Travelling Australia - Journal 2010
28 April - Shepparton
Shepparton is a large rural city with a population of about 40,000 and a large shopping area to match the population. We were stopping in Shepparton to decide whether we should make a longer visit here and to visit a couple of factory outlets.

We started off at the SPC Ardmona factory outlet. Until late 2009 this was at Mooroopna but is now in the middle of the Shepparton shops with a large parking area out the front. We had some specific products in mind but were prepared to pick up any bargains. As expected, there was a wide range of SPC products supplemented by a range of non-SPC items. Given that the factory outlet exists to facilitate sales of locally produced food it is contradictory to be selling imported nuts from China, Vietnam and California. Even if the Californian walnuts had a "Made in Australia" sticker on the box immediately beside the Californian address of the factory.

From the SPC factory outlet we visited the supermarket complex on the Midland Highway for lunch then found the Pental factory where we bought a useful amount at good prices in the sales area. Then back to the van.

The striking factor about Shepparton to us was the variety of shops and businesses we passed and the extent of the shopping area. Not really surprising for a population of 40,000 but far larger than we have seen for a long time. The weather was sunny during the day but the night was cold and light rain fell late in the afternoon.

During the afternoon I went for a walk along the Goulburn River passing the caravan park. The riverside track goes through an area hit by extremely strong wind gusts during a spell of severe weather a few weeks ago. Healthy red gums with a measured trunk diameter of 80 centimetres had been broken by wind; the upper part of the tree was lying on the ground. Major branches had been ripped off nearby trees and at least one trunk ended in tatters where the entire canopy had been torn away.