So, it’s been a while since our last update, we have been camping out of range and very busy during the day, I hope you have enjoyed the instagram pics in the mean time! Read on for the comprehensive run down!
January 23-24 Ballarat – Melbourne
Leaving Ballarat, we had a short drive ahead of us to Melbourne and a couple of things we still wanted to do, so we packed up the tent and headed to the Friends of the Avro Anson Museum at the Ballarat Airport.
The museum is in a smallish shed on the outskirts of the airfield which was formerly the gymnasium for the Airforce base that Ballarat housed during the Second World War. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside there an incredible array of Ballarat aviation history jammed in.
The centrepiece is an Avro Anson undergoing restoration from a bare frame to full aircraft. For everyone who is not an aviation history buff, the Anson was one of the primary training aircraft for Bomber Command in the war and Ballarat was a significant training ground for pilots before they headed off to the various theatres of combat.
Alan Penhall has been working on the Anson and the rest of the collection as a labour of love over the last 30 years and his passion for the history of the aircraft and Ballarat Airport is incredible! He came down and opened up for us and gave us a guided tour of the museum and even let the kids sit in a couple of the exhibits!
Then it was time for the girls to have a look in Gails Patchwork Emporium while Zach and I picked up some supplies from Woolworths. Chelle came out with a massive smile on her face after what she described as the most amazing quilting shop she has ever been in. Inside the beautiful farmhouse is a neverending array of fabrics and quilting accessories set in a wonderland of vintage furniture and ornaments. Unfortunately Michelle was so excited by the vast array of gorgeous things that she got caught up in the moment and neglected to take any pics inside, so you will have to make do with just one from the outside :p
So with both boys and girls having been entertained for the morning, it was off to Melbourne. Google took us the back roads through to our next campsite (The National Equestrian Centre in Werribee) which made for a far more scenic drive than the M1 would have and didn’t take any longer. We arrived for lunch, made camp and then headed into Melbourne to visit Harbour Town so Chelle and Rissa could have their girls birthday shop (Shoes from Sketchers were high on the agenda). Harbour Town was something of a disappointment, with 2/3 of the storefronts empty and very few people around, it felt a bit like a ghost town. A quick google search revealed Spencer St Outlet Centre had a Sketchers, so we drove there and dropped the girls off and drove around until they emerged with bags in hand. Big Blu has decided that he does not like big city centres!
After a wet and windy night, we headed back across the West Gate Bridge and parked Big Blu at Harbour Towns parking so that he wouldn’t have to deal with the city traffic again. We took a tram into Spencer St and then walked up to the Queen Victoria Markets, stopping for a picnic lunch at Flagstaff Gardens.
The markets were great fun, we picked up Melbourne t-shirts for Zach and Rissa, a hoodie for Chelle and Zach and I got new sheepskin ugg boots. Some churros and fresh cherries for afternoon tea and it was onto the vintage City Circle tram for a (rather crowded) lap of the city to round off a fun Melbourne day!
January 25 Melbourne – Spirit of Tasmania
Last day on the mainland! We took a slow morning and packed up camp then headed in toward the city again, stopping at Werribee on the way to pick up a lunch and give Blu a wash (Can’t be showing any signs of mainland dirt when you board the boat), we even stumbled upon a drive-thru Koffee shop selling Yahava… Ahhh the taste of home!
Then it was off to the South Melbourne markets for the afternoon, a very different and much less touristy experience than the Queen Victoria markets. They cater more to locals with an amazing array of beautiful homewares and fresh produce. While most of the homewares were to bulky to carry and none of the produce was allowed into Tassie, Chelle picked up some vintage hooks for her craft room and the girls both made neclaces at a jewellery stand. We tried the famous South Melbourne Dim Sims, washed down with freshly squeezed orange juice, then headed to the Pier to get organised for the boat.
We arrived in plenty of time and finished organising our clothes and pillows for the night then went through quarantine and unloaded the bikes with no issues, then it was onto the boat!
Clarissa had been unsure about going on the boat after hearing all the shipwreck stories in Warnambool, but the apprehension evaporated the moment she set foot on the Spirit. “It’s like a hotel!”
After a buffet dinner, we explored the ship and watched the sun go down over the heads. Then we video-called our parents (Technology is wonderful!) and tucked into our bunks to be rocked off to sleep by the waves and the vibration of the engines.
We promise to catch you all up to date on our Tasmanian adventures very soon!