Our stop on Wednesday night in the Alpine National Park was wonderful. By 9pm the temperature was down at 22C and when we woke up Thursday morning it was a blissful 16.5C. The refrigerator was behaving as it should and the toothpaste was the texture it was when we bought it. We were on our own and the only noise around was the hundreds of rabbits and hares munching grass around us. We were very tempted to stay another night but the weather forecast and temperatures for the next few days on the coast enticed us to move on.
On departing our Alpine National Park ‘lodgings’ on Thursday morning we noticed it had a name. If you are ever travelling the High Plains Road up the middle of the National Park and need a free stop off, about 10km south of Falls Creek look for the sign saying Lansford Gap. Drive off road between the two rock outcrops (there is plenty of width but it is a bit bumpy) and 100 metres later you will arrive at a very flat grassy area. There will only be you, the rabbits and hares, a few magpies and the crows. We loved the solitude.
As we have said in the past, we are guarded about comments we hear about certain road conditions and the hospitality of some towns. While we listen to the comments, in the end we do our own research and make any decisions based on the research and the hearsay. Prior to taking on the Alpine National Park we had heard various stories about the road conditions and the drive.
Let us assure you, the road from Bright to Lakes Entrance via the Alpine National Park is totally sealed, the road itself is a little windy but is a very easy drive at the right speed. The scenery is stunning. We have read that the road is closed during winter because of heavy snow conditions.
We were going to stay at Lakes Entrance on Thursday night but ended up at a local reserve in the small seaside town of Metung, the next bay around from Lakes Entrance. We were soothed by a 10 kt sea breeze, an outside temperature of 20C and parked approximately 10 metres from the waters edge.
We awoke this morning to temperatures of around 30C, by 11am it was 40C and at 3pm was 44C. The news broadcasts warned of a number of fires in the Victoria’s Gippsland region, the area we are currently travelling. We have made a decision to stay out of Victoria’s National Parks and the inland areas until we have been advised they are safe.
In our travels today we made a quick visit to Lakes Entrance (we have since been advised they are under a Code Red fire danger). It is a stunning piece of Australia and would be an easy place to settle if we found the urge to depart New Zealand. From there we travelled on the Princess Highway through Swan Reach, Bairnsdale, Delvine, Stratford, Airly, Sale then hooked a left at Longford to arrive at Golden Beach. Golden Beach is a small Tasman Sea seaside town and we are parked up with four other vans at the local town hall on a large blacktop area about 50 metres from the sea and well away from trees and dry grass areas.
Our plan is to stay here until at least Sunday and we can be assured it is safe to travel along the Gippsland Highway toward Port Franklin and Corner Inlet.
A lovely thank you to all our family and friends who are texting and emailing us to make sure we are safe. We would like to assure you all that we are continuously checking our Fire App and are listening to local radio broadcasts as we move through the region. There is no way we will move through an area unless we have been advised it is safe.