After we picked up Darryl from the airport, we went straight on another road trip. But this time with a group of Ali‘s friends. Several of them. Darryl, Dewi, and Rol squeezed into the back of our rental car, while Ali and I sat — seats pushed to the dashboard — in front. Our trunk (or boot for you Aussies) was full and some of our stuff was even packed tightly into Theo and Chloe’s car. We drove in a convoy of three cars up through the Yarra Valley and the Black Spur Forest into the Burnt Ridge Camping area, near Eildon, Australia.
We set up our tent among the dozen or so others occupied by various friends of Ali’s and their friends and their friends and so on. For the next couple of nights, we drank until we were merry, cooked and kept warm by the camp fire, and laughed til our bellies ached. The days were sunny and warm and we spent them walking through the forest, looking for dead firewood and doing acrobatics near the river. The view was always beautiful. The trees tall, the skies blue and the river sparkling. And all in good company.
Dewi and Chloe had done all the grocery shopping, so each morning we made yummy coffee and even toasted hot cross buns for Easter. Delicious. The ladies from our fire (somehow, they split into two groups: the loud, game playing campfire and the quiet story telling, discussion campfire) did most of the cooking while the men entertained themselves down by the river. But they swooped in to do the dishes or get the fire ready and help out with breakfast.
Fun was had by all and our bellies were always full and our faces ached from smiling and our demeanor always merry. Both Darryl and I reminisced about our adventures in Thailand and elsewhere as well as felt at home with Ali and his mates but also missed times like these with friends ‘back home.’
After our camping adventure, we stopped in a small town called Eildon, where the lake was supposed to have all but dried up. Although the water level had raised, it was not quite what is should be due to the current drought. After lunch, ice cream and some ‘op’ shopping, we then headed on to Healesville Sanctuary, and said hello to a fair few animals native only to Australia. The sanctuary was very open and the animals seemed right at home, with many of them roaming around outside, without being stuck in cages and enclosures. Those that were, had plenty of room to roam within.
We continued on as the sun set through the Yarra Valley — wine country — and drove straight back to Melbourne, where we would spend the rest of our time in Australia, with another day trip or two nearby.
See photos from this set, here.