Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Bendigo to Echuca
The birthday of our favourite daughter - Happy Birthday, Sarah Jane!
On our way out of town we stopped at Bendigo Pottery, probably the most famous pottery in Australia. They make lovely earthenware crocks, jugs and dishes in an old-fashioned country-kitchen style. We bought a butter dish, not an easy object to find in the modern kitchen decor shop.
There was also a small metalworks gallery in the complex with lovely sculptures outside. We would have liked to buy one, but it wouldn't fit in the van.
It was just a short drive through golden hayfields to Echuca on the Murray River.
Echuca is famous for its collection of paddlewheelers and, despite the river being at an all-time low, several were still plying the waters.
A river red gum on the bank showed how high the waters had come in some of the years before the current drought.
With the temperature in the high thirties, everyone in the caravan park was seeking even the most minimal shade.
We didn't feel like cooking, and treated ourselves to a surprisingly good dinner in the Star Hotel's bistro.
Afterwards, we walked back along the river
passing a spot where numerous cockatoos were gathering on the bank. You can see from the exposed roots of the river gums how low the water level has fallen in this once mighty river, Australia's largest.
Judging by the increasing volume of squawking throughout the evening, this was a popular roosting place for the cockies.
We slept amazingly well, considering that the temperature did not fall below 30ºC all night.