After one of the best sleeps I’ve had for a long time (must have been the soothing sound of the crashing waves) we set off from our fantastic camp at Shoreline Drive Camp 10 and headed into the village of Golden Beach. I will have to add Shoreline Drive Camp 10 to my Favourite Campsites list. We loved it there.
Golden Beach is an RV Friendly town with an RV Park ($10 per night donation) where self-contained RV’s can stay for up to 7 nights . There is also a dump point. As we were going past we stopped to use it. Beware! This dump point had no handle on the tap so make sure you’ve got your universal tap handle handy. Luckily we carry one, you never know when you might need one. We got ours from Bunnings and it lives permanently in the motorhome. Once we could turn on the water we were able to thoroughly clean the dump point of previous user’s mess and our own. Not a pleasant job but it needed doing.
Our drive took us back to the lovely Gippsland town of Sale where we’d booked to do an Historic Port Tour at 2pm. We thought we’d drive to the Port of Sale and park in the large carpark, take our ebikes off and ride down to explore the Botanic Gardens. Good plan!
We found a great flat spot to park up in semi-shade but with the solar panels in the sun, turned the gas on so I could put the fridge on gas while we were out, got the ebikes off the rack and got ready to set off. My bike tyres needed a little air and Richard’s front tyre needed a lot. Tyres all pumped up we set off.
Oh no! We’d only got half way around the beautiful lake before Richard’s front tyre went flat. He was using the pump to pump more air into it and the whole valve fell right off. Oh dear! Catastrophe! What to do?
I quickly googled bike stores in Sale and found one only a couple of blocks away so we set off for there. What a great shop. The lovely couple at Push & Pedal could not have been more helpful. The guy had a look and said come back in 20 minutes so we went to do some retail therapy.
Purchases made at Rivers we headed back to Push & Pedal. Richard’s bike was still up on the fancy hoist but it only took another five minutes for the tyre to be all fixed and back on. He also fixed a loose brake bit and tightened the chain. All for $30. What great service.
While that was happening his wife was giving me a lot of info on their town and what to do. She was so helpful.
So we set off again on our ebikes. First stop was Victoria Park on the recommendation of the lady from Push & Pedal. Here we found a lovely park with an Historic Water Tower in one corner.
We continued our ride back to the Botanic Gardens. It is a large beautiful park and we really enjoyed the lovely ride through it. Sale Botanic Gardens began way back in 1860 and was around 34 acres in size. A cottage for the curator of the gardens was built in 1870. Early plantings celebrated Queen Victoria’s birthday in 1872.
Lake Gutheridge is an important feature of the Gardens today but once it was a smelly swamp. Sale’s first mayor Nehemiah Gutheridge urged the council to convert the swamp into a lake. In 1884 it became a Reserve for Water Conservation and Extension of the Botanic Gardens.
The Botanic Gardens went into decline around the time of WW1 when the council elected to focus efforts on Victoria Park as its main garden. Much of the Botanic Gardens land was taken over by various sporting clubs.
In the 21st century the remnants of the original Botanic Gardens have been regenerated and reclaimed. A replanting program and a new lake have been created. Lake Guyatt continues the gardens and many pathways link the two areas. There are lots of areas to enjoy the gardens and on our way around we came across lots of walkers, some walking their dogs, jogger and picnickers. One lady had a double stroller and another infant in a baby carrier and a dog!
There is a fabulous children’s playground and we stopped to watch children having fun on all the equipment. Rich thought our grandchildren would love a flying fox like that one!
We found another historic building in the park called the Powder Magazine. It was here the gunpowder used by the gold miners in the region was stored. The little brick building was built in1861. It is now a museum.
We thoroughly enjoyed our cycle through the very lovely gardens. Well done Sale.
Back at the motorhome it was time for a bit of lunch before walking down to the Port of Sale to board our cruise. Port of Sale Heritage Cruises operate daily at 10am and 2pm. I’d booked the previous day. The lovely cruise boat is the Rubeena built in 1912. She is owned by the Lewis family and our skipper for the day was 80 year old Alan Lewis.
Our cruise set off on time from the dock with Alan talking all the time telling us about the important role that the Port of Sale had in opening up Gippsland to the world. He is a wealth of knowledge. The Sale Canal built in 1880 connected Sale and the Gippsland region to the rest of the world. You could sail on a schooner from Sale to Melbourne in 2 days. That meant you’d leave from Port of Sale, travel along the canal, through the Gippsland lakes to The Entrance and then out into Bass Straight.
For many years it was the only way to reach Gippsland and boats carried supplies such as livestock, equipment for the many goldfields and household goods. Black powder was only allowed to be carried by vessels under sail. Not hard to imagine why!
We passed one section of the canal where there is a large cutting. This was constructed by boat builder McCardle and is still called McCardle’s Cut. When the new bridge was proposed for downstream it was going to be so low that the boats McCardle built would not be able to go under. After much arguing with the government McCardle eventually took the government to court. He won the fight and was awarded 1600 pounds in compensation. This was a huge sum at the time. The Swing Bridge was built instead. It didn’t go all McCardle’s way though. He was also fined one shilling for making the cut in the canal without permission.
We cruised from the Port to the historic Swing Bridge completed in 1880 to allow taller craft to pass along the canal. Today the Swing Bridge is the oldest intact, operating bridge of its kind in Australia. It usually opens at 3pm every Saturday and Sunday however we didn’t get to see that as it is under repairs.
The little Rubeena has an electric motor and is perfect for quietly cruising so as not to disturb the wildlife along the way. The waterway has a myriad of creatures that call it home including Azure Kingfishers, a pair of Platypus, Moorhens and even Koalas. You may be lucky to spot a Whistling Kite, a Pelican or a Sea Eagle.
We were sitting next to a Gran & Pa who had their 4 year old granddaughter with them. They were obviously taking care of her for the day and thought she’d like the boat cruise. She got bored! Typical pre-schooler. I tried to interest her in spotting birds etc but she wanted to see fairies. Couldn’t really help her there! She did make us both smile though and it is chance meetings like that that make us really miss our 7 grandchildren and wonder what they are up to. We can’t wait to see them all when we get home in another week.
After a 2 hour cruise that went by so quickly it was back to the MH and off to the supermarket for supplies before heading off west on Highway 1. Our target was the Willows Park RV Park just outside of Rosedale.
It was only 25km from Sale and we pulled into the park about 5pm to find there were already 6 caravans and 5 motorhomes camped. There is a BBQ shelter, rubbish bins, pit toilets and a very large, flat grassed area that could fit lots of RV’s. The park is right beside the La Trobe River and there is a footbridge across the river and a walking/bike path that leads into Rosedale. The park is also right beside and under the highway so there was quite a bit of traffic noise however that would probably stop once it gets dark.