Our time in the State of Victoria will soon be over and we’d sum it up with the word “Sense-sational” – if such a word existed in the English language! Our senses have again been tickled this week as we moved on from the beautiful Great Ocean Road, to Timboon, Warrambool and then up to the spectacular Grampians.
VISION – Timboon was a really pretty colourful little place with great shops, an ice creamery and distillery and a lovely trail down to a beautifully restored old trestle bridge. The path, aptly named “Snake Path” was the route for our next Park Run. We checked out the route on our bikes on Friday in glorious sunshine and sure enough saw our very first live snake!!! On the morning of the Park Run it was raining cats and dogs and whilst the snakes stayed away we got the surprise of our lives when a wallaby hopped across the path 20 metres in front of us! There were only 14 participants this week, four of them walking the route so Mike and I both got accolades for being in the top ten! Coffee afterwards was served in the distillery!
Apart from the snake we have seen lots of friesian cows (great for the local cheese, ice cream and chocolate manufacturing) as well as kangaroos, emus and even a short beaked echidna (pronounced e-kid-nuh). We had thought this latter animal was a porcupine and rare but apparently they are quite common – just the first time we’d seen one.
SMELL – The smell of wild freesia (not to be confused with friesians) along the Lady Bay shoreline in Warrambool was wonderful. Like my mother, I’ve always loved freesia’s delicate perfume. Although very pretty, the ornamental pear trees that were in full bloom in Hamilton gave off a smell akin to a men’s urinal so not so pleasant. Thankfully the smell of eucalyptus follows us everywhere and lavender also abounds. Frustratingly there are a number of other botanicals around that I can’t quite identify thinking it might be jasmine but seems a bit early. Will have to consult Google!
TASTE – No surprise here that we have again been in taste bud heaven. Mike finally got to taste some Australian whisky at the Railway Shed Distillery in Timboon. Tim, the very gay (in every sense of the word – and the spitting image of Russell Grant) Marketing Manager, spent over an hour with us telling us the most outrageous stories and pouring measures of whisky, limoncello and coffee liqueur for us to sample. We had a hoot and I think we were his best customers that day as the only thing we didn’t buy was the limoncello (but took a photo)!
After the Distillery, and still before midday, we arrived at Timboon’s famous Ice Creamery and were able to sample as many varieties as we liked. I settled on the Passion Fruit and Meringue flavour as my main helping and Mike, surprise surprise, went for Whisky flavour!!! We had lunch at the Fat Cow, a delicious lamb curry, and bought the tastiest ever pork sausages from the Corner Shop.
One of Australia’s great ‘Institutions’ is apparently the Vanilla Slice. We had been forewarned that in Halls Gap, up in the Grampians, there was a bakery that had not only won the Inaugural Australian Great Vanilla Slice Competition but had won the title six times!!! The first time we went into the bakery they had sold out completely and so the next morning, prior to doing the Pinnacle Walk, we went in and paid for two slices to be put aside for our return. So glad we did as they’d sold out again by early afternoon! Personal verdict, it was nice, but not as good as my brother’s Dundee cake.
HEARING – The sound of the ocean was amazing along Great Ocean Road but so too has been the sound of the water cascading down the various waterfalls we’ve seen up in the Grampians. Our walk to the Pinnacle Lookout had us climbing through the Grand Canyon, Silent Street and past the Bride’s Veil Falls. We also visited Victoria’s longest waterfall, the McKenzie falls where you couldn’t hear anything above the noise of the water, awesome. The sun decide to come out just after we’d climbed back up the 260 steps and after yesterday’s epic Pinnacle Walk (my watch recorded it as 80 storeys), we weren’t about to head back down again to capture the blue sky photo! Frogs croaking in the creeks is another sound we often hear but so far not seen any of these little critters. The birds can make an awful lot of noise over here and not all of it is tuneful. Poor Mike has almost had his head taken off three times now by different magpies swooping down on him when we’ve been out cycling. It is officially the magpie swooping season with another month or so still to go!
TOUCH – We were greatly touched by the community spirit in Timboon – the people we met were just lovely. We have also been touched by the sheer beauty of the Grampians and would love to come back and spend longer next time.
Despite our stiff calf muscles we hope to be fit enough to do the Park Run in Horsham tomorrow. The inaugural Park Run here was only held on the 25th August 2018 so this will be their 5th Event! After that we’ll be taking a 33 km cycle along the Arapiles Bike Trail. Mount Arapiles is a world renowned rock climbing area with over 2,000 climbing routes but I think we’ll just admire them from the base!
We are starting to learn a lot more about the Aboriginal Culture and spent ages reading stuff at the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre which was just along the road from our last Caravan Park in Halls Glen. The Bushtucker Café was unfortunately closed but the shop was open and I bought myself a Aboriginal Design headband to keep my overgrown fringe out of the way. I am sure it will appear in many future photos as I don’t plan on seeking out hairdressers any time soon!
The Aboriginal people believed in six distinct weather periods recognised in their seasonal cycle. The current season is the season of Wildflowers which brings me neatly onto our sixth Sense-sation ……
EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION – I hate to disappoint you but I don’t have any real perception to share under this heading unless these various life quotes which can be found dotted around the gorgeous Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park count:
“Instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box.”
“Life doesn’t have a remote control. Get up and change it yourself.”
“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy a tent and that is kind of the same thing.”
“Travelling leaves you speechless then turns you into a story teller.”
Tomorrow we will leave Sense-sational Victoria, put our clocks back half an hour (never realised there was such a thing as a half hour time zone) and enter South Australia which is defined by “Extreme Wilderness” and also nicknamed “The Wine State”. Bring it on!!!