Easter Trip 2019 (Part Two/Final Report)


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Hi everyone,

My last report ended with us having just set up camp on the shores of Lake Bonney just north of Barmera in South Australia.

On our first morning there well before sunrise itself, there was a colourful glow in the sky.

It was so still, I went for a paddle in the kayak which was so peaceful and serene.

We were only a kilometre or so from the Lake Bonney Hotel ruins. I have shown them before in reports but I thought it appropriate to mention the history of them again.

The main hotel ruins are on the right, the chimney on the left is all that remains from the original owners cottage.

Two British labourers trying to make their way in a new country (William Napper and William Parnell) found their chosen work in the area pretty hard going, so built the Hotel in 1859. It was on a well used stock route so they did pretty well in the early years, the main Hotel had eleven rooms!!

20 metres south of those buildings were the Hotels store and cellar which has been partially restored.

A track around part of the Lake and a view along the shoreline showing the abstract shapes of some old gums (Trees).

The number of really old mature dead River Red Gums around the Lake was something that intrigued me. It wasn’t normal for a natural Lake system to have so many so when I got home from the trip I investigated further.

Lake Bonney is naturally connected to the Murray River by a local creek, as the Murray’s water levels fluctuated so did the lakes. In 1925 a lock/weir was constructed on the river not that far downstream from the creek/lake which then kept the water level artificially at a higher level than it would have been naturally.

Although River Red Gums can survive lengthy periods of inundation they can’t survive forever in such conditions so all the dead trees you see in the area were drowned, the increased salinity of the water wouldn’t have helped either. For those over seas, this area is maybe 500ks from the ocean but most of inland Australia was once under the sea so rising salt levels is a constant problem.

Back at camp the calm conditions continued right through the day.

There were some lovely soft colours cast by the setting sun.

The girls were happy when nearly all the colour had gone out of the sky as I’d been up and down like a brides nightie!! Although the fire was nice, there was so much to see, capture and enjoy.

Looking out across the lake to the lights of Barmera in the distance.

The whitish domed light to the left of centre in that last pic were the lights of Renmark which was some distance away.

The next morning the superb colours and vistas continued, these next pics were taken quite early, a bit later and then around the girls breakfast time.

Another historic building not far from our camp was the Overland Hotel. It was built in 1859 on a site known as the 'Overland Corner' which was already a popular resting place for drovers and passengers of paddle boats and stage coaches etc.



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Today it still is a operating Hotel/pub but during the past 160 years it has at times been a staging post for coaches, a general store, a police station and even the local Post Office.

The rear of the Overland Hotel.

A short distance from there was the original cemetery.

Driving back to camp we called into the Overland Corner Weir/Lock, that caused the environmental issues back at Lake Bonney

Late in the day the girls got into the swing of things by taking the kayak out for an adrenalin pumping paddle!!

A couple of night shots, the first just prior to hitting the sack and the next in the middle of the night when I got up for a pee.

After spending a fair bit of the night pottering about taking pics when most would be punching out the zeds, I nearly slept through a spectacular sunrise. I awoke and was in the Kayak in what seemed seconds, just enough time to done a warm jacket and that’s about it.

With the temperature that morning 1.5 degrees every part of me was very cold!! but it was so worth it.

I didn’t bother scrambling back into bed and warming myself next to Jen as I’m sure she wouldn’t have appreciated being woken by an ice block resting against her!! I dressed more appropriately and got the fire pumping, so toasty.

After a magnificent time on the Lake with every day around 30 degrees, we headed south to our next camp on the banks of the Murray close to Loxton.

Early evening and then sunrise.

That day was overcast with a bit of drizzle which was fine as we drove to our next camp at the Horseshoe Bend Campground in the Little Desert National Park near Dimboola in Victoria, arriving mid afternoon.

We lit our fire and settled in beside the Wimmera River, really enjoying the ambience of this lovely campground. Late in the day the weather cleared with a bit of sunshine lighting up the area creating some lovely scenes along the river.

Our last night away and mother nature turned it on with another spectacular sunset.

The colours and cloud formation was so extensive it was impossible to capture it all, this next pic is just the reflections in the River.

One last night sky pic.



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Our campsite and a few pics along the river in front of our van early the next morning on our last day of our trip.

We then headed for home stopping for lunch at Beaufort, a lovely town with a number of old buildings (for Australia that is!) The fire station being one as was the Mechanics Institute building a short distance from it.

I thought it interesting that above the doorway to that building the date 1873 was boldly emblazoned, but just to the left of it was this foundation stone??

Right next to that was this building, built in 1874 it was used to house the towns Weighbridge scales.

The last pic I took on this trip was right in the centre of town, this impressive Rotunda was built in 1903 to commemorate “The Glorious Reign of Queen Victoria” as the plaque beside it said.

Hope you enjoyed the reports, the van did all we asked of it and Jen in particular was very happy with the onboard shower and toilet.


Col and Jen.


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Thanks guy's,

As you have seen not really 4x4 type stuff but still some nice destinations. I'm glad they're bringing some enjoyment to you all and that hopefully it may broaden every ones knowledge of what's out there in a physical and an historical sense.

Regards Col.