Week 8 | Warracknabeal to Ararat

Day 50 – 51: Warracknabeal to Rupanyup

It’s hard to believe that we have now been on the road for over 7 weeks.  The time has certainly flown by and we are loving our journey more and more every day.  It’s easy to understand people that we meet that are travelling permanently on the road.  There is so much to see in this vast country that we call home.

The weather is kind to us this morning, it’s 23 degrees when we hit the road.  We travel 18km and reach Sheep Hills, home of the most colourful silo art on the Silo Art trail in the Wimmera Mallee.  Painted by Melbourne-based artist Adnate, the works depict the richness of the area’s Indigenous culture.  I love the bold blocks of colour.

Another 34km down the road we reach our destination for the next 2 days; Rupanyup.  We are staying at the Rupanyup Memorial Park.  Run by the local Lions Club, it’s a small park with power, water, hot showers and toilets, bbq facilities and a playground.  It’s $10 per night and $1 for a 5 minute shower.  There isn’t any green grass, the area is very dry and we are parked on the gravel.  It’s great value for all the facilities that are here.  A club member comes each night to collect the fees or if he misses you there is an honesty box to pay your fees.

We take a drive around town and visit the silo art.  The monochromatic works are by Russian mural artist, Julia Volchkova and depict two local sporting team members embodying youthful spirit, strength, hope and camaraderie.  We have now completed the 200km Silo Art Trail and every artwork has been inspiring in it’s own way.  We encourage all travellers to put this trail on their “to do” list and stop in the local townships and support these communities that are struggling to stay alive.

There is not much to do in Rupanyup so I’m having a work morning and then I intend to get the drone back into the air.  I’m slowly grasping it!  The park is full tonight with 10 vans so there isn’t much more room for anyone else if they turn up.  It’s time to look at the map and decide where we travel to tomorrow.  We’re expecting 10 degrees tonight, so the winter woolies might be coming out of the box again!

Wildlife: Possum, wren, ducks, plovers, kangaroos

Rupanyup Sunset
Rupanyup Sunset

Day 52:  Rupanyup to Marnoo

We’ve slowed our travel down this week as we are heading for Ararat by Friday to spend 5 nights with my niece and family.  It’s 10 degrees this morning and we head off for our 22km journey to Marnoo.  With a population of 122, there really is nothing much to see or do in Marnoo.  There is one small shop which was closed when we arrived, but open the next day when we were leaving.

We are staying at Marmoo Memorial Park, it’s the local cricket ground and has a newly renovated club house, a new pitch and a white picket (plastic) fence.  The grounds are lovely and green and there are trees all around the field as well.  It’s quite a picture and we are the only ones staying here tonight.  The sprinklers are going all day and night so water is obviously not an issue here.  The toilet facilities are not the best with some toilets and taps not working and the others are very dusty and dirty.  It’s free and we are thankful for a picturesque place to spend a night.

I manage to get the drone up later in the afternoon and get some footage around the cricket grounds just as the guys are turning up for cricket practice.  The temperature is plummeting and the winter box is out again for the night.

Wildlife: Goat, sheep, galahs

Marnoo Memorial Park Cricket Grounds
Marnoo Memorial Park Cricket Grounds

Day 53: Marnoo to St Arnaud

Waking up to 4.7 degrees and the weather app tells me it feels like 2.7. It’s cold!  We only have 40km to go today to reach St Arnaud and decide to check into a caravan park and have a roast meal tonight in the glass oven.  We are staying at the St Arnaud Caravan Park and have a great drive through site, however, it’s not terribly level so we have to get the wheel chocks out to get ourselves level.  It’s still quite cool, so after getting set up we have our morning tea in the camp kitchen sitting in the sun.  The facilities at the park are lovely and clean and there is a lush grassy area that Cinta just can’t stop rolling herself on.  There is a really quirky little model car towing a caravan outside the amenities block with concrete statues in the drivers seat and in the caravan.  I just love them!

St Arnaud is a small township with a population of just over 2,000 people and was known for silver and gold mining back in the 1800’s.  Wandering around town there are some lovely old buildings with cast-iron lacework verandahs and the locals seem very friendly.  We also take a stroll through the Queen Mary Gardens, however, it looks like some of the garden beds are currently being replanted.

Wildlife: Goat, cockatoos, sheep, crimson rosella, ducks major mitchells, magpies, willy wagtails, blue wren.

Day 54 – 56 Ararat

It’s a very pleasant 21 degrees and we have a slightly longer journey today at 107km to get ourselves into Ararat.  The landscape is very dry and barren and from Landsborough onwards we sight several wind farms on the horizon.  The Grampians are now in site!  They are rugged sandstone mountain ranges, rich in wildlife in the forests and one of Victoria’s most popular holiday destinations.  Being a National Park, we’ll have to miss it this time while we have Cinta on board, however, it’s a good excuse to come back another time.

These next 5 days are about spending time with my niece Belinda and her family.  We’re really looking forward to parking the van on their property and enjoying a home stay.  We’ve managed to reverse the van in through the gate but there is no way that we’ll be able to get it into the position up by their shed.  That will be a  job for Mick when he arrives home!

We are filled with excitement today as the shearer is coming to shear 5 sheep.  We’ll have a first hand up close and personal experience.  The sheep have been rounded up into the pen and the’re going to be shorn in the carport.  Mick brings them out one by one for the shearer and I’m amazed at how quickly it’s all done.  The wool is off on the ground and being gathered up into the sacks within minutes.  It’s so soft, crinkly and a variety of colours.

The last sheep is ready to be shorn and he’s escaped from the pen.  Everyone is out in the paddock trying to herd it back into the pen and of course I’m at the gate with my camera…The poor sheep is being chased all around the paddock and even the shearer can’t seem to catch him when he’s cornered.  Then all of a sudden I see Andrew take a footy dive and he has the sheep down on the ground and he’s being dragged behind it.  I am laughing hysterically.  Shame I didn’t catch it on video, it would have gone viral!

Wildlife:  Sheep, horses, dead kangaroo, cows and crows.

Week 8 total expenses:  $356.54 – wow, last week was our cheapest week and we have just beat that!  Happy campers.

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That’s a wrap for Week 8 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

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