Winter woolies. Welcome downpours. Boyhood memories. Sleeping in a factory. Pub fare and a drop of Maygars.

The Avis office was as quiet as the immigration hall (a great time to arrive in Melbourne!) so the car hire process proceeded quickly.  Before we knew it our little Mitsuibishi Lancer was packed and checked and we were on the freeway and heading north.  The Hume Freeway (named after Hamilton Hume, who with William Hovell were the first Europeans to traverse an overland route between Sydney and Port Phillip, in what later became Victoria) is a wonderfully constructed freeway that wends its way through country Victoria.  The countryside at the moment looks wonderful and green – a sign of the recent rains in this part of Australia.

We stopped off in a small country town called Wallan for a bite to eat.  We had been fed on the plane but we were in need of some non-airline food and it was around 2.30pm (Australia time).  We purchased a healthy tuna and salad roll before getting back on the road.  A short distance from Wallan we found a nice lookout spot that had vistas of the Great Dividing Range so we stopped there for lunch.  An approaching thunderstorm turned the sky black and the recently burnt out ranges soaked up the downpour that escaped the heavy clouds.

After lunch we continue d our drive north – past Pukapunyal, Seymour,  and Mangalore (all wonderful names that roll of the tongue – assuming it is curled up in your mouth in a knot) before arriving in the tiny town of Avenel.

My family resided in the town of Avenel when my father was the Station Master of the railway station in the town.  I have very vivid memories of the childhood years that I spent in the town and it was a real treat to be able to drive around the area and relive my memories whilst giving The Princess a running commentary.  Fun!  The tour took the best part of 5 minutes (it is not a big place) after which we stopped for a coffee at the beautifully restored building that was the “grocery cum everything else” store when I lived in the town.

The WB Gadd store  is now owned by Graydon & Jo Johnston and it has a wonderful little coffee shop.  The Princess and I had a wonderful time being entertained by Graydon as we shared a delightful piece of carrot cake and some caffeine.  Graydon is a wonderful character – a former entertainer that backed Johnny O’Keefe  in his hey days.  What a wonderful way to partake in a lump of calories and a mug of hot coffee.

The daylight hours were drawing to a close as we mounted our Japanese thoroughbred and rejoined the Hume Freeway for the 30 minute trip to the sleepy hollow known as Euroa.

Euroa is an historic country town nestled in the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges  – a
geologically beautiful region that has links to bushrangers  sheep farming and, in more recent times, excellent vineyards.
So why Euroa?  Well, two very special people happen to live there – Ian and Jenny.  Among a number of ventures that Ian and Jen run they have a very successful winery called Maygar’s Hill. We hadn’t seen Ian and Jen for quite some time so we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to catch up.  Indeed, we had booked a dinner date and needed to check into our accommodation first.

Just prior to leaving Hong Kong we searched for places to stay in Euroa and found a delightful place called the Euroa Butter Factory. Jen confirmed that this was a “must see/must do” so we called the owners (Rebecca and Russell) and booked in for two nights.

Well, on arriving at The Butter Factory we knew we had made the right choice – what an amazing place.  Rebecca and Russell have turned this once rundown establishment into an incredible bed and breakfast establishment – an absolute must for anyone visiting this part of the world.

After checking in The Princess enjoyed a short sleep while I enjoyed some of the local red and learnt more about the area and “The Factory” – Rebecca and Russell are fantastic hosts.

Our dinner date with Ian and Jen started at 7.00pm (they came into town and picked us up) so we freshened up and met them in the “parlour” at “The Factory” before driving a short distance to the local pub – The Euroa Hotel.

The menu at “The Pub” was outstanding and we enjoyed an awesome country meal (washed down with several glasses of the sensational Maygar’s Hill Shiraz – perfect) and great conversation in this historic hotel before returning to “The Factory” for a well earned rest!
What a day – wake up over the deserts of South Australia and go to sleep in the foothills of the beautiful Strathbogie Ranges!!

Happy Roey and very happy Princess.  We hope this finds you in the same state – happy, living life and immersed in your passions.

Roey and The Princess

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