Author Dorothy L. ◦

Part 3 ◦ A sound no driver wants to hear!!!

Crossing from South Australia into Victoria, stopping at some lovely small stopovers along the way, Merino… just one night. At Goroke, Henry had a small amount of attention paid to him. Penola fuel stop, lunch including a rest stop, then back into the car.

I had stopped over in a nature reserve, 25 km before Casterton. The next morning I was set to drive off and the sound no driver wants to hear… whirr… whirr… a flat battery!!

I contacted the local RACV who arrived with a smile and of course the required battery… the dollars flew from my pocket like birds on the wing. If you haven’t realised by now, I am bird mad.

Some of the FREE stopovers are wonderful. Most have clean amenities, with several offering free power such as at Merino, although they do ask for a donation, which is happily given. On to Portland for those who don’t know is on the coastline not far from the South Australia/Victoria border.

Another free stop, no power but… the sun was out and the solar panels were capturing the free sunshine! After all I am on a budget.

I visited the Gannet Colony in Portland a few times and it was here where I spotted the Beautiful Firetail and the Rufous Bristlebird, two more birds on my list.

Rufous Bristlebird © Dorothy L
Rufous Bristlebird © Dorothy L

I then drove out to a forested area to captured some wonderful photos of the Azure Kingfisher. I love these birds.

In need of a break (it’s hard work enjoying yourself) I went to the Sawpits, another free camping spot half an hour from Portland. Whilst there I spent three days walking the tracks before returning to Portland.

Driving inland from the coast, Freedom needed a bit of TLC and I wanted warmth. This part of the trip has been cold, especially with the winds blowing off the Bass Strait. So with a night here and there I ended up in Ballarat (another cold hole), but I am sure it is nice in summer.

I decided to splurge out and have a diesel air heater installed! Oh what joy! Even on the coldest night and there were many on this trip, I knew I was going to have a pleasurable evening with my new heater, pure bliss even with all my clothes on.

I stayed at Smythesdale, a small town fifteen minutes from Ballarat where the diesel heater was installed in Freedom.

There is a superb cafe located next door to the IGA in Smythesdale. Here I enjoyed several wonderful meals. The campsite has great amenities with lovely hot showers! all by donation paid at the Post Office. I was to stay here a few times.

Blue-billed Duck © Dorothy L
Blue-billed Duck © Dorothy L

At Lake Wendouree located in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, I saw the Blue Billed Duck and the Freckled Duck on the lake. The Freckled Duck was a bit shy but eventually moved out of the water shrubbery allowing me to get some photos.

Freckled Duck © Dorothy L
Freckled Duck © Dorothy L

Next day I went to the Devils Kitchen just outside of Ballarat. I went there several times as I heard that the Peregrine Falcon nested there. My 100-400 m lens was just not up to the distance, unfortunately. But I did capture some photos.

On the road again I stopped for two nights at Colac, basically to enjoy an en-suite bathroom all to myself. You know that feeling, just wonderful (minus the bubbles). Then up into The Otways.

Thank heavens for the diesel air heater. It is mid to late October and I was now wearing four layers of clothing during the day! Have you ever tried to roll over in bed with flannelette sheets and wearing flannelette PJ’s? Just asking… it’s not easy is it.


Trip of a Lifetime | Back on the road… | whirr… whirr… a flat battery!!