Well it was quite a noisy night – B-doubles, semi-trailers and freight trains all passing through Nhill at all times of the night – yet once we were asleep we didn’t hear any more. Woke to a very overcast and showery morning with the odd noise of thunder in the distance. It was around 12C – welcome back to Victoria!!!
We left around 9.30 and because we were planning on stopping at Ballarat which is only 300 kms away we just took our time today. There are no photos today as the weather was too dull and besides most people know what Victoria looks like.
The countryside here in the Mallee and Wimmera looks absolutely magnificent. The crops were well grown. We knew it had been a wet winter so hopefully it will be a great harvest. We did not stop at Dimboola, Horsham or Stawell – we have been through these towns before, but we stopped at Ararat for lunch. As it was still quite cool (although the rain had eased) we chose to go to the local bakery to buy something warm for lunch. After lunch we walked up and down the main street to have a good look at the town.
The road we had been on was the Western Highway but we turned off that at Beaufort towards Lexton, Waubra and Learmonth because these were towns Ian had invovlement with when he was on the Bank Staff at the NAB at Learmonth and he wanted to relive old memories.
The drive towards Lexton was through the Waterloo State Forest – what a lovely drive. The scenery of green hills and pastures, livestock and large eucalypts was absolutely magnificent. What a beatiful part of Victoria. At Waubra there was yet another information area regarding Wind Turbines so we called in to have a look at that as all the hills around that area seemed to have turbines. All up there are around 130 Wind Turbines spread over 13,000 hectares. Amazing. Ian recognised some of the houses and shops in Learmonth but the little town has changed somewhat over the years – 45 to be precise,since he worked there in the bank.
We then drove back on to the Western Highway and booked into a caravan park here in Ballarat.
TONIGHT’S BLOG WILL BE MY LAST because we have virtually finished our trip, and will no longer be doing interesting ‘touristy’ things, but we are still homeless so will still be doing some travel for some time yet. For the next fortnight or so we will spend time with Andrew, Lisa and Will. in Geelong, and take some time to visit other family and friends. Around October 12th we will hook up the caravan once more and head up to Townsville – planning to be there in time for my Mum’s 95th birthday on the 21st. We will then spend a couple of months in Townsville – getting to know our dear little grandson again, and of course being able to be with Susan and Mick, and Christine and Dan, as well as being able to be with my Mum and to visit and keep touch with my other relatives and friends in North Queensland.
It will be interesting to see how we cope with the humid tropics.
We have had a most enjoyable journey — we did some amazing things; saw some amazing sights and enjoyed some amazing experiences. Australia is a land of such contrasts and from the dry, dusty red-centre to the tropical wetlands and to the beauty of the coastal bays, we have seen just how beautiful our country is. We cannot say that any one place is any better than any other – they all have their own beauty, but we both agree that the Top ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHT of our trip has to be the “jet boat through, and overnight stay, at the Horizontal Waterfalls” north of Derby. This trip will stay in our memory long after others have faded.
Since we left Geelong on the 1st July we have travelled over 19,000 kms. We have met some lovely people and made new friends – one of the many benefits of travel. The cost of diesel varied from 150c per litre to 196c per litre. The cost of accommodation varied from $6.60 per night to $50 per night (some nights we camped off the road so they were free). The best fuel economy we got from a tankful of diesel was 17.2 litres per 100kms and the worst was up around 23 litres per 100kms. Overall we averaged around 20 litres per 100kms. The roads were absolutely fantastic for travel and the tourist venues and information centres were first class.
I have thoroughly enjoyed doing the nightly blog, keeping family and friends up to date with all we managed to do in the 3 months we were away, and I reckon I will miss doing it. It has been lovely to get the occasional ‘comment’ in reply.
Love to all, Janese and Ian