near Yea Victoria
held on the
weekend from Friday 30th
October to Tuesday 4th November
Well, what a long weekend
camp we had at Murrindindi Scenic Reserve.
Murrindindi Scenic Reserve is located at the Northern end of
the Toolangi Forest about 10km off the Melba Highway and approx.
20km South of Yea in Central Victoria. Murrindindi, aboriginal for
‘mountain home’ is beside the Murrindindi River which runs through
the camping area. It is home to many species of flora and fauna
including lyre birds, wombats and wallabies and many different types
of birds. The Kookaburra’s and Currawongs were plentiful around the
camp. It certainly is a beautiful area so close and accessible from
Annie and Paul arrived bright and early on the Thursday
morning to secure the Blackwood camping area ahead of what we had
been warned would be an invasion of campers escaping the city for
the Melbourne Cup long weekend. On arrival we were lucky enough to
find the camping area uninhabited so we set about placing signs up
to hopefully scare off anyone contemplating camping nearby.
Unfortunately, later in the day a couple of campers arrived and set
up at Blackwood however, we parked our car to stop anyone getting
into what we considered a suitable site for about a dozen campers.
The only other excitement for the day was a thoughtful camper set up
nearby calling around to take all our firewood because he had
already burnt all his. A simple “no, this was left for the group”
obviously fell on deaf ears so he had to be persuaded that there was
plenty of firewood up the road. An hour later he finally decided I
had more time to waste than he did so he left.
Thursday evening was quite balmy and Annie and I decided to
listen to the river and watch the stars until late into the night
before retiring for the night ahead of the anticipated mass arrival
of not only our group but half the population of Melbourne.
Friday morning was a glorious morning bathed in beautiful
sunshine. We didn’t have long to wait before Dave with his new CUB
Supamatic LX arrived and began to set up before being joined by his
friend, Jane who drove up from the Mornington Peninsula for the
weekend. Shortly after Ron arrived with his Goldstream RV in tow and
also began to set up camp. Much discussion and several attempts to
get the treg hitch disconnected finally saw Ron setting up. Later in
the day Bob and Ann with their TVan and Mark with his camp-o-matic
arrived and set up.
Rusty, a member from Healesville turned up during the day to
see how we were getting along with the set up.
By 5pm we had Robert with his CUB Kamparoo in camp along with
Dale and Karen, Em, Nick and Jez in their Dingo.. David, Sue and
their little princess Alana arrived along with David and Susan in
their Pioneer Bushman and Mick, Sally and Jarrod (who had snuck in
under my guard and set up a short distance from the group) .
Already we had 9 campers in by Friday night and I was
beginning to become a tad worried about where to fit the other
members due to arrive Saturday morning.
Saturday saw Doug, Jeannie and Liam arrive in their Ultimate
which gave many of us the opportunity to see how quickly Doug and
Jeannie could set up along with Ian and Sandy arriving after taking
the short cut from Rawson and only taking around 6 and a half hours
to do a 3 hour trip.
By this time the camping area we had managed to keep clear of
the other thousand or so Melbournites was becoming pretty full and I
was beginning to breakout in a cold sweat wondering where we were
going to put any other group members who had indicated they were
Fortunately, the remaining members due to arrive were unable
to make it so 12 camper trailers was a perfect number for the area
we had allocated.
Friday evening saw the campfire lit and people beginning to
gather around for a catch up. Many had bought gourmet dinners with
them and the smells were absolutely mind blowing. We had Dave and
Jane with their gourmet Indian curry and Ann had prepared Bob a
Moroccan dish that convinced me he is absolutely spoilt.
Not long after settling around the camp fire we suffered our
only minor disaster for the entire weekend when it began to rain.
Well, it is Victoria and it hadn’t rained for a few days before the
camp so it was due. Sadly it rained throughout the evening so we
would have to wait until Saturday evening for everyone to gather
once more around the campfire. This did not deter several of our
enthusiastic campers who talked and drank well into the next morning
(right beside my camper mind you) before retiring for the night at
around 1.30am. David, Dale and Doug all fell asleep beside the
campfire until they were awoken by some Melbournites camped nearby
who had an obvious addiction for loud music and huge campfires which
finally stopped around 3am.
Saturday began with a clear sunny sky and movement became
evident around 8am with Ron firing up the campfire. Most of the
morning was taken up with friendly banter around the campfire and
shortly after lunch the Treasure Hunt was set in motion.
The younger brigade took off to solve the clues and find the
numerous signs posted around the camping area.
Winners of the treasure hunt were: 1st Jarrod who won himself
a new head lamp and 2nd Jeremy who won a double jaffle iron.
