11.26.2014

Healesville and Thornton

Today we are road tripping in the minivan to the northeast of Melbourne, through the Yarra Valley (wine country) toward our ultimate destination of Thornton. We will pass Healesville on the way, where we are going tomorrow. Healesville has a big animal sanctuary for native animals like kangaroos, wallabies, and koala bears. You can pet them. That will be cool for my niece and nephew.

There are cattle ranches in this area.  And lots of vineyards we can see from the road.

It is a rather long trip by car and I am navigating. Even so, there is ample time between important intersections for me to write.

The rural areas we are traversing remind me of the open spaces in Colorado and are probably comparably dry. They are probably irrigated for the benefit of the cattle though. Carl thinks this area looks more like Vermont, and it probably does, but I am not as familiar with Vermont. But if you, dear reader, are familiar with Vermont, visualize that.

In the town of Whitehorse that we passed through, there was supposed to be a white horse, but we never saw it.

As we go up into the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, it becomes more like a semi-tropical rainforest. There are fern trees, which look like small palm trees (see pics), but the fronds are ferns. This is probably an example of convergent evolution, but I can't say for sure.

We have stopped at the Black Spur Inn, in Narbethong, for lunch. However, the woman keeping bar said the kitchen doesn't open for 20 minutes yet. So we're taking a short walk around the inn grounds, which are quite scenic. We saw some kookaburras in the trees but they refused to "laugh" for us when I had my video camera on.

According to my dad, the original version of the film, "On the Beach," with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, which takes place largely in Melbourne and surrounds, had some scenes filmed at the Black Spur Hotel, which was what they called this inn before it got its current name. I will have to watch the movie and see if anything looks familiar. I hope it is on Netflix, but if not, I can probably find it on Youtube.

Australians appear to love food and as such, I love Australia. The food is not especially healthy, but its yummie. I ordered roast pork at the Black Spur. It was on special. I was tempted to get fish and chips, a solid staple of the Australian diet, but I get that a lot, so I mixed it up. I also thought about the chicken and brie pie, but my sister got that, so I had a bite of hers and it was good.

We have arrived at our lodging, the Rubicon Hotel in Thornton. I am going to post this now and write more later.

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