Friday, 11 November 2016

Melbourne to Bright

Sovereign Hill, Ballarat 
We knew Devil and Dwarf would be due new front tyres before we could make the run home to Perth and Steve diligently found a dealer and made a booking for the day we left Melbourne. We hustled with the morning city traffic and the bikes were parked at the service centre by  8:45am. Unfortunately they’d ordered the wrong size tyres and there was no quick fix. We’d missed the last call for Friday’s courier and Devil and Dwarf rode away from Melbourne, with their worn out tyres, in search of a more competent dealer.

Red Coats, Sovereign Hill 
This was an unsettling experience which we took with us all the way to Ballarat. The locals say “you don’t come to Ballarat for the weather,” and even though it was now late spring, we still found ourselves huddled in the camp kitchen, with maximum temperatures reaching only 15deg.

Stage coach, Sovereign Hill 
While in Ballarat, we took the opportunity to visit Sovereign Hill, a themed village set in the gold rush days of the 1850’s. Steve and I are not big on paid tourist attractions but this one was well worth the $45 entry fee.  The village is a working village, with shop keepers, blacksmiths, gold merchants, theatres, and tea houses, all plying their trade and dressed in period costume.  At times through out the day, you might notice a couple of children, with their mother, busily making their way to the bakery, basket in hand, dressed for the era,  and at that moment,  it seemed like you were transported back to a time long ago and it was a magical experience. Apparently there are 250 people employed at Sovereign Hill, and 250 volunteers.  Back in the day it cost £2 for a coach trip to Geelong; the price of one ounce of gold.

Four nights were way too long for us in Ballarat, and when we pulled out of the caravan park I noticed I was smiling, just happy to be on the road again.  Steve found us some quiet backroads and we trundled along, through the historic town of Clunes, Victoria’s first  gold  mining town, and then Castlemaine, Heathcote and onto our camp site nestled on the Nagambie Lake.  We were up with the birds the following morning and on the road again by 8am. The cops were swarming the place when we arrived in Rutherglen at noon but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a late breakfast at the local pub. Then it was onwards, across The Murray into NSW, to the  boarder town of  Albury.

Lake Nagambie 
This time Steve found us a no fuss dealer to give Devil and Dwarf their new  front tyres. As promised, the   tyres were fitted within 45 minutes and then we were on our way again, to Bright, for the BMW Clubs Australia Rally. The rally will be our last port of call before heading home to Perth for summer.

Mt Bogong lookout, Kiewa Valley

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