It is so good to come back and relive these great moments from the road trip. I had written about the trip down the New South Wales south coast, all the way to the wilderness of Bittangabee Bay. At this stage we had another 55okms to Melbourne.
Leaving Bittangabee Bay we were aware that the place should be explored over a longer period of time, the bushwalks and the lagoon were just calling out ‘STAY!‘, but on the other hand our goal was Melbourne and this had just been a stopover. The other issue, problematic for a longer stay – the lack of a shower. I guess something to get used to.
The stretch of road between Eden and the state border, and beyond to the next more significant town of Bairnsdale makes for a fairly monotonous drive. It’s a winding road, flanked by read and orange dirt and lots of green bush. There are very few buildings, two or three little towns and not much else. The road veers away from the coast, with undisturbed streaches of bush dividing the curious driver from the beautiful beaches, bays and lagoons. It is definitely worth coming off the beaten track to explore the coast here – places like Gipsy Point, Mallacoota and the amazing Croajingolong National Park are the highlights. (I don’t know if it’s just me but sometimes a place looks awesome even on the map? Anyone get that?).
Having left the camp site at around 11:00, we were in need of a morning coffee. An hour into our drive we stopped at the one street town of Cann River. This is a typical stop-on-the-highway kind of town – few bakeries where you can get coffee and pie, the local pub, and a few motels. It was a scorcher, as they say here in Australia! A day with temperatures of over 40 degrees celcius. Driving through Australia, the real-deal Australia outside the big cities, on these hot days, one really appreciates the tough conditions people have to live and work in. There is simply nowhere to hide from the heat and the sun!
The rest of the drive to Melbourne is even less eventful. What you see outside your window are plains, covered by yellow, dry grass. So, after few hours of looking at dry grass, wondering how all these poor cows get fed on this not-so-nutritious looking grass, and with a whole years worth of meat pies clogging your arteries you are really excited to arrive in Melbourne.
Melbourne. According to some ‘the most liveable city in the world’. It really is a pleasant, interesting and friendly place. More relaxed than Sydney. With its great public transport, chilled-out bars, eccentric mix of people and mural-covered narrow lanes, Melbourne is truly a great place to visit, and no doubt to live in.
While Melbourne alone is a fantastic place to discover, it also is a great gateway to the rest of Vicotria. The beaches are very tempting in summer, but having done the coastal drive on the way down, we decided to take the country track back, through the hills, yellow plains and green valleys of the Victorian countryside.
Three hours north of Melbourne is the town of Beechworth. This is a place to which we came for a 2 day stopover, and extended our stay 3 times… It really is a fantastic town which deserves its own few paragraphs.
Beechworth – what I saw, it’s history and why it’s so great – coming up.