Bridge road over the Snowy River, E to W, from Bonang to Little River Falls.
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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:23 pm

Evening Day 2 and all of day 3 was spent mostly in Canberra with little brother and his family.

His daughter is learning fiddle so her teacher came around and we had a wee tune session. Which was nice.

Weather was mostly cold and wet but we made it to the impressive and moving War Museum and equally impressive in a totally different way, Mount Majura winery, just on the opposite side of the hill facing brother's suburban house.

Canberra's good like that.

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In the tastings I was impressed by the TSG and Dinny's Block so bought a couple of bottles and gave one to brother, then helped him drink it at dinner.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:28 pm

Day 4: Canberra to Eden.

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Weather was pretty shitty all the way.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:42 pm

We stopped for lunch at Cooma.

Still wet and quite cold.

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Went into the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre , which fascinated me, and for Mrs at least was warm and dry.

A bonus was a bunch of retired Snowy engineers being shown around and eavesdropping on their conversations with the guide, who was also an engineer, of the young generation.

One nugget overheard was that a planned dam could increase capacity by 20% but would take an Act of Parliament to build, since a National Park was imposed on the area, apparently for the purpose of preventing any more dams being built, although couched in the usual preservation/conservation language. Hey, ho.

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That pisspoor effort was the only photo I took so I've supplemented it with this diorama from the internet, the very one we were standing around when the above conversation took place:

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:32 pm

Still quite jetlagged really, but ploughed on through the rain towards Bega and Eden, over bleak and mostly treeless high country that looked a bit like the Scottish Highlands but with straight roads.

First however - first! We needed lunch and allowed ourselves the first pie of the trip:
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At Kuma Pies and Pastries, https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restauran ... Wales.html which was very good and I'm happy to endorse the bakery, but since it wasn't exactly like the typical Australian country bakery pie, (it was deeper and chunkier) we decided it wouldn't count as part of our pie allowance.

Nor would the delicious vanilla slice, aka "snot block", count:

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A necessary accompaniment to the fairly good coffee.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:43 pm

Drove straight on through pretty little Nimmitabel, 7th highest town in Australia! at 1070m.

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From there we turned off the Monaro Highway as it headed south into the mountains, and followed the Snowy Mountain hwy, back into dense forest as we descended from the High Country.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:02 pm

Once again down through the spectacular heavily wooded country, rain rain rain, on toward the coastal plain.

Into Bega for fuel, still raining heavily.

Nodded in passing to somewhat eccentric luthier Peter Coombe who made a mandolin for me earlier in 2017.
https://www.facebook.com/peter.coombe.37

I'd visited him in 2016 to sort out spec and then gone into town for lunch and internet and saw that the local music shop had some of his excellent guitars and mandolins on display. The guitars were possibly the best I've ever tried, but I'm not an expert.

"He's a bit special , isn't he", said the proprietor.
Well, yes, but that's good in a luthier, we decided.

A great music shop in a small town in an age when such places have all but disappeared.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:13 pm

Reached Eden in the rain, checked into Heritage House Motor inn, one of those great little self-catering apartment motels that used to proliferate in rural Australia, and haven't yet disappeared.

Not much open on an off-season Monday night so we squelched along - in the rain - to the nearby Great Southern Inn pub for a beer and then dinner.
https://greatsoutherninn.com.au/

Almost all locals, many still in their work hi-vis, apart from what appeared to be a lads' fishing trip from Melbourne.

After a fairly ordinary pub steak and a bottle of wine, we were feeling somewhat better , squelched home again - did I mention the rain? - and called it a night.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:14 pm

In the morning, things looked better.

Much better:

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That's my photo above.

Below is from motel's website. We're staying just above the CA in LOCATION.
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We visited the lighthouse museum then went to look for whales.

We didn't see any whales.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:40 pm

Day 5: Eden - Mallacoota - Cape Conran - Marlo - Metung
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Melbourne Cup Day! Just as well I could put my bets on in the Great Southern last night.

Made our breakfast from bought fruit etc at the motel, then went in search of coffee.

Sprout filled the bill, a pet-friendly place with a few dogs lolling around.
https://www.sprouteden.com.au/
https://www.facebook.com/SproutEden

Shortly south of Eden started the forest that would be our driving companion for most of the rest of the day.

Like this just south of the Kiah pub and caravan park, but as we drove into Victoria it would get taller, deeper and denser:

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Last edited by GLimpet on Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:48 pm

Side trip to Mallacoota - I'd always wanted to come here after hearing my dad's stories of being posted here during the war.

He was building installations on Gabo Island, top secret and he was told very little, but with revelations after the war he decided it must have been radar, which was shown later to be true.
The former RAAF No.16 Radar Station on Gabo Island is one of only five radar stations constructed in Victoria
during the Second World War. It is a typical example of the radar stations which formed part of a chain of such
facilities established on Australia's coastline in the Second World War.
No.16 Radar Station is a reminder of the increased presence and activities of the military in East Gippsland
during the Second World War, and of the Australian Defence Forces' response to threat of direct enemy
aggression and possible invasion. The Radar Station was of particular strategic importance during the Second
World War because of its location on the eastern most tip of Victoria on one of the largest and most isolated
parts of Australia's south eastern coastline. This section of coast formed part of an important shipping route and
was thought to be a potential target for aggressive enemy action, particularly with increased military activity in
the Pacific Region after Japan entered the war in 1941. The Radar Station provided coastal surveillance of
possible enemy sea or air action and was considered an important part of measures necessary to ensure the
safety of the shipping route.
He was obviously very fond of the place and went back on fishing trips a few times, despite it being a very long drive from Western Victoria.

