Statistics of 2018 Trip

I used Fuel Map to monitor our fuel usage for our trips each year. It gives fuel economy for individual fills and also fills between any amount of fills between two dates. The screenshots below show total fuel figures, as well as individual fills

Our trip this year was 6284km, up from 5402km in 2017, 5427km in 2016, 6204km in 2015, all four trips were for 6 weeks duration.

This year I have upgraded my Colorado to an Iveco Daily. It is also about one tonne heavier and I thought this would have some bearing on our fuel figures

Fuel economy for our 2018 trip was 6.50km/l or (15.48 l/100km). Fuel economy ranged from 5.76km/l or (17.36 l/100km) to 7.92km/l or (12.63l/100km).

Fuel economy for our 2017 trip was 6.29km/l or (15.94 l/100km). Fuel economy ranged from 5.8km/l or (17.23 l/100km) to 7.24km/l or (13.82 l/100km).

 

 

 

The fuel consumption was started when I filled up in Ulverstone, approximately 15km after I left home and ended in Burnie after I had unloaded and unhooked and driven approximately 15km to a service station.  The Iveco was loaded to around 7000kg, which was checked on the local weighbridge, however I misplaced the weights which were well under total legal limits, except the 5th wheeler was just over its legal weight when I weighed it. I did transfer some weight onto the Iveco, however I never reweighed.

I was extremely happy with the figures, as they were a little better than last year and we were about one tonne heavier. These figures were achieved by driving at 87km/h, checked with GPS. which was 93km/h on the speedo, a little slower than the 90km/h with the GPS in the Colorado. We also slowed down if the road surface deteriorated. There is a lot of very rough bitumen roads once you leave the main highways.

We started fuel consumption at Ulverstone Tasmania on the way to the Spirit with 56641km on the 16th June 2018 and ended after I refilled the day after I returned home in Burnie Tasmania with 62925km. This gives true round trip statistics and was 62284km in total.

Normally I am a big believer in just filling up when getting close to empty or around 1/4 tank when towing, unless we are in the outback. This year Dianne and I travelled with another couple, Phillip and Sandra Cowmeadow. Phil hates to let his fuel tank get under 1/2 tank, even when in populated areas and has access to plenty of places to refill. We even had one time when we were planning to refill early the next morning. Phil then came across a service station, five minutes after our conversation over the UHF, he proceeded to enter the servo and refill even though he still had plenty of fuel left. It was very comical at times. I did try to source cheaper fuel this year, especially when not towing.

As I have now upgraded to an Iveco Daily, a new vehicle and am now carrying a bit of extra weight will make for an interesting read over the next couple of years

Map of Trip

Check out the link below for our trip on Google maps. Feel free to zoom in and click on markers for more details. You can’t alter the map details but you can play with it. I am still adding a few finer details but it is mostly complete.

2018 Trip Details

Map of Our Trip

 

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Heading Home

Six weeks on the road and now it is time to head home. While its not a long time, its better than staying in Tassie all winter. Our last day in Melbourne has been wet and windy, and everyone is hoping for calm seas for the sailing home.

We checked out of the Five Ways Caravan Park just after 1.30pm, it is still very early, but we don’t want to be caught in heavy traffic. The route to the spirit is very smooth and the traffic is just nice, leaving it another hour or so could be very different, a risk we weren’t prepared to take.

We planned to meet on Williamstown Rd and wait for boarding time there. However Phil and Sandra decided to stop on the foreshore as there was plenty of parking, although it did come with a nice price tag of over $12.00. We were almost on Williamstown Rd at this stage and being tight arses we decided to go with the free parking. We made a coffee in the van, but Dianne was feeling squeamish every time a truck drove past and rocked the van. Not wanting to to have Dianne sick before she boarded, we moved to the foreshore along The Boulevarde, a very nice spot, although the most direct road to the Sprit terminal has lots of roundabouts and speed humps.

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Our route  from the caravan park to the 2 free parking spots then the “Spirit”

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A close up map, a little blurry. There are 5 roundabouts and numerous speed humps driving between D and E. There are several limbs overhanging the road as well. Care needs to be taking with long and high combinations.

