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Victoria- Grampians, Ancestors and Spas

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 15 January 2017 | Views [357]

April, 2016
This trip had 3 goals to have a meal at the highly rated Dunkeld Royal Hotel restaurant; visit old gold mining towns and Ballarat where Susan’s Steel family began; return to Daylesford and have a spa. 1. Dunkeld is a small village at the southern end of the Grampians. One of the first buildings you see is the art deco Royal Mail Hotel. http://www.royalmail.com.au/# The 5 course tasting menu was excellent – highlights were the octopus garden, egg yolk entrée and the chocolates hidden in the pot plant on the table. The majority of the ingredients are sourced locally. Included in the stay at the hotel is a tour of their kitchen garden – we managed to get some of their tomatoes and chillies so we could use the seeds for our garden.
We did a few walks – Piccaninnie Walk and Mt Sturgeon. Stayed at Southern Grampian Cottages – excellent.
2. Ancestor Trail – We travelled through Pitfield, Cape Clear, Springdallah and Scarsdale looking for signs of the Steel family. Many of the children were born in these towns in 1860/70s. Now just open fields, no signs of the large gold mine towns of the period.
In Ballarat we walked the streets where Ruth Elizabeth lived and taught, tried to imagine her life there. We spent 4 hours at Sovereign Hill, a reconstruction of a gold mining town. Much better than we imagined. Shops, Chinatown, apothecary, workshops and 4 types of school gave us an insight to life in that time. Local school children attend the schools for a week, in costume of the period, and find out what school was like for children of that time. Peter panned for gold without success. The Gold Museum, Museum of Democracy and Eureka are worth a visit. The Ballarat Art Gallery is small but has great art. And a good café.
We ate well at Forge Pizza and Meigas Tapas, L’Espresso Café and Hop Temple Craft Beer.
Take a walk around Lake Wendouree and the Botanic Gardens. Ballarat is a beautiful old town with magnificent buildings of the time eg Craig’s hotel. We enjoyed our time there.
3. On the way to Daylsford we called in to the Woollen mills in Creswick where we bought some lovely woollen products. Daylesford has lots to offer, quirky shops (see Sister George for homemade hats); the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Convent Gallery for lots of art, history and good café; walk around Lake Daylesford (check in at the Book Barn for 1000s of books and coffee); taste mineral water at the numerous local springs. There are many restaurants but we did enjoy Liena’s Kitchen for homemade dumplings; Bocconcini for breakfast and coffee. Visit Passing Clouds Winery for prize winning wine and tasty food (bit expensive though). But most of all have a 2 hour spa at Hepburn Springs Bath House. Going in the morning is best, we were the only people for most of the time. We’ll be back.

Tags: ballarat, daylesford, dunkeld, grampians

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