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Restless by nature, on a whim I blew off city living and my career, to try my hand at a simpler-slower life in rural Tasmania. It's going to be one heck of a learning curve..join me as I find my feet, fingers crossed!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ballarat & beyond..

This week we visited a friend in Ballarat for 5 nights.
Just quietly, i am wondering just how exciting it is going to be..

Thursday: After catching the skybus from Tullamarine, we sensibly stash our luggage into a locker.
Wicked i zoom up to the DFO above Southern Cross station for a spot of excellent bargain shopping.
With a Myki in hand, we board a packed train bound for Ballarat, it's only 3.30pm, I've done really well.

Friday: Up early with a packed picnic basket its off for a country drive. God it's really dry here after Tassie, but it's great to finally soak up some flat landscape & terrific country roads. By now I'm snoozing in the back seat until we get to Kyneton, OMG what a cool country town! Piper Street is a standout with a vibrant/rustic feel, it's packed with eateries & vintage shops and somehow has attained the perfect blend of new & old. For lunch the beautiful and historic botanic garden's becons.
Kyneton's population is around 6,600 plus, which is reflected in the convenience of having a train straight to Melbourne from here.This would make an excellent base for an extended stay.
After lunch we head back with a short detour thru Trentham, it's another funky rustic town with artisan shops lining the small main street. Definitely worth a stop; Daylesford is our next pit stop. Daylesford is a much smaller town, approx 2,200 with a very groovy eclectic vibe, plenty of fun shops, botanic gardens, local produce AND the amazing Mill markets. Yep it's an undercover market full of retro collectibles and antiques with over 100 quality stalls- Yeeha I'm having a party!! Apparently the weekends buzz here with Melbournians with some pretty high end resorts situated locally plus Hepburn Springs is just up the road. For now it's back to Ballarat for our Ottway free range roast pork dinner..

Saturday: Yah it's hot, well hotter than Tassie, so we chill out for most of the day. Late arvo we buzz out to the Creswick Woollen Mills via another rustic roadside antique shop, with a lovable local character. The mills are a top spot & reasonably priced, amazing what a decent population does for choice! Designing & manufacturing since 1947 the mill has a good mix of Alpaca & Sheep knits, gorgeous..

Sunday: Ballarat Botanic garden's awaits and is gloriously located next to the beautiful Lake Wendoorie. It's great to see so many locals rowing, sailing, riding & walking around the lake- Great landscaping & plantings once again. Back to our gardens walk and the Prime Ministers Avenue featuring bronze busts of every Prime minister since settlement. Julia Gillard's has only recently been added & it's a cracker of a likeness too. Adjacent is the atrium, at this time of year it's brimming with thousands of flowering begonias. This is a seriously stunning display, the walls, floor and ceiling have every type of massive begonia imaginable, mind blowing! After lunch we head to Ballarat's Art Gallery. I am particularly taken with the Norman Lindsay display and had no idea the family resided in nearby Creswick. Half the Lindsay siblings were artists, no mean feat for those times & there is a good cross section of all their work on display. The art gallery is a series of historic & modern rooms with a great cross section of many genres, plus work from local award winning art students-Love it!

Monday: We walk the 1.5 km to the train station to catch a shuttle bus direct to Tullamarine airport. They've really thought of everything here and honestly it's been one of the cheapest holidays I've had in yonks..with the cheap fares on the Spirit I'll definitely be back to this region real soon..because I have just totally loved it!!

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