south of the border

Dearth of sombreros and painted mules notwithstanding, in Australia people resident in a more southerly state location are often collectively & somewhat cheekily referred to as “Mexicans”. There’s longstanding rivalries between the states, one of the keenest being between my home state of NSW and the state adjoining its southern border, Victoria, where the elder of my younger sisters now resides.

01 Lake Tyers Beach_E
Top ten photos: Getting off to a good start, our first stop in Victoria at Lake Tyers, East Gippsland

Planning our year off, the G.O. and I pencilled in a visit to my south of the border sister for March 2016 to give us a break from moving and settling into our home at Taylors Arm.

02 St Kilda Pier sunset_E
Top ten photos: A perennial favourite. St Kilda Pier, Melbourne, at sunset

When the opportunity arose to join a blogger meet up in Melbourne we shuffled schedules and set off in late February. It also let us try out ourselves & our caravan on a shorter trip before embarking on a longer trip scheduled for mid-year.

03 Walking from Barwon Heads to Ocean Grove_E
Top ten photos: Walking from Barwon Heads to The Dunes café at Ocean Grove, Victoria

Having not done so before I accomplished packing the van remarkably efficiently without the G.O.’s belated advice to distribute the contents and thus the weight evenly.

04 Some of the Apostles, Great Ocean Road_E
Top ten photos: The Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria… If we had a bucket list, this would have been on it

We took away a few lessons from the trip: turn the fridge on early… ours came good about the time we arrived at my sister’s 5 days into the trip; fellow caravanners are great sources of information from where to stay, the mysteries of awnings, optimum tyre pressures, accessories necessary & not, and introduced us to that unique caravan park spectator sport – watching new arrivals reverse into a camping space.

Top ten photos: Contemplating the Shipwreck Coast, Great Ocean Road, Peterborough, Victoria
Top ten photos: Contemplating the Shipwreck Coast, Great Ocean Road, Peterborough, Victoria

We set off with a route in mind but thanks to many wonderful travel tips, abundant attractions throughout the state of Victoria and learning to balance distance & duration, our itinerary evolved as did our conversance with caravan lifestyle.

06 Portland_E
Top ten photos: So far from home, feeling so much at home. Portland, Victoria

My mantra as the trip progressed became “I can do this”. Since our December 2015 move from city to country & employed to unemployed, the complexion of my life had changed from city skyscraper office dweller to… flux. Much of what I had been good at professionally was irrelevant.

07 Halls Gap and The Grampians_E
Top ten photos: I can do this… walk.. climb… View of Halls Gap, The Grampians, Victoria from Boroka Lookout

About two-thirds the way through our travels, late on a warm night under starry skies camped at Wentworth next to the Darling River I had an epiphany while wandering along the track in the direction of the shower block, carrying my towel & toiletry bag… Life is good.

08 Murray River, Ned's Corner_E
Top ten photos: Camped on the Murray River, Ned’s Corner, Victoria

During the trip I experienced a real sense of accomplishment & enjoyment from adapting and stretching my literal & figurative comfort zones -physical activities to communal amenities- necessary for full participation in Australian travel on the road.

09 The Mallee_E
Top ten photos: The Mallee, Victoria… somewhere on the road between Halls Gap and Mildura

With that first trip and some essential maintenance work on our house behind us we’re now packing and preparing to set off shortly on our next, more challenging travel adventure, caravanning around the northern and western states of Australia.

Top ten photos: Where the Murray and Darling rivers meet, Victoria & NSW
Top ten photos: Where the Murray and Darling rivers meet, Victoria & NSW

Our Victoria trip route, 22 February to 22 March 2016 (late summer into unusually warm early autumn):

Getting there
Getting there: Taylors Arm, NSW to Portland, Victoria. Photo credit: Google Maps (source)
Getting back
Getting back: Portland, Victoria to Taylors Arm, NSW. Photo credit: Google Maps (source)


11 I'll keep your seat warm
Soossie-Cat: Off you go, I’ll keep your seat warm

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
[asked Alice]

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’
said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where -‘
said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’
said the Cat.

‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE’…”
[said Alice]

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Copyright Dale Newling 2016. All content on is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process, nor may any other exclusive right be exercised, without the permission of the owner who can be contacted via email dln011 [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] au.


34 thoughts on “south of the border

  1. Love the photos Dale. As I have been to all those spots, being a Mexican, it was great to see your panoramic views. I also loved the addition of google route maps- which will be great to look back on for you, buy a reminder to others who read your post that distances are huge in Australia, that road trips need to be bitten off in chunks. Enjoy the next one.


