We took 10 days or so to travel from Bathurst the home of the V8 super cars to the Melbourne Spring Carnival, the home of the V8 super racehorses. So we headed down the Olympic Highway (again) bound for Victoria.
We spent a couple of days on the South West NSW slopes in the cherry capital of Australia, Young. Although the weather wasn’t as welcoming as we would have ordered, we shared a great meal with Margaret and Allen Davis (parents of our big truckie mate Paul from WA). Country hospitality and meeting people on the road is becoming our favourite pastime.
On the road again heading south we visited Cootamundra. This is the birthplace of cricket’s greatest batsman, Sir Donald Bradman. We found our entire former cricketing captains cast in bronze along the Captain’s Walk at Jubilee Park.
It was then take 3 in our favourite small town again in the backyard of the Nelson household armed with smackos to please Toby and Molly one last time. We have shared some great memories with Tony, Lyn, Alex and Stuart on this trip and thank them for their welcome and hospitality.
Bendigo in central Victoria became our home for a few days of relaxation. Sacred Heart Cathedral is the principal Church of the Diocese of Sandhurst. A striking building that dominates the Bendigo skyline. We celebrated Mass on Sunday and with good luck, managed to view the statue dedicated to Saint Mary Mackillop, which had been commissioned that weekend.
The Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram Tour is a hop-on; hop-off tour throughout the city allowing you to explore many of the parks, attractions, shopping and facilities that Bendigo has to offer. The commentary on board reminds tourists of the remarkable sights and sounds of Bendigo as your tram tells you about the golden past of the city founded on one of the world’s richest goldfields. The Bendigo Tram Depot is one of the oldest operating Tram Depots in Australia and is well worth a visit.
We experienced the history and craft of Australia’s oldest working pottery – Bendigo Pottery which began in 1858 and still exists to the present day. The town hall recently restored, now displaying spectacular elegant ceilings sparkling with gold-leaf decorations and fine details is worth a look.
The Capital Theatre sits in the heart of Bendigo’s thriving arts precinct. Stepping through the stunning columns of this architectural landmark we visited Undressed: 350 years of fashion in underwear. The intimate garments that have decorated and manipulated the body – from the historical to the contemporary – had been drawn from the renowned collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, as well as from private collections. Interesting!
The Macedon Ranges
Our final couple of days at Riddell’s Creek reminded us of our growing compatibility with natural bush settings. Sharing dinner with kookaburras and kangaroos is one of the pleasures of sleeping in the real bush —Tree Tops at Riddles Creek was definitely a winner.
We jumped in the car and headed to Hanging Rock made famous by the movie and book – ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’. I was actually more intrigued by the racecourse there. Less than 1300 metres in circumference. We travelled to the top of the Macedon Ranges to find the cloud blanket covering the land below and ventured through horse stud properties such as Eliza Park and Macedon Park the home of the rich and famous Lloyd Williams stables. It was then an easy 70 odd kms to our bas in Footscray ready for the V8 horse.