Well done to both Jarrod and Jeremy who correctly completed
the treasure hunt in 23 and 25 minutes respectively which was a
pretty quick time. Had the ranger not told me that stapling labels
to trees was taboo it would have taken you a lot longer.
Saturday night saw a “gadget” competition around the campfire
with some pretty interesting gadgets shown and discussed.
David gave a talk about his nifty little camper latch closer
which he had fashioned out of an old morris minor gear stick. It
made light work of closing the camper latches when trying to close
the hard floor on the camper trailer.
Mark bought along his homemade camp oven/ fireplace and gave
us a talk about how he made it and what he could do with it. Next we
heard from Dave who had a nifty little bottle opener gadget which
could be taken with you anywhere and used. This would have been
particularly handy when you had one of those stubbies with the twist
top that refuses to twist.
We next heard from Doug who had recently purchased a ‘barby’
chainsaw. It was so small I’m sure it will provide years of
invaluable service to Doug and Jeannie when Doug is off gathering
kindling for the campfire.
Next we heard from Bob who had an ingenious gadget he had
picked up I think from Bunnings for the princely sum of 48 cents.
Bob’s Bucket. Bob gave an extremely humorous adaptation of the many
and varied uses for his gadget many of which I will not go into but
I can say he had everyone eagerly hanging on every use he had for
his clever (albeit not unique) little 9 litre gadget.
Finally we heard about Jeannie’s new gadget which was a
colourful, illuminated cocktail glass that changed colours
continuously and came in handy when sipping on daiquiris.
Following a vote from all campfire participants the prize
finally went to Jeannie for her unique illuminated glass which won
her a camping cup set for her troubles.
We awoke to a magnificent morning to the sounds of the birds
and the river trickling over the rocks. Nothing was planned for
today except plenty of relaxation and campfire chatter.
Some took advantage and went on one of the many walks in the
reserve whilst others just sat and relaxed all day. Sunday night
everyone again met up at the campfire and it was agreed that we
would take the trip up to Cheviot Bridge which is about 30km from
Murrindindi. Cheviot Tunnel is an 1880’s railway tunnel constructed
through a hill and can be driven through. We had about 8 cars on the
trip and most finished up in Yea later in the afternoon for some ice
cream and window shopping.
We again woke to a beautiful morning of sunshine and this
would have been the best day we enjoyed at Murrindindi.
After a morning of relaxation we took off under the expert
guidance of Ron to visit the Cheviot Railway Tunnel.
Following a 30km drive we all arrived safely at our
destination and walked through the tunnel to the other end. I think
it’s about 210 metres in all. We then jumped in our cars and drove
through the tunnel and onto Yea where we enjoyed a walk around the
town. Had a stretch and then journeyed back to Murrindindi for an
afternoon cuppa and fireside chat.
Monday night saw us all sitting around the campfire once
again talking about travels and campers and all sorts of stuff.
It was an early to bed night for many as the pack up was to
begin Tuesday morning when many would head off back to civilisation.
This morning several campers began to pack up their campers
and by lunchtime many had started their journey back to Melbourne.
Only 4 campers remained and Doug and Jeannie along with Dave and Sue
were heading back home during the afternoon.
Only Rob, Paul and Annie remained Tuesday night and we all
enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of the area as most people had
left the reserve by dinner time. We enjoyed a lovely dinner cooked
in the Coleman Folding oven and sat around the campfire until around
11pm when it was off to bed and a good night sleep.
Saw another glorious day however, Rob had to get back to
Churchill in Gippsland and Annie and Paul were left to enjoy lunch
and an afternoon pack up before leaving Murrindindi around 4pm.
Being able to fit everyone in.
Plenty of laughs around the campfire listening to Bob’s gadget talk.
Treasure hunt. Winners Jarrod and Jeremy.
Enjoying great company under some beautiful Victorian sunshine.
Well, most of the time.
My freshly baked scones done in the Coleman Folding Oven (sorry
guys, most of you had left by the time I got around to baking them).
Meeting new and old friends over a cuppa at the campfire.
Our trip off to Cheviot Tunnel.
Camper walkabout and learning some new tricks.
On behalf of Annie and
myself I would like to thank the group and everyone that attended
the Murrindindi long weekend for giving us the opportunity to host
the gathering. We hope that everyone enjoyed their time at
Murrindindi and the activities arranged.
We really do appreciate the warmth and friendliness from all
members who attended the gathering. It made hosting an easy job.
Paul & Annie McDougall
Robert's Photobucket photos>>>>>