    1. We covered a lot of ground, probably too much in the time but loved every bit of what we did & saw. Your familiarity with the state and travel tips added so much to our enjoyment of Victoria, we will go back and do it all again, I hope, in future trips. All going to plan our next trip is a biggie but we’ve allowed more time for more chunks.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We know about “the list”. Ours is limited to Australia but is long and could be repeated endlessly I think… so many interesting places just along the road, around the bend. If we added overseas destinations it would take more than a lifetime.
      No issues I know of with my pics, and the copyright notice is standard on the site. Just a precaution.


  2. Lots of wonderful memories. The Grampians are one of my favourite places in Victoria and of course the GOR, our second home was just out of Apollo Bay. We’ve explored a fair bit of Oz in a caravan and 4WD. Caravan Park culture suits some people better than others, not me I’m sorry to say. It’s like being in suburbia which has never been my favourite place. Having said that there are amazing free camp opportunities everywhere except WA, but there are cattle station stays there instead that are well worth looking into. You’ll have a ball, meet some of Australia’s true characters and come to realize just how vast, varied and beautiful this wide brown land really is. WA is full of surprises, enjoy yourselves…


    1. I’d be happy to spend more time in The Grampians and along the GOR… in fact all of Victoria. It hadn’t been our intention to stay in van parks as much as we did but we’d only just bought the van and the trip organisation was fairly ad hoc… We were fortunate with the caravan parks we stayed in as it wasn’t peak season, they were well located & we met some nice people. The only downside was in a couple of places paying for a powered site, using little power, and listening to the hum of the other vans’ TVs and airconditioners… Our van is going in to the auto electrician tomorrow to be fitted with a solar panel & battery to give us the option of independent camping we wanted for this trip. Thanks for the cattle station tip… we will follow that up.


  3. Lovely to see the photographic record of your ‘practice run’. Looking forward to seeing a map that includes a nice leisurely stop in Mackay… We have a lot to show you!


    1. It was also nice for me to revisit that trip via the pics. It was such a great holiday. But for the next we have a route plotted out that sees us heading up your way 🙂


    1. The trip was longer than we expected to do, and once home more k’s than we realised on the road doing them. But modest compared to the next planned.
      Rest? What’s that? Kidding… sort of. I’ve stepped back this week but not so much the G.O. who likes to keep busy & has a scary To Do list.
      I’m enjoying being at home. Days are glorious – warm & sunny, and nights cool enough for a fire. Maybe we should raincheck the trip until we get horrible cold wet weather…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fabulous, fabulous photos – can’t wait to see more! About being called ‘Mexicans’, imagine my surprise when I moved to Canada and, for the first time, heard the States being called “South of the Border”!!! ; o ) I envy your travels & I’m sooo happy you and the G.O. are enjoying it so very much!


    1. Thank you… we saw some beautiful sights & landscapes, and are prolific snapshot takers 🙂 Funny about ‘south of the border’… the more north the better it seems.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These are brilliant pictures, Dale. I see you went through Eden – that area is one of my favourites! Happy travels and I’m looking forward to more great pics 😀


    1. Thank you 🙂 Our stopover at Eden and time spent in the area was all too brief… This trip our drive along the South Coast didn’t allow us enough time to explore much but it’s a route we’ll do again for future sister visits.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad you can now stop for a moment and realise what you have accomplished and enjoy the ‘life is good’ aspect of what you’ve achieved. A number of those photos are familiar to me, most of which I could happily see again! Travel to rural and regional Australia is our favourite kind of traveling. Overseas is interesting but very hard work compared to traveling here. Enjoy your upcoming trip, will be thinking of you!


    1. I found the ‘life is good’ zone at home… although there have been moments… but I thought getting acclimatised to life on the road might be quite another thing. Then I realised past experiences of boarding school and more recently communal office bathrooms worked in my favour. And, I so much enjoyed being outside feeling the sun on my skin, and seeing the stars at night ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How awesome! It’s so much fun to take different routes and discover new and profound delights! Very exciting. I loved the photos. My eyes especially were drawn to that photo where you can almost not tell the difference between the sky and the water. Happy adventures …


    1. Thank you. I think that is my favourite photo, and one of my favourite places… so cool to walk along the beach to get to the cafe for breakfast… I do love a beach ☺

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Interestingly when I visited California, particularly the San Francisco area, it felt quite similar & familiar and I felt quite at home, not a long way from home 🙂


  8. Absolutely beautiful photos Dale. I noticed that WordPress has really improved some features, and your photos are an example of that. Never having been a caravanner myself, I am looking forward to learning more about it!


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