This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1998 Travels January 9

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FRIDAY 9 JANUARY     BALLARAT

I woke up at 8am, feeling better than I’d expected.

We planned a rest day from the bikes – John feels it is necessary for his hip, and the idea is attractive to me! Will do some driving sightseeing instead.

We drove to the Oval Bowls Club, so John could suss out games, then on to Tandy in the town centre because he wanted to buy some TV gadget.

Drove out to Buninyong, on a grey and occasionally drizzly day. It heated up a little later in the afternoon. It really is being a peculiar summer, to date.

It was around Buninyong that some of the early gold finds of the district were made. The village has some really attractive old buildings.

We went to the Botanic Gardens which, dating from about 1860, are amongst the oldest in the State. Walked part of the historical walk, up to the Gong – a small lake – and the old Brewery, a solid two storey bluestone construction.

John was reminded of his former life by big trucks passing, carrying parts of a portable classroom to the nearby primary school. Like Haddon, this area has become more built up in recent times – obviously, the school is growing.

John wanted to check out the local bowls club, of course, so he looked – but I think he will be able to get all the games he wants at the closer, various Ballarat clubs.

Drove up Mt Buninyong. This high, volcanic cone can be seen from a long way distant. Thus, it gave excellent views. We climbed up the Fire Tower/Lookout, on the top of the mount. This was a scary climb for me: several lots of stairs that go round the outside of the metal frame of the tall tower, to a platform at the top. It was worth the effort for the really broad panorama across the surrounding plains. One could see that there were lots more volcanic cones in the district. From the tower, the countryside looked very dry. Back down at ground level, we saw some koalas in gum trees.

Back in Buninyong, went to DeSoza Park to eat our picnic rolls. Good facilities there for a picnic. The park was named for a Mr Desoza, who made his money back in the mining heyday.

We picked a couple of kilos of cherry plums from a laden tree at the edge of the park. The fruit was just going to waste and it will make a nice, economic, stewed fruit dessert for us, for a couple of nights!

It began to rain solidly as we left Buninyong and drove to Smythesdale and the Yellowglen Winery. Tasted their range of sparkling wines and bought four bottles – two Yellow and two Cremant – for $48.80. They will be for special occasion drinking!

Returned to the town centre, via Haddon. John wanted to buy some new casual shoes. We also came away with some more liquorice and macadamia nuts, from Darrel Lea, and I bought a novel from a book exchange.

After a coffee back at the van, we went and practiced bowls, for an hour and a half. I am improving!

John tried to get the VCR working. It won’t – so he will not be able to watch the planned video tonight. I’d prefer not to watch anything, anyway!

Bought fish and chips for tea tonight, seeing as it is Friday. That is an old habit that is worth keeping.

Managed to drive 105kms today.

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