Travelling Australia - Journal 2014b
|28 November 2014
Sale to Mullengandra (nr Albury)
We left Sale on the Princes Highway bound initially for Dandenong in outer Melbourne where we would join the EastLink motorway to take us to Ringwood and country roads with the intention of avoiding Melbourne's inner freeways and traffic.
The Princes Highway is being duplicated between Sale and Traralgon so there were considerable roadworks, especially where bridges were being duplicated. Traffic was initially light but became steadily heavier as we drew closer to Dandenong. From Traralgon to Dandenong has already been duplicated and the duplication process has removed most rest areas along that road. This is the not unusual situation where authorities preach frequent rests for drivers while building roads without places where that rest can be taken.
Fairly close to Dandenong the truckies on UHF radio were talking about a queue of traffic ten kilometres ahead of us where two lanes narrowed to a single lane for an area where roadworks signs were in place but no work was visible. We chose to use the GPS mapping to go around the blockage but other roadworks reduced the effectiveness of that plan. We did get onto EastLink eventually heading north from Dandenong towards Ringwood.
We turned off EastLink onto the Maroondah Highway taking us to Lilydale then onto the B300 (the Melba Highway) north past Yarra Glen to Yea. This section through the Yarra Valley was very scenic with numerous grape vines covering hillsides near and far. Soon the road left the agricultural/vineyard region into Kinglake National Park where the road climbed a winding, two-lanes wide, road with a good bitumen surface. Either side of the road was eucalyptus forest which had been burnt about a year ago; blackened trunks were nearly obscured by epicormic growth sprouting from the burnt wood.
Traffic had been fairly busy on EastLink and three lanes of Maroondah Highway were also busy until Lilydale. Trafic volume reduced fairly quickly after we left Lilydale and was quite light north of Kinglake although there were still several heavy transports in both directions.
At Yea we turned onto the Goulburn Valley Highway (the B340) to take us to Seymour and the Hume Freeway. Along this road we turned into King Parrot Creek Rest Area to see what was there then returned to the B340 heading towards Seymour. King Parrot Creek Rest Area was a large, open area with slightly difficult access but which is worth noting for future use.
Passing through Seymour we joined the Hume Freeway at an interchange north of the town and set off towards Albury/Wodonga on the Victoria/New South Wales border. We stopped at many rest areas along this road to mark their position on an electronic map for future reference. Unlike the Princes Highway in Gippsland, the Hume Freeway has numerous rest areas along it; many are best suited for trucks but many are multi-use ones for trucks and other vehicles. We later heard that the accident/death rate on the Hume Freeway is increasing, supposedly because mainly urban drivers head off along the easy-to-use freeway without necessary long-distance driving skills and come to grief. Allegedly part of the response to the accident rate is to ensure frequent rest area. We were most interested in those suitable for overnight use which was usually indicated by the spacing between the road and rest-area parking.
With the Hume Freeway going around towns there were few opportunities to refuel but we stopped at Glenrowan service centre for fuel and continued along the Hume going around Albury/Wodonga and stopping at our planned overnight stop at Mullengandra where we stopped on a small hill at the far end where we would not obstruct heavy transports passing through.