Sunday, 30 November 2008

Week of Monday 24 November 2008 - Beechworth - Bendigo - Ballarat - Great Ocean Road

Monday 24 November – Beechworth was our first destination, and we walked the town, looking at the historic buildings, including the goal in which Ned Kelly, and his mother, had been held. 

The sandstone buildings were quite lovely, but I guess the Kelly's wouldn’t have agreed! We had a snack from the famous ‘Beechworth Bakery’ for morning tea and headed on to Wangaratta. I was looking for Drover, Banks and O’Brien here at the cemetery, (one of the neatest we have seen), and the staff were wonderful, finding all the information and even driving me to the site of the headstone for the O’Brien family.

 Further along the highway we stopped at Violet Town, where I have lived in the early ‘60’s, but unfortunately the house had recently been demolished and the church (Methodist) relocated. I took photos, so will have to talk to my parents before I can identify which it was. We then had a reasonably long drive through the dusty, straight roads of central Victoria to Bendigo, and booked into a caravan park for the night. This was exceptionally clean and pleasant.

Tuesday 25 November – First stop was a visit to Darryl's cousin, Kerrie (on the Trembath side), and we chatted for quite a while, catching up with all her family news, before heading into central Bendigo where we
checked out the historical buildings in the centre of town, admired the leafy green park, and got a bird's eye view of the city from the top of the Poppet-head which has been set up as a lookout. We drove towards Ballarat, but couldn't find the National Park turnoff at Creswick, so ended up going right into Ballarat to get directions from the tourist info. We arrived at a magical little campsite, in Wright's Gully which has a little flowing creek, and a peaceful atmosphere. We went for little walks both up and down the creek where there was ample evidence of gold fossicking.

Wednesday 26 November – It was only a short drive back north through the forest to get to the little township of Creswick, and then less than 20k back to Ballarat. We had a lovely few hours with Margaret, (a cousin on Darryl's Wright side), and her son James, who has just finished Uni. Margaret has done a wonderful job of all the research on the Wright and O'Connell branches. At one stage we took a side tour and found a huge castle! What a surprise! We drove closer to get photos, and found it was called Kryal Castle,and is used to hold medieval tournaments.  We then headed to Macedon – I was initially hoping to visit Hanging Rock, but they charge $10, and I really didn't want to see it that badly!  We did a drive through and then stopped for the night.

Thursday 27 November – We drove back up Mount Macedon, and went on most of t
he walks. From the Camel's Hump we could see Hanging Rock. We checked out the Memorial Cross, commemorating those lost in WWI, and on one walk found a huge wombat hole. The wombat had marked his trail by leaving a 'deposit' on every rock sticking up on the path. There was also the very interesting geodectic stone cairn, and a small waterfall. The road down as a bit scary, being one lane wide with a dotted line down the centre! 
We shopped, had lunch, and went to the library in Gisbourne, before driving to Gisbourne South in the afternoon to catch up with my cousin Lynnette, (on the Smith side), and her husband John. We had a lovely chat about family history, before a tasty BBQ and played a new game, to us, a card board game called 'Sequence' (which was quite addictive and enjoyable).

Friday 28 November – We were heading for 'The Great Ocean Road', but got to Bacchus Marsh, and realised the Werribee Gorge, (a destination on both our lists), was
near, so decided to go. This was highly recommended on a few internet sites, but when we first pulled up we were extremely dubious, as it just looked terrible. Despite our misgivings, we walked up the gorge. Although not hugely spectacular, it was interesting, especially as we were following an old aqueduct, and the rock formations were fascinating. A walk to the Western Lookout was disappointing for not being a lookout of the gorge, and the country is very dry (a couple of elderly bushwalkers told us it was in the 12th year of drought). We drove through the Brisbane Ranges, but did not stop – here was also very dry. We moseyed our way south-west via Meredith, Cressy, Camperdown and Cobden, and found a quiet little spot in a State Forest near Timboon to stop for the night, (so still didn't make it the the Road!).

Saturday 29 November – At Port Campbell we finally had our first glimpse of the Great Southern Ocean. We started east along The Great Ocean Road, stopping to check out Loch Ard Gorge (read the story of the shipwreck here), and the twelve Apostles. 

The road down to Cape Otway Lighthouse had plenty of Koalas, and most seemed to be mothers with year-old babies. Along the road we stopped to help a young Brazilian couple who had a flat tyre on their hire-car. They had never changed a tyre before and didn’t know where to start. It turned out they were on their honeymoon, and celebrating two weeks of marriage! Apollo Bay boasts of being paradise, and was certainly a lovely spot, but showers and wind made us decide to head up a winding road, through tall eucalypts and massive tree-ferns towards a little town called Beech Forest to camp at falls called Beaucamp. It was freezing cold so we went to bed at 8.30pm and didn't get up till 8 in the morning.

Sunday 30 November – We walked down to the falls, and then drove to the next falls Hopetoun Falls, which were wonderful – the best we have seen. 

We took a look at the township of Beech Forest before going north to Stevenson Falls, Barwon Reservoir, Forrest, and Lake Elizabeth

We arrived in Lorne, back on the coast to discover...oh joy of joys...that it was schoolies! The van park assured us that none were in our camp, but there were plenty at nearby backpackers, and in houses. 

We expected a long night of drunken yahooing, but luckily it rained, which soon dampened their spirits! Dozens of wood-ducks came around looking for scraps, but we refused, as we did't want the messy deposits they leave in return. Before the sun went down we rode our bikes along the foreshore, down the pier, and for a few km along The Great Ocean Road. Lorne seems like a very nice place. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris & Daryl, glad you are having a good time & it is lovely to hear from you. We are just working, working working ------ get the fiddle out --- On Friday we fly to Cairns (via Brisbane!) till Monday for Ronnies daughter Angelas wedding. Then it will soon be Christmas - have to go to bed have had a BIG day!! love from Dot.