00 Frosty's Aussie Adventures

Wednesday 24th April 2013
Day 1 - Melbourne to Swan Hill, Vic - 387 kms.

We left home at approx 9:50am, a bit later than expected but as we were in no hurry, no real drama. Headed onto Lower Dandy Rd towards Dandenong to Eastlink, then Monash, Bolte Bridge to Calder Hwy. It only took 58 minutes from home to the Calder Highway.
We stopped at the new Service Centre just north of the Calder Thunderdome at 11:05am (thanks Harry) for our first rest stop. This service center is a bloody pearler, it has a self serve weighbridge, so I used it. It cost $25 but it was worth it. Our rig with us on board weighs 5.61 tonne which is 200kgs under the Gross Combined Mass, so I was very happy.
Our lunch stop (12:27pm) was at Ravenswood Rest Area, there were 4 other rigs there while we were having lunch. Marg made tomato and onion sangas, they were Yumma.
As we approached Kerang, we stopped at the fruit fly bin and left our tomatoes. It was only an easy 55kms to Swan Hill, with beautiful views of Lake Charm and Lake Boga. We arrived in Swan Hill at 3:15pm and went straight to the BP and filled up, then headed to the Riverside CP.

It took probably 15 minutes to setup for our overnight stay. Power on, water on, HWS on, Digital TV (not Satellite), Internet on - all working ok.
After about an hour, I left Marg at camp and walked through the camp along the Little Murray to where it joined the Murray. Shock, horror, I spoke to many grey nomads, then through the gates of the CP to the junction where the ducks congregated. As I was sitting watching the ducks and other birdlife, I watched the white Muscovy duck approach me, so I took photos of it, then it started pecking me leg, so I kept taking photos.

After my duck photo shoot, I wandered back to camp for dinner. We had leftovers. It was Yumma. A quiet night writing this while watching TV and then to bed.

Tomorrow it is an easy 220kms to Mildura for a 2 night stopover.

Our route from Melbourne to Swan Hill, Vic - 387 kms.

Service Centre at Calder Thunderdome.

Lunch stop at Ravenswood Rest Area.

Site 119 - Riverside CP, Swan Hill.

I see you.

Here I come.

Your leg tastes nice.

Our rig.

A houseboat just passes by.

A beautiful river.

Thursday 25th April 2013
Day 2 - Swan Hill to Mildura, Vic - 223 kms.

We both slept very well, it was a 2 blanket night, with me throwing off the blankets at 4am it was getting cold, so I pulled on my sleepingbag and I was warm as. It didn't take long to pack up, so after watching Ch7 Sunrise and going on the internet, we left Swan Hill at approx 9:10am, it was a beautiful sunny morning with a light breeze. There was bugger all traffic with the first car passing us 50kms north of Swan Hill and I had the cruise control set to 87kph.
Our first stop was at just south of Narrung at 10:10am, where we chatted to a couple from Tassie, who were going to Darwin and then to Perth to Melbourne. Next stop was at a rest area about 22kms NW of Euston, NSW see photo below. We arrived at the Apex River Beach CP at 12:29pm. Setup camp by attaching the water and power and put our new skirt on. I will take a photo of that in the daylight soon.
At 2:30pm we went and visited Marg's brother and SIL and eldest son and his family, we chatted and watch Essendon beat the pies. After leaving the rels, we visited the Tourist Info Centre as Marg wants to visit the Mungo NP about 100kms away, so that's where we are going tomorrow. On the way back to camp, we get sidetracked and visited Woodsies Gem Shop. It was a great shop, old man Woods is a top guy, I spoke to him for 15 minutes or more. I saw some kyanite crystals.

We filled up with diesel on the way back to camp, had dinner (spagetti on toast) YUMMA. Marg goes outside to have smoke and read her ipad, I caught her in her 'new' room. See the photo.

Tomorrow we are doing a day trip to Mungo NP about 110kms NE of Mildura on an unsealed road and doing the tag along tour at 9:30am. The downside is the tour starts at 9:30am at MUNGO, so we have to leave camp about 7:30am to get there in time for the tour.

Our route from Swan Hill to Mildura, Vic - 223 kms.

Rest area NW of Euston, NSW.

Rest area NW of Euston, NSW.

Marg 'caught' in her new room.

Friday 26th April 2013
Day 3 - Day trip to Mungo National Park.

