Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

NE Vic, Chrissy and New Years with the Piazzas.

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on February 9, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Daniel, Jak, Abby, Wade and Harry.

Dee knee boarding

Well we’ve made it safe and sound to my sister’s place in sunny Wangaratta, which looks like it has seen some water as well – crikey the rivers are all still high and you can see how high they were by all the mud about the place.  And mozzies – bloody hell, I am already a mozzie magnet so now we have coils burning constantly around the van and the house and I have a new daily cologne with scent of aerogard!  She has generously let us take over the driveway and some of the front lawn.  Yeah green grass:)  For those who don’t know my sister has three children, Jak (13) and Harry and Abby (twins 10). They are all at great ages now so we can let them off the leash for a while to go exploring together on their bikes.

We are here for about 3-4 weeks so we can do all the necessary things like caravan and car services and most importantly, shopping for Chrissy:) We had a lot of things sent to Dianna’s house so we didn’t have to try to hide stuff in the van as there are only just so many hidey-holes in a caravan:)

The big boys

Best Buds

The weather this first week or so has been so cold, we thought we might be in for a white christmas but it only lasted about a week and now we’re back to mid to late 30’s so we might go swimming if we can find a river that’s not full of mud!

The weather was quite hot on Christmas Eve so we went to Lake Buffalo Dam, out past Myrtleford, where I grew up.  The dam level was quite low and we were told it had been lowered in order to make room for the excess water from the rains and late snowfalls.  Shane and Dianna towed the boat up there and the her kids had a go on the biscuit. My kids – nup, Dan’s not big on being behind the boat and surprisingly Wade didn’t want a bar of it – go figure! They’ll jump off waterfalls but not go on behind the boat – I don’t get it! We BBQed and had a great day enjoying the sunny, warm weather.

Lake Buffalo Dam

Chrissy lights extravaganza

We went looking at Chrissy lights on Christmas Eve too and there were some brilliant ones, but an especially fantastic one.  The house is set on about 2 acres and all the front garden was covered with lights, animations and displays.  They had converted their shed on the side of the house into a “South Pole” with every conceivable Christmas toy ever made in there.  There was even a bench seat with a life-size santa sitting on there so you could sit next to him and have a photo next to him.  I was in Christmas heaven! The kids spent an hour or so just going through all the inside stuff and we slowly walked out through the gardens to see all the outside displays. Hats off to you guys, it was by far the BEST I have ever seen.

As a side note, since we left Karratha the boys have wanted to grow their hair out.  I am not a fan but have bitten my tongue as I thought ‘what the hell’, with Daniel looking more like Justin Beiber than JB himself.  (I think the fact that complete strangers were calling him JB may have prompted the change of heart:), ‘cos he hated it!;))The boys lasted up until 2 days ago, when we got to Wangaratta, before they decided they wanted their hair cut, not quite as short as their cousins but short again – yippee, so no more JB look for Dan and no more surfie bum look for Wade. Now these are the faces I remember and love!

Dan before haircut

Dan after haircut

Wade b4 haircut

Wade after haircut

Mum, Dianna, Abby and me.

Chrissy lunch 2010

My mum came down to Wangaratta to my sister’s place on Christmas Eve so we could all wake up together on Christmas Day.  I always had a hot Christmas lunch growing up but the last few years in Karratha it has been waaayyy too hot for a hot lunch, so I was looking forward to one this year.  All the kids had gotten to bed very late Christmas Eve so we were delighted when they slept in till 7:30am!  All the kids got to open their presents together and they had a blast.  They all went off to play with their new presents while we got to work stuffing and cooking chooks and a turkey on the BBQ.  Joel cut up the ham and mum made one of her legendary trifles….mmmmm…yummy! We all sat down to a huge feast and toasted to a wonderful christmas with family. Cheers:)

Boxing Day saw us keep with another one of my childhood traditions and go to the Annual Myrtleford Rodeo.  The kids had never been to one before and weren’t really sure what to expect.  We went with my sister’s family and the 5 kids sat on the railing down front to keep an

Kids at rodeo

Rina and Michelle

eye on the action.  They had a blast. The boys were quite excited when the trail bike riders came out at intermission for some stunt work and Abby was happy to be over with the horses.  I have a good friend that I studied at Uni with who lives in Rutherglen. Rina texted to catch up and was also attending the rodeo so we made sure to catch up for a chat and see how much our kids have all grown up since the last time we saw each other.  Rina invited us over for dinner one night at their place and it was a great night.  The food was fabulous and the company even more so, even if David did work till 10pm!  I love that when you catch up with really good friends it only seems like yesterday when we last caught up and not the 4-5 years it has actually been:)

