Day Nine Thursday 13th Feb 2014 Port Albert – Toora, Vic
The wind has dropped, and we’re woken by the smell of smoke once more. The car park has filled with boat trailers and five fire trucks are setting off from the pub to continue the fire fighting. The tide is out and, on the mudflats the birds are paddling about feeding. There are pelicans, gulls large and small, swans, cormorants, and stilts. Welcome swallows flit about the boat riggings.
We are sad to leave this delightful little town, but it is a 24hour park. We say goodbye to M & E and head to Port Welshpool. What there is left of Port Welshpool is looking tired and sad now that the Tasmanian ferry service is no longer here. There is only a pub and a store. The wharf is busy with professional fishermen.
We are lured into Toora and walk around the neat shops. We visit the caravan park with the intention of booking a muster there sometime in the future. Just 2kms along the road is the free camp recommended by T and T. It’s the Franklin River Reserve and is perfect so we dash into Foster for supplies. There are swarms of cabbage butterflies flying about the roadside. Foster is alive with shoppers and the shops are bright and cheerful. The local park is a picture with beds of annuals and vegetables. A little wooden bridge spans the creek where gold was first discovered. There are flower beds down the centre of the main streets and a huge magnolia in the centre of town has blooms larger than dinner plates. It’s a joy to be here. We buy some sausages and race back to Franklin River to secure a site.
Lo and behold, M & E are just setting up on a grassy spot beside the stream. We camp on the terrace above, which has easier access for our car. We are parked on grass shaded by red flowering gums, it is like being in a garden. The bush flies are annoying, the whip birds a pleasure. We doze away the afternoon and M & E join us for happy hour. The flies disappear at sundown and we cook the snags we bought in Foster. My ukulele attracts a young cyclist from Cambridge who is riding from Sydney to Melbourne.
Towing Kms: 41Kms
2022 Note: There was once a fast catamaran service to Tasmania running from Port Welshpool. It was a brilliant trip passing the land bridge islands that stretch south from Wilson’s Promontory but crossing Bass Strait demands a sturdier vessel that can operate in all weather. Sadly, the Franklin River Reserve is no longer open to campers. We realise on this trip that we will need to upgrade our vehicle. The Ford Territory is marginally underrated for the caravan and a 4WD will give us more freedom. And before I forget…the pork sausages from Prom Meats at Foster are so good we’ve returned several times for more.