A farm gate visit to three properties near Cobram provided some tasty Christmas presents. First stop was Cobrawonga Estate and Nursery, where we sampled Luke’s native plum jam and wild bush dukkah and toured a dry country garden with a creek running down the centre.
The owner’s wife had rag-doll cats, which were cute and laid back.
Next stop was Byramine Homestead, one of the oldest homesteads in Victoria, built by Elizabeth Hume (sister-in-law of the celebrated explorer) in about 1840.
They served a delicious lunch.
Then it was on to Rich Glen Olives, which gave us an insight into the diversity of products which can be made with olive oil, including beauty products. Being with Red Hill Probus, we admired the painting of Red Hill that hung behind the counter.
They also stocked other local produce including a delicious soft Boosey Creek cheese. What better way to finish the day than a Monday night two-for-one deal for Diamond Club members at The Top Pub, founded 1897.
Last Saturday we headed to Marree via the Outback Way, stopping for lemonade scones and quandong jam at the legendary Prairie Hotel, Parachilna, with its friendly dog.
We stocked up at Leigh Creek supermarket and drove on to Copley, only to find the bakery closed. Undeterred, we proceeded across saltbush plains to the historic village of Farina (established 1874), where fellow campers had reported buying bread a few days ago.
It turns out the old underground bakery is only in production when the volunteer restoration team is in residence, and they had left. We checked out the beautifully conserved buildings, including the disused pub and cattle loading yard.
Finally we met up with our friends at Marree, where it hasn’t rained properly since March, yet the desert is blooming with solanum (nightshade) and blue bush.
After pegging out the washing, we drove to Wilpena Pound where I bought fingerless gloves to facilitate working the camera in 10 degrees temperature with a massive wind chill. We did a two hour walk to a lookout, before driving up Bunyeroo Gorge for a picnic lunch. We then continued on a loop up to Brachina Gorge and Moralana Scenic Drive, arriving home to the van at sunset.
Today it rained on our parade, but luckily our schedule involved a walk of a mere 15km. We met fellow pilgrims from Queensland and kept each other company, sharing Camino experiences and tips. We passed a statue of St James – I wonder what he would have made of our chatter about wi-fi connections and the value of downloading maps to get GPS on the Way. Two men crossed an ancient stone bridge under an umbrella, one bearing a small floral cross. Why? There is so much to learn. We arrived at Melide around lunchtime and after checking in, found a restaurant and treated ourselves to “Pulpo Gallego”, the local octopus speciality. It’s good to be finally using the raincoat and warm gear we carried all the way from Oz.
Yesterday we picked up the van from our friends’ house at Newstead and headed to the goldfields town of Daylesford for the weekend. After coffee and picking up a gourmet vegetarian picnic at Cafe Himalaya, we headed for an area called Twin Bridges where we joined the Three Lost Children Walk?
This 15km walk commemorates the tragic story of three small boys who wandered from their Daylesford homes in 1867 and after a massive search, were found dead.>
This evening we headed to the beach to cool off. It was packed with holiday-makers who gradually dispersed as shadows lengthened. The fish and chip shop closed as they had run out of food, but luckily one of our number had a portable stove in the back of his car, so after dropping into the local supermarket for sausages and bread, dinner was organised.
The setting sun gifted me with some photo opportunities.
What could be more of a surprise than a trip to Warburton, in the mountains north of Melbourne for a surprise birthday in a house that featured on Grand Designs TV show? The pizza party was put on for our daughter by her friends. Hosts Hailey, Tyrone and Ross delighted the party girl and us with sparkling wine, peach Bellini, design-your-own gourmet pizza and an almond and raspberry tart garnished with fresh cottage flowers. Children frolicked round the adjacent lake while Hailey fed the resident ducklings.
The house, which is made of polystyrene and features a grassed roof has a seven-star eco rating and is a tribute to the skills and creativity of Tyrone and Hailey. The aquamarine glass on the gates and fishing fly sculptures particularly appealed. Thanks for a lovely day, guys.