A good decision and still free parking. We were just a short stroll to Princes Pier, from there we could see the “Spirit”.Port Melbourne 2 816 pixels

An added bonus was that we discovered a bus stop that will take you to the Queen Victoria Market. Maybe next time a day trip into the city from here may be an option. You will need a buy a Myki Card to access public transport. I think they can be bought on the bus. We have had a Myki Card for several years now and have used it on the bus, tram and train network. It is a little daunting at first, although most people will help you. Diannes card had plenty of credit, while mine needed to be topped up by $10. We both had $15 credit and this is usually plenty. We used it this year to come from Dingley into the city using a bus and a train. The trams around the city centre are all free.

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This may be an option for next years trip, we could catch a bus all the way to the Queen Victoria Market, there is a stop near the Casino as well. This map while it doesn’t have a lot of detail, does show the individual stops.

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Another map showing stops near South Melbourne Markets, Crown Entertainment Complex and the Queen Victoria Market

 

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A service every 40 minutes on weekdays

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A service every hour on Saturdays, but no service on Sundays and Public Holidays

We finally arrived to check in just before 5.30pm. Check in involves all the necessary checks for quarantine and safety. We then had to wait while all the cars and small vehicles drove past us to board. Dianne and I were first in line with Phil and Sandra parked behind us. More big rigs lined up behind us. The good thing about waiting is we were the first vehicle to disembark, as we parked on a ramp,that is used to load other levels. Once it has been lowered, we drove from the front of the ship, where we load from in Port Melbourne, right to the rear, right in front of the rear doors to be the first off.

Dainne and I  had a new buffet evening meal, coffee and soft drink included, all you can eat for approximately $27.00. The resturant opens at 6.30pm and closes at 9.30pm. We thought it was a little expensive, however we did top up our drinks here for the rest of the night and I went back back for another dessert just before closing. It was quite delicious though.Port Melbourne 37 816 pixels

The crossing was reasonably smooth, with only a short period of swell as we went through the heads leaving Port Phillip Bay. We all slept most of the night, unlike the trip over from Tasmania, as that sailing was very rough. We were off the Spirit right on 6.30am and parked up in the driveway at home before 7.00am ready to unpack and start planning for next year

 

Five Ways Caravan Park Dingley

We left early from Ballina and decided to come into Melbourne from the north. We left the Hume Highway at Seymour. We did have a bit of an issue with a low train bridge at Seymour. We found the truck route around with the help of a couple of truckies. They were very helpful over the UHF. We followed the Goulburn Valley Highway to Yea and then along the Melba Highway, all very nice flowing road. There was one section of about 5km with a slightly slow decent.  We also had a quick stop to check out a free camp on the banks of the King Parrot Creek as a future reference. A few trees with ugly overhanging limbs but also some clear camping spots as well. It would be good for an overnight stop.

 

The traffic for the last 40km was very busy and I’m not sure what roads we were on. There was lots of traffic lights, however they seemed to be synced very well as the traffic did flow pretty well most of the time. Twenty kilometres on the M1 Motorway did help as well, no traffic lights on here. Phil and Sandra have parked their 5th wheeler in the park and left to stay with Sandra’s daughter who lives nearby.

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Now this is different, don’t know if it is legal. A gas bottle, probably off a car, complete with a lpg filler connection to fill at a service station. If it was setup correctly it would be an alternative to two 9kg gas bottles. The fact that the regulator is below the top of the gas bottle suggests that this is an unauthorised setup.

Day 2 was a day in the city. A short bus trip to the Springvale Train Station and a trip on the train to the Melbourne Central Station. A short walk to the Australian Electoral Office to vote for a Tasmanian bi election, then off to the Queen Victoria Market, an annual pilgramage for Dianne. Flagstaff Train Station is the closest station to the Queen Victoria Market and only a couple of blocks away with a short tram ride and this is where we left for the return train ride home.

