Sunday, October 4, 2015

Spring in the Goldfields and Spa Country

We returned home from a 5-day trip to Daylesford and Bendigo a couple of hours ago. It was fun, and quite relaxing, despite packing a lot into 5 days and 4 nights away.

We were in Daylesford from Wednesday lunchtime til Friday morning.

We picnicked at Sailors Falls and the Lake; we visited the Hepburn Springs Spa and Bathhouse; we explored the shops, the gardens and the Convent Gallery.

The elder two kids went horseriding; E, my 10 year old, in particular loves horses and riding, and was super excited both to be going and also to have her first honest-to-goodness canter. She so desperately wants horse-riding lessons; I am going to try again to arrange some for her.

We bookshopped for Australia (if bookshopping was a competitive sport, we would be a gold medalist family) and we had one beautiful meal out at Red Ginger Thai. (I highly recommend if you are ever in Daylesford).

We stayed at a really gorgeous accommodation place a little outside of town, called Tarrascon Ridge Estate.  Lovely house, tons of space for the kids to run and play, and plenty of native birdlife around. It was delectably quiet at night and filled with the faint and congenial sounds of children playing during the day.

Moving on from Daylesford on Friday morning, we stopped off at the Chocolate Mill just outside of town (mindblowingly good chocolate!) and then pressed on to Castlemaine to picnic in the central park and, yes, hit another secondhand bookshop. (My middle daughter and I have decided that when she is an adult, she and I are going to treat ourselves to a fortnight's Victorian-secondhand-bookshops-tour. If anything, she loves it even more than I do :-)

The secondhand bookshop in Castlemaine gives new meaning to the phrase "overstuffed" (also, as my partner muttered, the phrase "fire deathtrap"), but that didn't stop gems from being unearthed. (It never does).

Ploughing on to Bendigo, we found most of the town closed for Victoria's newest public holiday, Grand Final Friday. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise; retiring to our
accommodation at 3:45 - a lot earlier than we'd anticipated - we all managed some crash time, with books, tea, TV and art supplies. It was the quietest stretch in our holiday, and well needed.

Saturday was filled with brunching with dear friends, then taking the Bendigo Historic Talking Tram and visiting the Joss House, the Golden Dragon Museum, Guan Yin Temple and the Chinese Gardens.

We also paid our respects to the Alexandra Fountain, Bendigo's central feature - what an elegant and beautiful lady she is.

Today was a visit to the centre of town again, then a long lazy BBQ spit lunch at our friends' before heading back home on the winding road through Heathcote and Kilmore. (Heathcote has an amazing little playground, in case you are ever in the area).

And now it's back to real life - school for the kids, two big work projects for me, job for husband. It was great to get away just for a time, though.

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