Jan 24 to 30 Mildura is quite a large town on the VIC side of the Murray and we stay at a lovely park just over the bridge on the NSW side of the river at Buronga. We originally planned for 4 days but end up staying a week. Mildura is one of the premier fruit growing regions of Australia, producing 95% of Australia’s dried vine fruit. It is also famous for its almonds, pistachios, asparagus, carrots, citrus and melons.
More fishing (just carp again but this time big ones !). We meet a couple, Harvey and Sandy, who were next to us when we stayed at Healesville – small world. Our van is sited right next to the river and we enjoy the view every day.
Mungo National Park, 110 kms north of Mildura, is the focal point of the Willandra lakes world heritage area, with 17 dry lakes. The highlight of the region is a 33 km crescent shaped dune following the curve of the (now dry) lake, called The Walls Of China. Mungo Man and Mungo Woman are skeletons dating back over 40,000 years which were found in the area. There are 90 kms of unsealed road to get to the Walls of China. Unfortunately, the weather deteorated on our journey and we could not go any further than the ranger station on the dry lake bed. Our 4 wheel drive looked really professional after the trip !! We did see some great wildlife though.
The Paddle Vessel Rothbury was built in 1881 at Gunbower, Victoria on the Murray River. Built as a large and powerful Tow Boat, employed in towing barges for the Wool and Logging Trade. She was well known even then, to be one of the fastest Tow Boats. The Rothbury was brought to Mildura in 1909 by Permewan Wright & Company who had an extensive establishment in Mildura, sharing the trade to the district with the Chaffey owned company, the second River Murray Navigation Company. The Rothbury now takes tourists on Murray River trips and we thoroughly enjoyed ours which took us through one of the major locks on the river.
Jeff and Faye Chappell were also staying close to Mildura and we arranged a game of golf at Coomealla G C which was a lovely country golf course.
Jan 20 to 23 Swan Hill is our next stop as we head west along the Murray River. Our site is directly on the river bank and this leads to a renewed interest in fishing for Bob. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of the introduced carp and that is all we catch. It is the law that all carp caught must be killed and cannot be returned to the river alive. Carp is to the Murray River as the cane toad is to Queensland. However, we are visited each evening by a beautiful heron that accepts the smaller carp as a welcome dinner offerring.
Cheese and corn were the most successful baits. Dont know how to keep the cheese on your hook ? Simple. Take a J cloth, cut it into a smallish square, sprinkle shredded Mozarella over the cloth, put into the Microwave until melted, put into the freezer, cut into small pieces which will stay on your hook due to the incorporated cloth.
The famous Pioneer Settlement takes us back to the mid 1800’s with original buildings, shops and transport. A fully restored vintage Dodge travels the streets along with a horse drawn carriage.
Lake Boga was an integral part of allied defence during World War II, with a facility that helped to keep Australia safe – the No.1 Flying Boat Repair and Service Depot. On the original site of the Depot, stands an underground Communications Bunker which has been transformed into the Flying Boat Museum. Also at the museum is an interactive map of the Pacific region and an informative 20 minute film in the theatrette about the importance of the site. The Australian Government had known the existence of Lake Boga as a potential site for flying boat activity as early as 1938. It was not until the Japanese attacks on Broome in 1942, resulting in the loss of 16 flying boats, that the establishment of a safe haven for flying boats and amphibians was deemed ‘Essential To The Defense Of Australia.’ Lake Boga was an ideal stretch of water for the flying boats and amphibious aircraft as it was almost circular (offering unlimited choice of landing/take off direction) and free of obstructions. The required infrastructure was already in place. Vacant land around its foreshore, an adjacent railhead and highway, electricity from the Swan Hill power station and lines of communication.
Java Spice is an Asian Restaurant in Swan Hill that had an excellent reputation. Note the ‘had’. Our experience was not a pleasant one. Thank heavens for TripAdvisor where we can warn others what to expect.
We have a hit of golf at Murray Downs which has wide fairways and could do with a few more challenges !