We spent a great 5 weeks at Sedgewick, enjoying a beautiful home and the surrounding area of Bendigo. With fresh eggs every morning and fresh vegetables from the garden, we felt very spoilt! We even tried our hand at making tomato chutney, tomato ketchup and mustard pickle which all turned out quite well. We shared our bounty with our home owners on their return.
We explored Bendigo, a lovely city with beautiful old buildings and lots of things to see and do. As we were here over Easter we joined in the Easter festival events, watching the awakening of Sun Loon, the Chinese dragon and the parade through the city streets. We enjoyed watching the young kids with their Easter egg hunts in Rosalind park, the market, listening to entertainers and people watching.
We did the gold mine tour which included the tram ride around the city and the Joss house tour. All very interesting and informative. We drove out to Castlemaine and toured the old gaol then another day to Maldon, checking out the area from the telecom tower and chatting to locals. We had a day at Bendigo races, only winning on one race, (luckily we bet small) and chatting with fellow travellers sitting next to us.
I had 3 visits with an osteopath, Brenden, who did a good job on my back and neck but more work and regular massages are needed so I'm a work in progress apparently!
After we left Sedgwick we headed back to Heathcote for a couple more nights and joined in the Anzac Day celebrations. We went to the dawn service and then back to the RSL club for coffee and Anzac biscuits followed by a full fried breakfast for a gold coin donation. It was a fry up my dad would have been proud of! After breakfast we wandered back to our van for a couple of hours until it was time for the morning Anzac service in the RSL club with the local school children joining in followed by a parade along the main street.Then it was back into the club again, this time for an early lunch, a good spread put on by the local CWA ladies, a main and dessert for only $10. We enjoyed a really good day with the locals of Heathcote and were made to feel most welcome. The hospitality was great and this years Anzac service has to be the best we have attended in every respect. Thank you Heathcote.
Our next stop was to be behind the pub at Kinglake, but this didn't happen as we were told on arrival that the local council had stopped them from offering overnight camping just a few days earlier. So much for ringing ahead, but in fairness they couldn't get in touch with us as they didn't have our phone number. We did get to see all the regeneration in the area though, after all the terrible "black Saturday" bush fires of 2009 (wow, is it that long ago?!) the worst fires in Australian history. We left Kinglake and headed to Donnybrook where we managed to find a place to park up for a few days so we could visit friends and relatives in the area. Caravan parks or camping areas of any sort seem few and far between around the area. This place was very basic, (only a paddock with a padlock on the gate providing caravan storage and minimal overnight camping) but it suited us fine for a couple of nights.
We then met up with friends that we had first met in Darwin, Dave, Karina, Blake and Jenna. A beautiful little family and the kids are such characters. This was the family that were travelling around Australia, came to Tumbling Waters in Darwin and stayed for 4 months. We still fondly remember how Blake and Jenna would come and find us at our caravan and the times we spent in the pool with them. We all met up at the local pub for an early tea and then again on Saturday morning to watch the kids at Auskick. Then on the Sunday it was an early start to go to see our niece Suzanne and her partner and baby, George. He was only 3 weeks old when was last saw him at Christmas. He has certainly grown and is so gorgeous. We only had the morning with them as Suzanne was off to Bali for 10 days and had to leave for the airport at 1.00.
Next stop for us was south of Geelong at Wallington where our friends Dennis and Christine live. We also met these two in Darwin and have kept in touch, meeting up a good few times now. This was our second visit to their home in Wallington and again they made us feel so welcome. Our visit of a couple of nights turned into 12 so easily! Chris was in his element helping Dennis, sawing down trees and chopping firewood, I was helping Christine with ironing and preparing for their holiday that they are going on at the end of the month. A cruise around Canada and Alaska, lucky devils! I did baking with Jade, their granddaughter, knitted lots of squares for Christine's charity blankets and we had many laughs with some good happy hours around the fire in the back paddock. We have the best time with Dennis and Christine, great company and we didn't want to leave. We hope to see these two good friends again around July time at Tweed when they come up the coast to avoid the Victorian winter.
We left Wallington yesterday morning and are now at a free camp on the Victorian side of the Murray river at Tocumwal with NSW just over the bridge. Today we have spent a lovely day walking over the bridge from VIC to NSW into town and back and then sitting by the Murray in the sunshine, reading, watching the locals enjoying the river and listening to the hundreds of cockatoos that fill the sky and trees around here. We have just skyped with our beautiful daughters and their families for Mother's Day and made our plans for when we'll see them next. I'll say it again, Life is good!