A couple of days ago we skipped town. I drove Nicola down to
airport, dropped her and the luggage off, then drove back home, parked the car,
and walked down to the airport myself. A couple of hours later we were winging
our way across the Tasman to Wellington . Melbourne
When we landed in
it was raining. Undeterred, we went to the car hire shop and collected a Toyota
Corolla, and drove up through the Macedon Ranges to Castlemaine, there to crash
Jason’s birthday party, which was in full swing as we pulled up a little before
There, it sounds like we did all that just on a whim. But no, it was all part of a carefully pre-arranged plan! We’re staying in Castlemaine for 6 nights before heading up to
for a long weekend, then going further north to Palm Cove near , where we’ll be staying a further 6
On our first night here, and despite the rain (which we thought we’d left behind in Melbourne, but had doggedly followed us all the way), we had an al-fresco dinner with around 20 people, which went on long into the night.
The following morning the weather had cleared, and we walked down the road to Tog’s for a spot of breakfast, before collecting some tourist guides from the Castlemaine tourist information centre, and deciding to go out for a drive to Daylesford and Ballarat. Daylesford was pretty busy as it’s a holiday weekend here in
but we found somewhere to park down by the lake and had a light lunch at the
lakeside café there. We then walked around the lake, finding a mysterious
native bird… Victoria
…and spotting some rosellas in flight, which I was unable to capture on film. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of other opportunities!
We then headed down to the Goldfields museum in Ballarat and had a wander around there, learning the history of gold mining in the region and seeing replicas of some of the large nuggets that have been found in this area, including the Welcome Stranger, the largest gold nugget ever found. It’s enormous!
Back to Castlemaine, and Jason and Elissa had a long-standing invitation to a birthday party for one of their staff, so we were parked at The Good Table for dinner whilst they went off down the pub. We had oysters, stuffed zucchini flowers, quail and duck, all cooked beautifully. The chef used to work at Movida, apparently, and the food is presented tapas-style so you can have a bit of everything. Afterwards we walked back up the road and had an early night.