Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time to move on

As the word "travel" suggests, we are always on the move.  On Friday it was time to pack up our gear, ensure that the house we had been sitting at was being left perfectly clean, complete some shopping so that we left fresh food in the fridge for the home owners on their return from Hawaii and prepared for an early morning departure to Melbourne.

We left Sydney by 7.30 a.m. and joined the freeway that eventually becomes the Hume Highway which we would follow all the way to Melbourne.  It is a number of years since we have travelled the Sydney to Albury which is on the Murray River.  Last year we had travelled from Sydney to Melbourne via the coast road (to complete our coastal loop of Australia).

It was a long week-end in Sydney as it was Labour Day on the Monday.  The SES volunteers were out in force servicing the "driver reviver" stops.  We stopped at the Mundoonan Rest Area where the volunteers had tea and coffee available along with biscuits and sausages in bread.  This is a free hot drink service for drivers and a small donation is requested for passengers.  What a great service they are providing to the travelling public and the service is provided twenty four hours a day over all long week-ends and some others as well.  Well done!

We stopped to stretch our legs and support the volunteers.  The rest area also had tables, BBQ's, toilets and showers and plenty of room for children to have a play and run around.  All this adjacent to the Hume Highway but far enough off the road to be safe for everyone.

We continued south and we were making very good time as the road is four lane now from Sydney to Melbourne.  Next stop was at Albury in NSW for lunch at a park alongside the Murray River.  As we had plenty of time we took the opportunity for a half hour walk along the river track.  It was a beautiful day and there were lots of people around enjoying the facilities.

The river is beautiful as ever, however we didn't see any house boats this time.  We were surprised to see that the authorities have closed the boat ramp which seemed a shame for boating enthusiasts.

As we still had about four hours travel ahead of us, we continued on crossing the border from NSW into Victoria as we left Albury.  Wodonga is the first township over the border and is only four kilometres from Albury - literally over the river.  After five months away we were back in Victoria and it seemed very "normal" to be travelling roads we are very familiar with.

The paddocks close to the freeway as we drove south from Wodonga looked very bright with the yellow of the canola flower looking brilliant.  The canola is grown from seed and is crushed for the oil which is used in margarine and cooking oils.  Apparently in Victoria the main production of canola is in the south west, but is becoming more common in the north west .

Before long we were on the outskirts of Victoria and the welcome to Melbourne sign - it is always great to be back in Melbourne where we have many happy memories of our years living in Box Hill and have made a lot of friends.

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