Thursday, May 29, 2008


We are now in Victoria in the lovely town of Echuca on the Murray River which has lots of heritage buildings and a wharf which was part of Australia's largest inland 'port' in the age of paddle steamers. At its peak in 1872, this stretch of the river had 240 active steamers carrying wool and other cargoes en route to Melbourne then ultimately to London.

On the way here we passed the irrigation canals supplied by the Lake Mulwala flooding ( started in 1939, completed in 1955 ). Australia confounds me sometimes.... I understand the drought conditions, I accept why the irrigation lake was required, but I do not understand why the main crop in this region is rice ( a crop which requires a volume of water that this country could never ever provide naturally).

We spent yesterday driving on roads inappropriate for a Winnebago exploring the largest red gum forest in Australia ( 66,000 hectares ). After 50 km we were utterly lost. The best solution the satnav could come up with was to drive west along the Murray river, a suggestion that we declined. Surprisingly we saw a forest ranger who pointed us back towards civilisation.

Meanwhile I fear that we are suffering from a form of Winnebago fever. It is dark by 5.30 pm so we have usually parked up by 5pm. The evenings are long and we need to make our own entertainment. The tv and dvd player both work well to pass the time and maybe we should watch more because tonight Vanessa covered 3 empty Milo tins with decorative sticky-backed plastic and then dyed her hair an interesting shade of orange, whilst I made great headway with the scarf I am knitting.

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