We started our next day (Wednesday) by driving to Melbourne....to an industrial area......and got our first glimpse of our new toy......
Yep, we've become one of those.
We spent about four hours at the factory while they went through everything with us, before letting us loose on the highways and byways.
That's us. Big, but not as big as some on the road. Our new home away from home is an Atlantic Endeavor, which is 19 foot long, complete with ensuite and washing machine. As The Three Yorkshiremen would say "Looxury".
Our first day on the road was just a short one to Castlemaine. We were fortunate in that the weather was not too bad, a bit windy but not wet. The van towed well and Mick is used to dragging something behind his ute most of the time, anyway, which helps.
Castlemaine is a delightful town.
We had a pub dinner just down the road from the caravan park. The interior was dimly lit and had a very 70s feel to it, with ferns in macrame hangers, timber panelling and crushed velvet curtains on the stage. It was open mic night and attracted quite a few greys haired old hippies. The only thing missing (thankfully) was the clouds of cigarette smoke. We had a great meal and enjoyed some good music and some bad. The best was a 12 year old boy who was rather good on the guitar.
That night we encountered some wild weather, lots of rain and strong wind. We felt somewhat smug as well as snug as we nestled into our plush bed and weren't sleeping in a tent. This was the very reason we bought a van of this kind. It turns out we only got the edge of the bad weather as South Australia endured a one in fifty year cyclonic storm.
In the morning, we finished setting ourselves up in the van and then, in between showers, we went for a walk through the Botanic Gardens that adjoin the caravan park. The creek was running rather swiftly.
Despite the poor weather there were quite a few people wandering around. The lake us called "Lake Joanne".
All Victorian era parks seem to have rather flash entry gates.
It would be a peaceful place to visit when the trees are in full leaf but it was nice to see the tracery of the bare branches.
Next on the agenda was to stock up on some groceries for the van. We enjoyed strolling around the town in cool but not wet conditions.
We stumbled upon The Restorers Barn which had an amazing array of stuff. We were happy to buy a gallery for an old lamp that has needed fixing for years. Score!
The Information Centre is housed in the old market building.
Next door was a very similar store, this time focusing on camping. They both reminded me of an old hardware store in Bathurst that no longer exists.