28 Sep 2013 Newport to Lilydale to Warburton

What a day it has been! Left home to catch the 8.30 train to Parliament station. Changed platforms and got the Lilydale train. So far so good. Get myself settled in the last carriage and look at all the info I have on the Lilydale area. At Blackburn station an announcement says that the train is going back to Flinders St. Everyone out please! There is a signal failure and we are stuck here. Buses will be called but I won’t be able get on any bus with my bike. What to do?!

Only thing I can do is keep going. The maps on my phone come in very handy. The easiest way to go is on Whitehorse Rd (Maroondah Fwy) but I know it will be too busy. Riding on the footpath and service roads if I can is slow going. Blackburn is 20km from Lilydale. It’s do-able. 

There is a strong westerly wind which is blowing me along. Eventually I run out of footpath and cross the highway to find more footpath. There is a small bike path marked but it runs out in a few minutes. I end up walking on grass pushing past the undergrowth close to the road. Eventually there is another service road but it’s mostly uphill! Then it starts to rain. Can it get much worse? A runner overtakes me. God I am really slow! I go down a path but realise it’s to a creek and I won’t be able to cross it. It’s also very steep and I don’t fancy getting up the other side. The runner comes to my rescue and shows me an easier way. 

Finally I make it to Lilydale at 12.30pm after leaving the train at about 10.30pm. I find a cafe and gratefully sit down for some lunch. It’s easy to linger and I have another coffee and a piece of cake (I deserve it!). It’s about 1.15pm when I leave. 

Finding the Warburton Rail Trail is much easier this time. It is clearly marked and I ride around the high school and to the Warburton Hwy overpass. By this time I am already puffed. I don’t fancy my chances of getting to Warburton before dark at this rate. 

Back to Lilydale station and hopefully the bus will take me to Warburton. It’s school holidays and there are plenty of teenagers around. I look a bit odd waiting for the bus with a bike. Just to make sure I’m not on a wild goose chase I ask one of the bus drivers if they can take bikes. When he says yes I feel so relieved. Only problem is you have to open the hatch and put your bike under the bus yourself! It takes a bit of manoeuvring and I have to put it in back wheel first. Shove in the panniers and jump on the bus at 1.50pm. It takes about 45 minutes and I ask the bus driver to drop me at the Patchwork Teahouse. It’s the only landmark I remember. All my maps are under the bus! 

Of course, as soon as I get off the bus it starts raining again! Oh well, it shouldn’t be far to Glenbrook Cottage. Across the highway and under the railtrail gets me to Station Rd. Good start. Glenbrook Rd is off Station Rd. Unfortunately the only way is up. Lugging two full panniers is not much fun. Not too far along is Glenbrook Rd, a dirt track uphill! 

Glenbrook Cottage is not far up (thankfully) and even in the rain it’s a delight to see. It’s a very pretty little house overlooking the mountains. Two bedrooms, a light-filled lounge with a balcony, bathroom (with a bath) and large well fitted kitchen. I panic a bit when I see the instructions on how to light a fire. Not my forte but I give it a go and leave it to catch while I have a shower. It’s out by the time I get back. If’ I’d looked a bit further I would have seen the control for the heater on the wall. Thank goodness I won’t freeze tonight.

Time for a walk to the shops for some supplies. The supermarket is at the far end of the shopping centre. I have a restorative cup of tea and vanilla slice at the bakery on the way back. The shops are bare of people. Everyone is watching the grand final. I browse the few shops that are still open. Seems Warburton has gone upmarket since I was last here. Plenty more options for dinner though. Last time it was pizza or nothing!

The Riverview Cafe is open until 10.30pm so I think I’ll try there. They also have free wifi so I can catch up with the outside world. I think my phone is a bit waterlogged and not working properly. Hopefully it dries out.

At the Riverview Cafe now and guess what I’m having – pizza!

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