Day 19. 1st April. (No fools here)
After a great stay in Lakes Entrance, today we head south to the Central Gippsland region to a little historic gold mining centre called Walhalla, located in the mountainous foothills of Mt Baw Baw. We packed up, checked out, and then walked into town to get some brekky before the 2 hr trip south to Walhalla. The girls did some last minute shopping and we headed down through Swan Reach and Bairnsdale where we stopped for some groceries. It was then on to Stratford, where we turned off the Hwy. With Andrew in the lead, and his GPS wanting to take us on dirt roads, we followed mine instead. We then travelled through Hayfield, Toongabbie and Tyres for a RH turn towards Walhalla. This is where the countryside changed from flat to undulating and soon we were in rainforest with steep gorges and gullies and a very windy road. Very picturesque. Across the Thompson Rv. bridge, and there was a railway station in the middle of nowhere. The narrow gauge rail wound it's way along the banks and steep sides of Stringers Ck. to Walhalla. We came along the road and found this little gem of a place nestled in a steep ravine covered in heavy scrub and rainforest with historic buildings, a railway station, historic gold mines. What an amazing place and a tribute to the guts and determination of our forebears, just to get in here, find gold, and then turn it into one of the richest mining areas in Victoria.
We found our accommodation at The Star Hotel which is run as a guest house. Checked into our rooms and had a bite to eat. Wandered up to the local pub affectionately named “The Wally Pub” where we washed down the days dust & smoke and booked a table for dinner. The town is quite busy with tourists & visitors as it is school holidays. Walked back to our digs, freshened up, then walked back the 800 m to the pub for a dinner you couldn't jump over. Typical country pub hospitality.
There, we met a group of sprightly and elderly people from the Sandringham light activities club who were having a few days in Walhalla doing some walks. Also staying at The Star Hotel, they were having a wonderful time and were the rowdiest bunch at the pub. Put some of us Ulyssians to shame. Back at our hotel, we joined them for a few drinks on the balcony overlooking the Band Stand and the creek. A great way to end a top day with lots of raucous laughter, Old Jack with his whistle, and Loraine who we named “Madame President” as she was so bossy. (In a nice way) Andrew and I were the last to call it quits, and then to bed after midnight. .......... And our world was still fabulous!