OZ and Tassie travel blog

House-sit 3

7 January

A beautiful morning, warm and pleasant. Cats had been in during the night to feed. Cricket in Sydney delayed due to rain. Arranged to meet with Chris and Jan at a cafe near Warrandyte for lunch. Very pleasant lunch and good to catch up with Chris and Jan who were just about to move back into their house in Warrandyte after two years letting it while they travelled.

The afternoon seemed to just drift by and before long it was dinner time then bed. Lovely day.

8 January

Woken early I went for a swim; beautiful morning, slightly heated water, just right for swimming, and I managed to get a lane to myself!

After breakfast we drove up to see Ravi and his family (Ruth’s cousins) in Kyneton. So back into Melbourne along the Eastern Freeway, round the north of the CBD and up onto the M79, the Calder Freeway. Cloudy to start but as we drove north the sun shone through and it became a lovely hot day. Easy driving, once we were clear of the city not too much traffic so we were able to maintain a good pace. All up hill into the Great Dividing Ranges.

We turned off the motorway at Macedon, had a drive around the town, but little of interest to us so we headed for Mount Macedon. A lovely drive through village, very green with lots of trees and flowering shrubs, the road gradually climbed up out of the Village and into Macedon Regional Park. The Macedon Ranges are at the southern end of Victoria’s Great Dividing Ranges. Joined the Cameron Drive through the Park a lovely drive through tall eucalypt forest with an under-storey of snow eucalytus, much of which was covered by brilliant white blossom (hence it’s name!) and all the way to the top of the Mount, at 1,000 metres high, where a large WW1 memorial cross had been erected. A large carpark and a cafe, it could become quite busy but today was peaceful and we enjoyed the walk out to the Cross, set in a small formal garden with views to the South. A bit hazy today but good views nonetheless. Also walked to the Major Mitchell Lookout (Mitchell was the first surveyor sent out from Sydney in 1836, to explore the region and report back on its settlement potential). He named the Lots of hyacinth orchids.

We drove back down the Mount a short way to the Cameron Picnic Ground to have some lunch. We could hear lots of birds, but didn’t see any. On now to the Camel’s Hump, the highest point in the Ranges at 1011 metres, a kilometre walk from the car park up through the snow eucalyptus forest to the lookout at the top. Camel’s Hump is a mamelon, an extrusion of lava forced through a gap in the earths crust. Great views out towards Hanging Rock, another mamelon, but lower in height. Ruth stayed in the car.

So, down from the Mount we drove to Hanging Rock, quite impressive as we got closer, it looked like a huge pile of boulders and rocks. It is said to have been the hideout for bushrangers in the mid-late 1800s and featured in the book ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, later made into a movie. The Rock is now surrounded by a high wire fence and is gated with an entrance fee. Didn’t bother to go in as there were lots of cars in the car park, wouldn’t have been very quiet.

By now a hot day, almost cloudless, so time to visit a cellar door. The only one open during the week and nearby was Hanging Rock Winery, just a couple of K away, so off we went! The winery had a great selection of very good wines though we only tasted a few and bought fewer. Great view of Hanging Rock through the vines.

Now it was time to get along to Kyneton, nice drive through bush country, dry and browned; bought some flowers then found Ravi and Jo’s place. All looked fairly dry up there. It was really good to catch up with Ravi, Jo and the boys and we spent a very convivial evening with them. Saw the local kangaroo mob in the fields near the house.

Long drive back to Croydon, but the roads were virtually empty at 10 o’clock that night, so an easy run home.

9 January

Lazy start; an overcast day with a cool breeze. Drove back to Warran Glen Cafe in Warrandyte, to meet with Cathy, a friend of our friends back on the UK and we had a delightful lunch together. When we told her of our trip to Hanging Rock she told us her family used to have a farm bear the Rock! - small world!

Bit of tidying in the garden, dead-heading roses, weeding etc.

10 January

Only 10 degrees this morning with a southerly breeze. Warmed up during the day but still a playful breeze. We drove into Melbourne to have coffee with Janet and John at their favourite coffee shop on Leveson Street. John later dropped us Queen Victoria Market and we wandered around the ‘touristy’ stalls, but nothing grabbed us so we caught the tram into the CBD (the tram is free in central Melbourne, a bit of a bonus, though it really didn’t cost that much before it was free).

A tramp around the laneways where on Hardware Lane we found a little cafe, Ohsso, to have lunch; it was Korean food, and very tasty it was too. Very friendly and helpful people plus the menu had pictures of the dishes. We had a seafood lunchbox, great food.

