We had a drive around Junee before leaving next morning, driving up to look at the old homestead of Monte Crisco, a large two-storeyed building with many sheds surrounding it. A lot of the land has been sold off, there are quite a few new streets and homes around it now.
Our next stop was an interesting town called Coolamon, with old shops and wide main street. There was an old grocery store at the top of the street, built 1906, and with the original long counters, shelves and trolley rails for the money to be carried to the office up above. Nowadays, it's used as a hall by the locals - there were a couple of men unpacking antiques for an upcoming auction.
We were in pretty countryside until Narrandera, (on the Murrumbidge River) but then it became quite barren - a bit like the Hay Plains, I suppose in fact we were edging the Hay Plains - flat country and rather stunted growth around. Once we reached Tocumwal and the Murray River, the country once more became interesting.
We crossed the Murray into Victoria and stopped for the night at the old paddlewheel town of Echuca.
We were going to stop there a couple of nights, but had an awful site, small and dusty, so next morning we left the caravan park, drove around, I did a couple of shops I like there, and then we pressed on.
On the outskirts of Bendigo, we saw Bendigo Pottery, and thought we must go back in. We bought another deep pie dish, the one we bought last time has cracked. The pottery has been made there since 1858. I like the city of Bendigo, the large Victorian government and shop buildings a reflection of the money that must have been around when gold was discovered there. All around here is where gold was found - is there a place in Australia (apart from our backyard) where gold wasn't found? We pressed on to Castlemaine and booked into a nice park, which edges the Botanic Gardens, for two nights. Castlemaine is an old goldmining area too, and there are some interesting grand old houses and little old miners' houses in town.
Today is Mother's Day and we began the day with phone calls from the family wishing me a happy day. We decided we'd spend the day
driving to the nice little towns not far from Castlemaine - of course old gold-mining areas.
First stop was Kyneton and luckily, we came in on the interesting end of town. The shops were fabulous and I was in heaven, especially in the first shop we visited, The Emporium, which had the best of gifts, homewares, children's toys, kitchen ware and Murano glass jewellery. Everything was wonderful. We walked up and down the street then, more lovely shops. We wanted to have a Mother's Day lunch there but the restaurants were booked out - one said he'd been booked for three months!
We thought we'd take a chance and go back to the Emporium and got into their little restaurant - a lunch of a hearty soup and crunchy bread followed. We'd also ordered lasagna, not knowing what a big serve the soup would be so I asked for a doggie bag. Kyneton was a great stop!
We went on then to Daylesford - there it was really crowded and we'd been spoilt by Kyneton so the shops didn't thrill. We'd remembered last time going from there to Lavendula - the lavender farm a few kilometres from
Daylesford Main Street
We had a spot of rain here
Daylesford - so that was our next destination. Here there is a lovely old stone home and sheds, lavender growing amongst pretty acreage, donkeys, geese, horses and chooks, lovely autumn trees and a shop selling lavender products. We sat in the sun having a cup of coffee, enjoying it all. When we were here three years ago, Victoria was in the middle of drought and the farm was mostly dust. Today it was green and pretty with lovely gardens and autumn leafed trees, lovely. There is a willow farm nearby where Australian cricket bats are made .. we didn't go there again today.
Back then to Castlemaine for another night, driving along the prettiest green valley, lovely trees, sheep in paddocks and a little stream. We had one last stop - at the Chocolate Mill, for a treat to finish the day. It doesn't get much better!
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers in our family - Diane, Barbara, Tara and Jules and for the first time, Lyndall. I hope you all had a wonderful day.
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