This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2016 Travels September 7


We were up in time for an unhurried breakfast and pack up. Left the park just after 10am, after chatting for a while with the lady owner.

Before that, I’d phoned and booked a Castlemaine site for a couple of nights. John had previously phoned friend D, thinking we could stay there, but he had another friend visiting. So John said we’d go to a caravan park. I was secretly relieved – prefer to be independent.

It was a lovely day. Warm enough for a T-shirt, blue sky, only a little cloud. Whilst nights north of the Divide, can be cold in winter, days are often beautiful.

Took the Alternate Calder Highway from Marong to Lockwood South, then turned off for Maldon. This was going the long way round, since the caravan park had said we could not check in until after midday.

The country was green, and there was so much long grass. Great now, but could maybe mean a nasty fire season later.

Lots of green feed

Soon after we turned onto the Maldon road, outcroppings of rock (granite?) began to appear, in the form of rocks, slabs and occasional hilltops.

Stony hill south of Bendigo

We passed a stone house, built in the style of a castle. Quite incongruous in the setting. Then the open paddocks gave way to woodland – box ironbark? There were lots of wattles in bloom, which added cheer to the roadsides.

Passed a large old dredge beside the road, not far from Maldon, but were past before it really registered. John did not want to turn around and go back, but said we’d come and see it from Castlemaine, as it would interest him too.

There were lots of quaint old buildings in Maldon, as I’d expected from brother’s paintings. The route took us through the centre of the town. It did look to be holding its own as a viable settlement, which was great to see.


On to Castlemaine. John was not one for doodling around, exploring, in Bus, but prefers to go straight from A to B, settle in and then sight see. He was the same in the vanning days.

Wooded country between Maldon and Castlemaine

In Castlemaine, he missed the turn the GPS indicated and so we finished up taking what seemed to be a very round about route to the Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park.

It was only a bit after 11am when we arrived, but they let us check in anyway. After the Big 4 discount, cost $34.20 for a powered site. The one they allocated us looked rather uneven; the next one looked better. I’d walked ahead of Bus to the site, which was a fair distance from the office, and now walked back again to change the site.

Castlemaine site

Backing onto the site was easy, as there were no slabs. We looked down across a creek into the adjacent Botanical Gardens – a very nice outlook – and there was a good, “bushy” feel to this part of the park. The amenities were clean and adequate, but just a little too far from our site, though, for my liking. Bit of a trek there and back.

The way to the Botanical Gardens

There was a nearby footbridge over the creek, which gave access to either a bush track, or the Gardens – which allows dogs on leads. Great.

Caravan Park and Gardens

After setting up, drove to D’s, a little south of Castlemaine. After a tour of his house and garden, we sat on his back patio and chatted – the men over a few beers. Mostly, the talk was of mutual friends from college days and since.

D insisted on giving Couey the run of his yard, and house. She made herself quite at home, too. He was most taken with her. So was his guest, who had been out doing some prospecting when we arrived, but who returned later. When she heard him at the front door, Couey went into watchdog mode – it was her new home, after all – and barked and growled. Guest was well used to dogs, though, and introduced himself properly.

We were invited to stay for tea. There was much talk of prospecting and woodworking – the latter an interest the men had in common. Tea was a very nice meal of curried sausages and rice, followed by apple pie. I passed on the offered wine and Sambucca laced coffee, suspecting I’d be driving us back to camp.

It was a most pleasant afternoon and evening.  Not too late, and we didn’t stay up for long after getting back.

There were very regular trains on the line on the far side of the Gardens. We were hearing them whistle at crossings and the station. I eventually realized that Castlemaine is on the Melbourne to Bendigo train line – duh! Nonetheless, we were surprised at how many trains there were each day. Seemed a pretty good service.