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Friday, July 31, 2009

The Igloo Roadhouse

A one and a half hour drive from Melbourne is the small town of Buxton at the foot of the Cathedral Ranges and it is here you will find The Igloo Roadhouse - well known for having the best burgers. The Buxton Burger was voted Best Burger in Victoria by the Age Epicure magazine in 2005, and the tradition is still going strong

The Buxton Burger (left) and The Cathedral Burger

The Buxton burger was "invented" by a former Igloo Roadhouse owner in 1991. The Cathedral Burger is ‘big brother’ to the Buxton and is named after the Cathedral Mountains just behind the Igloo Roadhouse. It is certainly a challenge – you definitely have to be hungry before you attempt eating it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fish Frenzy

"I caught a fish T H I S big - but it got away."
This colouful building backs onto riverfrontage along the Moyne River pedestrian walkway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Art Sculpture

Yering Station Sculpture Exhibition

Each year between October and December, Yering Station hosts the Yering Station Art Sculpture Exhibition. A combined effort between the Yarra Valley Arts Council and Yering Station, the exhibition has grown since October 2001 and is now an iconic event on the Victorian Arts calendar with exhibitors from both Victoria and interstate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Black Saturday Bushfires - An Eye Witness Account

Yarra Glen one month after the bushfires - 9th March 2009

AS I headed up to the Yarra Valley today, music blaring, I didn't know what to expect - not really. Turning right from Diamond Creek Rd then hanging a left into the Eltham Yarra Glen Road, what struck me first was the fragrance - it wasn't there. Except for a few fleeting seconds, then it was gone.

Each time I've travelled this road before there was the most beautiful smell which would linger as I'd wind my way up to Yarra Glen. A few kms past the Antique Store at Watson's Creek, the trees on the left were black and dead, stark and empty. A large, white, wooden cross was on one of them. I turned the music off. It was a sombre drive.

I'd intended going to De Bortoli, and mistakenly turned up the wrong road - Steels Creek Road. As I ventured further, I was surrounded by black trees, their leaves dead and withered. I passed a winery - Yileena Park, and pulled up, checked the map, then decided I'd go to this small winery instead. Turned round headed back. Dianne, the owner of the winery welcomed me, and tasting their wines, she began to speak of that terrible day. I didn't like to ask too many questions.

This is what she told me - the sun was blood red, and the last time she saw that was on the day of the Ash Wednesday bushfires, and she knew it was going to be bad. The fire came from over there, she pointed to the west, over the gully and as it neared the winery, suddenly the wind changed direction and raced up the hill. Some of the vines were lost, she changed into denim jeans, long heavy cotton shirt, blundstone boots and heavy jacket.

The fires were all around - the cypress trees across the road survived, the house didn't. Her son fought the fire which had caught on the roof of her house up the hill, for 5 days she didn't have a bath or shower - there was no water. She spent the next three days on the roof with buckets of water.

City people don't understand, they think once the fire has gone through it's over, but it isn't. The trees can burn for days, or weeks, the underground root system is still burning, and can restart new fires. The eucalpytus trees were burning, and the oil from them rose high and exploded - fireballs the size of cars whizzed ahead of the fire front and started new fires - where they landed were random, the heat was intense between 1400 and 1600 º C - one lady had large bronze statues about 4 foot high, the radiant heat burnt them and there's nothing left - not even a melted blob to show they ever existed. A man in Kinglake - his pottery moulds for the kiln melted.

There won't be a vintage this year, even though not all the grapes were burnt, those
that survived cannot be used, because once fermentation starts, the smell, and taste will be akin to an overflowing ashtray days old. She said tell people we are open, for people to start coming back to the valley. The local councils have been turning a "blind eye" she said since that day - if you had dead trees on your property, you were not allowed to cut them down.

Many trees have blown over with the wind - helped she said by a chainsaw. Dianne told me since that day, you look at things with new eyes - all the possessions we have, that we surround ourselves with, do we really need them? She told me of one lady who had a "good" dinner set that she kept for a special occasion - the dinner set is gone, why do we have things that we don't use? Just to keep - better to use them now, while we still have them. She said we surround ourselves with possessions but in the end, they're not important.

