As we set off from Mildura just after 8:30am we were in two minds as to whether we could make it all the way home to Dromana or whether we would spend another night just out of Melbourne before crossing the city. According to Google maps it was 635kms and an estimated 7 hours.
Anyhow we made our first stop at Ouyen just after 10am for morning tea break. Once we found a parking spot for our Hilux and caravan we walked back to the main street of the town centre. Along the way we passed a very detailed mural painted on the wall of an old building. It was quite interesting we felt to gain a feel for the history of Ouyen.
Now, quite a few years ago in 1998 then-Victorian premier Jeff Kennett claimed the vanilla slice from the town’s Mallee Bakery was the best he’d ever tasted. So a competition for the best vanilla slice in the state was organised. Over the years the competition attracted entries from around the state and even from South Australia. So now I had the chance to try one of the vanilla slices from this very bakery. Karen bought herself a cup of tea and I purchased a vanilla slice and yes, it was truly delicious.
Here’s a link to a brief history of the event and the list of winners over the years. https://bakingbusiness.com.au/vanilla-slice-triumphs-through-the-years/
Back in our Hilux we began to leave Ouyen only to be caught at a level crossing. Here we were held up for about ten minutes whilst an extremely long freight train passed through. Eventually we continued our drive south. We stopped in Charlton for lunch which we prepared from the remaining food left in our caravan fridge. Lunch finished we continued ever southward towards Melbourne. Traffic was moving well as we reached the Calder Freeway near Kyneton about 3pm (As a child our family lived here for two years but I no longer know anyone there.) At this point we made our final decision to drive all the way home that day. It meant crossing the city in the beginning of the peak (We reached the City about 4pm.) but cars and trucks just seem to avoid you when you are towing a caravan. South of the City the peak hour traffic was quite heavy but it eventually eased off as we passed Frankston on the Peninsula Link Freeway. We were very pleased to arrive home just before 6pm, one day shy of exactly three months from when we started. It had been a wonderful trip and a huge leap of faith for my wife, Karen, who had never been in a caravan before, but we both agreed one we would need to do again in a few years time so we could stop at places we had missed when we had to drive through/past them and of course revisit some we would love to spend more time in.
Be sure to read my next post, which will be a review of our trip.
Note: This trip was completed before 2020 – the Year of Covid19!