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Published: March 22nd 2010
We left Woodside Beach, thinking we'd continue west along the coast to Melbourne, stopping first at Phillip Island to see the penguins. However, a wind came up and we had quite a buffetting, so instead went to Leongatha and booked into the caravan park to spend the rest of the day, out of the wind.
On hearing that cooler weather with some rain was predicted for the next few days down south and for Melbourne, we changed our plans and today headed north. Being warm and in sunshine - that's what it's all about (or is that the hokey pokey?). We saw the penguins on Phillip Island a few years ago .. we'll be back another day to see them again.
The drive towards Warragul was lovely, beautiful farmland though some parts were so steep, we wondered how the poor cows kept their footing on the hillside .. a few jokes on milkshakes, instant butter, rolling cheeses should one of them trip and tumble down the hill. The farms were very tidy and looked rather prosperous. We've seen some beautiful roses in gardens down here - nothing like a cool climate for roses. Once the hillls became less steep,
there were vineyards and apple orchards - and then we were in heavy forest. Signs showed new growth since the fire of 1939 and the Ash Wednesday fire of 1983, both with heavy loss of life .
We came to Healesville, a town which reminded me of Margaret River - nice shops and homes - and surrounded by forest. We decided before we camped the night there that we'd first drive to Kingslake. Kinglake was one of the main affected towns in the Black Saturday bushfires in February last year, with loss of life of 42 people and more than 500 homes destroyed. Whole mountains have been burnt but the black gums have new green growth on them and there are many tree ferns growing green and lush underneath. It will take awhile but it will come back.
There are a lot of new homes in the process being built though there are still areas of the temporary dwellings that were erected for those who lost their homes. Life is going on and people are starting afresh. They are so strong and resilient. It was good too that so much was donated to the victims by the Australian
people so that they felt we were all behind them.
And so we are back at Healesville to spend the night and it's a beautiful afternoon. I think tomorrow we'll visit Maryville, another town destroyed in the fires, and then on to Mansfield .. I always love that area.
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