Day 3 was a catchup with an ex workmate of mine, one of the reasons we have stayed in and around Dandenong for the last couple of years. We met up for a coffee at Garden World on Springvale Rd at Braeside. This place is more than just a nursery, they have an amazing collection of Bonsai Trees, some are for display only, with one over 80 years old, simply stunning.

There is also a collection of “rocks”, an amazing array of fascinating polished and exotic specimans, one had a price tag of $18000. A nice collection of fossils and a several dinosaurs also blending into the surroundings.

Dianne and I then found a strett of display homes within a few minutes from Garden World. There was over ten houses on display, it was information overload and lots of climbing stairs, but we did find a living area that we wuld like to incorporate into a house we may one day build.

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Dianne and I think we can make a living area similar to this fit in a house we plan to build

Day 4 was very windy and with some overnight rain clearing mid morning. This was only our second day of rain on our whole trip. Ironically our other day of rain was leaving Melbourne heading north, six weeks earlier.

Dianne had always wanted to visit Ikea, it was close, so off we went to fill in the day. What a mind numbing experience for me, however Dianne probably has the same experience when she goes to Bunnings.

We had a chance to meet Sandra’s daughter Elisha and her hubby Adam as well as Sandra’s granddaughter Ivy at a very nice Chinese Restaurant.

Our last night in Melbourne tonight as we are heading home on the “Spirit” tommorrow night. Lets hope we have a smoother sailing on the way home, although it doesn’t look promising.

Gulgong, Wallendbeen,Ballina

We had an early start, leaving Branxton around 9.30am, heading for Gulgong. The drive was over some good roads, with only a couple of steep climbs. Very gentle really, I had been expecting a lot of steeper and more winding roads. We had lunch at 500m above sea level, our highest spot for the day, at least when we were watching.

We arrived at the  Gulgong Showground around 2.30pm, parked up, fueled up for our trip tommorrow and had a quick look around town. Gulgong is famous for being on the old $10 note, never knew this before our trip here. A very nice town with a lot of history. We will definitely be back when we have more time.Gulgong 3 816 pixelsGulgong 11 816 pixels

Day 2 was from Gulgong to Wallendbeen, a drive of just over 330km. A very nice drive through some countryside, although the roads were a little rough and we did need to slow down a little. Today was mainly about making distance towards Melbourne, passing through some historic little towns on the way, only stopping for lunch, before parking up for the night around 3.00pm. Sadly our trip is coming to an end. Our camp for tonight is the crossroads of Burley Griffith Way and the Olympic Highway, very busy just on dark, although road noise overnight was minimal. A few trucks from 3.00am could be heard, I suspect that they use the area for fest breaks.

Day 3 was another long drive, just over 350km. We decided to visit and Junee and make some Rocky Road at the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory.

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Dianne and Sandra making Rocky Road Chocolate, everyone adds their own ingredients, absolutely delicious and lots of fun making.

We finally decided to stay at the Benalla Recreational Reserve. What an absolute mongrel of a place to find. The entrance is at the back of a carpark and very hard to find when the location on Wikicamps places it close to another road. You could see the campground, but not get access it. Hopefully moving the pin location helps someone else, at least until they move it again.

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Very small space and very difficult to find the entrance. They only allow three vehicles to use tis site at once though

Tomorrow sees us head to Melbourne for four days, until we board the Spirit and head back home to Tassie.

Branxton

After a chance phone call to Trevor and Diane, looking for some advice on a campsite in Branxton, as the Hunter Valley was a popular haunt for them when they lived in Tassie. Small world they knew the site and they now live within 5km of the  site we were enquiring about. A very easy choice now, we are now off to visit Branxton and catch up with friends of the four of us.

We stopped for fuel at a miniture replica of Ayers Rock, a 1:40 scale to be exact. Dianne and I have passed it several times before, but we never knew the history behind it. It was a fateful decision of the Leyland Brothers into tourism that brought about their downfall and eventual bankruptcies.Aussie Rock 816 pixels

It must have been a slow day as Dianne decided to take a video of me enjoying myself, singing along to some music on the drive down the coast.

