Belair National Park – the trip

Well off we went on the last day of November. Kiata Campground was our destination and we stayed there for two nights. The trip from home over to Kiata was, as it has been in the past, quite boring. We did the usual – battled the traffic through the Burnley Tunnel and over the Westgate Bridge and droned along the Western Highway to Ballan where we stopped for a bite to east and some fuel which was about ten cents / litre cheaper than anywhere else.And so onwards to Kiata.

We got set up after moving the camper around to offer us the best protection from the wind but still there was a lot of canvas flapping. We ate, had a couple of glasses of wine and sat inside watching a few episodes of a TV series.

We stayed at Kiata Campground for two nights and took off towards Belair National Park Caravan Park which was a drive of around 370km’s. About halfway there we heard a suspicious “thump” which seemed to come from the camper. We pulled over and had a good look around and there was nothing visible but one of the camper wheel bearings was pretty warm to touch. I was able to hold my hand on it without getting burned but I decided to jack up the wheel and check the bearing for tightness and any roughness. It all seemed OK so we decided to continue whilst being a bit paranoid and stopping every now and then to check the offending bearing.

Eventually, after yet another fuel stop, we got to Belair and got ourselves checked in and set up. We used the camp kitchen to cook tea, broccolini, meat (or in my case meat substitute) and some left over cauliflower and camembert  pie which we brought with us from home. Very nice it was too.

We had a few glasses of red while watching the last few episodes of The Last Kingdom and went to bed.

The next day we went to the gathering of Campground Hosts and Volunteer Rangers at the Belair National Park Volunteer Centre in the Belair National Park and met a HEAP of people.

The morning tea was incredible – cakes, cheese platters, tea, coffee, etc. After the presentations it was time for lunch – a BBQ. Again, there was heaps and it was very, very good.

After lunch there were a couple more presentations followed by a period set aside for networking. We chatted to lots of people who had a lot of experience of Campground Hosting and gleaned a heap of useful tips and info.

Morning tea and lunch was put on the the friends of Belair National Park so a huge thank you from Jenny and I and, I’m sure, everyone else.

After the function it was back to the caravan park. We decided that dinner would be at the Belair Hotel. Jenny had the roast of the day which was Turkey with all the trimmings and allegedly the best pub roast that she’d ever had. I went for the vegetarian burger with chips and salad. It was pretty large and very good. Both meals were very reasonably priced and the service was good.

After what seemed like a day of eating it was time to go back to the caravan park, have a glass of wine and hit the showers and bed for a well earned food coma.

Up early the next morning to get packed and head off. The original and loose plan called for us to head to the Wilson Hall camping area in the Lower Glenelg National Park but we decided to give Kiata Campground another try. so off we went with our wheel bearing paranoia in good working order and switched on.

So what was Kiata like this time around ? It was bloody windy of course. We only stayed one night after we decided that it was far too windy to do any of the walks and the canvas of the camper was flapping far too much to sit inside.

And so the long boring drive home started. We stopped pretty often to check on the wheel bearing and although it was pretty warm you couldn’t say it was “hot” and it ended up getting us home OK. We had a bite and got some cheap fuel at Ballan and off we went.

All went well until about the start of the Westgate Bridge and the traffic started to get heavier and heavier. It was partly our fault as we hit Melbourne at about the start of peak hour. It took about two hours to get from one side of the “worlds most liveable city” to the other. Fun in a manual car towing about two tonnes of camper. Not.

Got home, got unpacked, got the camper on the garage, had tea and went to bed for a well deserved sleep after a mostly great six days.

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