AWOL Around Australia… Grumpy East Gippsland

We pitched the tent up in ‘storm stetting’. We’ve been through some bad weather in this tent over the years and it pays to get it as well set up as you can whilst the going is good.

So, every guy rope is utilised, everything that can be pegged down is. We fully enclose the awning to give us a room to sit it. This also means the front panel takes the worst of the wind, meaning where you sleep is a bit more sheltered. I used spare guy ropes I had brought for this trip to double guy rope the front poles to stop that front panel being blown in too much, the front poles may have had a slight bow in them with all the different ways they were being tensioned… nothing snapped, so I would rig it like this again.

The lake, angry…

I would have loved a calm day to hire a kayak and explored the lake but it wasn’t so. We did some stuff as we were camped for once with an internet connection, so emails home and I got some journal reports, like the one you’re reading now, done. I cooked up the rest of the seafood, I just dunked it in spiced flour and fried it up.

Hard to beat fried fish really. Served with a curry sauce and chapatis – a simple flour/salt/water dough, flattened out and almost dry fried in very little oil/butter – a friend of mine’s Mum had told me over the phone how to make these years ago, and we still use them as a tasty accompaniment to Indian food today.

The second day I took a walk down the coast. Hiking the last section of the Coastal Wilderness Trail, from where we were camped at Mallacoota to Shipwreck Creek in Croajingolong National Park. Taking the clifftop path on the way there, and then round the beach headland on the way back. Around 27km all up if the signs are to be believed (my phone was low on charge at this point, due to the shit weather there was limited recharging from the solar, so I didn’t ‘follow’ myself with GPS. Saving the battery for photos) which was enough for an old git a bit out of practice at these things. Anyway, it was a good walk, and probably what I needed after the somewhat overpopulated areas we had been travelling through the last few weeks (it should be noted that I was keen to check out the east coast, we had never been to very much of it, and felt like we should at least see what it was like. No doubt it has a ‘big town’ aspect to it that a lot of the rest of the country doesn’t have, but it’s not what living in Australia is about for me).

Termites eat the tree, birds eat the termites.


I only took my phone for photos, so I got wet feet just after this shot was taken!
Despite the gloomy skies, the landscapes were still cool.
I got pretty soaked on the way back. What can you do..? Thumbs up selfie!
On arriving at Shipwreck Creek, my turn around point, I was somewhat disappointed to find the beach covered in foot prints. I thought it was more remote than that. Only once I got down to the beach I realised they were in fact emu tracks.

The wildflowers were a nice burst of colour on what was a pretty monochrome day.

That night we had dinner at ‘Lucy’s’, an authentic little Chinese restaurant in town. Chatting to Lucy about how she went from running big restaurants in China to moving here an opening this place 16 years ago. Without a chef to start with she just stuck to the dishes she knew she could make. She bemoaned how hard it is to get and keep good chefs, blaming the location – I assured her it was a problem wherever you are (I used to deal with a lot of chefs through work, like many ‘hands on‘ professions, it just seems not enough people want to do it these days) but I’m not sure she believed me. So we enjoyed some simple home cooked Chinese food, not something you expect in a little town like this.

Local abalone and pork noodles. Asian’s seem to love abalone, I find it a bit overrated to be honest.
The kitchen at Lucy’s, and Lucy!

It rained hard again on our last night, however we awoke to mostly clear and sunny skies.

So calm!

We took our time packing up. This full deployment of all the OzTent options takes more time anyway, but I was keen to get it all dried out before it went away again.

Let’s go!

The sun did its work and we were back on the road. I took N and Rollo to a couple of dog friendly spots I had encountered on the hike yesterday. Then we tried driving out through the forest, trying to stay in the bush, whilst still getting where we wanted to go. It was another day of locked gates and dead ends, and finally we just popped back out on the bitumen road. Still, the trails had their moments.

Alien rocks.
Coastal beauty.
Coastal beauty!
Forest trails.

This National Park had been part of a controlled burn back in June. The trees had started to regrow, we didn’t see any animals on this day though.

We tried for a riverside campsite, some 20km south of the township of Cann River. WikiCamps let us down a bit here, as the campsite was only really suitable for one set up and there was already someone there, looked like he had been there a while… ‘Crazy Willy’ we called him. Back to Cann River, we stayed with everyone else at the reserve, the heavens opened just as I pulled the tent out of the car. Close to the road and not the most glamorous camp we’ve ever had, but not the worst either. I would say about 50% of the camps you take on the road fall into this category, it’s the other 50% that make it all worthwhile.

Next day, more success with the forest roads this time. Like the campsites you just have to accept that some you win, some you lose.

‘Big Bertha’, met her match.

Through the shack village of Bemm River, we tracked along the coast before heading up through the coastal forests. East Gippsland was moody.

Breaking fresh tracks, always a good feeling.


We skirted the edge of the Croajingolong National Park, that we had been dipping in and out of for the last few days. This little area gave a fantastic insight into the rejuvenation of the native Australian bush, and how it responds to fire.

These seed pods need the heat of the fire to open.

Dead? Not dead.

Heading back north, away from the coast we stopped at the town of Orbost. This would be our last town for a few days before heading into the Snowy River country, and on to the Victorian high country.


2 thoughts on “AWOL Around Australia… Grumpy East Gippsland

  1. The oztent has got me thinking about how this spring we’ll be couch surfing and living out of a tent next to the FJ40 while we try to earn a few bucks for a couple months. Hmmm, I may have to hunt for a used OZtent to have as our home. Or something similarly large. Even a cheapo Costco 10×10 tent maybe. I can see us camped just outside Phoenix, riding bikes for a couple weeks.

    1. Well, you know I have nothing but good things to say about the OzTent. Despite that being our only accomodation for months at a time we never got ‘tent fatigue’ (I just made that up, obviously). If you can find one with all the panels and flysheet then it’s a worthwhile investment. If you’re just going to be camped in one spot though, the Costco option might make more $$$ sense.

      Surprisingly good exercise putting it up/down most days, like a little workout you can’t get out of!

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