19 December 2011
We left home just a tad late, around 6am in cool drizzle and travelled south. The weather became worse the farther south we headed and remained miserable pretty much until we crossed the NSW Victorian border. Our first stop was the big Merino at Goulburn for a refuel, quick coffee and pie break at Trappers Bakery. Anyone who travels down this way knows of Trappers, a must stop for great food and coffee. There is also a McDonalds, Subway and a Café in the Service Station along with some accommodation, but we were just here for the fuel and food. We left here refreshed and ready to tackle the intermittent rain for another couple of hours. Our plan was to head for Holbrook for our lunch stop and have a quick look at the submarine.
To bring you up to speed our trip to Tasmania is not just for us we are actually holidaying with another 3 families, however we are not spending the whole time altogether. The others are currently spending time with other family members in different parts of the country. One group are at Bendalong on the NSW south coast, another have gone on to Melbourne for Christmas with relatives and the others are off to Adelaide for Christmas with their family so we are scattered across the better part of three states. Our plan is to all meet up at Cradle Mountain for New Year’s Eve.
Anyhow, back to our first day……. It was a fairly easy drive, albeit a bit wet, and we arrived at Holbrook in time for lunch, parked, and what should we see but a rig that looked very similar to our friends Jodi and Mark who are heading over to Adelaide. It was them. We thought they were going over the Hay Plains so had not expected to see them at all. What a great surprise! It was also a good one as Jodi had set us a task. She created a “Car Bingo” game to keep the kids (both big and small) entertained as we are travelling and we needed advice regarding some of the rules. Rules were clarified, a good chat had over freshly brewed coffee to compliment our wraps for lunch. Rested and fed once more we parted company from our friends with wishes for a Merry Christmas and a brief discussion with their two little ones about if Santa will be able to find them over in South Australia.
Travelling farther south the weather started to clear up a little with some blue sky attempting to show through. By the time we crossed the border we were in almost full sunshine and passing comments about sunny Victoria. The scenery became more pleasant due to the fact we could now see a much greater distance and we immediately noticed the improved quality of the roads. We stopped briefly at the roadside rest area at Chiltern to dispose of our last few apples as you are not supposed to take fresh fruit and vegetables into Victoria from NSW, something to do with fruit fly and other bugs. What a pretty little spot this rest area was, lovely trees and plenty of parking for cars, vans and even trucks. It was very well laid out with reasonable amenities and a good number of picnic tables and seating. There was even a short 15 minute bush walk you could do if you felt so inclined.
We left Chiltern rest area for our final leg of the day to Wangaratta. Our plan was to spend three nights at the North Cedars Big 4 Caravan Park in Wangaratta and take some time to have a look around the area before our ferry ride over to Tasmania on Thursday night. North Cedars is on the main road heading from the North into Wangaratta between the rail line and the river. We found the location very peaceful and the sound of the trains no trouble. The park itself was ranked 4 Star by Big 4 in the 2011 directory and whilst the amenities were not brand new they were very clean and well kept. We found the staff most helpful and friendly. All in all this was a great base from which to explore the wider region of the Wangaratta area.
To our excitement our friends Judi and Dave and their children arrived here to spend the night on their way down to Melbourne for Christmas so we enjoyed a few drinks and steaks before settling in for a well earned sleep.