We took a drive to Mansfield, which is the area in which the movie “The Man From Snowy River” was filmed. We stopped at a river crossing then we drove up to Craig’s hut, which was used in the movie also, but the hut currently standing has been rebuilt as the first two were burnt down in

Dee and Wade High Country

previous bushfires.  It is just beautiful country here!  I didn’t realise how much I have missed the

Dee and Dan High Country

mountains till I got up here! We took some 4WD tracks out to Lake Cobbler, going via “The Staircase”, so named because it actually looks like a stone staircase, then made our way back to Wangaratta.  It was very nice to do some 4Wdriving in amongst the hills with trees and forest instead of red dirt and the occasional tree:) We did find a few of the hairpin turns very tight with the “new vehicle” as the turning circle is a lot greater now, but we only had to do a 3 point turn on one particularly tight hairpin bend. And ask Joel how many times he bottomed out as the extended wheel base caught a few humps too!  Looks like the suspension might need looking at too!

Icy river...brrrrr

Craig's Hut

Craig's Hut rear view

What a view.......

An old friend of mine, Wendy, came over to see us (she is also a very good friend of my sister too) on the night before New Year’s Eve and we had a hum dinger of a night.  Unfortunately neither Joel, Dianna or myself could really face another huge night so we had a few champers with Shane to toast in the New Year then climbed on to the roof to watch some of the fireworks.  I think we just celebrated New Years a little early, that’s all!

Dan at the falls

We took a drive up to Beechworth to have lunch in the very famous bakery.  They have a very yummy sweets/lollies shop there now too which Daniel and Wade were not going to let us go past:)  After all the tasty

Wade and Joel at falls

food, we headed out to Woolshed Falls for a swim and a soak and catch some rays. It has changed a lot since I last visited, like a very nice, new toilet block but it’s not the quiet little local getaway anymore-still it was a lovely day. We all swam at the falls and the boys found a huge crevace at the top and spent some time running and jumping across it from one side to the other!

Woolshed Falls

Jumping the top of the falls

Dianna and Shane came on a drive up to Wandiligong and we went for a wander through “The Maze”.  We followed that up with a trip into the Harrietville Trout Farm where the boys had a fish.  They caught a nice sized trout each and the people at the trout farm gutted and bagged the fish for us to take home. Mmmmm fresh trout for

Entering the maze

dinner tomorrow night. And it was delicious! The boys just used a long piece of bamboo that has some line attached to it and a hook on the end.  I don’t think you would need an elaborate rig to catch farm fish:). We took the long way home via Mt Beauty back through Myrtleford to Wangaratta, stopping at a few lookouts for some photo ops.

Dan and Wade Trout fishing

The rest of the time was spent with the kids catching up with their cousins, going for rides on their bikes and a spot or two of fishing.  Jak loves fishing and Wade was more than keen to go with his cousin at every opportunity. Wade is developing quite a passion for it.

Well our three and a half weeks have flown and we’re off tomorrow to Melbourne as we catch the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry to Tassie on Sunday. After many hugs and kisses it was time to go, but promised we would be back after our tour of Tassie to pick up a few things and say our fond farewells, again.

Mt Beauty Lookout

My lil sis and BFF.

Till next time,



2 Responses to “NE Vic, Chrissy and New Years with the Piazzas.”

  1. Marge Hynoski (and Greg) said

    Hey guys, for 2 weeks at the end of Feb, we were travelling around Victoria…Just got back. We camped at Wenham’s Camp at Warby near Wang for 2 nights and the mossies were bad but not the worst. We also had lunch at Woolshed Falls, the footbridge on the walk was wrecked. We were coming up from Omeo and were going to take the Falls Creek, Bogong Road to Mt. Beauty, but the day we reached the intersection, the road was temporarily closed. So we continued on to Mitta Mitta.We never got closer than Beechworth after that. Love the area and hope to return. On your return do not miss Sovereign Hill at Ballarat. Hope tassie is the best!!!! Greg and Marge

    • Hey Guys, Hope you had a great trip. We lourved tassie, even with it being so cold!!! We were there for 6 weeks and it was still not long enough, but the cold was getting a bit hard to take so we didn’t extend past the 6 weeks. We have spent some time in Geelong and then did Ballarat – i’d forgotten how bloody cold that place is! We mainly went there to do Sovereign Hill which we all loved. It has changed a little since i last visited some 20 odd years ago:) We all managed to find a bit of gold too and have an old fashioned photo taken too. We’re in Bendigo atm with some more time around Vic before we head up the coast later this month. Hope you are both well and the weather is warmer up that way:))Cheers Michelle, Joel and Boys xx

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