09.06.2013 - 09.06.2013
Having spent the weekdays scouring the job websites we were easily persuaded to join Ria and some of her friends out to the Dandenong Ranges at the weekend. The Dandenongs are low mountains which are east of Melbourne and we had often looked at them in the distance from our apartment window. The opportunity to get out of the city and soak up some country air was enough and so we planned to meet Ria at Flinders Street station with the intention of getting the train out to Belgrave. The added bonus to this trip was that we were going to have a Bar-b out in the ranges, apparently there are these purpose built areas within the woodland with gas cookers where you can set up kitchen and have a good meal! Brilliant idea! So Sarah and I stocked up on sausages, rolls, salad and crisps ready for the adventure. Oh and we found a few Bintangs too! We also picked up the MyKi card which is the equivalent to London's Oyster card.
When we got to the station at 11am it wasn't long before Ria, Noreen, Chauny and Carianna showed up and we chatted away catching up on what we were all doing in Melbourne before Ria revealed that the trip actually takes about 1 hour and half just to get to Belgrave. None of us were aware of this but it didn't matter as it would give us a chance to get to know the others and see the scenery change as we travelled out of the city. It wasn't till we made it to the end of the line that Ria revealed we needed to also take a bus out to Gemsbrook so it was going to be a little longer before we were at our destination (another 40mins). It was quite funny because Ria said that if she had revealed before we left how long it was going to take then it was possible no one would want to go, but we didn't mind and had a laugh taking over the back seats on the bus.
When we got to what we thought was the right stop we hopped off and already the countryside was around us, it was really refreshing. We passed the old steam train called Puffing Billy which you can actually take instead of the bus, however its a little over priced for the novelty (around 50 bucks return!)
Puffing Billy looked pretty cool though.
The area we had found ourselves in was called Gemsbrook and we asked around at the shops to find out where to go for a walk and find the Bar-B!
The area is prone to bush fires so these warnings are put in place to warn locals..Crazy!
We walked down Gembrook Avenue of Honour which is lined with trees in memory of Word War I servicemen who died.
On the way we asked a loony lady in a craft shop directions and found ourselves on a path leading into the forest.
We passed big trees that could you could fit a family inside!
And had to make a decision at one point which route we would take, deciding to go towards Fern Gully, mainly because Sarah loved the cartoon as a kid.
The forest was nice and colourful and on the path there was the enormous tree that had fallen which I thought was pretty insane.
It was a really different forest full of eucalyptus trees and glades of ferns, at points looking more like something you would find in Jurassic Park. We didn't see any dinosaurs though, or koalas despite as trying to keep an eye out in the eucalyptus trees.
The path was quite short in the end and we ended up on a country road walking towards the hills, it was a beautiful scenery and reminded us of being in the countryside at home. After walking further down the road we got the sense that we weren't going in the right direction. We decided to turn back and head back to the puffing billy train as one of the girls had seen a Bar-B set up in the gardens nearby. Despite the mis-direction it was still a pleasant place to walkabout.
As we walked down the countrylane Sarah had an odd feeling that we were being watched...
Walking back didn't take long as we knew where we were going. But we had worked up an appetite and were pleased to find that the outside Bar-B was ready to Burn!
Sarah continued her animal photography pursuits. These are Rosellas, a type of parrot native to Australia.
And, naturally we had to go in the playground.
A big thanks to Ria for arranging it and thanks to all the girls for making a fun day.
Stay tuned for more tales