01 June, 2011

Country Towns-1


2010 – 2011


Over the years my wife and I have visited lots of country towns in most states, except Queensland, and of course past bush-walking activities enabled me to explore many out-of-the way places in Victoria. Towards the end of 2010 we decided to commence exploring small towns (especially the not so well known ones) in the East Gippsland region. Our visits to these towns would be for a minimum stay of 4 nights. On each visit we aim to have a free day for reading and other leisure activities. Initial visits to this region will only entail a drive from home of about 2.5 hours.

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Our first successful and relaxing tour was to visit Foster in December 2010 where we stayed in a cottage on what had formerly been a farm. Our car tours were to Wilsons Promontory, Fish Creek and Waratah Bay. We camped at the Prom in 1964 and 1980, and in 1981 I did my first of many walks there.

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In February 2011 we visited Mirboo North. This former timber town sits atop a hill in a region of undulatig hills. A feature of the town are the murals which were painted by local artists on shop walls. The last time we saw such a display of murals was when we visited Sheffield, Tasmania. For the taste buds we had some  beer-tasting at the Grand Ridge Brewery - impressed enough to buy a variety of ales and to have two dinners at  the GRB.

A country drive took us to Leongatha via Menniyin. Along the way we stopped at the very small town of Dumbalk to look at a magnificent mural which depicts a former factory that used to produce dairy products. This large mural necessitated the taking of 3 photos.

On another day we took off on a 72 km drive to Tara Bulga National Park. Unfortunately, we came upon gravel road after 27 km, and then after another 10 km to our surprise, as we turned a sharp bend,  a monster of a timber truck appeared to drop from the trees and land in front of us. After a slight pause, or as I like to kid myself - a Mexican stand off, and a drift of the car slightly off the narrow road, the truck asserted its authority and baptised us and the car with a cloud of dust. Soon after that we received a similar baptism from another timber truck. Enough is enough. We decided to soothe our nerves with a lunch at a picnic spot located amidst an impressive stand of tall mountain ash trees. After lunch we retreated back to the comfort of the bitumen road.

Our accommodation was in a self-contained unit on a 'retired' farm of which the farm house is over 100 years old. Jenny and Gordon are ideal hosts. Jenny is not bad with a paint brush of the artist variety.
Prior tp leaving Jenny took us on a tour of the old farm house, which contains two B&B rooms. Strathmore Cottage is recommended for those who just have to get-away for a sense of tranquility. A souvenir of our stay was the purchase of 5 jars of home-made jam.

Our next journey to East Gippsland will be somewhere near Port Albert from where it will be easiy to visit Tara Bulga National Park. Patsy, being a dedicated Saints' supporter, reminded me that this won't occur until after the AFL season has concluded.



Murals: Mirboo North and Dumbalk




To better view this video go to You Tube where you have the option to view the video on a full screen


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