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Hi Troops, the 2012 trip exploring transport routes and infrastructure in the UK is currently being finalised so as soon as it is we will load the itinerary onto the Blog so you can check out where we are going and when we will be there so you will know what dates and places you want to check in the upcoming Blog of the trip.

We are fortunate we have so many people to take care of things both on the job scene as well as filling up our home in our absence.

The plan is to explore some of the USA and Canada the next two years (all going well) and we will see after that!!!!

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We headed for Tullamarine Airport with forecasts of pretty unfriendly weather but even though the sky was overcast it was dry, then as we crossed the Bolte Bridge we spotted a cloud burst off to the west…..with the airport control tower in its midst. Thankfully we got to the parking area with only a few spots of rain so we managed to stow our gear dry and with confidence that it wouldn’t be green and hairy on our return from our break in Tasmania with our precious friends Harry and Lorraine.

We had a great break in Tassie, catching up with Gerry and Mary as well and exploring Bruny Island which we had never visited before. What a treat! We were impressed with the efficiency of the ferry service.

Our accommodation ‘The Lodge Adventure Bay Retreat’ on Bruny Island, a lovely restful spot complete with grazing wallabies (28 the most at any one count around us) including a number of albino ones which we had never seen before. www.brunyislandaccommodation.com.au

We also enjoyed a Pennicott Wilderness Journey three hour eco cruise along the south east Bruny coast the day we arrived which was a great experience (the pick of the days we were there as it turned out) and appreciated the spectacular views of the coastline, the varying colours of the ocean, the gannets and albatross and the whole experience. The staff were great and had a good awareness of how people were travelling and the commentary was informative and enjoyable. A very good experience all round. www.brunycruises.com.au

One of the many spectacular sights down the east coast of Bruny Island to the Great Southern Ocean

Our trip from the Tullamarine Airport to Echuca was a lovely comfortable ride. I enjoyed seeing the open paddocks giving way to the rocky hills as we headed for Heathcote and the wine country.

Street view in Lancefield. Good to see the local War Memorial still displaying floral tributes so close to Anzac Day (April 25th)

The hills eventually gave way to open fields with a good amount of irrigation activity, cropping and more wine country with a collection of attractive little towns and villages and an interesting assortment of country pubs.

Street view in Rochester. Shamrock Hotel in foreground and the Shire Hall in the distance (LHS). A really pretty town.

We had a beautifully comfortable stay in Moama at the ‘Deeluxe Riverspa Apartments’ with a group of friends and loved every minute of it, and no that is not a spelling error on the ‘Deeluxe’. www.riverspa.com.au The girls managed to squeeze in a visit to the Madison Day Spa which was enjoyable and being part of a motel / conference complex there was much activity with two weddings for the day. www.madisonspa.com.au

The Emmylou approaching our paddlesteamer as we were rounding a corner in the Mighty Murray and approaching a dock where a number of hire boats are docked. A lot of dollars tied up there!

The following day we headed off on a customised tour which was a treat. We were treated to several wine tastings from a variety of wineries as well as having a delicious lunch and visited the Great Aussie Beer Shed which was a very quirky but enjoyable experience. Would recommend the whole experience. www.echucamoamawinetours.com.au

From there we headed home via Murchison, Yea, Healesville and Powelltown and just lapped up the picturesque scenery with the occasional splash of autumnal colour. A great ride. Good training for our upcoming OS adventure.

Murchison – three of the many quirky painted cows to ponder on in the park in the main street beside the river where we enjoyed our hot coffee…..be nice I’m referring to the three four legged cows in the shot!

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