On Sunday I took a ‘quick’ road trip toward Mildura via the Sunraysia Highway. The first bit is via the Western fwy toward Ballarat.
I recommend this road as a “GET OUT INTO THE COUNTRY” and take your family to see Victoria.
As you travel along – slow down your drive and see the countryside from :
The Brand New $10M + Livestock Exchange built recently.
You can stop and actually have a really good look at it. Encourage yourself or kids into “thinking outside the square’ in their career choices.
Nearby is the Dowling Forest Cemetery with some amazing headstones and real history of people who shaped this part of Victoria.
The next little town is Learmonth. A quick turn to the left will bring you to a lake.
Here you can stretch your legs,have akick of the footy on the oval or just wander along the bike path to look for ducks, geese, black swans and other wildlife. Over the hills are the wind turbines at Waubra.
Learmonth has a great little market every 2nd sunday of month at The Stags Head Hotel.
Driving north you will pass the art gallery of James Egan – one of Victoria’s living legends and prolific artist.
Next town is Waubra. Stop on your left and read all about the wind turbines and how they are helping fuel our renewable energy sources. As your travel toward Lexton there is an original station on the right called Mount Mitchell. Google up its history.
Lexton is the crossroads for the Victorian Goldfields. A terrific pub for Parma and chips and a bevvy. It is the home of James Brasszell – a rural photographer and shearer and all round great guy.
As you drive toward Avoca slow down and have a laugh or drool at the old guys ‘car yard’ on the left near Redbank. Look for the intense golden yellow of the wattle – which is our national emblem.
Admire the huge red gum trees and paddocks of new born lambs. Avoca is the home of the Pyrenees – no! not those Pyrenees but our very own version with great red wine to boot.
Stop here and wander around the Chinese garden down by the river, have a terrific Genevoise coffee from Farmhouse Cafe, eat a pie from Pyrenees pies or if bakery is open a vanilla slice. And the public toilets are very clean.
There is a fantastic market at the Avoca Train station each month with a lot of wonderful organic food, produce, meats, and crafts.
If you take your bikes there is no end to trails, roads and places to ride to and back. This town has plenty of accommodation and every year a show stopping wine festival.
Again history is on show in the local cemetery and there is a great Horse race day also.
From here you can traverse the road back toward Maryborough, Clunes or Creswick.\Or across country to Bealiba and Charlton.
A little further out of town of your right is apx. a mile of prickly pear cactus, that has been there for years; and when it is in flower it is so beautiful to see.
Don’t forget to look for rosellas – red and green, green budgerigars, white cockatoos, pink galahs, echidnas, wombats and kangaroos. Most farmers have alpacas in their field today also. The topography begins to change here as the stony soil gives way to more sub volcanic and desert like countryside.
ST Arnaud is a large ish regional town that has, recently been in the spotlight for all the wrong reason – ICE, MDA etc.
It has a 24 hr fuel stop, a great coffee place opposite the park, where you can run around stretch the legs etc based in the old courthouse. There is another park out the back of the library .
Donald – has a great bakery, owned by same people from Avoca, coffee place, bendigo bank, terrific op shop, and is the home to Kookas Cookies. You must stop and buy some. It is the home to WholeFoods Manufacturers and hosts a long lunch in the paddock each year. A prime golf course and a large grain facility. Down the back is a sculpture from the commonwealth games in the river. and walking trails. Donald is another town that has a huge history linked to farmers going to war and families that have been there since settlement.
Watchem is a blink and you might miss it. It has an enormous church on the right with beautiful stain glass windows. It also has a great little lake where you can camp, stop, relax.
Which brings me to where I stopped – Birchip.
The home of the Mallee Bull, The most awarded winning bakery of the Great Vanilla Slice Championships ever. Kevin Sharp is that maestro. They make mean pasties, sausage rolls and bread too.
The Birchip Cropping Group can be found here. They are a community run and funded grain research group kicking butt in the worldwide agricultural scene.
There is lake nearby for all kinds of water sports and a very old drive in theatre.
The pub on the corner has had a ‘major’ cash injection and the best rural produce is on show in there no fuss country pub meals. The fish and chip shop in main street is also pretty good. Very clean toilets next to a park and the local swimming pool are the best there is on offer . So clean. Here i picked up my niece and we turned around and headed back toward Melbourne and Geelong.
I urge you to do a day trip or weekend and GO SEE AUSTRALIA> Along the way stop to see all these things and smell the eucalypts.
firstname.lastname@example.org 0r 116 high st Avoca
donald bakery can be found on facebook