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Home > Travelogues > 2006 Travelogues Index > Melbourne to WA - Victoria
Short version only - full version with pictures yet to come
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Victoria – on the way back home

 

After a ‘rock and roll crossing’ from Tasmania, we woke to find we were in calm waters inside the harbour, and land was visible in the first light of morning.  We joined the others on deck to watch the sun rise. 

 

LeavingMelbourne we headed north west and stopped to have breakfast alongside the road before meeting the Western Freeway which we took to  Bacchus Marsh.  The trees lining the entrance to the town were planted to honour those men and women from the district who had fought and died in World War I.  Orchards and vegetables are grown under irrigation.  Looking down on the fertile irrigated paddocks and towards the town, from a hill. 

 

Werribee Gorge State Park is in a rocky dry woodlands. The walk trail we followed climbed to Falcon’s Lookout, where a number of people were abseiling on the cliff face.  The dryness of the area was a sharp contrast to the lush greenery we had left behind in Tasmania. 

 

Looking for a quiet spot to enjoy the bush for the night, we drove into the Brisbane Ranges National Park, and found a group of volunteer national park association members who had spent the weekend bushwalking and meeting there.  They welcomed us and said they would be leaving shortly. 

 

The park’s longer walks were closed due to bushfire damage, but the northern section where we were remained unscathed.  We spent a peaceful night in the woodlands which are rich with bird life. 

 

From Melbourne, travelling inland and westwards to take in Ballarat, The Grampians and the Wimmera region
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At Ballarat we spent the day visiting Sovereign Hill, the re-created historical mining town and museum.  This busy tourist feature is very well presented and worth visiting and really needs more than day to see the museum and the re-created town thoroughly. You can get your ticket extended for a further day’s visit any time within a twelve month period. 

 

Trades such as the tin smith and brass foundry demonstrate methods from the period, and products made can be purchased as souvenirs at very reasonable prices.  

 

Original steam engines drive the pumps which operate the demonstration underground mine.  Down in the mine, the story of finding the Welcome Nugget is told with holographic figures.  At 64 kilograms, it is the second largest gold nugget ever found in the world. 

 

Leaving Ballarat, we continued west past wheat, sheep and cattle farms to the Mount Buangor State Park.  The main camp site is a huge flat area in a clearing surrounded by woodlands, with further camping spots amongst the trees.  Next morning we found friendly wallabies watching us. 

 

Following a loop road we passed a wind farm of forty turbines, before reaching Ararat.

 

I was keen to visit the Grampians, however severe fires during January and February had burnt almost the entire park.  Thirty kilometres east of the park, the farmlands were also all burnt.  Most of the roads and trails were still closed whilst clearing fallen and unsafe trees and branches continued.  Only the northern section of the park had been opened.  

 

At the Boroka lookout, a huge vista of more than 180º gave views across farmlands to the north and east, and south, across the Hall’s Gap settlement to one of the dams in the park.  In the valley, Hall’s Gap had been spared. Rugged black volcanic rocks.

 

While green shoots came from the trunks of the surviving trees, park workers had created new seats along the walk trails from the fallen timber they had cleared. 

 

At The Balconies, an overhanging rock is like a giant dragon’s head.  This lookout also gave expansive views.

 

Overlooking the burnt valley to Lake Wartook.  This vista towards Lake Wartook shows only a few patches of green amongst the blackened expanse.

 

We camped at the north west tip, untouched by the fire, and watched the sun set over the low ridges and a sphinx like hill.

 

Next we headed north through the dry Wimmera wheat growing region toJeparit; birth place of former long serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies.  Near here, Lake Hindmarsh was quite dry, something which has not occurred very often.  On this occasion it was to remain dry for several years. 

 

We visited a farm nearby. It was very windy and rain clouds threatened as farmers waited and wished for the opening rains to start seeding.

 

A Nhill, the wind was cold as it brought light showers.  Next morning the weather was fine so we took a walk across the board walk through a now dry wetlands and bird watching park to a small dam.

 

Update: In November 2008 a public meeting in Nhill Aero Clubrooms unanimously endorsed a motion: 


           `That this meeting recognizes the importance of Nhill Aerodrome
             in the on-going history of Nhill and supports the creation of an
             aviation memorial with focus initially on the RAAF presence at
             Nhill from 1941-46’.

 

With many hours of work on the hangar and restoration of planes by community members, the official opening of the new hangar will be held on the 23rd of May 2014

 

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