Sunday, September 5, 2010

Victoria, Australia

In honor of the current flooding in the Bright area of Victoria, Australia – and to commemorate the trip we made there almost exactly two years ago – the ScheckTrek will this week visit the towns of Bright, Wandilagong, and the surrounding area known as the Australian Alps (for us Americans, not to be confused with the Austrian Alps!). As this was a literal trip, all photos on this post are ScheckTrek Photography.

Above photos taken from Mt. Buffalo

Bright is a ski resort that's a 3-1/2 hour drive from Melbourne, so I suspect the town is fairly bustling in the winter. But we had the good pleasure of being there in the springtime (autumn in the U.S.), when we were warmly welcomed by both temps and townspeople.  The locals are not accustomed to seeing all that many American tourists, so there were several questions along the lines of, "Why did you come to Bright?" 

It was such a peaceful, bucolic setting. I joke that this is a picture of rush hour.

And alongside the road, instead of billboards and buildings, there are bovines.

Contented cows, one would imagine

And sheep with ear piercings.

And, this being Australia, you never know when you’re going to come across the odd field full of kangaroos.

The third kangaroo from the left has a joey. But it’s easier to see Joey in the one below, spotted in a residential neighborhood.

Some of the sights around Bright itself:

Five sweet schoolgirls who couldn’t imagine why the American lady could possibly want to take their picture (they had no idea how cute they all looked in their uniforms and caps!), but who willingly obliged.

The Ovens River which, as of this writing, is flooded at or above extreme levels.

Our pick for accommodations in the Bright area was actually in Wandiligong, about a three-mile drive away, along that busy road shown above.

As the customs agent said at the airport, “When you stay at Wandiligong, you’re getting the real Australian experience!”

I think this photo, taken in Beechworth, illustrates what she was referring to!

Other than the maze in Wandiligong, which people come from all around to see, this appeared to be one of the major happening spots along the main drag.  :)

But that is not where we stayed.

This is where we stayed – The Evening Star, a 2-bedroom vacation rental – and we could not have been happier!

Here’s a closer look:

Loved this bedroom!  There was a second bedroom, also with sliders (not pictured).

When I saw the photo similar to this on their website, I was sold! I could hardly wait to wake up in that room. What I didn’t know then was that there was more than a view to enjoy on awakening. If it was warm enough to leave the windows open (or even if it wasn’t, but we didn’t know that yet), we were awakened to an absolute jungle-sounding cacophony of bird noises! It was an amazing treat, and one I don’t think we’ll ever forget.

What a bathroom!

Sometimes parrots would visit the deck. The locals’ best guess was that this was a young rosella parrot. You don’t usually see them spotted like this.

We never tired of that deck!

Friends said we couldn’t miss the Brown Brothers Winery. They were right. It was one of the best meals of our stay.

This week’s ScheckTrek ends up in Beechworth, an old gold-rush town reminiscent of the Old West in the US.

This photo was taken in 2007. It’s the real deal.

Some of the shops have scaled up. But the real treasures we found were on the street…

An old Holden

A really great, really old Chevrolet pick-up truck

Moving forward in transportation evolution, we took off on a prop plane from this charming area of Australia, bound for Sydney (reviewed July 25, 2010).

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