This was such an awesome trip with some photography friends, which we caught up with after a few days. We initially had just a few days of exploring regional Victoria, exploring areas I hadn’t seen for years.
Maldon – Castlemaine – Saint Arnaud – 135 kms
We rose early and again drove up to Tarrengower Tower, not as many kangaroos this morning. It was cold and windy on that tower on top of the Hill, but a beautiful sunrise and I think the end of my sunrise curse (I have not shot a good sunrise all year and possibly last year as well!). It was a wonderful way to start our day and holiday.
We headed back down the mountain, had breakfast and showered, and repacked the car. We then explored what is left of Maldon, which is a historic gold mining town in Central Victoria. I remember it being vastly popular with tourists and many art and craft shops, galleries and various curios shops. Now, most of the shops are vacant, for lease or up for sale, as were many of the houses. So sad, it is not the town I remember at all.
We went to the Maldon Dredge and Dragline, which was actually quite interesting;
We had of course already down Mount Tarrengower Lookout, The Vintage Machinery Museum was closed, as was the museum and Porcupine Township. We stopped at the Bee Hive Mine and North British Mine (not much left of either), we never found the other mine sites. We wander the Main street and bought a few yummy treats at the Lolly Shop (candy)
With not much left to see we drove on to Castlemaine, where it was also market day, but not so crowded as Woodend. We stopped at the visitor centre for maps, wandered the market stalls and then went exploring. We visited the Burke & Wills Memorial, Buda House (a historic House named after Budapest, the home town of the Silversmith who built it). Actually, I was a bit disappointed with Buda House, the gardens were reportedly fantastic, but perhaps recent storms had caused a lot of damage?
We then went to the Castlemaine Gaol, which was pathetic. Most of it was closed off and the rest was full of catering equipment as they host concerts, parties and weddings etc there. Why they could not store all that stuff in cells, locked away from the public I have no idea. We saw three cells rooms done up for different time periods, there was no real information other than that. We could not visit upstairs or the exercise yard. After visiting old Gaols of Melbourne, Pentridge and Beechworth, this was just such a bitter disappointment. The only bright spark was the amazing lunch we got at the converted Governors Manor Cafe.
The Botanical Gardens and Cemetery were not overly exciting either so we headed out of town towards Chewton for the Garfield Water Wheel. Only stone remnants left. Fabulous spot for some Conceptual Portrait Photography. I managed to get some shots for my Tarot Collection and gave our Wolf Costume a shoot. We have had it since before Beechworth but still had not used it. We almost scared a young family to death, first when they come across the wolf climbing the rocks, and then when Moth removed the wolf head………poor Master Six went into a panic! I could only stand there laughing.
We then visited the Forest Creek Visitor Mine which was really very interesting. I am not sure if it is the original mining site or it has been moved and recreated, but lots of stuff everywhere and information signs explaining what it is and it’s purpose, all along the track.
We then made our way up the Wimmera Highway to Saint Arnaud to meet up with the others. Lots of excitement about our trip ahead. We had a lovely group dinner and then an early night.
I’ll leave Day 2 here and continue with Day 3 in another post.