The grounds of the Halls Gap Motel, nestled under the mountain
28 March 2016
It was sad to leave the beautiful Murray Princess that had been our home for three days, and also the lovely friends we had met on board. We left our mooring at River View Lodge at 6.15am and breakfast was a little early as we were due to arrive at Mannum at 9.00am. Instructions had been given about where to leave our bags, and there was a coloured sticker on each bag to indicate where they were to be taken. We had to collect the car from the secure parking (blue sticker), others were travelling by coach to Adelaide to a hotel (red or purple sticker), others were travelling by coach to Adelaide Central Bus Station (green stickers).
It was all very well organised, and went like clock work! Finally we were allowed to disembark – on the red carpet and personally farewelled by the Captain, Second Officer, and two senior crew members, so we felt very special. We have a long drive today and by the time we disembarked, collected the car and packed our luggage, it was after 10am. We set off from Mannum and travelled south east through Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend (where we had travelled north a few days earlier), then on to Bordertown and eventually into the State of Victoria.
The impressive and colourful Victoria Hotel in Dimboola, built in 1924
Only intending to stop for breaks and food, we made a brief stay in Bordertown (at least 20kms from the border!) for a pie and coffee then continued heading east through Nhill and decided to turn off to the town of Dimboola, an Aussie icon. It was Easter Monday so very little was open, but it is a pretty little town, and we enjoyed our quick stop there, enough to get some photos especially of the historic buildings (below).
Situated on the Wimmera River, Dimboola was previously known as ‘Nine Creeks’. Following a survey conducted in late 1862 by contractor Frederick Smith of Ararat, a plan for a township in the County of Dimboola was proposed. It was first recognised as being a township when mentioned in the April 1863 edition of the Government Gazette. The Post Office opened on 3 April 1863, but was known as Nine Creeks until 1869. Dimboola’s economy is predominantly rural, with wheat, sheep and timber being traditionally important. There have been recent forays into emu and alpaca rearing and olive plantations.
Paintings of Dimboola landscapes by noted Australian painter Sidney Nolan who was stationed in the area while on army duty in World War II, can be found in the National Gallery of Victoria. Dimboola is also the setting of the play (and subsequent film) “Dimboola” by Jack Hibberd.
Pressing on to our day’s destination at Hall’s Gap in the Grampians, we travelled through Horsham and Stawell where we turned off to Hall’s Gap. It was 5ish by the time we arrived, but with daylight saving there was still time to take some photos. Driving into the area we could see the mountains and they looked wonderful against a cloudy sky.
The motel was very comfortable and it had its own restaurant, so we didn’t have to go far for dinner. Walking around the spacious grounds we saw a number of emus having an evening feed, and there was also a friendly kangaroo. The View Restaurant certainly had a lovely view over the property and on to the mountains through the large windows, and we had a seat next to the windows. Very soon three kangaroos arrived and they stayed for quite some time munching on the grass, it was lovely to see them so close.
Tomorrow we set off for beautiful Bright to visit a long-time friend.
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