|Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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|3 April 2012 - Wangaratta to Heathcote|
Another lovely sunny day with blue sky as we connected the caravan and Pathfinder and drove out of Wangaratta caravan park. We planned to stay on the Hume Freeway until about Seymour when we would turn off to use minor roads go to Heathcote.
Before we were out of the park we heard comments on the UHF radio about a detour between Glenrowan and Benalla but the initial comments did not say whether the problem was in the northbound or southbound lane. Regardless of details we felt sure that a detour usable by semi-trailers and B-doubles of the size routinely using the Hume Highway would not present us with any real problems. We would carry on as planned and see what was going on further south.
We joined the Hume Freeway as it passed Wangaratta and headed south. Traffic was very light in both directions and the weather remained excellent for travelling. The Hume Freeway on this flat land is mainly made up of long, nearly straight sections; the dual carriage-way means that traffic sorts itself out by speed without difficulty.
Listening to the UHF radio we discovered that the southbound carriage-way (the one we were on) was blocked by a B-double truck on its side. One truck driver in the northbound lane said it looked as if the truck had "just decided to lie down for a rest". Amid the chatter as drivers tried to find out what was happening there was a statement from a policeman or RTA official saying that a long detour, which had been in place for some time, was being removed leaving only a short detour; he named the roads concerned but the names didn't mean anything to us. Shortly after we came upon a detour being dismantled so we were not surprised, a few kilometres further on, to be part of a line of vehicles directed onto a side road. In fact, the detour was the old Hume Highway running parallel to the newer divided road for a few kilometres before rejoining it.
Once again the UHF radio had proven invaluable in keeping us informed about a traffic incident. The statement by the policeman or RTA official on the UHF radio was particularly useful in letting everybody listening know what was happening.
Once back on the Hume Freeway we continued towards the Seymour exit. The road becomes a little hillier approaching Seymour as it enters the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.
Near Seymour we took the exit to the C384 (called the Seymour Tooborac Road) which is an average C class road and comfortable at 70 kph. This road passes Puckapunyal heading west through slightly hilly, pastoral country used mainly for grazing a variety of animals including horses and alpacas. At the end of the C384 we reached the Northern Highway (the B75) and turned north towards Heathcote.
Arriving at Heathcote we drove to the caravan park we had previously booked and set up on our site. We planned to stay in Heathcote for a week over the Easter weekend. This is a remarkably big event in the caravanning world, at least in Victoria, and caravan parks are booked out for weeks before the event.
Setting up the caravan was a routine activity except for the television; Heathcote doesn't have television transmitters but relies on surrounding centres. The Nomads Almanac in my laptop gave directions and distances for three digital television transmitter sites with different stations. Given our expected viewing over the Easter break we settled on a site with commercial stations and SBS but not the ABC. I had been trying out television over the internet and had found the ABC and SBS particularly well set-up, so I would watch ABC programmes on the internet instead of via television.