Thursday, March 08, 2012

A Trip to Melbourne / Part 2

The day we left home the weather bureau had issued a severe weather warning for south eastern Australia. A series of low pressure cells were crossing the country and were predicted to stall over southern New South Wales and northern Victoria bringing heavy rain and possible floods.
How right they were!
On the road to Wodonga the heavens opened up.
I had only seen such torrential rain in the tropics and then only in relatively short bursts.
This was never ending.
Soon the highway was a river with some fairly deep water flowing across causing some concern. We were travelling at 40-60km/hr in order to see and to avoid acquaplaning. The decision was made to keep going as there really was nowhere safe to pull over and we didn't want to get stranded by what was obviously going to be flood conditions.
It was a stressful couple of hours (sweaty back stuff) until we reached Wodonga.
The co driver found solace in a quilt shop there.
Then, after a late lunch, it was onto the old gold mining town of Beechworth to spend the night.

The town's many 19th century historical buildings are well preserved and the town has re-invented itself into a popular tourist destination and growing wine producing centre.
There are a lot of good restaurants there but we settled for a wood fired pizza and a can of coke before hitting the sack early. It had been a tiring day.
Next morning we awoke to news that heavy rain had continued in the area we had travelled the day before and roads were closed, towns were being evacuated and major flooding was expected over a huge area.
We abandoned plans to tour the King Valley wine region and decided to head straight for Melbourne. Before leaving however, we visited the Beechworth Honey Experience. Here you will find everything you ever wanted to know about honey and its by-products. They had around 50 different types of honey to taste and had a really interesting video presentation on honey production.
We left with a bag full of goodies.

Down the highway a little is the small town of Glenrowan.
Its main claim to fame is that Australia's most famous bushranger (outlaw) Ned Kelly made his last stand here at the local hotel dressed in home made armour in June, 1880. He was eventually captured after the siege and shootout with police and was later convicted of murder and hung in November the same year.
Hero or villain?
Cop killer or folk hero and symbol of Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo-Australian ruling class?
The jury is still out on that one.

Then it was onto Melbourne and the Tyrian Apartments in the inner suburb of Fitzroy.
This was close to the yoga venue in the old convent in Abbotsford, had easy freeway access to the vineyard areas and had about 100 restaurants, cafes and bars within walking distance.
We had an early dinner at a nice Spanish restaurant with a bottle of Rioja Rosado and then back to the room to watch the Waratahs play the Rebels in Super 15 Rugby.
Priorities, you know!
There was a bit of a scare as the TV was not working but the co driver soon whipped reception into action and the problem was fixed.
We were both looking forward to our individual pursuits over the next couple of days.

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