LIFE IN A SUITCASE

Life in a Suitcase

The two wheeled cabin.

The two wheeled cabin.

Travelling in a caravan makes a big change from travelling out of a suitcase. It is more like travelling in suitcase- a rather large suitcase where everything must have its place. Given we are doing it with our old dog Astro, he has to have his place too and in this instance he has chosen it right next to the bed on the side where I sleep.

He is as wise as an old dog can be and even though the space is a bit of a squeeze, it makes sense because the van is small and he has to share its space with two much larger humans. The main drawback to his choice is that in the squeeze of space he can also squeeze out some fairly fruity farts. At least I let him take the blame.

Astro wakes up from his spot.

Astro wakes up from his spot.

It is Easter and we are at the dog friendly caravan park at Lake Tyers in far eastern Victoria. It is the first stage of the trip we have planned as the overture to retirement- several months along the Australian east coast from Melbourne where we live, past Sydney where I was born, to Brisbane where I spent adolesence and went to high school and uni, and still have friends.

Lake Tyers is near the end of one of the sunshine rays that radiates from Melbourne, across the map of our state Victoria. On that map, Melbourne at bottom centre, does look like a rising sun with all main roads spreading like beams of sunlight outwards from its core. It is the most centralised Australian state. Lake Tyers is on one of these rays about a hundred kilometres from the border with New South Wales.

It is also home to an Aboriginal community, a remnant from the 19th century when indigenous people from all over the state were herded onto reservations as farmers, squatters and pastoralists forced them off their ancestral land. These days the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust on a large peninsula on the lake’s northern side is off limits to the public.

The wild beach.

The wild beach.

Here the coast faces south along the stretch of sand called 90 Mile Beach, before turning abruptly north at the border. It is a wild and treacherous coast, but that doesn’t stop people swimming in its waters. A couple of days ago, we met a soaked woman walking up the beach stairs behind an equally soaked little boy. She said she had to jump in to rescue him after he found the undertow too strong and was unable to get out of the water.

Inland from the beach is the lake, a two pronged body of water formed from two creek channels flooded by the ocean, similar to the salt water lakes along the New South Wales coast. Much of the year its entrance is closed from the sea by a bank of sand and is usually only opened by the force of water from spring rain. It is a good spot for paddling and we have used our kayaks accordingly.

Moonlight on the lake.

Moonlight on the lake.

Upper reaches of the lake.

Upper reaches of the lake.

The first was heading upstream to a place called Mill Point, then we drove 20 minutes to a little town called Nowa Nowa at the upper reach of one of the lake arms and went downstream. There was lots of birdlife and jumping fish that seemed smart enough to avoid the people fishing from boats and all along the bank, who all reported no luck when we asked them.

Heavy rain for the last couple of days, will test how well we cope confined to the van. Hearing the rain pelting on the roof has its charms, but could strain things. I have already looked up the definition of the phenomenon called ‘cabin fever.’

No cabin fever for Astro.

No cabin fever for Astro.

Apparently the best treatment is to get out and commune with nature, even if it does mean getting wet.

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