Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Road Trip- Beechworth

We haven’t had a road trip since our big adventure to the Red Centre last year, and we haven’t been to Sydney since before Taine was born, and our September holiday buddy, Lyle, was desperate to try out a motorhome so this seemed an appropriate time to pack up the Kluger and head north for a week.

Our first stop was Beechworth, Lyle’s old home town. Traveling around the ring road and out onto the Hume Highway, Beechworth is an easy 3 hr drive from Melbourne. We are staying at Lake Sambell , in a quaint little caravan park reminiscent of somewhere from a Lampoon’s pitstop. It has a home made mini golf course, a badminton net and a fascinating ‘hayride’ where a guy drags a cage full of kids around behind his four wheel motorbike! We’re staying in a cabin – having cured our own motorhome itch in NZ many years ago– 9 days (on our honeymoon) with a 9 yr old- I still shudder when I think of it!

The cabin is great, apart from the rock hard bed and the overnight temperature of .5 (weather app told me it felt like -3.5 at 6am). Unfortunately we didn’t find the spare blanket in the cupboard until after we’d shivered through the night but we’ll be good as gold tonight.

Traveling in our own vehicle has the added bonus of allowing us to bring our bikes on holiday and Beechworth is a beautiful place to ride. We set off this morning for a short ride down the Gorge Road, which Lyle assured us was gentle on both the descent and the ascent. Clearly her memory of this ride is a hangover from her teenage years, when no doubt it seemed like a gentle ride. By the time we reached the bottom my fingers were cramping from squeezing the brakes. At the bottom of the gorge is a lovely little pool fed by a waterfall, which in turn is fed with the icy water flowing down from the snow capped mountains. Maddy, Taine and Geoff all stripped off for a swim. Taine chickened out after 5 minutes but the others braved it long enough to get under the waterfall and out again.

The (not so gentle) ascent gave me plenty of time to appreciate the beauty of the gorge because thigh burn forced me to walk the second half and by the time we reached town a trip to the famous Beechworth Bakery had well and truly been earned. The reputation of the bakery is well deserved. I had a Ned Kelly pie (oddly named because for sure Ned ate his meat pies topped with an egg, cheese and bacon!) and a bee-sting pastry that was more deliciousness than I could manage on my own, washed down with a bottomless cup of coffee.

From there we spent a leisurely hour in the shops. The lolly shop was tempting but we were still too full from lunch so we feasted only with our eyes. The main street is book ended by honey shops, both full of all sorts of interesting honey products. I bought lots of honey. We also strolled down to the old convent, now a fascinating , 3 story, labyrinth of a guest house. If we weren’t at the Lake Sambell caravan park, that would be the place to stay.

By the time we got back to the park our legs were a bit weary but we went for a walk around the lake anyway. Lake Sambell is a leftover byproduct from the Spring Creek gold diggings and the area around it has been lovingly landscaped by the local community. There’s a great playground and some interesting indigenous art work woven amongst the walking and cycle tracks. I imagine it is a really lovely place to be in the Summer.

Taine made the most of the afore said activities, we sat in the sunshine and relaxed with our books and then we went to the bistro at the Hibernian Hotel for dinner. It was nothing special, an ok pub meal in pretty ordinary pub décor.

Back at camp we hired a fire box, bought $15 worth of wood and shivered our way through a bag of toasted marshmallows and a bottle of red.

Beechworth is very pretty and an interesting half way stop over on the way to Canberra. Hopefully we’ll have time to pick up another bee-sting on our way out tomorrow.

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