|Travelling Australia - Journal 2009|
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|4 April 2009 - Benalla to Frankston|
The night had been unexpectedly cold but this morning was sunny and bright. We packed up, connected van and car, and left Benalla at quarter past nine; within a few minutes we were on the Hume Freeway heading toward Melbourne. Traffic was very light.
Road elevation was generally between 180 and 200 metres. The land was best described as rolling hills and the road rarely flat for more than a few hundred metres. Land-use is cropping and grazing, mainly cattle. Quite a lot of the original eucalyptus vegetation remained. Road signs warn of koalas in the roadside plantations but we cannot recall every seeing one.
I set the cruise control to 94 kph; this is a compromise between fuel consumption (which increases with speed) and the convenience of getting to the destination in a reasonable time. The Pathfinder had no trouble handling the frequent short, sharp hills at this speed with the cruise control engaged.
Passing Seymour the Hume Freeway elevation ranged between 180 and 250 metres then slowly increased to be about 350 metres by the time we were 35 kilometres from Melbourne. Traffic had increased considerably by then and there were always at least four or five other vehicles within 200 metres. We stopped at a new roadhouse at Wallan for coffee and fuel.
After Wallan the Hume Freeway descended gradually to join the Melbourne Ring Road where we decided not to use CityLink; instead we turned west and ended up on ordinary main roads making our way south to join the Eastern Freeway. Towing the caravan along busy roads we were not familiar with and relying on the GPS to tell us when and where to turn was not pleasant. We will not use that route again. Once we reached the Eastern Freeway driving conditions improved dramatically and we maintained 80 to 90 kph without difficulty along connected freeways and tollways to the caravan park at Frankston where we set up for ten nights until after Easter.