Sunday 24 February
Up bright and early, complete our packing, collected Carolyn from her B and B and headed off to the airport. The warmest day for a while, shame we are leaving! Arrived at the airport without incident, dropped all the bags, then dropped the car, checked in, pass through security, all with just under half an hour to spare before boarding. Easy!
We flew north over the centre of the island, mostly all brown below, too high to make out places we had visited, except for the Tamar River. Long walk from the gate to the bag pickup, collected Caz’s car and headed for Kilmore. It was hot, ten degrees hotter than Hobart. Grocery and wine shopping then lunch. The afternoon seemed to drift by, dinner, then endless episodes of ‘Stella’, a British tv series Carolyn had on dvd.
Monday 25 February
Sorted out our packing, including the mountain of stuff we had left before heading to Hobart. More episodes of Stella while we waited for Carolyn to sleep off her hangover! We drove to St Kilda for the aboriginal art exhibition in the town hall. The project, The Torch, was started to enable aboriginals in jail to earn some money by producing art. It is now in its tenth year and is a huge success. The art varies from traditional to a modern take on the traditional to naive art. Most had already been sold. One in particular grabbed our attention, similar in style to art we had seen on our last visit, by Garry Scott, but at $4,500, just a little outside our price range. We walked back to the car in 35 degree heat, no wandering around the shops today!
We drove back into Melbourne and to Kensington to join Janet and John for dinner, and wow what a delicious dinner, sounds simple, but the seafood pasta was to die for, so much so that we each had second helpings! Out last evening in Oz, a great evening, wine, food and company. We will miss all this.......
Tuesday 26 February
So, our last day in Australia dawned. We were woken by the building works going on around Black Duck Crossing, so much house building going on. It was a beautiful morning, cloudless and warm, so Carolyn took us on a lovely drive out into the country.
She took us out to Broadford where she had been awarded Australian Citizenship last year. A nice little town and the ceremony had been in lovely setting in a little park, surrounded by eucalyptus trees. Then on to Murchison Gap, a pass though Murchison Hill, and the Lookout at about 350 metres elevation. A fantastic view over what is called the ‘valley of a thousand hills’. It was beautiful; the grass was all brown but the eucalypts were still green, a wonderful landscape. Carolyn told us it was now so different to November when she had brought her parents here. It was green then. We stayed for a while just drinking it all in, this is how we remember Australia and we will miss it - till the next time! Spotted two crimson rosellas in a nearby tree they were absolutely still and quiet even when we walked under the tree to look more closely. Very unusual, they usually fly away. Obviously too hot; it was much hotter up here, even than Kilmore; it was over 35 degrees.
On down the other side of the hill, through Strath Creek, an ex-gold mining settlement, not much there now and not much water in the Creek either. We drove on through the wonderful countryside following the King Parrot Road and Creek through Kerrisdale to the Goulburn River valley heading north. Carolyn wanted to show us a ‘wild’ campsite she had used before, but the gate was padlocked! Plan B, off to Tooborok.
We drove north to Seymour, then to Puckanpanyul and on to Tooborac on the Northern Highway. First (and only) stop, the Tooborac Hotel. Dating from 1857, it has an onsite brewery and their beers are excellent. Pie shop next door, what more could an Australian want? Anyway, we did enjoy a beer in this lovely old pub while talking to the bar lady about her forthcoming trip to the UK. We gave her a pretty full itinerary and lots of ideas and she gave me a free beer. Good beer too!
So, south on the Northern Highway to Kilmore and Carolyn’s house for a late lunch/early dinner. Final packing, the last episode of ‘The Magic of Oz’, and off we went. There was a small mob of kangaroos in the fields just outside Kilmore; were they waving goodbye?
Uneventful drive to the airport, lots of kangaroos in the fields near the airport. We checked in and made our way to the lounge to wait for the flight. Carolyn had been great, drove us to the airport and helped us with our bags to check-in and bade us a tearful farewell at security. Once in the lounge we had a glass or two of champagne and all was well with the world - we could just relax and wait.