Saturday, March 2, 2013


During a recent, week-long trip to the Mount Macedon area of Country Victoria with a travel sister to visit a mutual friend, we were treated to some magnificent food, wine, sights and company. Typically, we were also treated to just about all types of weather during our time there, except snow.  Bushfires were raging in parts of the area nearby and daytime temperatures predicted for the week ranged from 30deg to 38deg at one stage; yet actual temperatures dropped considerably below those predicted. We enjoyed a bit of very hot weather, some rain on a couple of days, endured chilly winds one day and we froze in our beds during a couple of nights.

I was keen to get some good photographs of flora and fauna, of course, and the number of subjects available did not disappoint.  Firstly, I was impressed with the crimson rosellas which frequent my friends' yard but they were a canny bunch who knew the minute I put my finger on the shutter button and either turned their backs or flew off.  I managed to get a couple of shots, despite wind blowing the trees around.  Somehow the wind also knows when I get out my camera.  
Our hosts have a magnificent pine tree in their back yard which they decorate for Christmas and I thought the cones were gorgeous.

I found a new man while I was away (be still my beating heart); so attentive and adoring of me, Mr Darcy was hard to resist. But resist I did, after all, his owner would not appreciate my bringing him home, although I enjoyed his comforts while I could.  My feline owners would not be impressed with a new resident in the house.
During a quick trip to the city one day for sightseeing, buying various delicacies, window shopping and lunching, I was besotted with this "graffiti" in Fitzroy.

We visited historical Sidney Seymour Cottage in Romsey where I was more interested in the plants growing in the old garden than in the unique cottage which was built during the gold rush days.  You can read all about the building here.  In the front garden there was a scraggly vine growing over some lattice.  Lapageria rosea or Chilean bellflower was in bloom. It is a delightful bell shaped flower with stiff, waxy petals and according to the Historical Society lady on duty, usually is only found growing in a hot house. By twisting myself into a pretzel shape I managed to get a couple of nice snaps.  

I also found some holly in that garden, which I didn't realise even grew in Australia.  It is classified as a weed here. There were no red berries on the huge shrubs but I guess that'll change in another few months.  That was also the day I got the nickname, Bambi, thanks to a new nonagenarian friend who is a little hard of hearing.

I didn't even look at the price of this carved, driftwood horse statue I saw in a nursery that was closing down.  I knew I couldn't afford it.  You wouldn't be able to ride him but what a statement he'd make in your garden.  

Lots of driving from town to town around showed us that parts of this area of country Victoria are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays because they're open on weekends.  Quite a few of our hosts' favourite restaurants and shops had signs to that effect hanging in their windows.  Major bummer as we were booked up for the Zoo on Thursday and were flying home Friday afternoon.  Still, we saw some interesting sights, like this gate in Daylesford and had some very tasty meals in different cafes.  More window shopping to be had.

First, we visited Hanging Rock Winery to sample the local wine and were not disappointed. Our host liked it so much he purchased quite a few bottles. Worried about baggage weight, I restricted myself to a glass etched with the winery name.  Much to see there as well as partake.  Roses grow at the end of each row of vines and there are several rose beds dotted around as well.  They made a glorious show.                                                                                                                                   
The views are quite impressive even though, at the moment, more rain is desperately needed and bush fires are an ever-present spectre.   
The winery dogs were attentive but I was more taken with this trio of geese and dog.
  And is this rustic old wagon looked sublime under the massive spreading eucalypt.
On our last day in Victoria we actually climbed Hanging Rock and, although afterwards we did picnic, I must confess we did not drink wine and didn't even get tea because the tea bags were forgotten, however, the picnic fare our hosts provided more than made up for that.  Some locals believe the story of the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock is true, however, we discovered in the Hanging Rock Discovery Centre that it is not.  The film was adapted from the novel by Joan Lindsay who apparently played up the factional aspect of the story eg some kids went missing once long, long ago somewhere in Victoria but turned up later, or not.  The Display Centre is quite specific, saying that there are no newspaper reports to back up the story, although any search on internet will show there is still quite an argument about it. 

The climb to the top was well worth the effort; not that it was too strenuous as there are asphalt trails or steps most of the way to the top. I was disgusted with the amount of litter we found (and carried back down), some stuffed in logs. There were probably only about six other people on the rocks at the same time we were there but as we came down, a party of 17 excited school kids were on their way up with their teachers.  I sternly told the children not to litter.  "We won't," came the chorus.

The rocks are a rare lava formation which has been hewn over the centuries into some interesting shapes.  Some rocks had names like The Eagle & The Letterbox (which I didn't find) but we preferred our own names for them.  Like Winking Dragon .....

Or Cobra, although this is actually The Eagle.  
        Is this The Letterbox? I think it's more like The Phantom ... eeeeeek! Are they bones in there????
And this one looks like a miniature of our own Mt Tibrogargan, here on the Sunshine Coast. 
Once at the top, spectacular views abound, virtually 360 deg....
... even the odd ride.
To the left is the actual Hanging Rock and some scenery framed by the rocks.
It wasn't just the rock formations that were interesting. I call this tree Lightning Jack.
There was a group of butterflies dancing around up there and I managed to snap this one when it landed. It's murder on the dance floor apparently; looks a bit tattered and torn.
As well as the butterflies, there were lots of yellow insects flying around and on the way down I saw a clump of dried grass that was full of these guys who weren't flying faster than a camera shutter can snap. I called it the Love Bug Hotel.
And another crimson Rosella hoping for some crumbs from our picnic.  
This was the sunset waiting for us when we got home to good old Brisbane after our day at Hanging Rock. Pretty spectacular day all round.

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