Sunday, January 01, 2006

Hotter 'n Hades

Back from our trip: Geelong was balmy - lovely walking along the waterfront under the palm trees after dinner. Steiglitz - fascinating old gold mining ghost town - nearly got heat stroke from a walk we thought would take only an hour through a forest, wound up walking back along the road - no shade - took nearly two hours. Val's face turns alarming shade of red (sorry, no photos of that sight). Booked into a motel in Ballarat - number one priority: has to have a pool! Evening in Ballarat - pleasant temperature - we walk around and admire the 19th century architecture before and after dinner. Next day take heat-avoiding action - shop for needed cooking gear in department store (did I mention it was air conditioned?). Next night camp at our place near Castlemaine - hot; next day in Bendigo - hotter.

The most consistent aspect of our road trip was that it was HOT (have I mentioned that?), although we did manage to escape the heat via air conditioned car and motels, dips in motel pools and in a swimming hole in a river near our bush block, and spending a couple of hours in the superbly air conditioned Bendigo Art Gallery (which had a wonderful Cecil Beaton exhibition on). The daytime temperature in Bendigo hit 42 and was so dry, we didn't sweat - any moisture was burnt off the skin immediately.

New Year's Eve in Bendigo was exceptionally hot (it was still in the high 30s at midnight) and the fireworks were in danger of being cancelled due to the high fire danger. But they did go ahead, and we sat on the lawn on a hill below where the fireworks were launched - it was a great sight and sound show. We had only two minutes to walk back to the air conditioned motel room and a good night's sleep before heading back home today.

One important thing we've learned from our micro mini road trip is that we should not travel in summer when we go on our long road trip...

Sitting under a grass tree. This was just before we discovered that we'd missed a turnoff on our walk. If we hadn't turned back, we would have wound up on a track taking 3 days to walk, and it went nowhere near roads or reliable water.

More photos of our trip in my photo gallery. Click each photo to enlarge, or view as a slideshow.


Alice said...

Boy, you were lucky that you didn't take the very long road home in this heat.

Doesn't Ballarat have the most beautiful old home and gardens? Some of those houses around Lake Wendouree really are to die for.

I hope you enjoyed the trip, despite the heat. Have a very Happy New Year, Val.

Val said...

Hi, Alice,

Yes, I keep thinking, what if I hadn’t noticed that other track veering off on the map (I had read but just not acted on the written directions to follow the creek bed for a while to pick up the track we were meant to follow). But my sense of direction was telling me we were going away from the road which we were meant to cross, which is why I looked at the map and directions again. Whew!

However, it was on the wrong track that we came across the wonderful grass trees, so there was a bright side to it all. And we did enjoy the trip immensely, despite the heat. We plan to return to Ballarat when it’s cooler so we can walk around gawking at those (huge!) homes and the gardens. So different to Bendigo in terms of size, quality and number of those kinds of homes. And I’ll have to return to Ballarat just to have a look at the tram museum and take a ride on the tram. It was just too hot for that kind of thing.

I hope all is ok in Canberra and that the cool change has arrived there too. We had a big rain today after we got home and everything smells so fresh. What a change from yesterday!

Jude said...

Ballarat may have been too hot for comfort to visit at this time of year, but you also need to remember its reputation in the winter months. My husband grew up in Ballarat and wouldn't dream of going back there during winter.

Then again, travel to places with extreme temperatures makes you appreciate home all the more!

(P.S. the time register for your comments appears to be out by about 5 hours.)

Val said...

Hmm, testing my "comments timing" now - but maybe it's just Queensland time that's out of whack, Jude!

Val said...

Heh heh, must be Queensland time, comment showing the right time here!

We are aware of Ballarat's wintry reputation, and thought we'd be better off there by about 6 degrees, but it heated up just like everywhere else. We're thinking of visiting again in autumn and/or spring. We noticed the lovely homes and gardens Alice mentioned, and we'd like to go back for a walking tour of them when the weather is kinder.