Murray-Sunset Misadventure Pt 1

If you didn’t hear, last year Victorians were treated to an extra public holiday. It was confirmed that we would get the Friday before the AFL Grand Final off – meaning an extra long weekend for non-footy fans.

We took advantage of this and decided to go camping in the Murray-Sunset National Park near the pink lakes. At about 6 hours away, you’ll find it located in the north-west corner of Victoria, bordering South Australia and New South Wales.

Percy and Percy: Corner Hargreaves & Baxter St, Bendigo
To break up the drive we stopped by Bendigo for brunch at Percy and Percy. It had a nice outdoor area, almost like entering someone’s spacious backyard.

bendigo3I had the Persian Eggs with “poached googies, wilted spinach, bacon, cherry tomatoes and goat’s cheese” ($18). After inspecting the remainder of the menu, we deduced that googies meant eggs.

My friend and I both chose this dish as we thought it would be similar to baked eggs, but unfortunately it was just those ingredients on toast. Filling and tasty, but not what we expected and nothing too fancy.

bendigo2 20151002_095845 copyIt’s a cute place to make a stop but I guess Melbourne brunch has made my expectations high. Although if you do drop by – try their hash brown, which was more like a big, delicious arancini ball!

bendigo1Take a look at a copy of their menu from September here, so it might be slightly different now.

Percy and Percy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Campsite: Murray-Sunset National Park
After a long drive and finally arriving at the dusty Aussie outback, we drove into Victoria’s second largest national park to find a good camping spot.

20151002_155203Firstly, the lakes were not all that pink. After passing a few smaller ones, we reached the larger Lake Crosbie with still little pink to see and wondered whether it was better in the sunset.

Secondly, there were so many flies we could hardly open our mouth or relax. In fact we wondered how the lady in the campsite next to us was sitting so calmly in her chair without swatting at flies. It is expected from the outback but wait…

They weren’t flies. They were bees. After realising this and returning to our cars we had to reassess. Upon reading the park information again we realised we had missed a  warning box in the corner – feral bees during hot weather. FERAL BEES! Not to mention it was nearly 40 degrees.

With no pink lakes and a feral bee plague, we had been told of another park next to the Murray-Sunset and wondered whether we could stay there. Sorry, no photos of lakes were taken because we were busy escaping bees! A photo of the entrance map I took is below, if you want to see whereabouts we were.

mapWe called Parks Victoria to make sure the next park was not another feral bees hotspot, booked online and decided to head there – but it turned out that ‘next to’ meant another hour’s drive.

The Final Destination: Hattah-Kulkyne National Park
Finally, we ended up at Hattah-Kulkyne Park instead where we were not greeted by feral bees. We drove past a lake and a BBQ on the way in, so this was also a good sign as it was about time for dinner.

We set up camp with two tents, although we realised the ground was a bit uneven for sleeping. There was also a spot to set up a campfire and someone had left their bag of firewood next to it – win!

IMG_7518 copyI’ve never set up a campfire before but our American friends gave us some tips and even took us to collect some wood near the entrance of the park (you can’t collect it from within the park).

Then it was time to finish with some marshmallows and chocolate between crackers! (Note: Also known as s’mores, but apparently Australia doesn’t have the right Graham crackers to ensure it is authentic :P). Accompanied by spiced rum and coke, it was a good old-fashioned way to finish the first night.

campfireAlas the end to an eventful day, but glad we managed to find somewhere else to stay! Stay tuned for the next instalment of our mis-adventure.

IMG_7536 copy

Helpful Links:
Murray-Sunset National Park – Park Note
Murray-Sunset National Park – Pink Lakes
Hattah-Kulkyne National Park – Park Note
For a contrasting experience at Murray-Sunset, see Australian Traveller here.

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