We wandered on around the laneways in the Bourke Street area including the Block Arcade and the Royal Arcade, both dating from the late 1800s and highly decorated with quite unusual clocks. Bourke Street still had Christmas decorations along the pedestrianised section, in front of the Myers and David Jones department stores - Melbourne institutions!

Enough walking around, we caught the tram to Flinders Street Station and caught the train back to Kensington. Chat with Janet and John then headed back to Croydon - in the Melbourne rush-hour! Took an hour instead of half an hour.

Carolyn joined us for dinner, we went back to the Nepalese restaurant, Chiraag. Had a great meal.

11 January

Up early to go swimming, Ruth rolled over and went back to sleep! Great swim in the sunshine. Back for the promised scrambled egg/salmon/avocado breakfast but the ladies had only just got out of bed. Two hours later......

Carolyn headed back to Kilmore, and we headed south to visit the Mornington Peninsula. A beautiful day and the forecast was for 33 degrees. Easy ride down the Eastlink to Frankston, then on to Mornington where we had a stroll around the shops, bought a shirt. It was now getting very hot. A gentle drive down the coast, all the beaches were heaving with people and there is little or no shade on the beaches so we drove on to Arthur’s Seat, a 314 metre high lump of granite. Fabulous views across the bay, we could see Melbourne CBD rising out of the haze, and lots of boats and jet skis buzzing around.

We found a shady spot near the summit and had our lunch, gentle cool breeze under the trees, a welcome relief. Not many people about, I guess they were all at the beach! I walked along to Flinders Cairn, disappointed that it was much lower down than the summit although it did offer clearer views, but the walk back uphill in the heat.....

We drove over the summit and out east, lovely drive through small fields and woodlands; some big houses up here. We found our way to the little town of Flinders and headed for the beach. Very few people here, the tide was right in and there was virtually no beach. What there was, was covered in decaying sea weed. Historic jetty. Ruth was by now getting grumpy about not being able to get in the water, so we drove on up the coast. Looked in at Balnarring Beach, but it had similar issues to Flinders, so on again to the tiny town of Somers. Walked down to the beach and whilst the tide was high Ruth seemed happy with it. Some scattered piles of old seaweed and a big in the water, but she enjoyed a splash in the cool water.

Time to head for home, back to the M11 near Frankston and then the M3.

12 January

A warm night; the weather seemed to vary so much here. It has been 22, then 24, 26 and yesterday 33. Today the forecast is for 26 again, it does seemed to bump up and down and night-time temperatures also vary, we’ve had 10 degrees and 22 degrees, little consistency.

Ruth went to the pool for a swim while I got stuck into some domestic duties, like repairing Ruth’s bra, clothes washing, vacuuming and catching up with the blog. Lunch then Ruth went to find a pedicure while Idid the ironing, such domesticity!

Watched Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’. Bed.

13 January

Nice cool morning, brilliant sunshine, clear blue skies, slight cool breeze from the south; we were destined for a hot day today, 33 degrees.

Spent the morning cleaning house and packing. Visited our friends Chris and Jan at their house in Warrandyte. They aren’t far from the Yarra River but it was very dry up there and they did tell us about the high fire risk for their area, plus there was only one road back across the river. They were reasonably philosophical about the risk of losing everything in a bushfire; they had a bag permanently packed and ready to go. Not sure we would be quite as relaxed about that. Nice house, built into the hillside, so on several levels. Great to catch up with them again and to talk about the planning of their trip to Europe later in the year.

Back to Croydon to finish packing and wait for Emily to arrive. One cat, Lily, appeared after Emily arrived and we were able to bid our farewells after updating Emily about our experience with the cats. Off to Kensington to stay with Janet and John for the night. Delicious supper and much wine drunk before we staggered off to bed. It was a warm evening.

14 January

Up, breakfasted and ready to go, just waiting for Carolyn to surface as she was driving us to the airport. Eventually she emerged and soon ready to go. Dropped the car back to Van and Ute Hire and Carolyn dropped us at the airport.

The house-sit had been fine but the behaviour of the cats made it frustrating at times. Although about half an hour to the CBD, which wasn’t too bad, there was easy access to the Maroondah Highway and the motorway system and the house was well located for visiting the Yarra Valley, The Dandenongs and the Yarra Ranges all pretty countryside.

Next stop Hobart.......

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