We detoured inland a little to stay at Pildappa Rocks which provided excellent camping, a good fire and sublime sunset photos from the smooth granite surface where rainwater pooled up to provide patches of lush grazing for the kangaroos. Around the circumference of the rock the farmer had created dams and walls to collect the run off for irrigation as this is still a very dry part of Australia.
The long pier at Port Germein provided another refreshing walk and later inland we visited Barra, a former copper mining town whose ruined engine houses and stacks were a reflection of the early Cornish settlers traditional skills.
At Morgan we crossed the Murray River on the chain ferry and camped on a tributary where pelicans watched us warily as our trip drew to a close. Indeed a final night at Baileys Rock saw the first real rain of the trip but we were rewarded by good sightings of a tawny wide mouthed owl chasing the moths attracted to the trailer lights.
Thus after 7 weeks and almost 7000 miles the trip was over - unloading the trailer and airing the tents and swags was soon accomplished before we enjoyed a meal in the local pub and for me the first pint of Guinness for a couple of months. PnK dropped us off for the Melbourne train and two hours later we were at the Alto hotel once more for a weekend of rest, recuperation and laundry. The Queen Victoria market was revisited and we also explored the excellent Royal Botanical Gardens, strolled along the Yarra and made our way back through Chinatown finding the urban vibe a huge contrast to the remoteness of most our trip.
Bargain Car Rentals lived up to their name by providing a brand new Hyundai for £10 a day that gave us a chance to return to the Victorian Alps for a week - it was winter but still warm and sunny encouraging us to spend a day with hired bikes on the Great Victorian Rail Trail starting at Yea and passing through a brick lined tunnel that reminded me of the newly opened ones under Bath back home.
Cosy cabins on campsites provided for our accommodation at Yea, Mansfield and Rutherglen with the opportunity for some local walks including to the summit of Mount Timbertop for views towards Mt Buller where the ski season was in its early stages.
After a relaxing week we returned the car to Melbourne Airport and were soon underway on a long but smooth return to the UK with a brief stop in sweltering Dubai, a crowded train from Reading and a peaceful night in the van back at Carmarthen where all was well.
At present there is a slight hiccup as replacing the rear shocks and springs has proved temporarily tiresome, however new bolts will be sourced tomorrow and fitted Tuesday freeing me up to have a nose around favourite Welsh haunts, catch up with friends and look forward to a variety of events over the rest of 2015.
The final batch of piccies for this trip can be found here and it would be appropriate to finish by thanking PnK for a memorable trip that allowed us a rare opportunity to travel to some amazing places. The stillness of the desert, its remoteness and the very nature of travel in such a harsh environment will remain with us for a very long time.
Sporadic locations via SPOT here but irregularly for the time being until we head off to South America in October. The page only keeps locations for about a week so may well be blank at times.