To make things even more enjoyable, Diane offered to cook roast pork for us all. What a night, catching up with friends from Tasmania, even when Trevor couldn’t contain his enthusiasm after his AFL team Geelong kicked a goal after the siren for Geelong to come from behind to beat Melbourne by 2 points.

We only planned to stay overnight. Things changed when Phil wasn’t fealing too good, so we just kicked back for another day. All good, I even had a chance to catch up on my blog, as I was starting to fall behind a little.

Off to Gulgong tommorrow, up and over the Blue Mountains, never been this way before.

Overnight Stops at Southgate and Wauchope

After staying a couple of extra days at Yatala, we are going to have a few days just driving, stopping for an overnight stay and then keep driving south for a few days. The weather for Victoria and Tasmania is not very promising for the next four or five days. We plan to adjust where and when we stay. We are booked into a caravan park near Dandenong for 4 days, before we head home. We may have to hover up above the bad weather and make a quick dash to Melbourne to avoid the worst of the weather.

We have found another CMCA member stopover at Southgate, nothing exciting about this except the best way there is using the ferry from Maclean to Lawrence over the Clarence River. The tide is out and this made for a reasonably steep decent and the 5th wheeler just dragged the bumper bar, no great drama as the bumper was well clear of anything that could be damaged. No dramas leaving the ferry on the other side, although I think that the ferry driver could have pushed the ferry up the ramp a bit and reduced the angles. Why he didn’t do this on both sides baffles me as he was aware we were there.

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Checking out the ferry

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We are on our way

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We have nearly made it

Our overnight stop was only 100m approximately off the river and we could see the Pacific highway on the other bank. As the river would be almost 1km wide, there was no noise.

A very good stopover, but mainly just a place to sleep and a 9.00am start for our trip to the Wauchope Showground and get our washing done. Luckily, the wind was blowing and our washing was dry very quickly. The Wauchope Showground was another great stopover and would normally have been a place to spend a few days.

When we arrived at Wauchope, we were planning to head back towards Tamworth, via Walcha and Bendemeer along the Oxley Highway, but a few phone calls about some campsites along the Hunter Valley changed things, so tommorrow we are off to Branxton. Being able to change plans at a moments notice, is one of the good things about no fixed timetable.

Yatala

We left Caloundra around 10.00am heading for would be best described as a farm stay. I had come across the site through Facebook, halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast at Yatala. We didn’t really know what to expect, although I had looked at a Google satellite view of the area. We were amazed that a spot, only 5 minutes from the Yatala Pie Shop and the Pacific Motorway, which is basically an industrial area would be so well suited to spending a few days next to the Albert River with a golf course on the other side. Maybe the reason that it isn’t built up, is that our camping area was a long way under water in the 2017 floods.

Aussie Roadrunners RV at Loganlea is only 15 minutes away from Yatala, so we paid them a visit to see their 5th wheelers. They had one almost finished and another almost ready to have the walls added. They are a very well designed and made unit although they do have a price to match their quality.

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26ft 5th wheeler almost ready to be delivered

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They can be ordered with a complete Lithium battery setup from Enerdrive

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5th wheeler chassis ready for the next stage

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Left hand wall ready to be lifted into position

Phil and I also had a visit to the Beenleigh Historical Village and Museum, lots of relocated houses in a village enviroment, with a room devoted to Beenleigh Rum. This then led us to add a tour of this site as well.

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Phil has had a bit of bad luck of late. It all started in Caloundra when he sneezed and his top plate bounced along the footpath, later that day one of his front teeth broke off, luckily he had a repair job to fix the damage.

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Phil about to get to his teeth back

We couldn’t visit Yatala without at least having a pie from the Yatala Pie Shop. Apparantly it has been a landmark in Yatala for 130 years. It was very busy, probably because the pies are very tasty and just off the Pacific Motorway with easy access.

We also wet our fishing lines for the first time on our trip with Phil catching a large eel and I caught a smaller eel and two catfish. Phil reckons his eel weighed more than my three fish combined, he was probably correct, but we won’t let that get of the fact I caught three fish and he only caught one.