Who said retirement was easy and that you get to sleep in. As we were going to Mungo NP and on the guided tour which takes you to the "Walls of China", we had to be at the Mungo Tourist Info centre by 9am, consequently, we set the alarm to 6am and planned to leave by 7:30am, as it is a 110kms from Mildura over 88kms on unsealed roads (read bloody corrugated and sandy). I woke at 5:50am, and looked outside, it was dark but as we were facing the East, the sun was about to rise and looked absolutely beautiful. I got dressed and wandered about 50 meters from our camp to the banks of the Murray, it was glassy and absolutely beautiful. The Apex River Beach CP is on the Murray where there is a nice 50 meters wide and a couple of hundred meters long, stretch of beach.
We had brekky and left at 7:30am, the tourist centre didn't lie, the first 22 kms were sealed and the remaining 88kms weren't, but the mighty Navara got there without any dramas. We arrived just on 9am, paid the $22 each for the tour and all met in the carpark at 9:30am, where we followed Robert our Aboriginal guide to the 'Walls of China' carpark 9.7kms from the Mungo Tourist Centre. Mungo NP has a camp ground and a Tourist Centre, just outside the National Park is the Mungo Lodge.

Robert lead us to the carpark where the 22 of us regrouped and then Robert told us all about the Mungo area. The most interesting fact was the bones that were found in the area, have been dated to 42,000 years old, Robert referred to them as Mungo Woman and Mungo Man. Mungo Woman was found in 1972 and toured the world being dated by many archaeologists and now lives in the Mungo NP tourist Centre. Mungo Man is currently residing in a Canberra museum.
Robert then lead us to various parts of the 'Walls of China' and explained various bits and pieces. It was very interesting.
When the tour ended, we drove the circumference of the NP (61kms), it wasn't that interesting, except we did see and nearly hit 2 emus. About 12:45pm, we concluded our lap and stopped at the Mungo Lodge for lunch, I had fish and chips , while Marg had quiche and salad, both meals were very yumma. The drive back to Mildura was another bone shaking affair, but we arrived back without any dramas, topped up with fuel and bought a travelling pillow cushion for Marg at KMart, as we left her one at home. Today's trip was a total of 291kms round trip.
We are currently sitting in the shade in the park, watching the river gums on the banks of the Murray.

Newsflash: An All Seasons houseboat just motored past, I would normally take a photo, but I couldn't be bothered moving. Such is life.

As we had a full lunch, dinner will be get your own sangas.

Tomorrow we head to Broken Hill about 300kms away for 5 nights and some serious fossicking.

Site 164 Apex River Beach CP, Mildura.

How calm was the Murray. Very glassy.

Mildura's beach. It was stunning.

Part of our group. Robert is in the Yellow top.

Following our leader.

Spread out like Brown's cows.

The carpark.

We nearly hit them.

The sand dunes at the North East corner.

Heading back to the carpark.

Saturday 27th April 2013
Day 4 - Mildura to Broken Hill, NSW - 303 kms.

We both slept very well, it was a 2 blanket night, with me throwing off the blankets at 4am it was getting cold, so I pulled on my sleepingbag and I was warm as. It didn't take long to pack up, so after watching Ch7 Weekend Sunrise and going on the internet, we left Mildura at 8:57am, it was a beautiful sunny morning with a light breeze. There was bugger all traffic with the first car passing us 88kms north of Mildura and I had the cruise control set to 91kph.
Our first stop was at just after 104kms at 10:17am, next stop was at a rest area at 240kms. We arrived at the Broken Hill Tourist Park CP at 1pm or 12:30pm Broken Hill time.

As we are staying for 5 nights, we need to put up the awning, skirt, water, power and sullage.
At 3:30pm we went and visited Trev who is the Broken Hill fossicking guru. His rock collection is worthy of any museum, it is unbelieveable. We are fossicking tomorrow with a few of Trev's fellow fossickers, meeting out the front of our Caravan Park at 8am. We left Trev's and called in at Centro Woollies and did a small shop. Dinner tonight was one pan dinner. Yumma as usual.

Early to bed as we have a big day fossicking.

No Photos today.

Our route from Mildura to Broken Hill, NSW - 303 kms.

Sunday 28th April 2013
Day 5 - Kyanite day at Radium Hill - 230kms round trip.

