The ducks quack happily and waddle around in troupes looking for people who will feed them. The town lake is beside the caravan park and is home to ducks, swans, and turtles. The lake level rose as the rain continued to fall. Fortunately, not as much as was currently falling in Queensland and New South Wales where flood emergencies forced people out of their houses.
Maryborough is a pretty town with beautiful heritage buildings and located in the Victorian Goldfield’s region. The railway station is a huge, beautiful heritage building with a daily train service operating. I have written about Maryborough before as we stayed here at the beginning of our travels in January 2020.
Mick set off fossicking again taking his detector out into the state forest areas. While I stay in the caravan happy to be out of the rain. I read Possession by A.S. Byatt! I download the new Libby app then borrow emagazines on my iPad from the Melbourne Library Service. I listen to music on Spotify and the Rich Roll podcast on Apple Pods.
We are happy to watch some AFL football on TV as the 2021 season begins. We plan to be back on the Mornington Peninsula in time to watch our youngest son’s first game of the season.
It seems that all of the caravan parks in Victoria are full of Victorians at the moment, finally allowed to go travelling, but not wanting to go interstate just in case there is another lockdown. Big groups of noisy caravanners fill the parks. It is not pleasant after our year of free-spirited travel around Australia.
We leave planning to go to a free off-grid campsite somewhere and we find a lovely green grassy space at Glenpatrick just at the foothills of the Pyrenes Ranges. There are large firepits and firewood here, so this must be a popular place on weekends. There are no showers, TV, power, water, and the Internet is spasmodic. But it is quiet and we are the only campers here. We share the campground with a large mob of kangaroos. It is nice to enjoy a campfire under the stars and moon for a change. We haven’t had many fires on this trip. The local policeman visits and chats about how the nearby town of Elmhurst is dying.
The next day we drive further west to St Arnaud. The little caravan park is full of a group of people from a caravan club, but we are lucky to get the last site. We walk around the town, discovering yet another dying regional town. It is sad to see. I think these towns were dying before the virus and now they are just about dead.
At Melville Caves we walk to the lookout and gaze out westwards towards the Grampians and the hills and plains. The caves are really just large boulders that are stacked to form some human-size gaps beneath. It is a nice place and there is a free camp on top of the hill that we take note of for another time.
The drive back to St Arnaud takes us through Tarnagulla. Our family spent one extremely hot Christmas Day in a shop here and so we have fond memories of this place. This town has been a ghost town for many years and the shops are either empty or used as residences. It is a pretty main street, and the shop buildings are quaint. Here too gold was the reason the town grew, and then died.
The main arterial roads in Victoria fan out from Melbourne, so when you travel across the state the roads are minor backroads. We drive from St Arnaud further westwards to Horsham, back to our relative’s farm. It is a year since we had to retreat to this place for the first lockdown., but we were here just eight weeks ago during the Christmas break. We will park our caravan and drive back ‘home’ for Easter.