A Close Muster

The Wallaby Track: Lionel heads to an Australian Caravan Club muster… only minutes away from his house!

The mansion at the winery.

My Australian Caravan Club branch – the ACC Gippsland Gypsies – held its first muster this year at Stawell – just 10km from my home! I thought it was going to be a very relaxed few days but it turned out to be just the opposite: busy but great.

The Friday night was just catching up with fellow members under the welcome shade of the trees. I’ve lived in Stawell for about eight years but had never been to the Grampians Gate Caravan Park before, although I’d driven past it plenty of times. I was in for a surprise – my site was right beside a lovely lake that I didn’t know existed.

Yemmy doesn’t have air-conditioning so sleeping in the heat was almost impossible. I’ve since bought a lovely little evaporative air cooler that I’m sure will make it much more comfortable on hot nights.

A little evaporative cooler to keep Yemmy cooler.

Seppalts Winery in Great Western was our Saturday destination but we hadn’t anticipated a detour. A car and truck had collided on the approach to the town and emergency vehicles of all sorts, lights flashing, were filling the street. This meant a short detour for us but we still arrived at the winery in good time to start our guided tour.

The mansion built by former owners was one of the first things we saw, followed by the impressive entry to the winery.

I’ve been there before but the lady who was our tour guide made it very interesting. She made us laugh when she said we could ask as many questions as we liked and if she didn’t know the answer, she’d make one up! Our members were rapt in her bubbly personality as you can see in the picture.

Avid listeners during the winery tour.

I had visited the winery previously with my Probus Club. I was in a wheelchair then, with my broken leg in plaster. It was a bit hairy going up and down the steep steps and ramp to the lower levels!

Nowadays, the winery hosts functions as well as tours and there are several lovely settings for these events.

The contrast between the scorching temperature on the surface and the cool temperature down in the ‘drives’ is incredible. The extensive drives are where champagne was stored and there are thousands of bottles still lining the walls. To the layman, the ‘drives’ are tunnels and were made without the aid of modern earthmoving equipment.

The size of the champagne bottles was amazing – the smaller ones on the left are the ‘normal’ bottles.

Anyone for a drop of champagne at Seppalts Winery?

After the tour, our guide treated us to a wine-tasting of three different champagnes – not to my taste, though, as I’m a sweet tooth these days.


After lunch, we stayed on in the dining area to hold our Annual General Meeting and the election of our new committee for 2021. Then it was back to the caravan park for happy hour, dinner and yarning in the shade.

The next morning, after our traditional bacon and egg breakfast, the rest of the members went on a tagalong tour of the area while I was picked up by our bandmaster and taken to Halls Gap where our brass band was giving a recital – fortunately, they had put up a gazebo for us to play under – we needed the shade as the temp was around 40 degrees!

Back at the park, the owners had supplied us with the meat for the barbecue and also a ‘pass the parcel’ game. The parcel had many layers and a question on each layer – the person with the best answer was given the parcel and got a little present before passing it on.

One question was “who is the oldest member here?” Of course ,at 89 I won that! Then “who has crossed the Nullarbor the most times?” My “13 times” answer won easily but I was banned after that!

The next morning, I was packed up and on the road early and was home by 8.30am, with all of 10km to drive.


About 14 of the members were staying on another night and came to my place for afternoon tea. In the usual Australian fashion, the ladies sat at the table and organised the catering while the men sat and relaxed in the arm chairs!

A nice ending to a great weekend.


Our next muster is at Marlo in far east Gippsland and that’s just over 600km from here. Yemmy needs a few things done so I’ll be stopping at my mechanic’s place on the way. That will break the trip into two 300km stages. The Marlo Caravan Park provides an extra night for free if you book for three


At the end of April I’ll be heading for Bargara, Qld, for an Apex 40 gathering before driving back down to one of my old favourite caravan parks at Trangie near Dubbo for an ACC Chairman’s Muster.

After that, it will be a leisurely meander back north to some of my favourite winter haunts, including Walkamin, of course.


Our alpacas were getting a bit warm with their wooly winter coats, so shearing day came and they lost their coats.

Shearing an alpaca.

The difference in their appearance was incredible! From big, heavy-looking animals, they suddenly appeared like long-necked goats! Even now they still look strange, although it’s so much better for them when it’s hot.