We both slept very well, it was a 2 blanket night. We set the alarm for 6am, woke up, got up and onto the internet. Made lunch and meet Trev and his tag along group of Brian and Sharon from Port Macquarie, Ross (who was Trev's teacher), Graham and Glenis and of course, Trev. We had 3 4WDs in our convoy, Graham, Glenis, Ross and Trev in Graham's car, Brian and Sharon, and us. Graham led, Brian last and us in the middle. It was 92kms along the Barrier Hwy to the Tikalina Station, where we stopped and visited their museum of Radium Hill's past, it was very informative. We continued a further 20kms into the outback along tracks that weren't even tracks in some places. It was great fun driving. At this spot I found some Devil's dice and Kyanite blades, then we headed over to the large chunks of Kyanite a distance of 7.7kms away.
We parked and walked up a hill to the top where 'my chunk of Kyanite' was hiding. Trev found this piece a week or so ago and kept it for me, as I had emailed him saying that I would like a nice chunk. I reckon it weighs somewhere between 10 - 15kgs. I carried it back to our car and then went back up he hill to find some other bits. We had lunch back at the cars and then Graham, Glenis and Trev went off to another site, while the rest of us headed home, we were knackered. Only 109.8kms back to our Caravan Park, via Woollies and Maccas.

Back at camp, I washed all the rocks in water to try and remove the red dust, but most of it stayed on, so when we get home I will wash them in Oxalic acid, that should remove most of the 'crap'. We sat outside in the shade, I had a chilled refresher or two, while Marg had her water. I also rang up 2 property owners to ask their permission to visit their fossicking areas on Monday and Tuesday. They both gave us permission, with one we have to park and walk onto his property, he doesn't allow fossickers to drive on his property, the other said "Yes, but don't fall down any shafts".

It is currently 8:00pm and Marg is already in bed asleep, she is 'rooted', that is a technical term. I was staying up to write this, so you better appreciate it. I will post some photos of our rocks later, I am not sure when at this stage.

Tomorrow, we are fossicking for garnets, they are not gem quality, but are rather larger in size.

Part of the Tikalina Station.

The hole my Kyanite left.

Me in action.

our carpark.

Marg the fossicking trendsetter. What a team we are!

Ross and I.

My Chunk. The blue should come through after cleaning it.

My Chunk. The blue should come through after cleaning it.

My Chunk. The blue should come through after cleaning it.

Ahhh, the scenery.

Another. Ahhh, the scenery.

Our group.

Monday 29th April 2013
Day 6 - Garnets at Thackaringa - 57kms round trip.

We both slept very well, it started off a 1 blanket for me but ended up a 2 blanket night. As we didn't have to meet anyone, there wasn't any time restraints, so we didn't set the alarm. I awoke about 6:45am and Marg about 7am, we laid in bed and watched Kochie on ch7 Sunrise. We eventually got up and went on the internet, is there a pattern developing, sure is, we love the internet. After dressing and having brekky, we headed off to the Thackaringa Garnets area a distance of 28.6kms to where we parked, then we had to walk and carry all our fossicking gear with us. We took Harry Hema Navigator GPS with us, as I had marked some fossicking on him. It turned out to be 1.2 kms to the fossicking area. We walked around for awhile without finding anything, until hawkeyes (Marg) found a garnet about an inch square. before that we were losing interest, but after that we went back to the area that Trev had told us to visit and away we went, Garnets were becoming visible everywhere. We ended up with about 50 plus garnets, we were rapt. Now these garnets are not your gem quality, but some are big enough, that I may be able to cut slivers, so Marg can make a pendant. We decided that we had enough garnets and packed up and walked back to the mighty Navara. We had spend a good 2 hours fossicking.

We drove back to camp arriving at 12:06pm. We emptied all the garnets into a bucket of water but that didn't clean them. Trev had told us that all the rocks in the area have some sort of coating, he did tell us, but I forgot what it was called. So they will have to wait until we get home before they will be cleaned.

Mid afternoon, I rang Ross from yesterday's fossicking about tomorrow's fossicking for Corona Amethysts at MacDougalls Well. The meeting spot is all arranged.
The rest of today was spent just buggering about.
Dinner tonight was schnitzel and vegies. It was Yumma.

Tomorrow, we are fossicking for amethyst at Corona Station, well MacDougalls Well actually.

Where are those tricky Garnets hiding?

Are they hiding here? Nope.

Here they are!

Panaromic Views.

Panaromic Views.

Panaromic Views.

Marg making her way downhill.

Some of the better ones.

Another view.

Tuesday 30th April 2013
Day 7 - Amethyst at Corona Station - 195kms round trip.

It's turning into a nice pattern, we are both sleeping well, as it is warm at night, I start with 1 blanket and by morning I have 2 blankets on. Marg usually ends up with 1 blanket. In the morning there is usually a body snuggling up to me. Lucky me.