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A beaut little floating pontoon to fish from. We never hooked a bull shark that are supposed to inhabit the river, probably a good thing.

After three nights here at Yatala, we will head down the Pacific Motorway, deciding each day where we will end up the next night.

 

 

Kybong

We started off the day not knowing where we would end up. Luckily our first option was a small 24hr camping area behind a Puma Roadhouse on the Old Bruce Highway at Kybong, approximately 12km south of Gympie. What a great spot, although it was reasonably wet underfoot and lots of puddles everywhere. We came from Maryborough, only a 100km away and had only had a shower the day before. We found a nice dry spot, we were setup up for an early lunch.

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A beautiful place to spend the night

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Matilda, the 1982 Commonwealth Games mascot now lives here

A couple of big kids at play, too tight to put any money in the slot though. It did look as though it was fully hydraulic though, young boys and girls would have a lot of fun on it.

We decided to check out Hell Town Hotrods and Collectables back up a road just a short distance after spotting it on the drive down. What a great find, an absolutely fabulous place to have a look around.

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Hell Town Hotrods

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Lots of hotrods on show

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Every nook and cranny had something of interest

What was meant to be just a lay over day, turned out to be quite an interesting day. I would thoroughly recommend anyone travelling up the Bruce Hwy through Gympie to make a slight detour and check Hell Town out.

Tommorrow we head to Caloundra for three days

Caloundra

We have checked into the Caloundra Caravan Park for three days just relaxing.

We had the chance to met up with two of our grandchildren, who were on holiday with our eldest daughter, Renae and her hubby Jason. Dianne is always happy to catchup with family, even if it was only a short time.

 

It was also a chance to meet up with the previous owner of my Iveco. He was aware that I was going to make a few modifications and he had stated that he would like to see what I had done. A very enjoyable afternoon, even the drive from Caloundra to Twin Waters. The drive around some established canal estates is a bit of an eye opener. Very different to TassieCaloundra 25 816 pixels

Dianne always loves to check out out any local market and so does Sandra. The main street is transformed into a great market place on Sunday (not sure if it is every Sunday)

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Always like to try some Duch Pancakes if we come across them, they are very nice

Phil was looking forward to trying his luck at fishing, but a niggling bad back forced him to give it a miss. Dianne and I were planning to visit fiends Stan and Jo, but unfortunately Stan came down with a bug, probably from being in a confined space, on a flight from the USA, maybe next year.

A fairly uneventful few days, although very enjoyable is over and our next stop is Yatala, a stay on private property, who have a small camping area. We are undecided how long we will stay here, we will just see what is on offer.

RV Homebase Maryborough

Our next couple of days was mainly about just enjoying some warm weather and not doing much at all. We decided to show Phil and Sandra the RV homebase at Maryborough. We also enjoyed our time here both last year and this year. Could we live here, probably not at the moment , but who knows what we will do in the next ten years.

 

I also had the chance to meet Erich and Lesley who I have followed on their blog for a couple of years, but have never had the chance to meet. It was only a short meeting, but it was good to put a name to some faces.

A bike ride around the complex allowed us to see what is on offer.

A walk around some of the town looking at the sites did have an added bonus. I have been trying to track down a new handpiece for my UHF, it seems to work over longer distances, but it was very crackly, almost useless when close. We were less than 100m away from the Iveco after walking around town for nearly two hours and we stumbled across an electronics shop. A chat to the lady behind the counter and a dash to the ute to remove the handpiece on the UHF to check compatability. Bingo, perfect match and to to think that they had three in stock. I had been checking high and low for one, most stores either sold complete units or had to order one in (no good for us when on the move all the time). We checked it out when we were back at camp. Perfect reception with the new part and to think we had given up looking.

 

 

 

I did like the two little men holding up the large gear on the smaller gear in the photo above.

We have a spare day before we are due in Caloundra, where we end up will be determined tommorow, although we do have a few options. We will try one to see how it stacks up. If it is OK we will probably stay, if not we will move on to the next one.