A Travellerspoint blog

Melbourne to Merrijig

...we change plans and catch up with old friends

sunny 32 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

In my haste to publish the last blog, I omitted to provide place name information, so for those who missed that, I will give a brief run down now:

Launceston was originally named Paterson's after Lieutenant Colonel Willam Paterson who had moved there from Port Dalrymple (now George Town). However, colonial sycophancy saw the town renamed after the birthplace (Launceston in Cornwall) of Governor Philip Gidley King.
Windermere was named after the lovely lake in England's Lake District by the first settler in the area, Dr Matthias Gaunt, who had the church built there.

George Town was named after King George III, surprise, surprise!.

Low Head is aptly named and most probably was given this name when Bass and Flinders sailed into the Tamar while circumnavigating Van Diemen's Land.

Deloraine was named after a character in Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Lay of the Last Minstrel". This seemed a refreshing change but the surveyor who named the town was Thomas Scott, a relative of Sir Walter.

Mole Creek apparently gained its name from an early comment that the creek disappears into the local karst limestone "like a mole".

Paradise owes its name to the first European settlers who were devout Calvinists and one of them gazed on the view around and said "This is Paradise" - the name stuck!

Sheffield has two possible origins. The first and most likely is that it was named by the first European settler, James Powlett, who came from Sheffield. There is an alternative claim for the name to have been given by another Sheffield native, Edward Curr, Manager of the Van Diemen's Land Company.

As usual, acknowledgements are due to the Aussie Towns website http://www.aussietowns.com.au/ and also the Discover Tasmania website https://www.discovertasmania.com.au/ (for Paradise).

On the ferry, we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise then disembarked and drove through to Ferntree Gully (named for the abundance of tree ferns which were there before we built roads and houses!) where we had booked a motel. As we were unable to check in at that stage we headed into the Dandenongs (generally thought to derive from an Aboriginal word meaning 'lofty mountains'), where Gladys led us a merry dance and in the end we decided to drive on out to Healesville Sanctuary. This is called a zoo but the 78 acre site actually is, for the most part, better than the general notion of a zoo. There are several walks which wind through the sanctuary offering very good viewing of some of the more difficult creatures to find (e.g., cassowary and lyre bird, both of which we searched for in the wild in vain). One which endeared itself to us was a helmeted honeyeater which land on Steve's camera as he was trying to take a photograph of it! It is the State Bird of Victoria but is vulnerable which is why Healesville keep it separate and carefully secure, in the hope of creating a breeding population.

The town of Healesville was named after Richard Heales, the Premier of Victoria 1860-61.

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We had been going to stay with friends in Kyneton but one of them had an operation which meant that their spare room was no longer available, so we decided to make a trip to the Victorian High Country and booked a couple of nights at Merrijig near Mount Buller. The Landcruiser was in for a service in the course of which it was found that we needed a new clutch plate - ouch! Judith tried to take the blame as she has a tendency to ride the clutch but I suspect it is just that the vehicle is about 20 years old!

We were delighted that my old school-friend, Kevin Thompson and his wife Jasmine were able to time a visit to Jasmine's sister, Sue, to coincide with our visit. They all came over to our motel and we were able to cover several years apart quite easily, in Sue's case, decades!. Unfortunately Sue couldn't stay but the four of us enjoyed dinner at a nearby restaurant where we could continue to catch up on who had been doing what and, of course, to set the world to rights.

Once we had the Landcruiser back, we headed out into the Dandenongs again and visited the William Ricketts Sanctuary. A lovely place although I would have to say that Ricketts was, to say the least, somewhat eccentric.

Judith in the Sansctuary

Judith in the Sansctuary

A group of children's heads

A group of children's heads

Statuary in the Sanctuary

Statuary in the Sanctuary

From the peace of the Sanctuary we drove up to the Sky High Mount Dandenong viewing area for superb views over Melbourne.

Looking out towards Melbourne

Looking out towards Melbourne

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

After lunching at altitude we eventually found our way to Grants Picnic Site. no thanks to Gladys who really excelled in misdirection on this day as, on our way to the picnic site, she took us down a steep hill which petered out into nothing and we had an interesting hill start to perform after doing a three point turn in someone's garden! While walking through the forest, we met an American twitcher who had just seen a lyrebird 'just around the corner' - of course it did not show itself to us! However, we had a good walk through some beautiful forest and saw quite a few other, more co-operative birds.

Tall trees along the walk

Tall trees along the walk

Steve engrossed in tree ferns

Steve engrossed in tree ferns

Lovely backlit tree ferns

Lovely backlit tree ferns

Judith dwarfed by forest giants

Judith dwarfed by forest giants

Eastern yellow robin posing

Eastern yellow robin posing

We had hoped to meet up with Kevin & Jasmine in Melbourne but they had other commitments so we took the train into the city and a tram down St Kilda Road as far as the Shrine of Remembrance which was impressive and interesting. We then walked into and through the the Royal Botanic Gardens. These were beautiful, as most of the Aussie gardens are, and we thoroughly enjoyed a warm wander through and out to the Yarra River. The city of Melbourne is named after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, probably better known these days for his role in mentoring the young Queen Victoria, as shown in the recent television series.

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station

Melbourne Tram

Melbourne Tram

Shrine of Remembrance

Shrine of Remembrance

View from Shrine of Remembrance to the city

View from Shrine of Remembrance to the city

National Herbarium in the Royal Botanicc Gardens

National Herbarium in the Royal Botanicc Gardens

Artwork in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Artwork in the Royal Botanic Gardens

There were a few roadworks by the river so we had to follow a few detours on our way back to the city, via Queen Victoria Gardens, and we were glad to have some beers and pizza at Fatto's overlooking the river, before wandering back along the South Bank to Flinders Street Station and a train back to Ferntree Gully.

Statue of Queen Victoria in "her" gardens

Statue of Queen Victoria in "her" gardens

Reflections in city buildings

Reflections in city buildings

View towards the city from South Bank by Princes Bridge

View towards the city from South Bank by Princes Bridge

On our last day in Ferntree Gully, after a bit of admin., we managed to get away to Olinda Falls Picnic Ground where we had a picnic lunch watched by many hungry kookaburras. The walk to the falls was quite steep but worth the effort and we then had a scenic drive through the forest back to the motel to pack up ready for the off on the morrow.

Forest near Olinda Falls

Forest near Olinda Falls

Crimson rosella

Crimson rosella

Tall trees flanking path to the falls

Tall trees flanking path to the falls

The following morning, on the way to Merrijig, we stopped for coffee at Silvan Reservoir Park which was much more attractive than it sounds. Further along the road we came across the De Bortoli vineyard which had a lovely restaurant which was just able to squeeze us in for a delicious lunch. Naturally we had to taste a few wines and took a few with us, just to keep the wine box from rattling as it was a bit empty by now.

Restaurant at De Bortoli Wines

Restaurant at De Bortoli Wines

Sunflowers and vineyards

Sunflowers and vineyards

View across some of the vineyards

View across some of the vineyards

Jet Set and Bobbie came too

Jet Set and Bobbie came too

We finally reached Merrijig and were glad to check into our room. A little later, the afternoon light was lovely so we had a wander through the field behind the motel taking our cameras for a walk. I was pleased to learn that the town name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'good, well done'. This rather suits this pleasant little town or village.

Hillside behind our motel later afternoon

Hillside behind our motel later afternoon

Horse on hillside behind our motel

Horse on hillside behind our motel

Posted by SteveJD 15:32 Archived in Australia

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