But I had never been. In 1980 we went as far as the Gypsy Point pub and shook hands with the famous pub kangaroo.
https://timegents.com/2017/11/11/gypsy- ... allacoota/
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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:00 pm

The Mallacoota inlet has many sub-inlets with holiday houses dotted along the shore and in the forest.

The town itself is on a spit of land, but most of the foreshore is occupied by caravan park and campgrounds, which gives it a very family-friendly atmosphere.

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Time for lunch and it was time to try Lucy's, about which I had read many reviews.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by Lost Soul » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:17 pm

Eden was all about American whalers.

BTW, they recently discovered some names and boats inscribed in the rocks on the other side of the country, in NW WA, from the 1830s and 1840s. American whalers. My archaeology magazine had a whole spread on it. That was 20 years before the Australians reached the place.
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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:18 pm

I could see Lucy and a family member making her home-made noodles.

There were all sorts of things on offer, but it seemed like her "signature dish" of fresh abalone and homemade noodles was a good bet.
We had some mixed freshly-made dim-sum to share for starters.

Everything was "just so" . Subtly-flavoured local fresh food made with care and attention.
Not worth flying to Mallacoota for but well-worth taking that side-road to Mallacoota if you're passing.
Or a drive down from Eden for that matter.
if only every small town had a place like this.

It's a cash-only business and was told that she barters with the local fisherfolk in cash too.
Good on her.

https://www.yelp.com.au/biz/lucys-mallacoota
https://www.zomato.com/pt/mallacoota-vi ... mallacoota

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:23 pm

Lost Soul wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:17 pm
Eden was all about American whalers.

BTW, they recently discovered some names and boats inscribed in the rocks on the other side of the country, in NW WA, from the 1830s and 1840s. American whalers. My archaeology magazine had a whole spread on it. That was 20 years before the Australians reached the place.
Yankee whalers certainly got about and it seems probable that sealers reached some of these places even before whalers.
Most of the sealers, a rough bunch of outcasts, didn't keep proper logs or records and would set off locally in small boats for weeks on end so there are only scraps of evidence and reports of whalers finding makeshift colonies of sealers here and there - Bass Strait islands in particular..

Later in the 1800s, I'm sure you know the story of the Catalpa.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:06 pm

After lunch, we headed on back to the junction at Genoa, which I always called after my dad's pronunciation "Dj'KNOWer?" , unlike Italian JEN oa.


Then back through the dense forest, stopping for coffee at Cann River, not much more than a clearing in the forest with a pub and ... many cafes for weary drivers.

This is a picture of the local MP Neil Chester being proud of the new roundabout built last year which is to make even more drivers stop and spend money, I mean "to save lives".

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Everyone from truckies to bikies seems to stop for coffee here. There are about ten coffee places lining the road at Cann River but we chose Wild Rye's because Google or TripAdvisor told me to. And it was on the left.

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Macchiato and a custard tart, toilet break, and ready to go again.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:21 pm

We turned off after Bellbird creek pub towards Cape Conran.

This is my picture of the Snowy River meandering to the sea behind sand dunes , seen from the road between Cape Conran and Marlo.

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I wanted to get to Marlo in time for the Melbourne Cup so we could watch in company.
It's just one of those things if you're brought up in Victoria.

So here is the scene at the Marlo pub, waiting for The Cup to start:

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None of our horses came anywhere so we pushed on.

This is the Marlo pub balcony, looking toward the Snowy River.

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We had arranged to meet friends in Metung, still an hour or two away.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:32 pm

Weather was getting warmer and sunnier all the time.

We pushed on through Orbost, Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale and turned off down to Metung, settled into our poshest accommodation so far at The Moorings.

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You get the idea.

Then walked along this boardwalk to the pub to meet our friends for dinner (that's my pic):
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Turned out our the only other people we knew in the area, sister of a family friend from the other side of Victoria and her husband , were also in the pub, it being a holiday for Melbourne Cup.

That's smalltown Australia for you.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:35 pm

That was our longest day of driving.

Day 6:
Metung to Boolara via Paynesville and Morwell.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by Lost Soul » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:21 am

You scrupulously missed Moe. And now you're set up for the gravel road across the Strzelcki Ranges, then Cockatoo and the Dandenongs. Then turn back.
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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:56 am

Haven't reached Moe yet. That's day 7.

However my Google maps timeline will show that we went in there for petrol and drove around a bit. Played some gigs there in the olden days.

Didn't cross the Strzeleckis because we needed to get on to Melbourne that day and wife was anxious to see son and meet his gf.

Stay tuned for next exciting episode.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by Scrubb » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:11 am

I drove Syd - Melb along the coast in 1990 but would have to do some serious digging in old journals to try to figure out exactly what route I took

Enjoying your travelogue.
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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by Nines » Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:46 am

I'm enjoying your road trip report, Glimpet. Looks like some really nice countryside.

I like "Smalltown Australia".

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by lolasf » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:48 pm

This is a great report Glimpet, I hope you keep it going.
Things fall apart, it's scientific.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:21 pm

I might finish it yet.

It's kinda boring.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:17 pm

Day 6 started with a glorious morning in Metung.

To give you an idea, Metung village is on a small spit of land in the Gippsland Lakes.

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Popular with boaters, local farmers and city people looking for a chill getaway.

The Moorings is pretty classy for a motel:

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I went in search of espresso, chose "The Smiling Chef" from the two or three cafes in town.

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The nice little side bit where I sat:

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A walk on the pier:
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And then time to hit the road.

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:37 pm

We first drove around to Paynesville, like a more sprawling Metung and a bit more eccentric.

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Among other things, I was intrigued by a house built from shipping containers that I'd seen on Grand Designs.

Also the floating gig shed.

Both a captured in this picture:

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Re: Sydney to Melbourne coastal

Post by GLimpet » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:39 pm

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