SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11 CASTLEMAINE TO DAYLESFORD 35kms
The day was fine, but overcast and rather gloomy.
I walked Couey in the Gardens, which was a really pleasant way to start the day.
It was time to move on. We were reluctant to head west and further away from home, with the possibility still of deteriorating weather. We’d never visited Daylesford, just to the south, so decided to go there, whilst we waited to see what the weather would do, next week.
I phoned the Daylesford Caravan Park, on instructions from John to query whether they had decent TV reception and free wifi. The answers were yes, and no. Today was the day of the month when we get access to the next 8Gb of data, so the latter was not a problem. I booked a site with a slab for two nights.
We were out of the park at 10am and on to a route we had not travelled before.
A day of gloomy skies
The country was undulating green pastureland with some woodland areas. In one area it looked like grapevines had been planted – but I wasn’t aware that this was a wine area?
We came into an area where there were some rocky outcrops and then old stone walls evident, like those in the Western District that were built of volcanic scoria rocks.
Rock wall craft
From that I assumed that Mt Franklin, coming up on our left, was once a volcano. It had the right shape.
We had been passed, somewhat before the Mt Franklin area, by two motor cyclists, then a couple of minutes later, by a third. They had all waited behind us until it was clear to pass. John commented at the time that the last rider did not seem to be riding as confidently as the first two. Then, just south of Mt Franklin, we came around a bend and could see some vehicles stopped in the road a way ahead. We stopped behind a short line of cars that were going our way and waited while a man directed oncoming cars and a caravan past one of the motorcyclists, who was face down on the road, on our side. As there were several people stopped and assisting, including one using a mobile phone, we moved slowly past, when the man waved us through. The downed rider was moving his legs, clearly in much pain, but at least still alive. I couldn’t tell if he had come off his bike by himself, or whether a vehicle had also been involved. There was a bend in the road, just past where he had fallen. It is always horrible, encountering something like that.
The ill-fated motor cyclist
We were not far out of Daylesford and were soon there. An ambulance passed us, heading out, but not with siren or flashing lights – a good sign.
Drove past a big market event, on through town and out the Ballan road, to the caravan park.
Our powered site cost $34 a night. No discounts here.
The slab on our site was actually a bricked area, with gravel and grass around it. It would be more solid underfoot than the Castlemaine grassed site had become with the rain. The site was a good size. There were lots of large conifer trees around this park. The amenities were nearby – good – and were clean and adequate. There was a dump point across from the park entrance, and an oval which would be a good dog run area.
After set up, we drove back to the markets. It was almost midday by then. Walked around. The area of stalls was quite extensive, but very heavily dominated by second-hand bric a brac and general junk. This sort of stuff seemed to characterize market set ups in these parts. There were a few fresh produce stalls of different kinds – this was what interested me. Also some clothing vendors and the ubiquitous fragranced oils and candle offerings.
The market was by the old station where there were historic train rides on offer. Something a bit different.
I bought some walnuts in shell, a kilo each of Victorian and Tasmanian ones. John bought a bag of chilli flavoured peanuts and a bag of Fuji apples. I bought a home made olive bread loaf for our lunch.
John developed cramps in his legs, so it was back to the car. He let me drive back to camp. Had to be bad for that to happen!
On the way back, went to Coles as John was out of “his” milk. There is a rigid divide in our household between full-fat and low-fat milk consumers… I got him some ham to go with the bread, some Brie, and a bag of mandarins that was on special.
By the time we got back to Bus, John was feeling better and took dog across for a run on the oval while I made lunch. The bread was yummy, especially with the Brie, and the hummus dip – another thing John didn’t eat.
He didn’t want to do anything else today, except play WOW on his laptop.
I drove alone to the Information Centre and browsed there for material about things we could do here. Coming to Daylesford had been John’s spur of the moment idea, but he didn’t really know why or what he wanted to do here. I could not find much that was promising. It was too wet and cold to go walking in the bush. Apart from that, Daylesford seemed to be heavily into eating, drinking and indulging in mineral spas. Sharing bath water, no matter how mineralized, with a heap of other people didn’t appeal, either.
Back at Bus, I had a nap for a couple of hours, having not slept very well the last couple of nights.
Unusually shaped branches on the conifer
Our perception was that Daylesford was a cold, damp and cheerless place. There were some showers – a light drizzle – during the afternoon. Just enough to make it seem rather miserable.
I decided that I liked Castlemaine much, much better.
Tea was roasted chicken drumsticks, cooked in the electric frypan, outside Bus. I boiled some asparagus for John and sprouts for me.
We watched Australian Survivor, then John watched a film and I read. I went to bed around 11 and slept well. John stayed up till 3am playing WOW.