Archive for March, 2013

March 30, 2013

30 Mar 2013 Halls Gap

Muesli and yoghurt at the Black Panther Cafe, Peter had the usual bacon, eggs, sausages for breakfast. Peter read the paper and I walked to the Brambuk Cultural Centre. Took a hike to Boronia Peak which was about 10km return trip to the centre. Should have practised hiking here for the Pyrenees! Reminded me of the same terrain. By the time I got to the top it was starting to rain. I was glad to get back to the Cultural Centre and have some lunch. Certainly earnt it!

March 30, 2013

Tour of the Grampians 29 Mar 2013

Noel from Grampians Tours picked us up at 9am and gave us a grand tour for the day. First was Mount William then Lake Bellfield where crimson rosellas were crowding us for a piece of our morning tea biscuit. No feeding the birds either though. They are beautiful close up.

On to The Balconies which looks like a jaw. I have a picture of mum and dad sitting on the end from their honeymoon. Not allowed to do that any more! It is pretty spectacular though. McKenzies Falls was a bit of a hike from the bus but we made it. Not much rain recently so it wasn’t as spectacular as it could have been.

On to Smiths Mill for a barbecue lunch. No mill any more but there is an old boiler and a marker where it was. There is also a camping ground which seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Good spot for Craig!

Wartook Reservoir came after lunch. Not very spectacular but it is large. We also fitted in Boroka Lookout, Sundial, Silverband falls which is only a trickle too and the Elephants Hide. It was a whirlwind tour but we fitted in most of the well known sights of the Grampians. Noel was very knowledgeable and could tell us what birds and plants we were looking at.

The Quarry Restaurant for dinner (fish and chips for Peter, kangaroo steaks for me). Dessert was brandy snaps and Peter had icecream. That was a bit expensive too but the waitress was cheery. Then off to bed as we were so tired.

March 30, 2013

Melbourne to Halls Gap 28 Mar 2013

Left Melbourne about midday for our Easter weekend getaway to the Grampians. I have been wanting to go there for years! My mum and dad spent their honeymoon there and their photos have intrigued me since I first saw them.

Made good time and got here about 2.45pm. D’Altons Resort is just a little out of Halls Gap. We have a Studio cabin which is in a circle with about six others for couples only. Kangaroos and wallabies feed on the grass at night and in the morning. They are not quite tame but close enough for good photos. No feeding allowed as it makes them aggressive.

Had dinner in Halls Gap at Livefast Cafe. Food was okay but a bit expensive. Peter had pumpkin soup and we both had fish with a chilli lime dressing on salad. We could have tried the open mike later in the evening but got out before it started! 

March 11, 2013

From Craig’s Royal Hotel to Kryal Castle

Afternoon tea at Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat was a formal affair in their dedicated dining room. A glass of champagne, English Breakfast tea, quiche, sausage roll, sandwiches, scones, jam and cream and petit fours. Enough to stuff anyone for the afternoon. Craig’s Royal Hotel has had a few owners but the present ones seem to be promoting it the best. A tour of the hotel was included so we got to see the Royal, Superior and Classic suites. Very pricey and only about 50 rooms.

On Monday we had breakfast at the Europa Cafe in Sturt St then on to Kryal Castle. Haven’t been there for about 20 years and it’s just re-opened with a makeover. Much as I remembered it with a few more shows. We saw jousting (Australian champion), wizard spells, a puppet show. Had our photos taken with a blue screen screaming at invisible dragons. Probably need some kids to make it worthwhile. The weather was still 30 degrees so not great for walking around in the sun.

March 10, 2013

Long weekend in Ballarat continued

Went to Table 48 just around the corner from our hotel for dinner. The meals were excellent. I had salmon and Peter had chicken. Best chicken dish he’s ever tasted, so he said. High praise from him. My salmon was really good too. Lemon tart for me for dessert. It was very smooth. Peter had Pears espresso which was a whole pear bathed in spices and coffee! He enjoyed it. Not my idea of a dessert though.

On Sunday we went back to Bibo Cafe for Peter to try the excellent muesli/fruit/yoghurt combination and for me to have Moroccan eggs. Rather a large serve to help me last until our afternoon tea at Craig’s Hotel later today. On to the Ballarat Market at the showgrounds. Well, what an experience that was! If you’re in the market for cheap tools, secondhand clothes and junky jewellery, this is the place to come. It’s very large with outddoor and undercover stalls. Needless to say we didn’t buy anything.

Then I went on a hunt for a card reader so I could download my photos. Big W’s offering didn’t fit so I went to Officeworks for an expensive model. Just killing time now before we go to Craig’s Hotel.

March 9, 2013

In Ballarat for Labor Day Weekend

Travelled to Ballarat on Friday night after work. Checked in to the Quality In The Menzies and got an upgrade! It’s on the east side of the main shopping centre not far from everything. Had dinner at the Hogs Breath Cafe around the corner. Not a bad nachos. Peter had tacos and a chicken caesar salad.

Next morning in sleepy Ballarat there was hardly anyone around when we had breakfast at Bibo’s Cafe in Sturt St. It is a retro-fitted place a with great muesli/fruit/yoghurt combination and poached eggs with bacon and beans. The fruit included pear, banana and strawberries. No melons! Delicious! 

On to the Ballarat Begonia Festival around Lake Wendouree. A dose of the Australian Beach Boys got us bopping along. Peter listened to a talk on gardening while I wandered around. Jumped on a free tram ride to the POW gardens at the far end. Peter joined me on the tram ride to the other end to the garden gates. A little kid was heard to ask, ‘shouldn’t the doors be closed?’ Ah, those were the days. There are no doors!

Peter dropped me at the edge of the shopping centre so I could browse my way back to the motel. The very shop I was after was closed! Rings on her Fingers is only open until 2pm and I got there at 3pm. Ahhh! Have a guess what kind of shop it was. Nothing much else open. I think everyone was having a siesta as it’s about 30 degrees C here. Unheard of in Ballarat! Now, where to go for dinner?