Friday, 23 March 2007


We awoke on the 7th day of our trip. I couldn’t believe that we had left Perth Thursday last week and now we were at Avalon. The morning dawned clear and warm so after breaky and ‘blutions we headed off to the airport to check on Lady Bird. The officials had parked us in a Special Interest Aircraft area however we had been advised previously that she was to be near the Gold Pass pavilion. After many official conversations and disagreements between themselves we realized we couldn’t do anything about it, so left the field for a tourist day.

Onto the Freeeway at 11.30 we stopped at the first roadhouse for a quick lunch. Such a lovely new clean establishment at Little River. Twas a pleasure to eat there sitting in the sun with no time limits or worries in the world.

Arrived Weribee Park Zoo at 1.00 and after looking at the shop (Oh! No!. says Kev) we watched the Meerkats in their enclosure until the bus arrived.

The park is set on river flats, breakaways and small hills making all the areas easily separated from each other. Electric gates and high fences keep the species apart and it was beautifully landscaped with fenced off tree areas. Due to drought conditions the open paddock areas were void of grass but under the trees it was lush. Must have been frustrating for the animals not being able to access the long grass but it was essential as most large animals would destroy the trees without some protection.

We drove through separate exhibits showing Bison, Prezwalskis Horses, Camels, Hippos (who hid under water), Bantu cattle, antelope, Giraffe, Zebra, rhinos and finally walked through landscaped walkways to the monkey and lions enclosures.

The bus tour was very informative and made traveling all the enclosures very easy as it was a warm 33deg day. We had such an enjoyable time.

On the return drive to Avalon we were drawn into the B-24 Liberator Memorial Restoration Museum. For the mere cost of a gold coin donation we were given a personal tour of all aspects of the huge exhibit. Our guide had been a Liberator radio operator and was full of interesting stories. It was an honour to watch the volunteer worksmen at their craft rebuilding this magnificent machine.

The fuselage had been found being used by a homebuilder as his temporary residence whilst his “real” house was being built. The hangar in which it was being restored was huge however the craft would have to be de-winged before moving to an even larger hangar some 60m down the paddock. That would be a great day.

We returned to Avalon to check UXL for the night and was approached by a 6’4” American pilot by the name of Ricardo Travern. He was the F18 Super Hornet pilot and told us he had a V77 back home. The V77 is the military version of the Reliant Gullwing and he was so pleased to see one – newly restored in Australia. He gave us all F18 badges to wear and was very friendly – promising to bring photos of his V77 to show us when he had time on Friday. His son, Victor was also with the group – he was attending the swimming competitions being held in Melbourne whilst his Dad was flying for the airshow. What a family.

We ate at the local Lara sporting club that evening – a huge meal piled high on our plates. Grilled fish for us girls whilst Kev had the lamb. And we got to watch McLeods Daughters – a bonus for us McL D fans – even though the volume was turned down.
Oh No. Did Jodie and Matt really get blown up in that car?????

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Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL
over Perth city (Photo: Greg Hill)

About Us

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Flying farming couple who live on 135 acres. Kev is obsessed by aeroplanes. Vicki is devoted to horses and White Swiss Shepherds.