Today, we started out on another road trip that will take us to Canberra and beyond. Tonight we are in Albury. Google Maps told us that this journey from home would have been just over three hours but it actually took us about seven. This is because we chose a much more scenic route through Mansfield and the King Valley rather than just darting straight up the Hume Highway.
We began by driving the through the Yarra Valley with its vineyards and rolling hills. We stopped at Selovers lookout above the Maroondah Dam which is one of the reservoirs that provides Melbourne wiith its drinking water. It was here that I proposed to Jill over fifty years ago. The reservoir is full – a sign of all the rain that the Melbourne area has had over the last few months.
We drove on over the Black Spur, passing through Narbethong and Buxton.
I remember camping in a clearing called the “Farmyard” on the ridge of the Cathedral Range many years ago. It was called the ‘Farmyard’ as a colony of Lyrebirds used to imitate the sounds of the cattle and sheep in the valley below. Later in the day, I could hear the distinct sounds of a lyrbird calling with a repertoire of mimicing bird calls at Powers Lookout.
We crossed Eildon Weir on the road bridge. The weir is full at the moment with more water than I have seen for years. On the northern side, we passed by the Bonnie Doon Hotel near the site of the Kerrigans Home in the movie “The Castle”. Notwithstanding the hum of the nearby high tension power lines, the ‘serenity’ was still obvious.
Australia’s national flower is the wattle and the trees were out in profusion today with their golden yellow flowers.
In Mansfield, we stopped at the Coffee Palace Cafe for a late lunch. We have always found this cafe to offer good food and we recomment it heartily. In the local cemetery are the graves of three of the police officers that Ned Kelly murdered at Stringy Barlk Creek The grave of Michael Kennedy stands out.
From Mansfield, we drove across the mountains, past Tolmie to Powers Lookout. This is a scenic viewpoint above the King Valley in Victoria’s High Country. It is also a lookout with a backstory. Legend has it that this was the hideout of famous bushranger Harry Power, who was on the run from the police for eight years in the 1860s. He is said to have taught Ned Kelly the art of ‘Bushranging’.
At the head of the King Valley is the town of Whitfield. It really has nothing to offer but a pub, a cafe and a service station. I can remnember going to this pub for lunch and expecting standard pub food of hamburger and chips. Instead, I found a gastro-pub wth duck and venison sausages.
From there, we drove through the King Valley to Wangaratta and then on to Albury. In my youth, this area was a large tobacco growing region. Some of the old drying kilns can sill be found spotted here amnd there. Now, the tobacco has gone and replaced with vineyards.