|Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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|21 April 2012 - Echuca to Numurkah|
Weather was pleasant for travelling as we drove out of the caravan park, through the Historical Precinct and along High Street to the Murray Valley Highway where we turned left with Numurkah as the destination for the day. Traffic was moderate on this two-lane road. Initially the surface was a bit uneven and appeared to have been degraded by heavier traffic than it was built to handle; after a while the surface improved to be comfortable to drive on.
The highway runs over very flat ground through numerous paddocks set-up for irrigation. Most paddocks were used for pasture with cattle grazing in many, but with horses and sheep also along the road.
At Nathalia we turned off the Murray Valley Highway onto a side road (C361, Katamatite-Nathalia Road) to take us to Numurkah. According to the VicRoads web site showing roads closed (at http://alerts.vicroads.vic.gov.au/) this road is closed due to flooding. But the road was open. It was disappointing to find the official website informing the travelling public was wrong.
The road may have been open for normal traffic but many paddocks on both sides of the road were waterlogged with much free water in sight. After more than a month of travelling through recently flooded areas in New South Wales and Victoria we had not seen as much water lying on paddocks as we saw along this road between Nathalia and Numurkah. Not surprisingly, water-birds were making the most of conditions with at least one group of spoonbills visible from the road and numerous White Ibis feeding in paddocks.
Near Numurkah we joined the Goulburn Valley Highway for a few kilometres; this road bypasses Numurkah township and we soon turned off to make our way to Melville Street which is the main shopping street for Numurkah. The caravan park is in Melville Street beside Broken Creek which flooded a few weeks ago and forced the evacuation of the caravan park. Broken Creek rises near Benalla and we were told that particularly heavy, widespread, rain in the headwaters had increased the water level in the Creek which was already high because of local rain. The result was a flooded caravan park.
But now the water had receded and the park had recovered fairly well. We checked in for a week and were offered a choice of drive-through sites with slabs and were soon set up near the creek.