Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nii Nah Nae Nee NO!

Have you ever been to Eildon? Or Lake Eildon?

If you haven't but are planning to some day, make sure that you have a robust sense of self-worth and a big wallet or you'll suffer the same fate as we three - sorry, four, Locketts.

After deciding to meander home from Mansfield via Lake Eildon, we discovered that the town itself looked like it had decided to stay and fully embrace 1982. The optimistically-titled 'restaurant' had mis-spelled cappuccino, the 'bookings essential' sign was written in chalk with the specials already worn off by the rain and the pungent aroma of green slime was wafting up from the upper and lower ponds. The real estate shop had long gone, with only 'houseboats for sale' stickers placed in the hardware shop window.

"Nah, it's all good," said Love Chunks, jollying Sapphire and myself along. "The old guy in the Information Centre says there's plenty of spots where we can see the lake and take Milly for a walk."

An hour and several detours later, our views of the lake were restricted to stretching our necks over the cement barrier as we drove along the edge of the dam(n) wall and reversing out of three 'Private Boat Owners Only' signs and padlocked boom gates.

'No Climbing on Rock Face,' said one sign in the only spot we could see that wasn't fenced off.
'No walking on bridgeway', said another.

"Well, lets head off to Jerusalem. It's a state park and we're allowed to bring Milly." Our orange dog yawned like a squeaky screen door from the back of the station wagon.

Several minutes later, LC pulled over into a muddy ditch and I ran out to read the park's noticeboard. 'Dogs are permitted in camping areas one to eight.' Oooh, that's good, I thought, before reading the next sign, 'Areas one to eight are booked out for the long weekend. No further sites are available.' Oh.

Back in the car, we decided to drive on in search of a picnic ground.
'No cats, No dogs, No firearms,' it said, carved into the pine bollard and coloured in yellow paint for added emphasis.

Love Chunks pulled over into a side bay to turn around. 'No 2WD vehicles beyond this point.'
"Why don't we just go back to Eildon and have a bit of a better look around the river there?"

A car park overlooking a houseboat marina but without public access had a cement brick toilet block situated on top of the hill. Each of us visited it gratefully but no water came out of any of the taps. Sapphire started to laugh, "It's us, remember? We've been told 'no' to everything we've tried to do in this place, so why would we expect water to come out of the taps?" It was one of those times when the tube of Wet Ones circa 2001 mouldering away in the glove box was a welcome rediscovery.

In Eildon itself, we soon got used to the odour of slime and became more and more amused by what we weren't allowed to do:
No camping
No swimming
No fishing
No boating
No diving
No watersports
No bodysurfing

Milly was busy trotting between us we walked the circuit of Upper and Lower Pondages. The sun had finally emerged and we were even feeling slightly warm. Milly lapped at the edge of the water before I noticed another bloody sign. 'No drinking water available. Water is unsuitable for human consumption.'

Further along, some burly blokes had their rods resting on Y-shaped sticks jammed into the muddy bank and were standing near their cars, drinking beers. "Caught any fish, fellas?"
"No love, just a cold."

We walked on, and I noticed some blackberry bushes entwined between the eucalypts and willows. Yes they're a weed but maybe it was right time of year to eat.......... 'Please note - these blackberry bushes have all been sprayed. Do not eat the berries.' Right.

Our circuit completed, we stood in front of the town bakery. It was 2pm and we were all starving for a late lunch.
"Do you have any beef pies left?"

Of course not.


River said...

Holiday spots.
You sure can pick 'em Kath.
Better luck next time eh?

Seriously, I'm happy that you all get out and about discovering these spots, getting a laugh out of them, at the same time warning the rest of us not to go there.

Lorna Lilo said...

I'm keen to know why cats and dogs with guns have been banned.

Elisabeth said...

It's a sad place old 'Lake' Eildon. I once spent a weekend on a houseboat there, over thirty years ago before all the water dried up. It was good value then, even offered water skiing. I have photos to prove it. But not now it's awful as you so eloquently attest.

So as River, well named said, better luck next time, Kath.

Cat J B said...

Oh dear. Oh well, thanks for the heads up, somewhere I don't have to angst about not having seen.

And feijoas are easy to grow Kath, half of Melbourne seem to use them as hedging, at least in my suburb, so I don't imagine they get much love and attention.

Kath Lockett said...

River, it's a sad place - clearly the dam and drought has killed off the spirit and only the 'rich' get to enjoy the good bits.

I like the way you think, Lorna. So you're saying we *should* have gone in, seeing as Milly was unarmed?

Nowadays Elisabeth you can buy a houseboat for the 'bargain' price of $600K - if you're allowed past the private gates to *see* it that is.

Thanks CatJB.

Rowe said...

well ... I guess they no how not to entice people back to that sad little place. People pay $600K for a houseboat there?

Pandora Behr said...

Oh dear. Reminds me of the holidays of my childhood trouping around in a caravan wondering why. Sounds like it was a great trip - despite the blockers. Better luck next time.

The Man at the Pub said...

1. What? The bakery was open?

2. No bodysurfing? Next they'll say no snorkelling and no deep sea diving.

3. If you look closely at the 'No Dogs' sign with the red circle thingy with a red line through it, you can clearly see it only applies to black labradors.

Word verification: unmen. Umm, women? Ladyboys?

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Obviously a place to avoid on my next trip down under - whenever that is.




Anonymous said...

It is easier to get than to keep it...................................................................

Baino said...

Oh my the trip that just wasn't meant to be. I thought Eildon was a reservoir? Bit of a worry that the water's not fit for human consumption. Don't sweat the meat pies, they always have at least one little gristly bit two bites in!

Marshall-Stacks said...

oh dear comiserations to you.

I used to go to Bonnie Doon a fair bit and it was all the same story.
One example: 10 of us go into Maindample pub and have lunch.
Our car was last of bunch to drive on to B.Doon and we went into the bottleshop to grab boost to home supplies, spent $87.20, but only had $67 (he didn't take debit cards) - and the bastard waited while I went back out to car to scrounge through meter money for the 20c.

Mansfield on festival weekend in one of the 3 pubs and its packed but only 2 people working very slow behind bar. It's like they don't WANT to make money.
Drive West next time Locketts.

Marshall-Stacks said...

oh dear I hope you guessed the typo.

second story now I'm here:
Peppin Point is only retail anywhere near B.Doon so I ring ahead from melb on thursday and order all the weekend papers, knowing from experience this is what must happen.
Get there fri night, wake up Sat and go for shopping at the boat park shop - several people from our house, all want coke and cigs and choc and much money is spent but NO papers - "oh sorry we didn't do it". FFS.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks for the advice, Marshall!