Day 29 – 31 | Chiltern
We continue to enjoy our time at Chiltern and decide to stay an extra day so that I can catch up on work. The day is started as usual with a sleep in, a morning cuppa, a bit of brekkie and a walk around the lake. After “doing the housework” as I call it, which takes 5 minutes, we head off into town for morning tea at the local bakery. It’s only a 5 minute walk from the Lakeside Caravan Park. We have always loved going out for morning tea, in Mission Beach the girls at Cafe Bang Bang would welcome us with “it must be date day!
A very cool night for us with temperatures plummeting to 8 degrees. I’m teleconferencing in for a board meeting this morning for a few hours and then we head off to Rutherglen, a historic gold mining town now turned into a premier wine growing region. We pass many vineyards and cellar doors along the way. The township has a lovely 19th century charm with many historic buildings and antique shops.
Overnight there is a light shower of rain and the wind picks up. Andrew brings in the awning just in case the wind gets out of control. It’s 9 degrees and I’m cold. There is more work to be done this morning and then time in the afternoon for another walk around the lake. Andrew has seen a sign at the pub saying it’s parmi night. He’s a big fan of a good parmi so we decide to treat ourselves. Wow, what a parmi; it’s the biggest we have ever seen and it’s up there with the best.
Wildlife: Wild ducks, pelicans, swans, red belly black snake, rabbits, llamas, alpacas, blue wrens.
Day 32 – 33 | Chiltern to Benalla
We are heading out today on the M31 for Benalla. There are plenty of trucks and other vehicles scooting past us on the motorway. Everyone is in a hurry. We usually sit on 80-85 on the motorways as the turbulence from the trucks is unreal. I can just imagine them thinking, another old fart in a caravan! And a Queenslander!
Our campsite tonight is at the Benalla Showgrounds. A low cost of $12 per night. The only facilities are rubbish bins and toilets. The male toilet building is derelict, so it’s shared facilities with the female toilets. It’s a large grassy area with plenty of trees and behind the grounds are several churches and the old courthouse. The old courthouse is where the Kelly family where trialed on several occasions and where Ned Kelly was held in his cell on many charges.
We decide to take a walk across the road to the Botanical Gardens. The smell of roses is wafting in the breeze, there is every colour and type you can imagine. I’m in heaven. Busy snapping photos again. The gardens are also home to the Weary Dunlop Memorial Statue and an Avenue of Honour.
Adjacent to the gardens is the Benalla Art Gallery set on the picturesque Lake Benalla. I was fortunate to be able to view the current exhibitions; Future Perfect, Monster Mash & Colouring Lake Mokoan. Some amazing work by incredible artists.
This morning we head off early to take a walk around Benalla’s township to view the street art. The Visitor Information Centre has a town map which has information about the artworks and the artists. There is an annual Wall to Wall festival which attracts thousands to the town to view the works by international and local street artists. The festival includes workshops, painting by numbers, street art tours and light projections. We are too early for the festival as it’s held in March/April. I’m disappointed as it would be a fabulous event to attend. We spend 3 hours wandering around taking in the creative works on display. I am told at the Visitor Centre that some works are painted over after a period of time. I feel saddened hearing that, but then artwork is always an ongoing creation and a living canvas so I can appreciate the concept behind it.
After all that walking we pass a bakery. Andrew spots the sign “Award Winning 2014 Vanilla Slice”. Bertalli’s Alpine Bread Bakery. Stop! We are such foodies….we have to have a vanilla slice! Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! We figure that after all the exercise we have had today, we’re going to shout ourselves take-away at the Dragon Gate Chinese Restaurant. We don’t have a Chinese take-away in Mission Beach, so we are pretty keen. It didn’t disappoint either. Lucky we are travelling pretty good on the budget this week, so a few treats are definitely welcome. Did I mention that we love food…
Wildlife: Cattle, cockatoos, galahs, rosellas, roadkill
Day 34 | Benalla to Cobram
I’m excited to leave today. It’s silo day. We haven’t got far to travel, about 91km to our destination at Cobram, but there is 3 silo stops along the way. The first is Goorambat with 2 painted silos. The artwork is the Barking Owl “Millibai” which means “Winking” in Indigenous dialect. Painted in March 2018 by Jimmy DVate. Jimmy is passionate about conservation and highlighting the plight of endangered species. It does not disappoint. I’m pleased to see that there is a viewing area, set up with an undercover bench table and seats. There is also a visitor book and donation box. I love this idea in a small township of just over 300 people. I hope all the travellers who view this artwork commit to a dontation, we certainly did.
A short distance away is Sophia of Goorambat. Her home is the local Uniting Church. Sophia came to life by Adnate; an artist heavily influenced by the renaissance painters. The mural is relevant to the culture and ethos of the church and Adnate was generous with his talent. It is a true spiritual experience. We leave another donation.
Only 10km away is Devenish, a small township with a population of less than 200. Home to another 2 amazing painted silos. The two silos were painted by Cam Scale and we are told that since they were painted the artwork has drawn over 40,000 visitors to the township in one year. Through the generous donations of the travelling public, enough funds have been raised to have the third silo painted at a festival in April of this year. Wouldn’t that be a spectacular event to attend. The artwork depicts the historical nurse and the modern day medic and the role that women fulfilled in caring for military and civilians during the wars, natural disasters, peace keeping and humanitarian operations. These works are my favourite. We left a donation.
There is a sign at the viewing area, scones with jam and cream at the pub. Well, we just couldn’t pass that up could we. Did I mention we love food…. I think I might have… Piping hot out of the oven, this little country pub (Devenish Community Hotel) ticked all the boxes for our morning tea. The publicans were very friendly and we enjoyed a great conversation about Devenish, the silo art & travelling. A ‘must stop’ if you are visiting Devenish.
Further along – 19km is Tungamah, population less than 500. The two silos are privately owned and the artist is Sobrane Simcock from Broome in Western Australia. These 2 silos were the first silos to be painted in North East Victoria which set a precedence for other townships to follow. The celebration of brolgas and the kookaburra are the first silo artwork that Sobrane would complete. We left a donation.
Cobram is 43km away and will be our home at Boogara Ski Beach along the Murray River. Irrigation channels run along the highway and fruit orchards are all we can see for miles and miles. Pink Lady apples (my favourite) and oranges. Time to unpack, take a walk along the river and a swim for Cinta to cool off in the 36 degree heat.
Wildlife; Kanagaroos, roesllas, galahs, cockatoos, magpies, ducks, sheep, llama.
Week 5 total expenses: $439.79 We’re pretty happy with that as we haven’t had to buy fuel this week due to staying a little longer in the regional townships. More money for treating ourselves!
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That’s a wrap for Week 5 of the Lap of the Map.
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