As I write this blog post I read of the devastating bushfires along the Great Ocean Road at Wye River and Separation Creek. Having driven through only a couple of months ago I can easily recall the beauty of the area and my thoughts are for the residents who have lost their homes.
Bushfires were on our minds back in October when we departed Port Campbell to drive north through central Victoria. We were closely monitoring the CFA’s social media bulletins as a fire had escaped a ‘controlled burn’ and had destroyed four homes just near the town of Lancefield, right where we were heading! However a friend was a major influencer behind a Megafauna Festival being run along side the annual Lancefield Agricultural Show and we wanted to show our support by attending if at all possible.
The drive north from Port Campbell took us through some beautiful countryside, particularly around the town of Camperdown. This was a volcanic area active between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago. The hundreds of crater lakes in the hills in the district were a result of geysers of hot steam and rock producing shallow craters. We were given the tip to drive through the caravan park (don’t be put off – it’s open to the public) to get a great view of two of the lakes and visit the local Botanic Gardens (first established way back in 1888-89).
North east from Camperdown is the fabulous city of Ballarat, however a great TV advertising campaign a couple of years ago had put the town of Daylesford on the map for us – we just had to spend a night there.
Daylesford’s history as a successful gold-mining town is obvious – the main street buildings are magnificent.
Today Daylesford is all about tourism, focussed on ‘relaxation and rejuvenation’, as it is the main town in an area known for its mineral spas. And it has some interesting shops and restaurants too.
Just out of Daylesford is Hepburn Springs. Its Mineral Spring Reserve has the historic Bathhouse, Spa and Pavilion – great atmosphere, but the freely available mineral water is an acquired taste!
Fortunately for us, by the time we departed Daylesford the fire threat around Lancefield had been contained. So we were really looking forward to attending the Lancefield Agricultural Show scheduled for the coming Sunday. To get us in the mood we went to the regular markets in Creswick (just north of Ballarat, third Saturday of every month) – a pretty little town with a history in timber, and well worth a visit.
Given the circumstances, it was great that the Victorian Government agreed to cover the entry cost to the Lancefield show for everyone, so the donations at the gate went straight to the local community to aid recovery. It certainly brought the crowds out.
The best was on display …
And lots of other activities too …
If you happen to be passing through Lancefield, check out the final result of the chain saw sculpting that was transforming two huge cyprus pine stumps into lasting features for the showground. The sculptures were specially commissioned for the ‘Extinct’ Megafauna festival that was celebrating the history of giant Megafauna bones found at Lancefield Park.
I’m pleased to report that the Megafauna Festival was a hit, especially with the kids, who had a great time digging up the ‘bones’ to rebuild a Diprotodon (Giant Wombat).
Keep a lookout in Trip Plan’s Events widget for local community annual shows that might be on where you are travelling. Locals always go the extra mile for the annual events and it’s usually an experience not to be missed.
The show was a great note on which to end our Victorian loop trip. The loop had taken us through the spectacular Yarra Ranges, to the Mornington Peninsular, across ‘The Bay’ to Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, and finally up to the Macedon Ranges. Each of the days of the loop brought us something interesting and new to discover and enjoy – definitely a recommended experience and a great driving holiday.
Design Your Own Road Trip!
The trip map and itinerary is available for you to use as a basis for your own trip at Trip Plan Australia. Go ahead and change the Towns in the Route section, and add and remove Via towns. Places, events and attractions in common will be retained in the revised Itinerary. Browse events on during your trip timeframe, and add/remove attractions and overnight stops to the itinerary to suit.