It was decision time. We had a business appointment in Ballarat, Victoria, some 500km from our home in Griffith, NSW. What should we do? Drive our car and stay in motels, pubs, cabin in caravan parks, B&B’s etc or do we quickly pack the motorhome and go in that?
What to do?
We were already in town doing some Christmas shopping when we realised we had the perfect 5 day window to get down to Ballarat and back before we had any other commitments. It was a no brainer really!!
How many of you just jump at the chance to go ANYWHERE in your RV? We do!!
We keep our motorhome well stocked with dry goods, wine, full water tanks and full of fuel. To go anywhere it’s simply a matter of throwing in some clothes, the cold food from our fridge and a few extras like a book or two and my technology bag. We make sure at the end of each trip the motorhome is thoroughly cleaned and any little issues fixed so she is ready to go any time.
So back home from shopping, quickly packed and we were driving out the driveway at 11.30am. Pretty good we thought!
Now Australia has been in the grips of a La Niña event and there had been floods all over the place. Even in places that don’t usually flood. Roads everywhere were in a shocking state and it would take months/years to repair all the potholes. Deciding on a route to Ballarat was going to be tricky. Consulting the NSW Live Traffic app and the VicTraffic app gave us a route from Griffith southwards through Darlington Point, Jerilderee, Tocumwal, Shepparton, Bendigo to Ballarat. It looked like all the roads were open but we were expecting to see roadworks.
Driving through Darlington Point, which is right on the Murrumbidgee River, showed us how full the river was. The lovely little caravan park was underwater. The town was saved by the huge levee bank.
Continuing on we arrived at Tocumwal and again the town was saved by their levee bank. You can see from the photo below how the levee is holding back the water from the town. The mighty Murray River was huge as we crossed into Victoria.
We continued our journey via Shepparton where we discovered road closures in the CBD due to the flooding. It was a traffic nightmare getting through the city. Traffic was diverted into smaller side streets that really aren’t suitable for big trucks and motorhomes. It was a relief to be through and out on the road again.
We drove as far as a tiny place called Corop ad turned off the main road into Greens Lake. This is a lovely free camp alongside a large lake. There are toilets and dogs on a leash are allowed. There were quite a few campers already set up but we managed to find a nice spot and quickly set up camp.
The next morning we headed to Ballarat. We had a brief lunch stop at Creswick where we pulled into Calambeen Park. Calambeen park is home to a large man-made swim ming hole. It even has diving boards!
Just before Ballarat we turned off to meet up with the owner of R&R Pods. They construct glamping pods for the accomodation industry and we were keen to check them out to see if they’d be a good fit for our own place. We have plenty of room.
After checking out the pods we had a quick drive into the city of Ballarat and found the CBD not very friendly for long vehicles and, as we didn’t really need to stay in Ballarat we turned north again towards Bendigo.
We stopped for a lunch break in Creswick and had a delicious meal at the local pub, The Farmers Arms. A quick stop at the IGA for groceries and we continued on.
Around 4pm we started looking for a camp and found another great spot via the WikiCamps app at Franklinford Streamside Reserve. What a lovely spot. The road was a bit narrow and bumpy on the way in and there weren’t too many level spots but we managed to find a spot up high on the hill overlooking the fast rushing stream below. There were roadworks below that indicated the creek had flooded recently and the ford was under repair. It looked like it had been washed away and a lot of new rocks had to be brought in. It is a one way road in and provides access for the people who live on the farms along the way. We watched a few cars cross the precarious bridge and make their way to the other side. You wouldn’t have got me to drive across that rickety bridge! We had a little campfire and enjoyed camping there.