What struck me too was patches here and there of greenery - I saw two purple flowers growing by the road side amid blackened grass and stumps. One hill is blackened and dead, the one to the right was untouched. Further up the road, I saw chimneys here and there standing, nothing else, just the chimney - debris and rubble around them. I took some photos but not of the chimneys, I felt that I was looking at something I shouldn't have, so I photographed the trees. I never knew there could be such a dark shade of black.

I overshot the mark for Pinnacle Lane, and couldn't pull over so kept on going, and the further I went, the darker and blacker and deader the area became. The road branched to the left - a gravel road heading to Kinglake, I turned around and headed back. Three burnt trees had large pink crosses painted on them. Going up Pinnacle Lane was almost worse. Turned onto the Melba Highway and went to Yarra Glen for coffee before coming back home.

This was the saddest drive I've ever done. I drove in silence - the music stayed off.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Autumn Colours

Nicholson Street, Healesville.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Steavensons Falls, Marysville

Steavensons Falls are Victoria's highest waterfall and descend 84 meteres to the bush and fern-fringed Steavensons River below. The Falls were named after John Steavenson, who first visited the site of what is now Marysville in 1862, the falls opened to tourists in 1866.

They are a popular attraction and at night are illuminated by floodlights powered by hydro-electricity created by the thundering water.

This photo was taken before the Black Saturday bushfires which decimated the area.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Big Koala

The Big Koala is at Dadswell bridge on the Western Highway between Horsham and Stawell and houses a souvenir shop. There is a licensed cafe next door. Daswell Bridge also has a motel and caravan park. Technically speaking, it's called the Giant Koala, - it is 14 metres high, weighs 12 tonnes and is made of bronze set on a steel frame.
The sculptor Ben Van Zetton designed and constructed the piece in 1988.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Country Garden

In the garden at Summer Sensations Cafe & Berry Gardens at Teesdale. Their Sunday Breakfasts are marvellous - old-fashioned country style.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kaboom! Fire the Canon...


Block Your Ears...

Every Sunday during the month of January at 12 noon precisely, the canon is fired at Battery Hill. It is a big attraction and both locals and tourists alike make their way up the hill to witness this spectacle.
Remembe to cover your ears - the noise is louder than a gaggle of teenagers at an all night party.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eastern Beach

On the shores of Corio Bay lies Eastern Beach, a popular recreation and swimming area in Geelong. Photo was taken from the wooden structure at the intersection of Swanston Street and Eastern Beach Road before the road descends and offers a good view of the water.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bacchus Marsh - Shopping

The Bacchus Marsh Village shopping centre is a hub for the local community with an indoor playground for pre-schoolers and tables and chairs for the parents to take the weight of their feet and grab a coffee. With over 35 specialty shops and several major retailers, the
Bacchus Marsh Village shopping centre is a welcome addition.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sailing, Sailing Over the Ocean Blue...

The wind came up in Port Fairy Bay and the crew battled with the sails as the "Monkey Puzzle" neared. Alas, I missed the "top" bit of the sail and by the time my camera was ready, they'd already gone past with sails down, and we continued cruising on the Mulloka with Jane and her crew.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Black Spur Roadhouse

The Black Spur Roadhouse is right next to the caravan park at Narbethong which is 20 kms past Healesville on the Maroondah Highway just over the Black Spur. The Roadhouse stocks an extensive range of products and services.

Beautiful ferns near the outdoor eating area.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kilted Koppers

Police band at the Buninyong Gold King Festival.
The Victoria Police Pipe Band is comprised of six drummers and ten pipers and perform and different venues from marching in street pardes to concert performances.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shelford Presbyterian Church

This bluestone church built in gothic style at a cost of 1500 Pounds is butressed on both sides and has arch windows and doorway, a weather vane above the front steeple, with a bell in the steeple. It opened its doors for public worship on Thursday, 8 December 1859.