We set the alarm for 6am, woke up, got up and onto the internet. Made lunch and met all the group from Sunday's fossicking expedition except Trev, someone had to work and Trev draw the short straw. He was missed.
So our group was Graham and Glenis who bought Ross with them, Brian and Sharon and Marg and me. We met on the outskirts of Broken Hill opposite the Rifle Range at 8am, as we were last to arrive on Sunday and it was just over the road from us, we left about 7:40am so we would be first there. We were last again and still 10 minutes early. Go figure.

Graham was lead car again, followed by Brian with Marg and I bringing up the rear, covered in dust. We drove 25.6kms from the Rifle Club to Yanco Glen, where we turned left onto Corona Rd, for 53.2 kms until a 90° left hand corner (-31.266775, 141.418705). This is where you turn right onto a track with a windmill and a gate which are not visible from the road. At this stage you need permission to access the track to the Amethyst fields. It is 11.3kms along the track to the Amethyst Fields. We arrived at the area at 9:44am, so it was an easy 1.75hr drive from Broken Hill to the fossicking area. All I can say is 'thank god' for Graham our leader because I am sure that I could NOT find the fossicking areas, both today and on Sunday for the Kyanite without him. It is very difficult. I now have an Ozi Explorer 'track' for each area, if you are interested, send me an email.

All the areas that we visited have been well fossicked over the years, for example, Ross first came to these fields in the 1970s. Marg and I were happy with what we found, which consisted of green quartz, little bit of amethyst(which should polish up well) and a piece of Azurite. The Azurite was found right beside our car. So we assume that someone dropped it there. Thanks whoever did that.

We arrived home at 3:40pm after another great day fossicking.

Thank you time.
Trev for organising our 3 days of great fun, fossicking. Thanks Trev
Ross, Graham and Glenis, Brian and Sharon for being great company and for showing us where to go.


Dinner tonight was leftover schnitzels, Absolutely Yumma.

Tomorrow is rest day in Broken Hill. I think Marg is sleeping all day. Not really, I am driving the mighty Navara to the carwash and later in the day, we will be doing a small shop and then start to pack up the van.

We met here at 8am.

Stations in the area.

The joys of being last in our convoy. Very dusty.

Corona Road, only 53kms of gravel.

We stopped on the way.

Me in the Amethyst field.

1st fossicking spot.

2nd fossicking spot.

Nearly home.

Green amethyst fossicking area.

Lunch stop.

Wednesday 1st May 2013
Day 8 - Rest day in Broken Hill.

Normal night's sleep, it was a bit cooler but still only 2 blankets by early morning. Marg still ends up with 1 blanket.

As it was rest day, no alarm was set and we laid in bed and watched Kochie's Sunrise, for something different.
Got up, had brekky and then took the left rear tyre on the fiver to Bridgestone Tyre Centre for a new rubber valve, as I had noticed that this one, was perishing from age. I noticed it, after checking the tyre pressure before each day's travelling and thought that when I get to Broken Hill, I would get it replaced. The owner said come back in 30 minutes, so I took the mighty Navara to the carwash. Guess what, after 3 days of fossicking, it was filthy, covered in dust. The countryside is 'bone dry', Broken Hill have had bugger all rain since 7th Nov 2012 when they received 31mm. While at the carwash, I also took my chunk of Kyanite and gave it a $2 high pressure blast, it removed more of the dirt but there is still a brownish coating that needs the acid treatment. After washing the mighty Navara, Kyanite and vacuuming it, I went back and picked up the wheel only $10. I was happy.
Back at camp, we did a few loads of washing and just buggered about until Marg was ready and then we visited Centro BH, for some food shopping, a new hat for me, my old hat finally died and I also bought a block of XXXX Gold cans. They were on special at 2 for $85 and I bought one block for $42.50. Go figure.
As we were having a coffee at the cafe just outside Woollies, Ross (fossicking guru) walked past, we said 'Hi" and Marg invited him for a cuppa, he agreed and we chatted for a good 15 minutes. Ross is such a lovely person. We parted ways and said that we hope to see him again next year when the Broken Hill Gem Show is on in October 2014.
On the way back to camp, we filled up with diesel and pumped up the tyres in readiness for our departure tomorrow. Lunch was schnitzel sangas, which were very yumma and filling. The afternoon was spent with Marg having a nanna nap and me, just relaxing on the internet, until late afternoon, when I packed away as much as I could.

Dinner was a scratch tea tonight, after a big lunch. It has cooled down considerably tonight, so the sleepingbag may make a reappearance. Stay tuned.

Tomorrow we are off to White Cliffs, 291 kms.

*2013 - Index page*

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Heading to White Cliffs.