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Published: April 3rd 2018
We pick up our hire car today and head north to the goldfields region. I start with a run round Flagstaff Park. It looks like a pretty Park from the road, but I soon realise that the reason I can see it from the road is that the entire park is raised. Whichever way you run, it’s uphill to the middle.
Next to collect our car. It takes forever. Primarily because the staff are desperately trying to flog a variety of extras. Eventually we are served, pay for the extras added to the bill we thought we’d already paid and escape the city. The car is enormous. (They’ve run out of small cars and initially try and sell the big one as an ‘upgrade’). It’s done 822 km – it’s the newest car I’ve ever been in.
Before we leave Melbourne I have one more matter to deal with. We detour to the suburb of Kew. My great grandmother believed her father had died (lost at sea) before she was born. Recently, thanks to the internet, I have discovered he actually jumped ship in Australia and settled in Melbourne with a new ‘wife’ leaving his real wife and children
destitute in England. I have found his grave at Kew cemetery so stop to have words. The grave is in an unkempt corner of the cemetery. It is unmarked and covered with weeds. This makes me both pleased and sad.
We drive on to Hanging Rock. We planned to have a ‘picnic at Hanging Rock’ but the shop is shut so we have to make do with sharing a manky mars bar the old man finds in the bottom of his bag. It’s a much harder climb to the summit than I expected and the circuit takes over an hour to complete. But it’s worth it for the view. And we see our first kangaroo.
Our final destination for the day is Castlemaine. Obviously famous for XXXX but they don’t actually make that here. My guide book describes Castlemaine as ‘one of the most happening places in Victoria’. In fact, not much seems to happen here at all. Most things that do happen, don’t happen on Tuesdays and those that do, shut at 4.
We decide to walk to the botanical gardens. These Victorian gardens are lined with oak trees. It’s autumn so they’re shedding leaves. The
old man ponders on how, if they were grown from acorns imported from the UK, they know it’s autumn when it’s spring at home.
We find a pub in a converted mill which is open, although they have sold out of most things. The barmaid says this is because the bank holiday cleared them out. Maybe Castlemaine is so happening that everyone is at home still hungover from a mega wild weekend?
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