Shelford is a rural area in the Golden Plains Shire and is 106 kms west of Melbourne. The nearest large town is Bannockburn 18 km to the east. The city of Geeloing is a drive of some 42 kms.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cunningham Pier Geelong

At the end of Moorabool Street on the foreshore is Cinningham Pier, and at the end of the pier is Smorgy's .- an "all you can eat" restaurant with a wide selection of roasts, pizzas, pastas and Asian cuisine. It is also a popular fishing spot and also sees visiting warships and cruiseships.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Phantom Falls Creek, Marysville


This land of ours so red and vast
Doth stretch before the eye
And show unto me all the beauty
Of a far and distant past.

Of gums so tall
And eucalypt
They tower o'er me
And sweet their fragrance to inhale
Their beauty for to see.

Oh yes, this precious land of mine
With all your beauty free
And listen to the sweet carol
Of birds in fancy free.

My country you are more to me
Than earth or fire or sky
For I shall love this land of yours
Until the day I die.

Lady Talbot Drive Mountain Ash and Ferns

The tall Mountain Ash - Eucalyptus regnans, is the world’s
tallest flowering plant, reaching heights of more than
100 metres. Extensive Mountain Ash forests occur in
Victoria's Central Highlands (east of Melbourne), the
Otway Ranges and Strzelecki Ranges in Gippsland. They can reach heights of 150 metres and their girth can exceed 15 metres at the base. The only other species that comes a close second in height is the Californian Redwood ( Sequoia sempervirens).

Mountain Ash can live for up to 500 years and they creates a shady canopy for a number of other native plants including Soft and Rough Tree Ferns and various wattle species. Numerous species of mammals, birds and reptiles inhabit Mountain Ash forest, as it provides nectar and seeds, nesting and roosting sites.

These photos were taken along Lady Talbot Drive which was named after the wife of Sir Reginald Talbot, Governor of Victoria between 1903 and 1908.
Lady Talbot Forest Drive is a round-trip of 46 kilometres and takes about 2 hours if driven at a leisurely pace without stops. Lady Talbot Forest Drive is an unsealed track that follows a winding path through eucalyptus forest along the Taggerty River. The drive begins a few minutes from Marysville, approximately 500 metres east of the town’s centre on the Marysville-Woods Point Road and continues through the Marysville State Forest and the Yarra Ranges National Park. There are magnificent tree fern gullies and creeks lined with ferns and mosses, old growth myrtle beech forest and waterfalls cascading over huge granite boulders. There are several lovely spots along the way for picnics.


These photos were taken not long before the devestating Black Saturday bushfires which destroyed Marysville and other areas of Victoria. 38% of the Yarra Ranges National Park was burnt. The drive is currently closed.

I will be posting about Marysville before, and after the bushfires at a later date.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Avenue of Honour

The Avenue of Honour is an Elm tree lined avenue planted in 1918 to commemorate soldiers from from Bacchus Marsh who served in the Great War. (WW I) The avenue of honour was dedicated on 10 August 1918 when 281 Canadian elms were planted alongside more than two kms of road leading into the town. A bugle call allowed simultaneous planting to begin, The fallen were remembered in alphabetical order (allowing family members who died overseas to be recalled to mind, together in groups).

Bacchus Marsh is located between the Werribee and Lerderderg rivers, 49km west of Melbourne. Although close enough to Melbourne to be a commuter town, Bacchus Marsh is surrounded by orchards and market gardens sited on what was once marshland.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Eleonore's Restaurant and Sweetwater Cafe

Eleonore’s restaurant is named after the wife of the early owner of Yering Station Paul de Castella. It is formal and handsomely furnished and overlooks the Yarra Valley hills.

The menu showcases a blend of classic techniques and modern flavours, while Sweetwater Café (named for one of the first grape varieties planted in the vineyard in the 1800s), offers a modern bistro

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Moyne River

The Moyne river flows through Port Fairy, a seaside village 290kms west of Melbourne and was once the hunting ground for whalers and sealers. The river is 82 km in length and strolling alongside on the pedestrian walkway is a popular pastime.