Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Let's Stay Put

After a huge thunderstorm the night before with lots of rain and lightning, it’s hard to fathom how the following morning could spring so brilliantly, blue skies, gentle breezes and plenty of sunshine. 

After a lazy sleep in (as much as we could with kids) and breakfast, we gathered all our hiking gear and headed off to see the Aroona Ruins and lookout, which wasn’t that far away.  Pretty soon we were looking over the stone ruins of the Aroona homestead.  It is fascinating to stand there and try to imagine how things were back then, how much of a vibrant home this must have been, and what hardships they faced daily, as well as the delights.
They must have made a little bit of money because the homestead seemed pretty extravagant, in relative terms anyway.  There were a couple of buildings made of stone, one even with a cellar, and a huge veranda.  This homestead also boasted a permanent spring nearby which supplied water to the homestead.  It is all pretty much a pile of rubble nowadays, but you get the sense of it all.  They had a very impressive view. (Wonder if they even noticed or appreciated it...I am sure they did.)
Now a small pile of rubble - Aroona Homestead
 We climbed up the hill behind the homestead for a better view of the valley.  The sight was well worth it, although both girls had kicked into major whinging mode for some reason.  Kinda gets on your goat after a while, and made it a little hard to enjoy the tranquillity.  We eventually abandoned and headed back to the camper after a few snaps.
Breathtakingly brilliant - the view from behind Aroona Ruins


When we got back, Glenn suggested that Amy take a wander off on another one of the walks from the campsite.  Amy jumped at the chance to be freed from the shackles, grabbed a UHF to be in contact, and strode off up the Red Hill walk.  Glenn managed to get the girls in bed for a bit of much needed ‘quiet time’, then set about doing some fixing jobs under the awning.
Why didn't I think of this earlier - off on a solo walk!
Amy’s walk sent her up the nearby hills on the other side from the Aroona ruins.  At the top, she took a right, and ended up at Heysen’s Viewpoint, looking down at the valley from a different angle.  It was a great chance to enjoy the peace and quiet, and take in more of the views.
Heysen's Viewpoint - about 1.5km from the Aroona campground
 After Amy got back to the camper, Glenn decided it was baking time.  ‘Bring out the cake-mix!’  It was going to have to be another gas jobbie, as there were no fires allowed at this time of year.  Surely the last (and only) success wasn’t going to be a fluke.  Mind you, we didn’t have Matt’s electric drill and beater, or the good cake tin, or the second camp over lid.... still, Glenn’s pretty good, he’ll be fine!!

With a mix here, a beat there, and a heat job on the camp oven, we were ready.  We kept the heat up this time, and even tried a couple of heatbeads on the lid.  It actually came out alright, although it took a while to cook.  It was expertly topped off with a bit of icing from Amy, and then WHOOOOMP, totally devoured by the family.  Yummo!

Sitting around that afternoon, we contemplated our next move.  This stop-over around the Flinders was in theory only a relatively short one, but we were enjoying it so much.  Each time we looked over the maps, there were more places we wanted to explore.  We could easily have spent a couple of months around this area. 

We didn’t have that long, and our rough plan was to be around the Murray River for the last week or so, just to give ourselves a chance to relax, not travel, and get ready for the Melbourne onslaught. 

That being said, we also didn’t want to rush too quickly through here.  We did our plans, and decided to take advantage of this spectacular little hideaway, and stay another day, after-all, this is the type of camping we enjoy.

The next ‘bonus’ day was a very relaxing one.  We started off this one with some pancakes for breakfast.  Shake and Bake cheating ones, but hey, delicious anyway!  The kids also did a lot of riding around on their bikes during the day, exploring the little tracks and roads around us.
The masterchef at work
 It was quite funny seeing them role playing on their bikes.  It all begins with them hopping on their bikes, making this “Errrrr errrr eeerrrrr (like clearing your throat) ...... brrrrrrrrrrrrmmm brrrmmmmm” noise.  We quickly worked out some time back that this was them starting their car, they would click their imaginary seat belt on, and drive off.

From there the games can range from going to the shops, going to school, towing a caravan or general convoy business.  Jess had definitely got the hang of the balance bike by now, and was very nimbly scooting around after Savannah, keeping her own.

Another source of entertainment - Jess taking her 'baby' for a walk
The other major activity for the day was having a bush shower.  We have a 12 volt pump which sits in a bucket of warm water (one boiled billy heats up the whole 10 litre bucket nicely).  We set up off to the side of Slim, and the whole family cycles through.  It’s a very efficient and quick process.  Quite amazing that the two kids and us two can have a full shower, everyone shampooing and conditioning their hair, and coming out all sparkling, in only 10 litres of water.  Totally impossible at home, but no great stress out here in the bush!

After dinner, we decided to go for a stroll around the grounds, with the kids riding their bikes.  A quick ‘Errrrr, errrr, eeerrrrrr’ and we were off.  The camp ground was spread out, and even catered for a tour group, although we had the place to ourselves.  We turned to go down towards the outstation ruins, when there was a big dip in the road, bit of a water channel to cross.  Savannah scooted down, through, and up the other side, no great trouble.  Jess saw what was happening, and decided to follow suit.

She managed however to really push off with a lot of enthusiasm.  Glenn immediately saw the pace, and started after her.  She was going ok... yeah, not too bad... hmmmm a little speed wobble, and oh dear, a BIG speed wobble.  Straight over the handlebars!!  This all happened in a second or two, so Glenn wasn’t fast enough to save her. 

A few tears, a bit of a ‘wow, did you see how fast you went’, a pat pat, and it was all over.  She was back on the bike and off again.

It had been a very enjoyable stay.  Reckon we’d be back here at some stage!

A sunrise worth getting up for. We could also see this from our window


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