Friday, December 12, 2008

Our trip - Part 4

After we got the van set up on Graeme's front lawn (a colleague of Pete's) in Melbourne, we jumped in their car and headed down with he and his wife to the Mornington Peninsula. (How's that for a run-on sentence?!)

We stopped at a brewery at Red Hill for lunch - the food was delicious. Apparently the beer was too! By the time we left there, it was too late to visit Fort Nepean which had been our original plan, so we drove around to Cape Schank to look at the lighthouse. We didn't get to tour it, but had a lovely walk around the area.

Just out of the car park, we saw this little fellow - an echidna. He was right next to the path, digging away for ants, and was quite unconcerned about us watching him and taking photos! That's the first time I think I've seen an echidna in the wild, so I was impressed!


This was one of the views around Cape Schank - the rock in the middle is known as Pulpit Rock. Look familiar to anyone from a previous post??! :)


And here's the lighthouse.


We had dinner with Graeme & his family back at their house, and left early the next morning to negotiate our way through Melbourne traffic to Ballarat.

We checked into a van park in Ballarat, then headed out to get some lunch and have a look around. We took it easy that afternoon with a round of mini-golf - there was an 18 hole mini-golf course at the caravan park. That's the first time I've played it and by the 18th hole I was starting to figure out what I was doing lol.


Billy had a play on the playground and the giant jumping pillows. These were so cool - we came across them in a few caravan parks. No idea what they were inflated with, but they inflate them up every morning and deflate them every night. They were massive - at one park there were probably 30 kids jumping at one time!


Ballarat came to prominence in the 1850s when gold was discovered in the area. The city has absolutely beautiful buildings from the wealth of the time. One of the biggest tourist attractions in the area is Sovereign Hill - a recreation of how Ballarat would have been at the height of the gold rush. The employees all wear period costumes and act in character. You can watch demonstrations of things like lolly making, candle making, gold pouring & musket firing. You can go underground in an old mine and see how they used to mine. They teach you to pan for gold and you get to keep what you find (they seed the creek every morning with gold shavings lol).

I went there probably 30 years ago and loved it! I was really looking forward to going again, and luckily it lived up to my expectations. Some of it was a bit more 'disney-fied' than I remember, but that seems to be necessary for the youth of today! We spent the entire day there (about 9 til 4) - the weather was great and it wasn't too crowded.


Underground


Soldiers parading down the street


A bit of steam machinery - I think it crushed the excavated rock.


Posing with a soldier with the pit head in the background.


Panning for gold - Billy likes to tell everyone he's rich now :)

4 comments:

Belinda said...

Darn,

Wish I knew you were going to be in Melbourne. It would have been wonderful to get to meet if you had enough time.

Oh Well, next time.

Kind Regards
Belinda

libby said...

We had a great day at Sovereign Hill too - but it was a bit colder when we were there in July - in fact it was freezing (I think it snowed the next week).

Libby

Lightening said...

We'd love to take our kids to sovereign hill sometime.

Those jumping pillows are awesome. Our kids love them (and we usually get up there and have a jump too - then all the kids come running from all directions to join in the fun. Funny what a couple of adults mucking around will do.)

Kez said...

Bummer Belinda :( Next time I'll post my itinerary first so I can meet up with everyone!

Libby - I can imagine Sovereign Hill in July would be COLD!!

Lightening - the pillows are great, aren't they?! Could do with one in our backyard!