Warburton, Victoria, Australia

For the first time on this blog I’m going to write about a holiday someone else organised! Pretty exciting stuff for Luke and I, even though it was just one night away in a caravan park an hour from my house.

Charmaine was the person doing the organising and she’d put out a general call to say ‘this thing is happening at the place at this time, sort yourselves out.’ Which is the complete opposite of how I organise things, which is ‘give me your money and I’ll organise the heck out of every aspect of this holiday’. So I booked Luke and I a cabin at the Warburton caravan park and we went.

First stop on the trip was La La Falls.

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We met Charmaine, Jess, Liz, Lauren, Nick and Annabel there and did the 3km round trip to the tiny falls. It was quite damp and the falls weren’t terribly impressive but I did get a bunch of photos of pretty cool fungi.On my iphone too!

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The main point of the walk was to work up an appetite for the next part of the weekend – high tea.

Fish, Millman, Tilly, Leah and Corch met us for high tea at a ye olde tea shop on the main street of Warburton. Warburton is a little town nestled in a valley surrounded by forest. Even in summer it has a wintery air, and in autumn it’s quite lovely. It also has quite a hippy vibe. There’s lots of community garden spaces and the Yarra River (Melbourne’s largest river) meanders through.

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We enjoyed the high tea – Fish and I are huge fans of the high tea concept and have been to quite a few around Melbourne. The best thing about high tea is that it can stand in for both lunch and dinner but comprises mainly of dessert. This one started at 12:30 though, so dinner would still be required later. Fish, Luke and I ended up sitting in a poky corner on our own but that was ok, and it was a good chance to catch up with Fish.

After tea we wandered along the river behind the main street and took photos of autumn leaves and watched Annabel feed the ducks. I don’t think I’ve ever taken an interesting photo (or indeed, ever seen an interesting photo) of a duck, so I stuck to the leaves. After a lot of chatting and standing around in a large group getting in other people’s way, Liz and Millman headed home and the rest of us drove the short distance to the caravan park to set up.IMG_3619

I’d thought to pack two bottles of sparkling wine, two cheeses, crackers, glasses, and a portable speaker, so after we’d made our bed (bedding not being provided… which is kind of a good thing in slightly mouldy-smelling cabins) we had a rowdy picnic on Lauren and Nick’s verandah. Conversation flowed along with the wine and a few beers. At one point I made a comment so remarkably amusing that Nick literally spat a mouthful beer all over me, narrowly missing my phone and speaker.

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We’d planned to head to the Alpine Retreat hotel for dinner. If you know me in person or on facebook you’d be familiar with my glowing reviews of their chicken schnitzels covered in mashed potato, melted cheese and gravy. I was pretty excited about having another. A few people decided to drive but Luke, Lauren, Nick, Fish and I walked the couple of kilometres down the road. At one point we came to a patch of mud and Luke offered to piggy-back me over because I was still wearing socks with sandals thanks to walking 70kms for Oxfam. Unfortunately that meant he effectively weighed around 150kgs and sank into the mud almost up to his ankles. I was very grateful to not having soaking wet feet though, and compared his gallantry to Sir Walter Raleigh’s.

After all that the Alpine Resort was far too busy to accommodate a group of 10, so we back tracked to the wine bar on the main street and ended up having a fantastic meal in quieter (well, until we got there) surroundings. Rowan and Kerry joined us and then came back to the caravan park for late night chats.

In the morning we all headed to the Wild Thyme cafe for breakfast, where we were served by a man who looked like it was his first day on the job, despite being in his late 40s at least. I think Warburton just generally operates at half Melbourne speed, although the service everywhere was fast enough… just no one appeared to hurry over anything. Which was nice:).

There was a market happening that morning in the local hall. We had a quick look – enough to acertain that yes, there were indeed soaps, knitted hats and gollywog dolls for sale. If there’s one thing that has separated country and city life in Australia for the last few decades, it’s the gollywog doll. You’d never see anyone in the city sell them for fear of being accused of a hate crime, and yet in the bush they’re ubiquitous. It’s kind of embarrassing but it’s not like they mean anything by it, I guess. I hope.

If you like hippy/hipster designer chic then you’d like the stores in Warburton. Fish and I perused a few, I bought a few things and then it was time to hug everyone goodbye and head home. Luke and I spent the afternoon relaxing and then had a meeting at my place to book the next bit of travel – Vietnam and Thailand next year for my 40th. Four weeks of beaches and cocktails! Hopefully a few more of our 2013 videos will be up before our next bout of international travel.

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